After 2 years together, my partner transitioned into a woman. It's helped us better connect, and she now better understands my endometriosis.
Two years into our relationship, my partner came out as a trans woman.
Despite my initial apprehension, her transition brought us closer together.
Hormone-replacement therapy gave her a better understanding of my chronic endometriosis.
Summer and I had been together for two years when she came out as transgender.
While I felt ill-prepared for the journey ahead of us, sticking with her proved one of the best decisions of my life. This has brought us closer together in so many ways — the most unexpected of which is her newfound understanding of my endometriosis.
I wasn't surprised she was transgender
When Summer and I first met on a date in 2018, she wasn't Summer yet. Instead, she presented as a clean-cut, well-dressed young man. We went out for lunch, and while I wasn't smitten afterward, I thought she was cute in a nerdy way. It wasn't until our third date, when I invited her over to watch a movie, that I really started to like her. I wore braces at the time, and she asked whether my teeth "hurt too much for kissing." She was funny, and I liked that she asked permission before making a move. And no, my teeth didn't hurt too much.
In 2019, we moved into the studio apartment where we still live together. Little did we know, COVID-19 lockdowns would hit and we would be cooped up together for months. Our relationship survived the pandemic. Summer's identity as a man did not.
In July 2020, she told me she was transgender. Looking back, I suppose there were signs. She'd liked to cross-dress and chose to play women characters in video games. She'd briefly identified as genderqueer. I hadn't secretly known that she was a woman all along, but I wasn't necessarily surprised.
I'm bisexual, so it wasn't an immediate deal breaker. But I did have some apprehension about the relationship going forward. I wasn't sure what kind of support a trans partner would need. My lack of experience with women made me question my bisexuality. I loved her, and I wanted to be there for her, but I did feel out of my depth at times.
Her transition made us calmer and happier
When Summer started taking hormones, it wasn't just her body that changed. Almost immediately, she said she started experiencing less anxiety. In the following weeks, I noticed her mood lifted substantially. It goes without saying that when your partner is calmer and happier, your relationship also becomes calmer and happier.
Despite my initial concerns, supporting Summer came naturally to me. Time and open communication helped us both settle comfortably into our new dynamic. She's still the same person I met five years ago, but there's something fundamentally different about dating a woman from dating a man. We are now a visibly queer couple, so we get more looks in public. She gets more looks in general. Having a pretty girlfriend means that men stare. I take it as a compliment.
Most importantly, being with a woman makes me feel understood on the most basic level. When Summer shed the weight of manhood, she became more open and sillier. We are unapologetically girly together. I do her makeup, and she lends me her shoes. New clothes mean a fashion parade as the other person gives extensive commentary on the pros and cons of each outfit. Sometimes it feels like one long sleepover with a best friend who I also get to kiss.
The physical changes to Summer's body helped her better understand me and my endometriosis
One day, she complained about a sharp pain in her abdomen whenever she stood up. "Do you think I ate something?" she asked. After a few questions about the placement, intensity, and type of pain, I realized she was experiencing menstrual cramps thanks to her hormone-replacement therapy.
I have endometriosis, which is a chronic-pain condition that's not well understood. Think of it as having a superperiod — every unpleasant thing about your menstrual cycle is multiplied by 10. People with this condition experience monstrous cramps, heavy bleeding, and hot flashes — just to name a few of the symptoms.
Summer has known about my endometriosis since the day we met and has always tried to be supportive. But as a man, she was always baffled by my mood swings. She once tried to give me tips on "powering through" a bad pain day. I know she meant well, but to me — curled up in bed, feral and hurting — it could feel only like an attack.
Luckily, her cramps are nowhere near as intense as mine, but she now knows what it feels like when your body is heavy and sore in that specific way. She now understands the irresistible call of shredded cheese at 3 a.m. She may not have endometriosis, but she experiences mild versions of a lot of my symptoms. Where she was once hopelessly confused, she now has a basis of understanding weaved into her very body.
The support Summer gave me as a man was enough. But as a woman, she gives me more than enough. She understands this part of me intimately. Estrogen has given her a glimpse into living with endometriosis she never would have seen had she not transitioned.
Read the original article on Insider