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Marriage/My husband's announcement shocked me


Last night my husband told me that he wanted a sex change, and to go from being Joe to Joanna.
I am 38 and he is 39, we've been together since I was 21, a good 17 years now, we've had great times together.
He stated outright there was no other woman, he wanted to be with me, and that he'd been crossdressing in secret since he was 18, this came as a shock to me.
We have two kids, aged 9 and 16, and I'm worried about their reaction (the 16-year-old's away on a geography trip for a week).
I can't handle this, but at least it explains why he didn't want sex much; it wasn't porn, but he said he saw us as a lesbian couple, and didn't want another woman, just me. He admitted he found wearing bikinis and crop-tops sensual, and had tried to feminise his face but couldn't get there.
He was even considering quitting his job as a distribution firm manager to go and work behind the beauty counter in a department store.
He told me he'd been looking at pictures of transgender women on Facebook; not men-in-drag (stereotypes, I know, but that's what the comments pages said) but women who he said "you couldn't tell they were previously men".
This is getting to me a lot, at times I've felt like taking sleeping pills to cope with it, and I've began binging on salt-and-vinegar crisps and chocolate to cope. He's suddenly taken up smoking in an an attempt to handle the situation, which is so out-of-character for him.
I'll be honest here, I don't know what to do and worry about how our families will cope with this situation; he says he wants one more child before he has the operation and then that's it, he's going to start living as Joanne. He said he won't go to LGBT support groups as, in his words, "they're like Alcoholics Anonymous or gaming addict clinics".
This is a bit long and a sensitive post, so bear with me; I'd appreciate all the help I can get.

Hi Suzanne~

The question to ask yourself is can you live like this with him in the future, with him being a woman and being in a relationship/marriage with him.  Before you make any further decisions you need to try and sit down with him and have a serious heart to heart talk with him.  He needs to know how this is affecting you.  And what you're willing and unwilling to put up with in this marriage.  If you feel you can't live like this and continue on with the marriage or being in a relationship with him, then tell him and be honest and up front with him about it.  He has to know from the get go where you stand on this issue, and where you want to go from here on out.  

Not many people in this situation would be okay with this, they would be shocked and ready to move on and divorce their spouse.  Each individual is different in this sort of situation as this.  If you feel that you can't or won't be able to handle this, then don't do it.  A lot of people would have a very hard time trying to comprehend why someone would want to do this.  It's a huge life changing decision for him to make going from a man to being a woman fulltime.

If you have someone to talk to, get their opinion on it and if it's still too much, then you should seriously consider going to some individual therapy for yourself, so that you can learn how to cope and deal with all this, and to figure out where you want to go from here on out.  I hope this helps you some.  


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