Surviving changing physical appearance in your spouse

Can a relationship survive a physical transition? Some people express concern that transition will end a relationship because of the physical changes a person who transitions goes through. What happens when what your partner sees when he or she looks at you, fully clothed is really important to them?

The truth is that transition can end a relationship – for many reasons. It can also make it stronger. Nothing is a given. Relationships are multifaceted, and the physical is only a part of any relationship – but it can be a significant part.

If a person likes a “traditional” feminine appearance, as defined by that person’s culture, and his or her “traditional” female partner begins to look like a man (or vice versa), that could be a deal-breaker. Although some people might consider that superficial or shallow.

We all have our physical preferences, and although they are not all the same, for many people, a certain “gendered” appearance can figure high on that list with regard to a relationship. The relationship can survive the physical changes brought upon by aging, illness, accidents, and so on, because the gendered appearance remains.

But if the gendered appearance goes away, that can significantly impact the relationship. And if that particular gendered appearance is not who you are, only you can decide how important it is to maintain it in order to maintain that partner. That is an absolutely personal decision, and there is no right or wrong answer.

On the other hand, a partner might be concerned about that gendered appearance disappearing, and then later discover that it doesn’t really matter that much – that it’s not the priority that he or she thought it was. Sometimes you just don’t know until it happens.

The bottom line is that the death of a relationship due to transition is probably the result of many factors, but a completely different gender presentation can make a difference. It does not necessarily involve a certain level of attractiveness, because as much as each culture attempts to establish an ideal for male and female appearance, what each individual finds attractive varies tremendously.

But for every partner who leaves because of a change in physical appearance that is not attractive to him or her, there are others out there who will find that same physical appearance to be exactly what they’re looking for (or close enough). Only you can decide what you’re willing to give up (and sometimes it’s yourself) in order to maintain your current relationship.

And only you can decide on your real value as a partner and as a human being, and how you’re going to share that with someone else.

-This article was originally written by Matt Kailey for Tranifesto.

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