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Accept and Close

Relationships

Guy with a tattoo in right arm

Your transition will probably impact on the people who are close to as well. Here's some advice and support.

It is possible that some people might not react in the way you would hope and you may come up against stigma and discrimination from people you care about. On the other hand, friends and family can be a source of strength and support and there is also support available for them as you go through your transition.

There's more information for people who support you on our One Step at a Time page.

  1. Friends and family
  2. Partners
  3. New relationships
  4. Abuse

Friends and family

Telling family members, especially parents and siblings, can be difficult particularly if you are transitioning later on in life. If your loved ones didn’t know about your situation the news could come as a shock to them, but this doesn’t mean your should feel disheartened. It is normal that they will also go through a transition – of getting to know ‘you’ again and getting to know you as the person you really are.

There may be some ups and downs and your loved ones may struggle to understand things which will seem second nature to you – for example using the correct terminology. You may find that close relatives feel upset by the news – which can seem confusing for you as this is a time for you to feel excited about your new life. Relatives who are just being told may feel upset and worry that they are ‘losing’ the loved one they know. This might be especially problematic for older relatives who might well come out with comments you don’t appreciate.

Reassuring your loved ones that you are still you will help, as will telling them about help and support for them. The more support they have, the better placed they will be to support you.

It may be worth you finding someone to talk to about issues that can come up with family and friends, whether that’s a counsellor, a health professional you trust or other trans men.


Supporting children of trans people

If you have children, they may need a lot of support to understand your transition and to accept it.

A child, whatever age, could struggle to cope with the ‘loss’ of their mum, although many children are remarkably accepting and understanding.

The  Gender Identity Research and Education Society, (Gires) provide support for family, friends, and children of trans men and also faciliate workshops.

Depend also provide support for family, friends and children of trans people.

Partners

If you are going through your transition, your relationships may be affected. If you have a partner or are married, there will be a lot of things to take into consideration. If your partner has always known that you’re trans, it may make the process easier – but your transition is likely to have a major impact on your relationship, especially if children are involved.

If you have been moving towards transitioning for a while, your partner may feel well prepared but there are steps you can take to make things easier. They may find it difficult, or even upsetting, to relate to you as a ‘different’ person, even though they will want you to be happy.

It could be that your transition signals the end of your relationship – you or your partner might feel unable to carry on, especially if your sexual orientation has changed. It may be that your partner is supportive but is not able to remain in a sexual relationship with you.

This can be a confusing time for both of you, even though it marks the start of your new life. It could help to have counselling together or separately so you can see how you can continue your relationship – whether as romantic partners or friends.

On the other hand, you might hope to continue your relationship after you transition. Again, counselling may help both of you to find your way.


Transitioning and sexual orientation

When you transition, your sexual orientation may change.

If you remain in your relationship, it will probably take time for your partner to get used to your ‘new’ relationship. Take time to get to know each other again – counselling may help through this process.


Support for partners of trans people:

GIRES is a source of good information for partners. It also runs support groups and workshops for the family of trans people. Distinction also provide support to couples where one partner is going through transition.

New relationships

When you meet a new partner, telling them you’re trans may make you feel vulnerable, especially if they react badly.

Having confidence in yourself and your body is important before embarking on a relationship – especially if your sexual orientation changes after transitioning.


Dating as trans

Dating can be both exciting and scary - it might help to think about when you would disclose to potential partners, if at all.

Having a clear idea will take a lot of the stress out of dating and will make things easier when you meet someone special.

Safety tips:

It’s always a good idea to let someone know where you’re going and who you’re meeting when you start dating again.

Dating as a man can be a different experience and you may feel vulnerable. It’s good to be aware of safety tips, like meeting someone new in a busy, public place such as a cafe and avoiding going home with them straight away.

Abuse

Some trans men find themselves in abusive relationships or having sex they don’t feel happy with. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to get some help or advice.

If you have recently transitioned, you may be particularly vulnerable to being taken advantage of – particularly if you are seeking acceptance.

Warning signs of an abusive relationship:

  • You feel afraid of your partner.
  • They are physically violent to you. 
  • They are jealous of you seeing friends and family. 
  • They are controlling. 
  • They humiliate you. 
  • They force you to have sex when you don’t want to. 
  • They force you to have a type of sex you don’t want to.

If your partner intimidates you or if you moderate your own behaviour so that you don’t upset them you are in an abusive relationship. If your self confidence is already fragile, the effects of an abusive relationship can be devastating and destroy your self-esteem.


Help for transmen in abusive relationships:

Helpguide has a lot more information about the types of behaviour we class as abusive.

You may find counselling helps you to look at the relationship and find ways you to leave it or to address the problems your partner is causing.

Broken Rainbow UK supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans* people experiencing domestic violence. You can contact their helpline on 0300 999 5428 on Tuesdays between 1pm-5pm for a trans*-specific service, or for general service on Mondays and Thursdays 10am-8pm, Tuesdays and Wednesdays 10am-5pm, and Fridays 1pm-5pm.

You can also contact the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247 – this is a Freephone number which is open 24 hours per day.

If you are in immediate danger call 999.

 

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The Information Standard: Certified member

This article was last reviewed on 24/3/2015 by Anna Peters

Date due for the next review: 24/3/2018

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