Editor’s note: In this series, we’ll highlight conversations with our readers/viewers. We think folks will benefit from these conversations. All names are made up to protect everyone’s privacy:
Hi there! Been loving the podcast, which I just discovered…
I have a question, and it feels very uncomfortable to ask as I continue to learn about the complexity involved with trans women and how they transition and the sensitivity around their bodies and not wanting to offend them with stupid or possibly offensive questions…
I’m embarking on my first relationship with a trans woman…we met online and have been hitting it off…we were doing video chat the other night and I noticed for the first time a “5 o clock shadow” in the shape of a goatee on her face. Im doing everything intellectually to try and not judge, or feel anything about her is “lesser,” but I can’t help but feel a loss of attraction. Im also now struggling with my own journey because although I have been with a trans woman before and im very attracted to trans women, I fear my expectations around appearance are totally warped based on pornography…and now i’m worried about who and what i am actually attracted to and what this all means.
Thank you for having this forum and allowing me to be honest. Again im not trying to be judgmental; I am just having a real emotional struggle around what I saw and how I am supposed to feel about it. Any encouraging words…or you can give me tough love and put me in my place…would be much appreciated:)
This is Perry from The Transamorous Network. What a great email you sent. I’m going to explain why, then I’ll get to your question/comment/concern. I’m going to respond thoroughly to it, so this email will probably be a bit long. Just think of it that you’re getting your money’s worth 😂
Sounds like you’ve watched or listened to some of our interviews on our podcast or YouTube channel, so you have some idea where we come from. Where we come from can benefit anyone, but some aren’t ready for what we offer. That said…let’s start with how great your email is.
The fact that you’re willing to challenge your knee-jerk reaction to what you saw is so great. Most of the time, when a person has a belief confrontation (a belief or story that reality “confronts” or offers counterfactual data in the “face” of the story) that person usually will react to the emotion instead of what’s causing the emotion. I’m pretty sure you don’t know what emotions are for (the vast majority of people don’t) but the fact that you’re challenging your initial feelings is a great indicator.
That you’re clear enough to write it down without defending how you feel, or more importantly, the story you’re telling, means you’re open to creating and then holding onto a better story. One that will, over time, create realities consistent with it rather than the stories responsible for the reality you now are experiencing.
So, this is why I said your email is great. You’re open. That’s
half most of the battle. 😊
So here’s the thing about trans women: like you, they are going through a transition. That means, there will be times when they may appear more like they’d rather not appear than how they want to appear. Unlike any photo, or movie (doesn’t matter if it’s porn) or any relationship you see on the street that you’re not a part of, you are in this person’s unfolding life experience. So you are seeing all that she wants you to see….and all that she doesn’t necessarily want you to see.
How you respond to that in a large way will determine how she feels, then reacts to, her emotions/thoughts/stories about herself, then about you, about men (I know that’s unfair), about relationships, and about life. So you play a big role in this person’s life.
This is a big part of what we show our clients. You aren’t playing the biggest role in her life (she is) but you are playing the biggest role in your life, with her playing a subordinate role in yours.
In other words, you both are participating in creating the experience each of you are having. This is important background.
We tell our clients the following: when you first meet someone, you are a complete match to that person. If you remain in the feeling-place you were in when you first met that person, your relationship will unfold wonderfully. Most people can’t do that though.
Most people start allowing old stories to get activated, just like you’re doing here. We talk about story or belief “constellations”: a web of related stories one has, over time, fused with their attention. So at the slightest provocation, they get activated and when they do, it’s hard for someone who doesn’t know what we offer to do anything other than go along with the behavior pattern associated with that constellation.
In a situation such as what you’re experiencing, usually a guy will feel what you felt after seeing her with facial hair, activate his old stories about what “women” and “men” “are”, and what they’re not, what they have, and what they don’t, how they look and how they don’t look…even though, for example, there are PLENTY of non-trans women with facial hair!
Then they’ll activate stories about themselves: about who they are and who they’re not, about what they are and what they’re not, they’ll entertain “what if” stories about being out with such a person, being seen with such a person, and THE STORIES THAT WOULD GET TRIGGERED ABOUT THEMSELVES WHEN IN THOSE SITUATIONS….even though those situations aren’t happening, and don’t have to happen.
Faced with too much negative emotion and not knowing what that means, the guy, the usual guy, will ghost the trans woman. Or pretend to still be interested, but over time fade away. Or they’ll abruptly leave the woman with no explanation, or a bogus one.
Does all this seem logical? It should, because it happens all the time, which is why trans women have so many bitter stories they tell all over social media. Trans women aren’t the only people subjected to such behavior. It’s universal.
Here’s the thing about the person you are “embarking on” a relationship with: when you first met her you were “hitting it off”. Now, you get to see and experience stories you have that will put the kibosh on this good thing you have if you continue putting energy into them. Your stories create your reality. Getting to see these stories is fantastic, if you know what to do about them, because if you didn’t know they were there, you couldn’t do anything about them. So this whole affair is a GOOD THING.
Although it usually isn’t thought of this way, “attraction” is an emotion. You felt that emotion because you were telling stories consistent with feeling that way. Now, after getting data that was, still is and is supposed to be helpful (data = the 5 O’clock shadow) you are no longer feeling attraction. That means you have activated a whole host of different stories (a constellation) about all the conditions of your relationships (and more) that if they happen, will be unsatisfactory to you.
The thing is, you are love in a body. But that love you are is UNCONDITIONAL. You feel love for others because that is what you are. But when you tell stories inconsistent with who you know yourself to be, you feel other than what you are (love). This is the work of a human: coming into synch with what they are.
When you get there (and you can) your love for others becomes unconditional. Even if they have a 5 O’clock shadow, you love them no matter what. It doesn’t mean you have to be with them, which I’ll get to in a moment when I talk about your expectations.
You can be with this person no matter how they look “right now” because “right now” is on a continuum of “becoming more and better”. She’s going to get better and better looking as she continues her journey. Along the way, you get to play a role. The question is, what role are you going to play? You don’t have to play one. Which leads me right to your expectations. (No tough love coming 😊)
You have expectations because they’re supposed to be met. Every one is supposed to be fulfilled. But that doesn’t necessarily mean instantly. Nor can they be met if you aren’t a match to them.
For example, let’s say you want a trans woman who looks like the girls you see in porn flicks: mostly feminine looking, “passable” and with a penis (I’m not saying that’s what you want, I’m just giving an example). But let’s say you don’t want a porn star, you want a trans woman who is professional and successful but looks like a porn star. Professional like a lawyer, or an accountant or something.
That trans woman, your ideal, is not going to tolerate someone who feels insecurity and fear about what others think about them. She’s not going to be ok with someone who is trepidatious about their own sexuality just because he likes sucking dick.
So listen, your expectations are meant to be fulfilled. But you must first become a match to the type of person you expect! If you’re not a match, you’re not going to meet them.
How do you know if you’re a match? Look at your now and what and who is in it. And who you’re being. It’s very easy to tell. And again, expectations will not be fulfilled instantly like magic. That’s not how life works. It’s gradual, it’s a process. Just like your friend’s transition is a process.
So what if she has a 5 O’clock shadow sometimes? Sometimes she doesn’t. Probably most times she doesn’t. Tell stories about how good she looks when she doesn’t and focus on those stories and watch how you find herself together with her more when she doesn’t have a 5 O’clock shadow than when she does.
Or, you’ll meet eventually a trans woman who is further along in her transition and thus more of a match to your 5-O’clock-shadow expectations. But remember what I wrote above about how expectations work: you first must become a match to them before they fulfill themselves.
Now, about judgement. Judgement gets a bad wrap by most everyone. But life experience is designed so that you get to choose what you want from what you don’t want. You do that by judging. So don’t besmirch your judgments. Just be aware of how you feel when you judge so you can tune your judging so you get what you judge you want instead of more of what you’re judging. How you do that is what I show my clients and is too complex to share here.
Anyway, you’re doing fine no matter what you decide about this situation. You clearly have more sensitivity to what’s going on inside you than most. Don’t be hard on yourself, and, above all, don’t think that trans women are scarce and that you MUST make this relationship work because they’re so hard to find. That’s the biggest story that trips up so many trans attracted guys, besides fearing what they are because they find themselves attracted to trans women.
Let me know if you have any other questions.