I am not a typical guy. I never have been. But I am happy as a guy and I am sexually attracted to females. I have convinced myself that my partner would be an exception, but when I begin thinking about being sexually active after the transition, I’m not so sure. I am overall accepting but transromantic and pansexual don’t fit. Can you help me? — In Love with a FTM
As I’m sure you know, there are different kinds of love. There’s the love we feel for our children and family, the love we feel for our pets, the love we feel for friends, the love we feel for McDonalds egg sandwiches after a night of hard drinking, and then there’s romantic love. Romantic love is different than all the rest in that in includes the element of romance and sexual attraction. It’s physical, in addition to being emotional. Or, at the very least, it certainly builds on a strong foundation of physical intimacy.
If you’re with a partner you are no longer sexually attracted to, whether her appearance has changed so much over time or your personal taste has changed or she is no longer a she, your relationship will naturally change, and so does your love. It shifts from intimate/romantic love to something else — maybe something more closely resembling deep friendship or family love. Can you still build a life with someone you are no longer sexually attracted to? Of course. It happens all the time. You can even have a happy life with someone you aren’t attracted to. You can travel together and make a home and have pets and throw dinner parties. You can do a lot of the same things a typical couple can do, but with some big exceptions.
Your job is to decide whether those big exceptions are sacrifices worth making to maintain the companionship of your partner. Is her/his presence in your life worth giving up a sex life and biological children? And if not, is there a way you can keep her/him in your life without giving up those things? What if, as the type of love you share shifts, your relationship shifted to? What if, instead of being lovers — which you can’t very well be if you aren’t mutually attracted to one another — you became dear friends? Is that something you two are even capable of or does your shared history make such a relationship too painful? Maybe staying together in any sense only reminds you of what could have been. Or… maybe your connection is a comfort you both can hold on to and rely on as you weather the changes in your life.
These are questions only you can answer — you and your partner. But what I can say is that whatever you decide is acceptable. You’re under no obligation to stay with someone who so drastically changes the reality you’ve known if it’s a reality you’re unable to adapt to. But as someone who cares about this person, you do have a moral obligation to treat him/her with respect and to continue being honest about your feelings and your limitations.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at firstname.lastname@example.org.