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Bertina's Story: The Never Ending Trans Widow Story

All those years ago, I'd not an inkling that this end of my life would still be an exploration of my ex-husband's lies and deceit--this time, the financial fraud. The discovery of the shocking diaries was way back in the early 1990s, on a vacation. The handmaid period, when I stayed, was for two years after that. I kept my young children, only one and four at the time, in the dark, and worked mightily to maintain some semblance of normalcy. After I found the details of the secret cross-dressing, filling three sketchbooks, I took the children and left, temporarily. A month later, my ex said it was all a mistake, the secret sessions with the cash-only nonprofessional constituted "a Mid-life crisis. I am still me." He went so far as to write this to my father, then threatened that if I didn't come back from the bolt made in the fall, he'd sue me for custody and tell the court I made it all up. I had no proof. It was my word against his, with only my parents and a few friends who could have supported my narrative.

The shocker which ended the marriage, despite his promises to be forever open and truthful, came, after the beard was, of course, again, shaved off. I discovered his breast development the night before our younger son's fourth birthday, proof he'd been on synthetic estrogen for months. I still remember the out-of-body dissociation I felt at the party, as I set up a half-dozen children with cupcakes, sprinkles and frosting, for the decorating activity. I plastered a frozen smile on my face. Behind this facade, I calculated how many times he must have gone out cross-dressing, on "business trips" in the last two years. The sense of his extra curriculars in my mind’s eye was an overwhelming cloud, one that I have poked at, even in recent days. My sons and I did not exist in that milieu.

The divorce took several years and cost me thirty-thousand in legal fees. We don't have the option of automatic dissolution of the marriage in the US. The children were gas lit and deceived, over and over. Our younger son cried every afternoon for the first half of Kindergarten. Our older son expressed suicidal ideation at the age of eight, requiring emergency therapy, dictated by the school. My ex refused to participate in any child-centred therapy for our children, despite the fact that our son had said he wanted to jump off the roof of the school building.

The repeated stints back in court started a year after the divorce was granted. Two years later, the child support was legally lowered, as my ex claimed to be underemployed, working "temp jobs", and had stated in court that a bias case had been initiated against one of the former employers. This gave credence to the story of endless discrimination, but it was entirely false, as I found out from the employer directly, just a little too late to do anything about it. There was no lawsuit.

Just last week, I discovered that my former spouse is now holds a very senior position in the multi-milllion dollar corporation he works for, and has worked for, since before the last time we were in court. Prior to this I had taken my former spouse back to court, for non-payment of college tuition, responsibilities clearly stipulated in the divorce. I ended up granting an advantageous change to my spouse's share of these expenses.

Recently, the glow of their father's place in the executive suite, the power and wealth now achieved, have lured my adult children into a demeanour of forgetfulness. "You cried so much and it made me feel guilty" and "everyone has their own truth", are phrases I have fielded from my sons in the last year. I also found out that many individuals in that side of my children’s' lives think that my ex is their biological mother, as that is implied and stated at all times, and my sons did not correct that. "Everyone has their own truth"


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