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Celia's Story: Respite

We weren't married. We were only together for a few years. But even recently, many years later, I have still found myself missing... I once told a friend that I couldn't imagine a future without him, and that has still somehow rung true. For a long time after the break-up, it felt like I was swimming in lava.

My ex-partner told me early in our relationship that he was neither male nor female, but also that his thoughts were purely "psychological". I was like a frog in a pot of increasingly hot water, looking on with concern but a false sense of security as the hormones were taken and the breasts grew, until the day he was referred to as "she" by a mutual friend, and the gates of hell opened.

For around a year, the pain of the sudden detachment from who I thought I had been sharing my life with was excruciating and constant. I went to my GP because I thought I was having heart palpitations 24/7. It was anxiety.

The person I had fallen in love with no longer existed but had "he" ever existed? Is that a philosophical question? A gender-science question? It is a question I must not openly ask.

Even today I have moments of reverie, a fantasy of us together, the future - I hadn't consciously acknowledged at the time - I wanted deep down in my soul. I still have moments where I forget I live in the twenty-first century, I forget I live in a world where "transgender" exists, despite the constant reminders in the media. I forget that he is not a he. I forget the searing pain of the truth that kicked in the door of my heart all those years ago and forced my eyes open to the blinding reality.

The person I had fallen in love with no longer existed but had "he" ever existed?
The person I had fallen in love with no longer existed but had "he" ever existed?

I don't like the side of myself that feels bitter. I don't like the anger that rises up in me when my brain starts functioning properly in the space-time continuum again and I read just like I've just woken up on a strange boat in the middle of the ocean before watching a quick highlight reel of what has actually happened in the intervening years like some Kafkaesque horror-satire of a romantic comedy. Yet how are you supposed to process that the person you loved doesn't exist never existed?

I imagine the pain and confusion is similar for the spouses of people who suddenly come out as gay, except this isn't sexuality; who someone is or isn't attracted to. It's gender. My boyfriend was never a boyfriend. ... has always been a woman.

That is what we are being educated to believe.

I was in love with the facade of a man? Is it more like catfishing?

I don't want to be bitter or intolerant. I don't want to be "in denial". But sometimes my mind needs respite.


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