Gender transition can be equally as stressful on relationships as it can before the individual. Recognizing and caring for the difficulty of this process can help maintain a strong relationship with a partner.
Immediately, understand they are going to feel a lot of stress. They may be questioning their decision, which can bring up issues from the past and other complex identity questions. It’s important for anyone whose partner is going through gender transition to be supportive and to show their support in a way that will help the partner feel soothed and loved.
Before your partner starts hormone replacement therapy, if you so have the option, research what side effects they may encounter. There are some myths even in the transgender community of how taking hormones will affect a person. For instance, some believe that taking testosterone will make one become aggressive or more libidinous. But in fact, they will mostly be the same person. Read up on reliable, medical websites, go to the doctor with your partner, do some deep research in the library and get all the facts. Make sure you know what’s true, and what is just a myth, because misunderstandings can cause communication problems. This is a time when you want to be supportive of your partner, not arguing with them.
Some worry that they won’t be accepted by friends, or the community, or won’t be able to related to self-representations in media because no community, characters or personalities will fit. Instead, make sure that your partner has the opportunity and support to reach out to the people that are closest to them. Invite them over. Have a party. Show support and love. Let them see and feel that it’s not the community they identify with but the people who are closest to them that will really matter, and who will really support them.
Be okay with your partner’s new identity. The transition is not instantaneous or full. But come to be okay with how they will be, intend to be, knowing the essential core components of who they are will always be there. Practice referring to your lover in the pronoun they prefer, and have them say it for themselves as well. Understand their family situation and be sympathetic. Be available to help them with any caregiving they need, including their injections.
If you really love your partner, embrace this phase of their life. Be sure to find out who your supportive people are and take of yourself as well.