Ok, let’s talk about dating men after detransition. When I detransitioned I assumed I would always be the only detransitioned woman dating men. Totally, totally wrong about that. Lots of us out here in this struggle. This is what I’ve learned about managing your own psychological healing, cultivating your own wellbeing, and dating dudes.
There are a lot of bad dudes out there. There are also, in my experience, some good dudes out there. The thing is the bad dudes conceive of themselves as good dudes. They will bring out disrespect in romantic contexts they would never bring to a business context, and you will never be able to convince them that they were disrespectful. I once made plans with a guy I was seeing for 8 on a Friday night, and he showed up at 10:30. He had to take a shower, and then he had to call his mom (haha, I’m sorry that’s the funniest excuse to come up with) and why couldn’t I understand?
Get real clear on this: is that kind of behavior considered respectful between coworkers or business associates? No. If you showed up 2 and a half hours late to a sales meeting, your business relationship would be over. I think this guy wouldn’t have pulled that at work. So it’s not acceptable to pull that in a romantic context. (Now, even if this guy was so clueless he would pull that at work, I can’t get involved with someone losing jobs left and right.)
That guy was real surprised when I was clear about that. I hate to sound cliched, but women in general are not valuing our time, attention, and energy in romantic relationships. Thus he tried to pull some disrespectful bullshit he had pulled, probably time and time again, with other women. He couldn’t grok why it was unacceptable with me. He certainly couldn’t grok that he wasn’t entitled to another chance to prove he could do better. He acted like I’d hit him with some crazy standard that he couldn’t have possibly anticipated. But in a business context, they wouldn’t give you another chance after that kind of behavior, unless you were stranded phone-less on the side of a highway with your engine on fire. Even then they’d probably decide you should’ve had a phone on you, or borrowed someone else’s phone, and called. You lost the account because you didn’t act right, why is this a surprise?
There are good guys out there, but to be real, you will have to wade through a lot of instances of cutting off bad guys, and having them be shocked and dismayed at your standards for their behavior, to maintain your opportunity to meet a good guy. So you’re going to have to be very comfortable being a single woman. Which is a challenge because there are a lot of people who think you should be freaked out by your singleness, and they will let you know that. It’s real normal for strangers I meet- uber drivers, customers at work, people I’m making conversation with in some line somewhere- to ask if I have kids or am married, and when I say no, straight up ask me why.
(People don’t have boundaries or manners. I’ve accepted this.)
Ok, but that’s advice for any woman dating men, how about us in particular? We had this crazy experience, and people don’t get it, and they assume you must be gay, or if you’re not gay you must be such a crazy girl to do that to yourself, how do we roll with all of that baggage?
You gotta get clear. You gotta get clear about what YOU think about your transition and detransition. Do YOU THINK those choices had no logic to them? Do YOU THINK those choices mean you’re especially unstable?
I’m clear about why I transitioned. I was in a lot of pain, no one was responding to it, I was trying to figure out how to not be in pain. I don’t believe I was crazy for making those choices. I don’t believe those choices were illogical. I believe I was making the best choice I could figure out with the information available to me.
So I’m not going to walk around with some shame about it that compels me to accept another person judging me for it. Especially a dude. There is not a dude manifested on this planet that gets to judge those choices. No dude who wants a piece of my time, a slice of my energy, wants to see my cute face listening intently to his problems or eating food with him or getting some cuddles, gets to judge me for the ways I’ve attempted to get out of pain. Pain he should KNOW, he should be super clear, he hasn’t experienced and he should respect my authority on its intensity. If he isn’t clear I’m the authority on my experience, there’s no reason for us to have some kind of interaction I’m not making good money from.
I’m real clear. I’ve come across a lot of dudes who are not clear that my time, energy, cute face, cuddles, can only be accessed if they demonstrate that they understand their place in regard to my life story. Judging my transition/detransition is a choice that necessarily cuts them out of both my dating pool and also the “hey we can spend a half hour hanging out” pool too.
The real struggle with being detransitioned and dating dudes is staying clear. Because I do think women are more likely to relate to the pain you were trying to figure out with transition, so I think if you date women your dating pool has more people who get it than if you date men.
Your time belongs to you, and is finite, and you have the right to dispense it to the activities and people that you perceive as most valuable. The minute a guy says or does something that reveals he doesn’t respect that he’s receiving your most valuable resource, you can just drop the motherfucker. You don’t have to explain that. Nor do you have to try to teach or explain to him how to be respectful of people and their life stories. You’re not getting paid to make him a better person. (If you are somehow being paid to make him into a better person I’m gonna report you to your licensing board.)
I think my transition/detransition was a life experience that I grew a lot through, and I think time with me, and especially my attention and energy, are valuable for anyone to receive. This might be easier for me to be clear about because one of my challenges is the amount of requests I get for my time and attention. So in terms of romance, he’s gotta demonstrate his clarity about the value of my time and attention. If he demonstrates he thinks he can talk anyway he wants to me, or can make me wait two and a half hours, or can get a bunch of free therapy off of me (this is common on my dates) I don’t have the time for it.
I only call people friends who put in work to be blessings to me, and I have a lot of friends who are complete, total, utter blessings. I have more friends like that right now than I’ve ever had before. High standards attract quality people and shape quality relationships. I put in work to try to be a blessing to them. I put in work to establish that’s both my intention and expectation of our friendship. I don’t stick around for bullshit, and when people are used to running bullshit on people they tend to be surprised when I won’t stick around for it. But there are LOTS of people who are also sick of bullshit and happy to have intentionally supportive, nurturing friendships.
Why would I have a lower standard for romance? He’s gotta be a blessing. What’s the point of organizing your life around someone who isn’t a blessing? Why’s he coming around you so much if he isn’t clear that you’re a blessing? Why’s he want a piece of your time if he’s not willing to consistently demonstrate that he knows your value?
But let’s be real: a lot of parents of boys don’t teach those boys how to respect people. A lot of parents raising boys have very different standards for how they teach their boys to talk to people, to interact with people’s bodies, and to interact with people’s time. As a woman in the context of romance, you’re not going to teach him any different from what his parents taught him. (Also, you don’t want those people as your in-laws.) You can’t save these fools.
Now how about you maybe having some extra hair or not looking as feminine as you think men want you to look? If he doesn’t think you’re cute he should keep his ass moving. If he isn’t into your face you don’t need to give a view of it to him. People want to look at your cute face. Looking at your cute face is a great way to spend some time. Give that to people who are enthusiastic about the view.
If it seems he wants to look at your cute face but he keeps talking some ambivalent shit, keeps acting in ambivalent ways, he can go off and get clear before he gets to look at your cute face.
Now there may be some moments in your life when you lose your clarity on this, where you fall into some story about fixing yourself and becoming lovable and sticking with people while they’re growing. We all have our off days. Just notice you did that, and wake up on a new day and make it your intention to remember your value. It’s a struggle to see your value and act in ways that reflect your value in this society that pours so much money into running mind games on you. But if you set the intention every morning for enough days in a row it’ll get easy. Practice.
Good luck out there cutie. Let’s remember everything you’ve already conquered. You got this.