Chi Upsilon Iota Tri-Ess

The Value of a spouse support group

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My wife had a day of firsts on November 15th 2003:

· Her first face-to-face exposure to Rae Louise
· Her first exposure to another CDER
· Her first time in public with a CDER
· Her first time out to dinner with the gender world
· Her first Tri-Ess meeting
· Her first time realizing she has people to talk to (not just an email list) who can help and understand her fears and concerns
· Her first wig purchase (Thanks Rachel)

This is a lot for one person to digest in one day. For her, it was almost more than she could bear. By the time we made it to the Tri-Ess meeting in Chicago she was just trying to hang in there. I had asked her about going to the PALS meeting from the onset (PALS is the spouse support group sponsered by the Chicago Tri-Ess Chapter) , but she was not sure, assuming it was just a "go with the flow" sort of group of gals I guess. However, while sitting at the table and listening to some of the sisters talking (the contents of which are fodder for another article), she decided to go to that meeting once Amanda announced it was starting. I brought her over to Amanda and asked her to bring her to the meeting, as I knew how she was feeling seeing me dressed all day. Two other wives we had had dinner with decided to join her for support, and for that I am thankful as well.

When she returned from PALS, she was smiling. That was a good sign for me! She came back into the meeting room and sat next to me with a look in her eyes that was not there before. After the PALS group, she was talking to various sisters at the table, which was great to see as well. In talking to her afterwards, I learned she got a lot out of the PALS group. Although we did not share the details, I believe that PALS meeting, plus the perfect timing of the PALS panel discussion that night went a long way in her starting to understand what I have been telling her for years. She even put her head on my shoulder, something I was completely surprised to see happen while en femme.

If it were not for the PALS group, I would never had brought my wife to the meeting; and had the PALS group not been one of help and encouragement for the spouses/SO'S, she would not have been as encouraged that she is not alone. I hope that the PALS group continues for a long time. The facilitator was a very important part of this meeting, I am sure, as there were more than one first time spouse there with lots of questions and comments.