I've put these thoughts together from postings I've done in response to questions, concerns and complaints from wives of trans women.
What wives are faced with
Most spouses of mtf trans women are heterosexual women who married in good faith what they thought was a "man". They are not lesbian, and have no interest in pursuing such a relationship. Whether or not they should have "known" that their guy was really a girl is moot.
From my own personal perspective, I thought that my wife and I could become girl friends / room mates and do things together like shopping, go to movies, etc., gossip and flirt with guys, perhaps share clothes (though I am an 8-10 and she's a 10-12) - all the things two gg platonic girl friends do.
This was actually quite delusional - what she wanted was a relationship with a man (though I never really was much of one and hardly one at all after starting HRT), and had enough girl friends. When I told her who I really was, and that I'd been taking hormones for about 9 months, she was stunned. Compounding this was her absolute shock when she saw Bebe for the first time:
(1) in a LBD and 3" heels, with full makeup, hair styled, gold hoop earrings and appropriate jewellery; and
(2) in a bra (with A+ breasts) and matching panties (tucked) with pretty red toenails, looking all-girl.
Even though I had been wearing mostly women's clothes in stealth for more than a year (jeans, tops, pants, shorts, flats, Calvin Klein panties, etc.) and light makeup (foundation, blush, eye liner & shadow and lip gloss), I was presenting as an androgynous guy. Exposing Bebe as all-girl to her was a big step for me, and I had hopes that it could be positive for us both.
From her perspective, Bebe was clearly not the person she married. I was hoping that she would be sympathetic and supportive. What she was, was confused and hurt, which turned to anger. We separated almost immediately, which was best for both of us, especially since I was finding men increasingly attractive.
Remember, more than 50% of "normal" heterosexual marriages end in divorce. In my view, which is shared by my therapist and many tg friends, the instance of a "husband" wishing to be a "wife" puts a huge strain on the relationship that is almost impossible to overcome. As my therapist says, it's really very selfish of the trans partner to want her cake and eat it too. It's kind of like a married man with a mistress. Finally, if, as often happens, the tg partner becomes more attracted to men, it really is time to move on.
Reality check for wives
If you're still looking/hoping for the guy you married with hairy legs and a functioning penis, he is long gone. There is no he. She is a woman - just like you.
Just like you, she is now a soft, smooth skinned woman with curves. Every morning she loves doing her makeup, painting her nails, fixing her hair, splashing herself with her signature perfume and putting on her delicate undies and jewellery, pretty clothes and cute shoes before heading out to face her day.
She religiously takes her hormone pills. She loves the changes her body is undergoing, and the way men look at her breasts, legs and bum. Her boy parts are soft, tiny and always tucked out of sight - they continue to exist only as required material for her upcoming genital upgrade.
She has a daily morning and nighttime beauty regime, including facial masks, face and eye creams and serums, hand creams and body lotions. She studies her face for imperfections and plucks any stray eyebrows. She won’t go out without her makeup.
She enjoys pampering herself - going to the hairdresser, getting mani's and pedi's, having a facial and her legs and bikini line waxed by her esthetician at the spa.
She loves shopping for shoes, clothes, accessories and makeup. She understands the absolute necessity of a $500 bag. She has more than 10 bags and more than 30 pairs of shoes – and still needs more.
She smooths and tugs down her skirt as she sits down and always crosses her legs. She smiles and her hands move expressively when she talks. Her bracelets jangle when she moves. Her shoes click when she walks. Even in her jeans and a bulky top there is no mistaking what she is.
She is nervous when alone in a parking garage and always looks for a parking space well lit and close to an exit, and doesn't like to be followed closely in public spaces by strange men.
When she looks at a woman, it's from a comparative/competitive perspective - what's she wearing, do I like it, where did she get it, would it look good on me, where can I get those shoes, do I like her hair style and color, etc., etc. She smiles with pleasure when another woman gives her an approving or envious look.
When she looks at a guy, she evaluates his looks and thinks about whether or not she might be attracted to him. When a cute guy looks at her, she has to decide how to subtly react. And, just like you, she's looking for a relationship with a man.
She loves to shop, gossip and dish with her girl friends and flirt with and date cute guys. This is the life you can now share – you can be two women who are friends, if you and she are willing.