With every change their love kept growing

When Joseph Schneier posted his profile on the OkCupid dating app in 2016, he didn’t think anyone would respond. “My post intentionally...

When Joseph Schneier posted his profile on the OkCupid dating app in 2016, he didn’t think anyone would respond.

“My post intentionally listed all the things that worked for me and those that didn’t,” said Mr. Schneier, 43. “I wanted to be alone.”

He had been divorced twice and had three children, who lived with him full time in Sunnyside Gardens, Queens. When he created his dating page, he had spent the last year undergoing a gender transition.

Allie Brashears, 45, fell on her post, and was charmed by its transparency. “I hadn’t met a lot of people who were deeply honest,” she said. “I was struck by his openness.”

Ms. Brashears, who grew up in Colorado, slowly began her gender transition at age 38. In 2016, after getting a job as a biology professor at LaGuardia Community College, she moved to New York City from San Diego, unknowingly landing near Mr. Schneier in Sunnyside Gardens.

The two met for coffee in Bryant Park in July 2016.

“I was so intrigued by her as a person,” said Mr. Schneier, owner of Trusty.care, a healthcare technology company. “She felt different from all of my dealings with men. I had never been with a woman before, but she seemed magical, so it didn’t matter.

Ms. Brashears also had a strong first impression. “I remember how chemistry there was between us,” Ms. Brashears said. “We had chatted on the phone and texted before we met, and we couldn’t stop talking to each other. When we first met, it was love at first sight. “

Their initial meeting at 2 p.m. turned into a marathon date, which included dinner, followed by his return home and a first kiss.

The relationship evolved rapidly, as if the date never ended. Two months later, Ms Brashears gave up her apartment and moved in with Mr Schneier and his three children, aged 18, 15 and 7.

After two unworkable marriages – the first of which had been arranged, said Mr. Schneier – “It was the first time that I had made a decision based on love and practicality. “

June 30, 2018 They were married at a friend’s house in Glen Head, NY The theme of the wedding was ‘country fair’. About 130 watched them say their vows under a chuppah.

Although their wedding took place only three years ago, a lot has happened. Ms. Brashears’ first year was spent building strong, emotional and connected relationships with her new children, the two oldest of whom, Tal and Nathan, were from Mr. Schneier’s first marriage and the youngest, Lucien, of the second marriage.

“The hardest part was becoming a step-parent and getting them to accept this person who had been pushed into their life,” she said. “You make a commitment to this person and their children. They must become your priority. They did and are.

Mr. Schneier knew that it would be difficult to get used to living with a stepmom, but he was not prepared for what it would be a challenge.

“The kids were really wonderful given that they had to deal with so many moving parts – a new step-parent, the abuse from former partners and the fact that their primary custodial parent was in transition.” , said Mr. Schneier.

“It was particularly difficult for our daughter,” he added, referring to Tal. “And it was hard to navigate between these two women I loved the most in the world, but they were having a hard time getting around each other.” But Allie was “amazing,” he said. “She had a hard time winning their hearts and feeling safe with her. It took years of constant love for them to feel the attachment. She bought every book she could find, read studies, and came up with a game plan on how to make this work. Now she’s the first person they call if they need anything.

There were also work commitments. Ms. Brashears entered her third year at LaGuardia and taught and worked with students 70 hours a week. Mr. Schneier, who was immersed in developing and raising funds for his business, spent half the month traveling for work.

Both thought 2020 would be an easier year since two of their children were coming out in January. Tal moved into his first apartment and Nathan was attending Babson College.

The pair were wrong. In March, Ms. Brashears underwent inferior sex confirmation surgery; it was the first of three operations to complete his transition.

“I started taking estrogen and testosterone blockers before I met Jo and singing lessons when I was married,” she said. “I knew the lower surgery would be painful, but I was not prepared for the pain and the healing time I would need.”

“After the surgery, it was the first time I saw her cry,” said Schneier. “It was heartbreaking to hear him say, ‘I’ll never get out of this body.’ I was able to see a vulnerability that I had not seen before. It deepened my respect, appreciation and affection for her.

Ms. Brashears spent a week in the hospital. She recovered at home where it became clear that five weeks of recovery would not be enough.

“I was beyond black and blue,” she said. “The stitches were everywhere. It was incredibly painful. Diet and home care were all consuming. After several weeks, I could only stand for an hour. I had to go back to teaching. I had no idea how I was going to make it work.

Then the pandemic arrived. Nathan came back from college. Tal stepped back too. They went back to five.

“We were all bonded at that time so we felt safe in the shelter together,” said Ms Brashears, who was still recovering. “Jo was amazing, so caring and caring. It’s hard for me to let someone take care of me. But I let Jo do it. It was as if we had reached a new depth and a new level of love in our relationship.

Meanwhile, Mr. Schneier was facing his own health issues. In November 2019, he ruptured a herniated disc in his back, causing debilitating pain. Covid made elective surgery impossible. He had mononucleosis in March. And although he maintained his testosterone levels, grew a beard and began to navigate the world as a man, Covid has made obtaining testosterone “a nightmare,” he said. he declares. “Few pharmacies still had testosterone. If your hormones are out of order, it’s really hard to deal with.

In August, Ms. Brashears underwent state-of-the-art surgery. There were more stitches, more bruising, and more recovery associated with less space. The walls started to close for everyone.

November brought cold weather, Zoom overload, burnout and depression.

“We hadn’t left our house for months,” Ms. Brashears said. “We couldn’t see any friends or students. I had been in bed for months because of the surgeries. It was claustrophobic. It started to look like jail. There were times when we both thought, “How are we going to get through the next few months? “

Mr. Schneier was also in a bad way. He had to stop taking his depression medication because of high blood pressure and now needed a cane to walk due to his back injury. Plus, “there were a lot of laws around trans people, and it was terrifying,” he said.

Then came the hearth. Mr. Schneier’s neighbor ordered one. He did the same.

“We were freezing, but we were sitting outside, bundled up in clothes with a Russian babushka on our heads and looking for firewood,” Ms. Brashears said. They would tell jokes, listen to music, and just enjoy each other’s company. They found, as Ms. Brashears said, “a way to reconnect.”

Mr. Schneier said that coming together around the foyer “was the first magical moment we have had in a long time. A few friends and employees came. Our house became the place where people went on weekends. We have found affection and love in the world.

In March 2021, chin surgery helped improve Ms Brashear’s mood, while alleviating back pain, new drugs and supplements improved that of Mr Schneier. The change in the political landscape has also been a shared amplifier.

On June 30, a third anniversary was celebrated, with alfresco dining at the local restaurant, drinks and even flowers.

“It was soft and tender,” said Mr. Schneier. “It was difficult, but we have reached this moment. I felt like the world was possible again.

And with these possibilities came their authentic selves.

“I settled into who I am,” Ms. Brashears said. “It was life saving to have these surgeries and embrace a community of women without feeling embarrassed or like an impostor.”

“I’m living my real self, but it’s hard to know how to be a man at this point in time and in history and feel the weight of wanting to do it right,” Schneier said. “We’re more of ourselves right now, and that will continue to grow as well. “

There was also the reintegration into each other.

“I love and respect Allie more every day,” said Mr. Schneier. “She’s the only person who gives me the space to be myself. I have felt it since the day I met her. Seeing her happy and confident in her body is amazing and beautiful. He is one of the nicest and strongest people I have ever met.

“When I met Jo he was in a female presentation,” Ms. Brashears said. “At the wedding, he was a young man. Today he looks like a masculine man. It’s heartwarming to have someone who always sees you and still loves you. Despite all the transitions we have been through, we have become more of ourselves and the love for each other has become deeper and richer.

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Newsrust - US Top News: With every change their love kept growing
With every change their love kept growing
Newsrust - US Top News
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