Robert Cotterman met Aeinghel Noel Amaro Cotterman through Facebook sometime in March in 2010. “It was”, Robert recalled, “but a random friend request.” But falling for Aeinghel was easy, because of “the fact that she could understand what I wanted as a person and that she was honest with me from the beginning.”
It goes without saying that Robert always knew Aeinghel is a transgender woman. “It was an issue for me in the beginning,” Robert admitted. “But I learned to deal with that fact, and I am slowly getting over it.”
Robert is most appreciative that “we can understand and trust each other even with the language barrier between me and her family.”
To stay in touch, Robert and Aeinghel regularly chat online through Facebook, Yahoo! Messenger and Skype ever since they met. “We talk every night even if for only a few minutes a night, but it helps get us through the day to expect to talk to each other,” Robert said.
But it’s not all virtual for the two. In March 2012, Robert – in fact – visited Aeinghel; and the two wed in the same month in Baguio City.
The biggest challenge for the two is Robert’s state in the US not recognizing their marriage. This is unfortunate considering that “we now have an adopted son,” Robert said.
A military man, Robert’s unit is about to get deployed; but “we are getting ready to be (just) separated by time and distance.”
In the long run, Robert is eyeing the day when Aeinghel will move to the US maybe sometime “next year, on a fiancée visa, after my unit gets back from deployment. And from then on, we will be living our lives to the fullest that we can.”
And to others who have fallen for transgender women, but are afraid to express their love, Robert has this to say: “Treat her like a woman and nothing else; and just talk about everything that is bothering you.”