We have children (myself and husband and myself and boyfriend) so "taking a break to heal" before transitioning, wasn't feasible "in whole".
The first 2 years, Dh made all of the rules and he got to make any rules he wanted. Some were asinine and very very limiting on bf and I.
We do all live together and we already did live together.
But there were severe limits, like no date times, no PDA (public meaning in front of DH).
Trust had to be re-earned. That meant answering questions we didn't want to answer-honestly.
That meant taking time to await scenarios to arise that would make needing to trust come to the surface-and then proving ourselves.
Most importantly it went SLOW AS SHIT and every single moment that Dh had insecurities-everything stopped. Every time he had an emotional moment, needed to vent etc-everything stopped and the focus was on him.
That was part of showing him that yes, his feelings did matter and no we weren't going to skip around him to be together in secret any more.
The third year things started to mellow out and we addressed as a group the need to drop the "you did..." accusations because they were damaging to the future for any of us.
We also addressed the need to truly put the past behind us so we could all move forward. Especially DH needed to let go of the past and just "take a leap of faith" because until that happened, he could never know if it was going to succeed or not.
That happened in the middle of a nightmare disaster with a potential he was considering who started a bunch of drama AND my having some major medical crisis's that exacerbated everything. So it was a really messy time.
Finally-in the last year or so, there's a sense of peaceful camaraderie between the three of us and things have gone smoothly. There are still moments. For example, DH is working out of town and has been since May. It's been harrowing for EVERYONE. But last month he got a lot of insecurities blowing in because of being gone so long. The difference is-that instead of just assuming the worst, this time he was upfront "hey-I'm having a shit time here alone, I'm feeling insecure and lost and lonely and I need to go to bed ok?"
He went off to bed and got some rest, renegotiated his scheduled visit home with his employer and we made plans to spend his first day home alone just the two of us. No drama.
But it's taken a LONG TIME to get to the point where he could believe that we weren't just "moving on without him" because-we did before.
This type of healing takes time.
But it also takes active effort on the part of every person involved to alter the behavior patterns that led to thinking lying and sneaking was ever ok.
"Love As Thou Wilt"