Okay, fasten your garter belts, this is a loooong one.
Look, if I have a, hm, a mission statement when it comes to my website is that I try to be supportive, realistic, and honest. I feel I am fairly self-aware and not oblivious to how who we are impacts our lives and the relationships that we have, particularly the relationships we have with our significant others. I want to be sincere and real when it comes to this side of us, whether it’s how humbling and how wonderful who we are is, or how to accept that passing isn’t real and that the world loves us and hates us more than we could possibly imagine.
This side of us is complicated. It doesn’t always make our life or our relationships any easier. I am not saying it can’t or won’t, but I think we all can relate to how our gender identity likely caused some stress and tension and uncertainty at some point in our lives.
It can also create, for lack of a better term, an identity crisis. Most of us wonder who we are at some point in our journey. Am I a crossdresser? Am I transgender? Am I gay? Am I a lesbian when I am en femme? Am I in denial? Is this is a phase? Oh, this list goes on.
Questions about identity and labels can be confusing and overwhelming. It’s typical to overthink them. I know I do. It’s normal to not care about labels but the next day we are back to pondering which label suits us best and what that label means.
And goodness, this is stressful, but this is a side of us that has likely always been there. We may be comfortable and confident with who we are. It may have taken decades but at some point we will likely get to a place, mentally and emotionally, where we are secure with who we are in terms of gender identity. In some instances we have adapted to the stress and have learned to live with it.
But as stressful at this is for us, it’s… it’s a lot for our significant others. No matter how often I assured my wife that I did not want to transition, it took a long, long, long time for her to see that I didn’t want to take that step. And the time it took for her to be at peace with who I am also came with fears, doubts, and tears.
Not only do I try to be realistic about this side of us when it comes to clothes and how we present and the expectations and hopes and dysphoria that who we are brings, I also try to be realistic when it comes to how our gender identity can impact our relationship with our significant others.
I get emails from partners of crossdressers who have fears and questions. These emails may even come from YOUR wife. It’s not uncommon to read an email that begins with “my husband reads your website” or to see that someone found my site by searching the words “my husband crossdresses”.
I do my best to be gentle. I try to be sincere and kind. Rose-colored panties YES, rose-colored glasses NO. Sugar coating this side of us does little good. I can recall when my wife looked for support and resources when it came to her trying to understand this side of me. The internet wasn’t much help and often amplified her fears. Yes, I told her that this wasn’t a sexual thing, but Google “helpfully” provided her with dating websites about hooking up with a crossdresser. Thanks, internet.
Sometimes the search results come off as tooooo light-hearted and naïve to be helpful. I wrote about this recently and it inspired me to try to write a similar list with hopefully a little more of a realistic perspective.
The purpose of this list is to acknowledge that this side of one’s significant other is likely going to be stressful, overwhelming, and confusing, to say the least. Our partners have questions, fears, and a lot of thoughts and emotions about who we are. It does little good to downplay any of these things. I am going to be as honest and as gentle as I can in this little (well, it’s not little at all) list as I can be.
This is also the longest thing I have ever written in MY LIFE. This post has been compiled by the many emails I have received over the years from wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, fiancées, partners, and significant others. This took a long time to write and organize and variations of many of these questions have been posted on my website previously. Rest assured every question here has been previously asked of me over the years, although they may not have been posted before.
A couple of things:
-I can only speak for myself, my perspective, and my experience. My thoughts are based off my life as a trans person as well as from my marriage. Your relationship is YOUR relationship and I would never presume to be THE voice of authority when it comes to relationships, crossdressing, or when these two worlds collide. If you’d like my wife’s perspective on all of this, she did a little question and answer post here.
-I will absolutely encourage a partner of a crossdresser to seek out support if you need it, and you probably will. This part of your life can be very lonely. It’s not something that you may feel comfortable discussing with your friends. You may feel embarrassed that your big, tough husband who likes to hunt and fish also likes to wear panties. This is a normal feeling. I promise. A wonderful resources is PFLAG who offer support groups for people who have a family member who is part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
-Oh, I guess another thing. I am speaking in very, very broad terms here. I know that many relationships are positively impacted by *this* side of a person. There are many instances where this can bring two people closer together. And that’s wonderful! This can often happen. However, this list is for our partners who are struggling with coming to terms with this side of us.
-Wait! One more thing. This post may come off as a little harsh on crossdressers. I don’t mean it to be. Obviously I am a crossdresser and I love who I am. The vast majority of us are wonderful, kind, sensitive, considerate people. We have a side of us that makes us ridiculously happy but are fully aware of how difficult this part of us is for someone else to understand and accept. We know that what we wear causes a lot of stress and anxiety for our partners. We have a lot of empathy for our significant others. Wearing panties or nail polish or whatever we are drawn to makes us very happy but we also know that our significant others will struggle with this side of us. We don’t want to be a burden, we don’t want to put more stress on our partners, especially when it comes to something like this. So, we sometimes suppress this side of us, we try to stop crossdressing, we deny who we are. We do these things because we love our partners and we don’t want to hurt them, confuse them, or scare them. This is not typically meant to deceive our partners. We love our partners so much that we will try to be the best people that we can be and try to be the person we think our partner wants. We try our hardest to quit crossdressing. It’s not likely that will happen. But we still try. Our intentions may be good, but in retrospect we usually realize that yes, we should have been upfront at the beginning about who we are, what we wear… and everything else.
Okay, here we go.
Do I have to accept this? Do I have to let him crossdress?
No one should stay in a relationship or incorporate something into it that they do not like or are comfortable with. If this side of your man, or any part of him or your relationship makes you unhappy, angry, turned off, or anything else, then you are under no obligation to “let” him crossdress.
This side of your man is likely not going to go away. He is likely not going to change. Even if it’s been a decade since he last slipped on a pair of panties and he never does so ever again, he is (in my opinion), and will always be, a crossdresser. If you are going to stay in the relationship or try to figure out where to go from here, then both of you will need to communicate on a level that you never have before. Many, MANY couples seek out counseling when this revelations comes to light.
The two of you may set boundaries, you may establish “ground rules”, you may adopt a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” agreement. You may ask him to never bring this up ever again. You might even file for divorce.
Crossdressing can sometimes be a deal-breaker. However, it’s usually not the crossdressing itself that ends a relationship. Sometimes there is lying involved with this side of someone that as a couple can be hard to recover from.
You may be hurt or angry that he didn’t disclose this side of him earlier. It would have been nice if he had told you about this before you bought a house and had three kids.
Your man is still the same man that he was before he came out to you. But you’ll see him differently, you’ll think of him differently. This is normal. This will often lead to you seeing in a different light, in a different perspectice.
And you may not like it.
This isn’t what you signed up for, in a sense.
But many couples do indeed make *this* work. If you are going to try to make this work or wishing to understand this side of him, then keep reading.
-Why is he like this? Why does he do this? Why does he want to wear a bra when I can’t wait to make mine off?
These are, unfortunately, mostly unanswerable questions. For the most part, the answers for these questions aren’t really satisfying. There’s really no “one size fits all” reason your man wears panties or anything else.
First, it’s important to know WHAT crossdressing is. So, let’s learn together.
Oh, you’re back!
Let’s get this reason out of the way. For some men, this is a sexual kink for him. Bluntly, it turns him on. It arouses him. It may be difficult to relate to this. You may wear heels because you *have* to and you look forward to kicking them off as soon as you get home. You may put on your bra and think about taking it off all day. If you feel this way it may seem strange that these same uncomfortable items could arouse someone.
If this is indeed a fetish for him (and it isn’t always) then please know that when someone is aroused by something it’s because… well, that is simply how they are wired. Fetishes and kinks typically develop at an early age. We see… SOMETHING and we are immediately intrigued by it. We look at it and we… react to it in a different way than other people do. For some, a glove is something you wear to keep your hands warm. For others, it’s the most erotic piece of clothing in the world. Fetishes rarely make sense.
In many movies and television shows, crossdressing is almost always showed as a kink. However, for most of us it’s not a fetish. We may feel beautiful, but this is not the same as feeling aroused.
If this isn’t a kink (and for some of us we THINK this side of is “just” a kink, at least initially) then it becomes even more complicated. For some of us we look at clothes as just something that can be worn and we don’t care if a piece of clothes is designed for a man or a woman. We just wear what we want, what we find comfortable, and what fits. For some of us, we just like to feel beautiful. Feeling beautiful is a different feeling than feeling handsome. For others, we want to wear something BECAUSE it’s “for girls” but this is more typical of men who crossdress as a kink, but this isn’t always the case.
For some of us, it’s just… fun and everyone has a different idea of fun. I have friends who watch golf for God’s sake and I would rather go to work than sit in front of a television while some man smacks a little white ball around.
Crossdressers tend to have a different relationship and perspective on clothes than what many cis women have. To you, a bra is a bra, or even a torture device. To me, a bra is beautiful and I am so happy when I wear one. Of course, you and I probably wear bras for different reasons.
Your man isn’t this way because of any childhood trauma. He may have a… ah, challenging relationship with his mother but that didn’t lead to him wanting to wear a dress.
So! In summary, there’s no real reason he is who he is. There’s no ONE reason EVERY crossdresser crossdresses. We are all uniquely and frustratingly different. I know that this doesn’t help and I’m sorry I can’t be more insightful but if it helps, there’s nothing “wrong” with your man.
-Will this side of him… keep going?
Maybe?? Today he told you that he likes to wear panties. Will he be taking estrogen in a year? Maybe?? But not necessarily. I’ve been wearing what I wear for decades but never have I felt the need to even consider hormones.
This was my wife’s fear. It was her fear for YEARS. No matter how often I reassured her she was still afraid. However, it’s been almost twenty years since I came out to her and the needle on estrogen or transitioning hasn’t twitched at all.
We are all on a journey. You, me, your husband, your best friend, the co-worker that you despise. Every person in your life is at a different point in their lives and our journeys are all different from each other.
Look, I HATE the word ‘journey’. It makes it sound like your husband is on a magical adventure and inaccurately suggests that he is on a beautiful path of discovery and that this is nothing but fun and rainbows. Every journey that someone is on is fraught with challenges and fears and self-doubt and mistakes and setbacks.
It’s okay if you hate this side of your man. It really is. You are allowed to. You are allowed to be angry and hurt and to feel whatever you’re feeling (not that you need anyone’s permission to feel anything). You do not have to be enthusiastically cheer him on. You are not obligated to join him in dressing up. Just as he is navigating this side of himself and trying to figure out who he is and what he wants and how *this* will factor into his life, you will do the same thing.
He may wear a nightgown tonight, but it doesn’t necessarily mean he will put on a skirt when he wakes up tomorrow. Most crossdressers will only underdress (meaning they only wear panties under their boy clothes) and will never wear anything else. Ever.
His journey could indeed go down different paths, however not every journey is leading to estrogen or transitioning.
When I came out to my wife while we were dating, *this* side of me was all about panties and lingerie. And today I am at a very different point in my life, my journey, my gender identity. This… progression, from panties to who I am today caused my wife a lot of stress. More stress than I will probably ever know. I told her often that I didn’t want to transition or take hormones BUUUUT it wasn’t easy for her to believe as she watched me go from *just* panties to shopping for a wig and adopting a femme name in only a few months. Of course she wondered and feared for where *this* was going. Who wouldn’t think or feel those things? It was hard for her to believe me when I told her that I wasn’t going to transition because from her perspective I just… kept going. From panties to a dress to makeup to a wig to… where I am today.
Hopefully your man is being honest with who he is and what he wants. If he is being truthful about who he is and what he wants, then this is who he is and what he wants as of today. Could this change? Yes. Will it? Maybe not.
-Is he lying? Did he lie to me? Will he lie in the future? Will he cheat?
Maybe? Probably? He may not have meant to lie. Please understand, there’s no excuse for lying. And yes, he absolutely should have told you about this side of him before you were engaged or moved in together or gotten married or had children together. For most of us, this is a part of us that… hm, develops early in our lives. We usually become aware of this side of us at a young age. He PROBABLY knew about this side of him before you two met.
He may have been in denial about this side of him. He may have hoped he could have…. ah, controlled this side of himself and suppressed his need, his want, to wear whatever it is that he likes to wear.
But this side of your man probably isn’t going to go away. He will likely always want to wear panties. Even if swears he will never ever wear panties again, I can almost guarantee he will think about wearing them every time he helps with laundry or passes by Victoria’s Secret in the mall.
Is he still lying (or at least not being completely forward) even though he has come out to you? Maybe? This side of us is… huge. It’s complicated. It’s hard to comprehend and explain. We may… downplay this side of us because we don’t want to scare you, drive you away, or overwhelm you. Your husband loves you and is trying to be gentle. I’ve done this. However, he does need to be transparent and honest about *this* as much as he can. And for all you crossdressers reading this, I absolutely understand that is much, much easier said than done.
If he lied, will he lie again? It’s natural to think that if your partner wasn’t honest (or at least not as forthcoming as they should have been) about something in the past that they will lie about it in the future. If you have a difficult time believing him about *this* please know that this is understandable and expected. It doesn’t make you a bad or untrusting person.
It’s NORMAL. If my wife lied about how much money she spent on, oh I don’t know, lottery tickets, of course I would have a hard time believing her whenever she went to the casino. Not that she is an out of control gambler mind you, but you know what I mean.
Relationships are hard. None of them are completely perfect. It’s okay if you accept your husband’s crossdressing but have a hard time believing he is always truthful about it. It’s okay if you understand that he is who he is but hate that he does this. Listen to your heart and trust your instinct. Acceptance of something isn’t always being happy about it. It’s often an acknowledgment that this is who he is and he isn’t (and probably can’t) change who he is.
And accepting that your husband crossdresses is essentially knowing that this side of him isn’t going away. Accepting doesn’t necessarily mean approval or supporting him or buying him panties. You can accept that your man wears panties, and you can reluctantly do so. Acceptance is often done reluctantly.
Will he cheat? I don’t think there’s necessarily an overlap between crossdressing and infidelity. But this is a normal fear. I promise. If crossdressing is a kink and arouses him, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he wants to wear lingerie and then want to have sex or masturbate. Will he want to have sex while he wears a bra and panties? Will be want to wear lingerie during sex? Probably. On some level, even if this is a kink, he wants to share this part of him, his life, with you. Let’s face it, when someone has a sexual kink they probably want to engage in that kink as much as possible and they likely want you to be INTO it, if you know what I mean.
Please know that consent is ESSENTIAL. If you are not comfortable with seeing your man in lingerie, or if it kills the mood, then you are under no obligation to be intimate to have sexy time with him. Hopefully he understands. It might be a disappointment and he may be pissy about it, but people need to be on same page when it comes to the big and important things, including intimacy.
You may be afraid that if you don’t… indulge or participate in his crossdressing while you’re intimate that he might seek out someone else to “play” with. Listen: if he cheats it’s not your fault. You are not responsible for his infidelity. You are not obligated to go along with ANYTHING you are not comfortable with.
-Will he wear my clothes?
Maybe?? He probably has. I know I tried on my girlfriend’s clothes when she wasn’t home. This can feel a little violating and it’s okay to not be okay about this.
-He says he only likes to wear lingerie and insists he does not want to transition or wear other clothes. Is he in denial?
Mmmmm, probably not in denial, but it’s possible he MIGHT be downplaying all of this. If he is, it’s possibly because he is trying not to overwhelm you or scare you off. Yes, he should be disclosing EVERYTHING but in his own way he is trying to be gentle with you.
This side of someone is a LOT to take in. It’s a lot for our partners. Crossdressers know this. More than likely your man has gone his entire life without coming out to someone or talking about this side of him and now the floodgates are open and he is struggling to find the right words to voice his feelings.
It’s also likely he himself is overwhelmed and scared of his biggest secret being shared with someone, especially the most important person in his world.
It’s possible in a week, in a month, in ten years he may disclose that he also wants to wear, or already does, dresses or makeup. He may be easing you into this part of his life. He also may be testing the waters, so to speak, and wanting to see how you will react to him wanting to wear panties before the other stilettos drops.
-Is he transgender?
That is up to him.
When someone comes out for the first time, or early on in the aftermath of coming out, there’s a lot of uncertainty and, well, fear, when it comes to labels. For some of us, the “T Word” is scary and we are reluctant to identify as trans.
In my opinion yes, a crossdresser falls under the transgender umbrella. But please know, and even take solace in this if it helps, transgender doesn’t always mean transitioning or taking estrogen or feeling you are in the wrong body.
-What is he REALLY doing online?
When I am online I could be scrolling through Facebook, looking at the news, shopping for a new dress, or even doing actual work. I might be emailing one of Hannah’s friends or updating my website. I don’t hide my browser history, my wife could log into my laptop or phone anytime she wanted and look at what I am doing. This is not to say that she would or that your partner must disclose his passwords or whatever to his email. I just feel that, well, I have nothing to hide. My wife knows about everything. She sees what is in my closet, she reads my website, she brings in packages sent from En Femme and Xdress.
Years ago I visited a lot of crossdressing centric websites such as crossdressers.com. In fact, you may wish to create an account and poke around the forums if you wanted to get a little more insight into what this side of us may be about. I believe there’s even threads on there for partners of crossdressers.
I visited these websites for a few reasons.
-I was looking for resources for where to buy clothes that fit.
-I was looking for advice for makeup or tucking or walking in heels.
-I was looking for support, friendship, and for others like myself. People who could relate to the happiness and confusion and challenges that crossdressing can bring. Many, many of us are tormented by how this side of us can hurt and impact our significant others. It may look like all we care about are cute dresses and being pretty but the guilt we have over how this can make our partners feel is quite significant.
It wouldn’t be a surprise if you think your man might be looking for someone to hook up with if he is spending time on crossdressing websites. There is a very prominent portrayal of crossdressing as sexual and it can be misleading that this side of us is all about sex. The fetishistic side of men wearing lingerie has been a staple for decades and it will be for a very, very, very long time. I mean, lingerie for all genders is pretty synonymous with sex. This is how people like your man, like myself, have been portrayed in media since I can remember.
Obviously I don’t know exactly what he is looking at online, but it might not necessarily for sexual stimulation. I mean, he MIGHT be but it’s not a foregone conclusion.
It also wouldn’t be a surprise if you are tempted to, or have already looked at his browser history or read his emails. I am not here to condone or encourage this, but I can tell you I absolutely understand wanting to do so. Getting off topic for a smidgen I was dating a girl who I was almost certain was cheating on me. It drove me mad thinking one thing but being told another. It consumed me, to be honest. She wasn’t good at lying but was insistent she was faithful and told me I was being paranoid and insecure. I am not proud of this but I logged into her email and learned my suspicions were correct. Strangely this calmed me as it confirmed that my instincts were right. I wasn’t being paranoid. I wasn’t crazy. I never confronted her about this and we broke up shortly after. Again, I am not proud of this… but I get it. Promise.
-Is he gay?
This is likely the most common question and fear that you have.
Regardless of pink or how frilly or how lacy or feminine his panties are, his sexuality likely hasn’t changed.
Does he want to have sex with a man or another crossdresser? Maybe??
I want to be as gentle as I can be, but there are some crossdressers who are… open to the idea of being with a man when they are dressed up. Not necessarily because they are ATTRACTED to another man, but, well, having sex with a man might make them feel more feminine. Your man MIGHT (and again not all crossdressers feel this way) want to be sexually treated like a woman when he is wearing lingerie or dressed from wig to heels.
I feel more feminine when a man holds a door open for me or when a man addresses me as “ma’am”. For some crossdressers a man showing a sexual interest in them makes them feel more feminine and that MAY lead to a man wanting to have sex with another man when they probably have zero interest in this when they are in “boy mode”.
It’s…. hm, in a way similar to someone who hates dancing but when they’ve had a few drinks they hit the dance floor. If that makes sense.
Some crossdressers tell me they are straight when they are presenting as a man, but identify as bisexual when they are dressed up. The reality is that their sexuality didn’t change when they changed their clothes. In my opinion they are feeling a little less inhibited when they are en femme compared to when they are dressed in boy clothes which makes someone feel a little more… receptive to things.
Some of us want so badly to feel feminine, to be treated as a woman, that we go to lengths that we didn’t think were possible. Sometimes the things we do betray our values and vows.
-Am I not feminine enough for him?
Please understand that I want to be as gentle as I can with these responses, especially with this one. But his crossdressing has nothing to do with what you wear or how feminine you are. He is not wearing sexy lingerie or bold makeup because his partner isn’t. He is not lacking femininity in his life. He is not compensating for any lack of “girl things”.
If anything, part of what attracted you to him was how pretty you are. Crossdressers NOTICE what someone is wearing. When I look at a woman in the real world I am noticing her shoes and her clothes. I notice her makeup. When I met my wife I was attracted to her cuteness, her sense of humor, her personality, and yes, how she dressed. I still am. She has always dressed cute and given how much I love girl clothes it was easy to fall in love with her style, among her other attributes.
-He keeps spending our money on clothes and is CONSTANTLY talking about crossdressing and when we have sex he’s the one that wears lingerie and I HATE it.
Yes, this happens a LOT, especially after he first comes out. When a crossdresser comes out he feels an enormous weight lifted off his shoulders. It’s likely he has been keeping this inside for decades and now that he has told someone it’s like the dam has burst. He feels relieved. He can talk about something that is a major part of his life and yes, he probably won’t shut up about it.
Unfortunately as much of a relief this is to him, it’s absolutely overwhelming to you. This likely came out of nowhere, whether he came out to you or you discovered this for yourself. After he comes out you likely need a drink, and some time to process it. This is absolutely normal. You may miss how things were “before”. You may want to pretend the conversation didn’t happen. You may never, ever want to discuss it again.
The weight has lifted from his shoulders… but passed it to yours.
There will be times when this is the last thing you want to talk about but he keeps going on and on and on about a dress he saw at the mall. Your man is lost in the Pink Fog. He is so absorbed in his crossdressing he literally can’t stop thinking about it, talking about it, and possibly DOING it. He will miss your nonverbal cues when the subject comes up. He brings it up ALL THE TIME. And it’s exhausting. It’s frustrating. It feels like he is being selfish. You just want a normal night in but he keeps talking about the makeup the actresses are wearing in the show you’re binging.
And the shopping! Packages are being delivered, there are new panties in his drawer almost every day, and your shared bank account it taking a hit. Again, the Pink Fog.
So, what do you do? Tell him how you feel. Tell him how you feel again. And again. Just as he may miss your non-verbal cues he may be so absorbed by his crossdressing that it might take several conversations for him to get it. He is acting really differently and, let’s be honest, it’s really annoying and frustrating. And yes, communicating with your partner isn’t always easy. It’s sometimes hard to be direct. It’s challenging to find the right words to say. Again, this is when counseling can be very beneficial.
Sex needs to be about consent. You might want to be the one wearing pretty lingerie in bed. You may be turned off by seeing your man in a bra. Why is he wearing lingerie during sexy time? Three reasons:
-It turns him on
-He is hoping for a little… role play. He may want to “be the girl” in bed. He might have a lesbian fantasy. You many not want this AT ALL. If this happens (and it might) then clear and direct communication is key. Conversations about what happens in the bedroom, whether it is about wardrobe or anything else can happen before, during, and after intimacy.
-It makes him feel beautiful and we all want to feel beautiful during intimate moments.
Regardless of WHY he’s dressed the way he is in bed, if it makes you uncomfortable or you simply don’t like it, then he should stop.
-Will someone see him shopping for panties at the mall? Will someone see his bra strap under his shirt? Will our kids see his high heels in our closet?
Maybe?? Realistically these things could absolutely happen. My wife’s fear (and this is one I absolutely share) is someone we know seeing me buying a skirt at Target or shopping in the lingerie department. This is where the two of you need to set boundaries. I do most of my shopping online, to be honest. When I am en femme I go to malls and parts of the city where it is less likely I will encounter someone that my wife or I know.
Bra straps are almost always visible. There’s always the risk of the pink waistband of his panties peeking out of his jeans. Since I underdress (wearing panties) when I am in “boy mode” (which is most of the time) I am careful when I am stooping down lest the lacy waistband is visible. This has become second nature. Again, this is where boundaries and communications are crucial. If you are afraid of these things then you need to tell him. And hopefully he will listen.
And kids? Kids tend to be curious and tend to snoop around. I know I did when I was young. I was always going through my mom’s closet but I was always looking for a dress to try on. This is when your man needs to continue his… ah, vigilance, I suppose. For years he hid this side of himself and likely became very good at hiding his clothes and he will need to continue to do so if you don’t want your kids to find out.
-I am an ally and advocate of the transcommunity… but does being conflicted about my husband make me a hypocrite?
You may be confused by this side of your man. It may even anger you. You may even hate it. This is a side of your partner that is hard to understand and is even harder to accept. You may be at a point where you accept that this is who he is and have accepted that this is a part of his life and therefor a part of your relationship, but you may never be “okay” with it. You are perhaps feeling terrified where this is going and what else he isn’t telling you. This side of him may have led to him being less than truthful about things. Again, it’s not always the crossdressing itself that is damaging, it’s finding out he’s been lying to you about SOMETHING.
Some crossdressers tell their wives they are going to Las Vegas for a work convention but in reality they spent a long weekend visiting a makeup artist and wearing a cute dress on the strip. Lies like these are what’s damaging and often impossible to heal from.
You likely know that people can’t choose their sexual orientation or gender identity. You can’t STOP being gay or feeling you were born in the wrong body. Someone like myself can’t STOP being who I am or wanting to wear what I want to wear. You may feel conflicted between knowing he can’t stop being who he is and not liking this side of him at the same time.
Still, even knowing that he can’t change this part of him it doesn’t mean you HAVE to accept it or allow it. The reality is that this side of your partner may not be something you want in your relationship. We all need stability from our partners. If your man isn’t sure of his gender identity then, well, he needs to figure that out. This is his journey and it’s not one you HAVE to take with him.
-What does he want or need from me?
What he wants and what he needs are two different things.
Ultimately what he needs (even if he doesn’t realize it) is your honesty and communication. What he (probably) wants is for the two of you to go shopping together, to get makeovers, and have a girls night.
If you do not want to see him wearing panties, tell him how you feel. And yes, this is easier said than done. When we come out to our partners we feel… well, it feels like exhaling. We have been holding our breath for perhaps decades. It’s possible he will become so… enthralled with coming out that it’s a little like a bird being freed from a cage. Unless it’s very, very clear to him that this side of him is not to be discussed, he may talk endlessly about it. And yes, this will likely get annoying. It’s irritating whenever you have someone in your life that talks and talks and talks about the same thing ALL THE TIME, no matter if it’s about a podcast, work gossip, politics, or lingerie.
It’s even more grating when it’s a subject you feel conflicted or overwhelmed by.
What he (probably) needs are boundaries. Very clear rules (if you will) about how his crossdressing will factor into your relationship. He may have a hard time abiding by them, to be honest. I know I did. When I first started to wear dresses and makeup I would drive my wife crazy with only discussing clothes. She was still processing who I was and was easily (and understandably) overwhelmed and exhausted by the seemingly non-stop conversation about pretty dresses. I wasn’t paying attention to her cues to, well, give it a rest. I came off as selfish and self-centered. She often had to be more direct with me about my crossdressing than about other things.
You may hope that he picks up on your reaction or non-verbal body language when he talks about crossdressing or when he is dressing up, but there’s a good chance he may be so lost in The Fog that he isn’t paying as much attention to the rest of his world that he normally would. And I am just as guilty about this as anyone else.
Wow, are you still here?? How long did it take for you to read this? It took FOREVER to write and I am glad we went on this journey together. I like to think we discovered something about ourselves and the real treasure was the lessons we learned along the way.
In all seriousness, I hope this was helpful. I’ve written more about marriage and crossdressing here. I don’t presume this will cover all of your circumstances, questions and fears. This is, admittingly, a very surface-y perspective on many of the emails I get from spouses and significant others, including the emails YOU sent 🙂
15 thoughts on “Why Having a Crossdressing Husband is the Most Stressful Thing EVER”
You are right…this was a long one, but a really valuable effort. I hope both cross dressers and their partners take the time to read, re-read and ponder the many questions and answers presented.
But i want to single out one word “Journey” and offer a thank you for expressing reservations about calling this experinece a journey. First off, its such a cliche. Yes, I suppose journey is a suitable metaphor for life. We live and change in chronological order. But we’re necessarily not off to see the Wizard (well not all of us), plunging into the trackless wilderness to see what we can find, nor on a pilgrimage that inevitably leads to a cross dressing or transgender Mecca. I find myself cringing a bit every time I hear the term journey used, even when its apt.
Great post but it so emotional for me. Reading this made me so so sad.
I want to transition in the worst way but haven’t and most likely never will because of the impact on others and on my career. I try so hard to view this as disability. People in a wheelchair wish so much that they could walk but can’t so they have to adjust. Most of the time I can convince myself of this but other times the pain is so stifling.
Great post, I think you covered many topics here very very well.
Well time to go do what I usually do, get busy doing things so I don’t have time to think.
Very good points indeed. I learned some things too. I appreciate your writings and shared experience on this complicated subject.
Wise and humane as ever, Hannah. What an excellent crop of advice from all perspectives. Sue x
This was a great post. Your insights and advice is great.
That was a great post ! You covered the subject from all points.
Thank you for this! I have felt lost for a long time. With few resources for the significant other I felt alone. Like I was losing my best friend. But this article gives me hope
I am so happy this helped. 🙂 You are very much not alone.
My husband came out a few years ago. Thought he was having a affair with a young lady when I found the panties in his office drawer. Having a hard time accepting it. He has a closet of clothes. He has changed his password on his phone also we are in separate bedrooms. He has put an exterior lock on his door. How do I trust him again ?
Our adult children know because I thought he was having an affair. But I talked to her and she was helping him come out.
He insists that he told me before we got married 30 years ago. This is something a girl would not forget. So every time we talk about it he insists I knew..
He says he wants to stay Married . I feel everything you said. I do love my husband but I don’t trust him.
He doesn’t know I cry to sleep every night.
I’m so sorry to hear your experiences. I hope you can find the peace you deserve.