Hi Hannah I would love advice on how to deal with the guilt that dressing causes discomfort for your partner. I’m married and my wife has known about my dressing the duration of our relationship. We experimented briefly but she didn’t enjoy it so I have always dressed in private. 16 yrs later, I’ve come to realize I need to explore this side of me more (I’m not transitioning, just taking my dressing beyond hiding in our bedroom). She is standing with me and we are in couples therapy. I feel so grateful I am finally getting to explore my feminine side in ways I’ve dreamed about for years … but I feel terrible my exploration is putting her in a difficult position (having to work through the associated feelings etc). Any suggestions on how to work through this?
Crossdressing and guilt seems to go hand in hand. In a lot of different ways.
Some of us feel guilt when we crossdress because we are told it’s wrong and it’s against God or societal norms and that it’s a sin. Growing up Catholic I am very familiar with how easy it is to feel guilt when I am “sinning” although I never thought God cared about what I wore. I think God, and other deity, is beyond comprehension and human imposed societal gender norms aren’t anything that God pays any attention to.
I have felt guilty when it comes to my crossdressing for different reasons at different points in my life. The first girlfriend that I came out to wasn’t that enthusiastic about her boyfriend wearing panties. She asked for assurance that I had outgrown that “phase” and I promised I would stop. I tried to NEVER DO IT AGAIN but of course we all know how quitting crossdressing goes.
I failed spectacularly at quitting crossdressing.
In this case I felt a tremendous amount of guilt when I inevitably would wear panties. I felt I was going behind her back and I was breaking my promise to her. I mean, that’s exactly what was happening. I WAS going behind her back. I DID break my promise to her.
Fast forward to where I am today and I still feel guilt but in a different way. Generally speaking I feel I am a pretty selfless person but there are times when my femme life becomes… inconvenient.
Case in point, this upcoming weekend. I have a photo shoot booked to review a couple of items and, if I am being honest, to be a little self-indulgent. Photo shoots take a lot of coordination and planning. The studio, my photographer, my makeup artist, working with designers to schedule upcoming reviews…
This particular shoot has been in the works for almost a month. Whether it’s a shoot or a MN T-Girls event I always chat with my wife to make sure that the date doesn’t conflict with her plans.
Buuuut sometimes stuff happens. As I mentioned the other day we are in the process of moving and it is looking like we are having an open house on the day of the shoot. On one hand we both need to be out of the house anyway, but while I am getting my makeup done or modeling a dress my wife will be taking care of conversations with our realtor and doing any last minute touches on the house.
I will feel a tremendous amount of guilt that day.
It’s not as simple as canceling my shoot as this would impact a lot of people.
These are two examples of feeling guilty. Some of us feel guilt when we are going behind our partner’s back. In this case guilt comes from being dishonest. So, um, stop doing that. And yes, it’s not as simple as it sounds.
And I’ve been there in previous relationships.
Some of us feel guilt when we spend more money on clothes than we probably should. This is similar to going behind our partner’s back. Our significant others may know that we bought on a new pair of stilettos buuuuut maybe we told them they cost much less than they really were.
Again, don’t do this.
I don’t feel guilty about crossdressing anymore. I don’t think I am sinning and I am certainly not going behind my wife’s back.
But I do feel guilt when this side of me takes me away from my responsibilities as a spouse such as this upcoming photo shoot.
It sounds like you are being upfront and honest with your wife and your femme side. That’s good! From what you’re saying it doesn’t sound like you have a secret life. But this side of us does put our partners through a LOT.
Our partners will likely have a lot of feelings and fears when it comes to our gender identity and our wardrobe preferences. Like anything our significant others experience we need to be patient, caring, empathetic, and good listeners.
We also need to be worth it.
Keep being honest with her, take her feelings and fears seriously, and communicate, not only in therapy but in every room in your house.
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