I get quite a few emails from partners and spouses of people like me and likely people like you.
We are on our own journeys but we all experience many of the same things. One of the commonalities is that we know there is something different (and amazing and beautiful) about us AND it’s something we internalize and think about for quite a while before we come out to someone.
If we are able to choose the person we come out to, and if we choose when we come out to that person, it’s usually for a reason. Sometimes that reason is that we just can’t keep this side to ourselves anymore. We are tired of hiding, we are exhausted from being discrete.
Sometimes we come out to someone because we are at a point in a relationship where they have to know before the relationship progresses any further.
Regardless of why we come out, usually we are at a point when we CAN talk about it. We have more or less thought of the right-ish words to express and explain the whys and such. AND! when we come out it’s almost always because we ourselves have accepted and embraced this side of us. We are likely ready to acknowledge that this side of us isn’t a phase or going away or can be repressed any longer.
Another commonality is that when many of us come out it’s not unusual for us to be bursting at the seams with excitement. WE HAVE COME OUT TO SOMEONE! Yay! And maybe, just maybe, this person is, well, maybe not completely on board BUT they haven’t (completely and understandably) freaked out.
We might now have someone to talk to about this side of us. These discussions could be anything from sharing feelings of vulnerability or conversations about makeup. This, in my opinion, is when we are most susceptible to The Pink Fog. We are so enveloped by this side of us that it dominates EVERYTHING. Our thoughts, our conversations, our feelings… our bank accounts…
WE are ready to go a little nuts. Years or decades of ignoring these feelings are behind us and we are going a million miles an hour.
BUT the person we came out to? This is all very relatively new to them. Just as it took us years to process these thoughts and feelings, our partners also need time to absorb and reflect on what we just revealed.
WE might be ready for makeovers and girls nights and lingerie shopping with our wives… but my god our partners aren’t. We are leagues ahead of them in terms of processing this. We need to give them time with their feelings and, more or less, let them decide what (if anything) happens when.
It’s at this point in OUR journey that I get the most emails from spouses.
So, if this is where YOU are, if you are recently out to your partner, this post is for you, so listen up.
For the most part, these emails usually mention that our partners are overwhelmed and exhausted and trying to adapt to this revelation. Our partners know that this side of us isn’t going away and the work it will take to adapt to this new element of the relationship begins.
Most of us have asked our partners to, well, participate in this. This invitation often includes, but is not limited to:
-Our wives teaching us makeup
-Going dress shopping
-A girls’ night in
-A girls night out
-Sexy time while en femme
These requests and invitations are usually pretty consistent. I think these activities are fueled by a few things:
-Our femme presenting partners are gorgeous and who else would be better than they when it comes to a makeup lesson?
-This is an exciting but scary time for us and we tend to trust our partner more than anyone so we can usually count on them to help us keep our wardrobe a secret
-We hope that if they become “involved” that perhaps they will enjoy having not only a husband but also having a girlfriend to shop with
-We love our partners and we really, really want to share this secret, sacred, intimate, and personal side of ourselves with them
For the most part, we (as crossdressers ) tend to do a poor job of communicating these reasons to our partners when we invite them to participate in this side of us. I am just as guilty of this as anyone.
Many of our partners tell me that more than anything they are overwhelmed. They are processing this, they are doing everything they can to educate themselves on gender identity, on gender presentation… they are cramming for an exam they never even imagined they would need to take.
In addition to feeling overwhelmed, there is also the desire to be supportive. Which is amazing, if you think about it. We have thrown the biggest curveball EVER imaginable at our spouse and they are STILL trying to be supportive while feeling overwhelmed.
We tend to fail when it comes to recognizing this effort. WE (and again, I did this) think of our wives as only being supportive when it comes to going out together or shopping for lingerie for both ourselves and our partners.
But when it comes to a relationship, sometimes both people have different expectations what “being supportive” looks like. WE as crossdressers LIKELY look at supportive behavior as our wives teaching us how to apply lip liner. Our partners might look at being supportive as letting us wear panties under our boy clothes or wearing a nightgown to sleep.
Yes, we might want MORE, we almost always want more, BUT our partners MIGHT not be ready to do what we want/expect when it comes to showing support.
Support does not necessarily mean “participation”. My wife is incredibly supportive… but she has never gone out with Hannah. She doesn’t actively “participate”. The invitation is always there but I don’t need to ask her again and again.
I used to. I used to needle her over and over. This endless requesting drove her mad. She was/is supportive of me but me not listening to her telling me “I am not ready for __________” is what irked her more than anything.
This is an example of how sometimes it’s not the crossdressing itself that impacts our partners, it’s the behavior that often comes with it. I should have been listening. We ALWAYS need to be listening to our partners.
A crossdresser recently out to their partner is at a pretty significant moment of their own journey, their partner’s world, and the relationship itself.
Basically, it’s at this moment that has the greatest likelihood of us fucking everything up.
Many of the more intense discussions my wife and I had early on were not necessarily about wearing what I was wearing but me being enveloped in the Pink Fog. I was so enamored and focused on clothes and gender presentation that I disregarded my wife in a lot of ways. I wasn’t listening to her, I wasn’t considerate of her feelings, I took her for granted.
Again, it wasn’t wearing a dress that caused the tension, it was how selfish and oblivious I was.
Other common ways we fuck everything up is not being honest and telling lies about how much we spent on new stilettos and crossing boundaries.
I know that setting boundaries is kind of a polarizing discussion but we’re not going to talk about whether or not that is fair or not. What I do what to discuss is IF a boundary is set AND we choose to ignore it.
Many partners tell me that they have set a few “ground rules”, if you will. Some of the most common ones are:
-Not posting pictures online
-Not going out en femme
-Not “be the girl” during sexy time
We fuck up by willingly violate these agreed upon boundaries. Whether or not it’s fair that this boundary is set is irrelevant. We agreed to something but we did it anyway.
Again, it’s not the crossdressing… it was the behavior that is associated with it. Lying to our partner or trying to get away with something is generally a pretty bad decision.
If we as crossdressers want this side of us to stop being a secret in a relationship then we as crossdressers have to put in the work. Too many of us are running off lost in the fog while our partners are struggling to keep their shit together while they have another glass of wine and googling “crossdressing husband”.
We can’t drop this revelation and let our partners figure out alone how to make THIS work.
So… how can it work?
Before I go any further I want to remind ya’ll that I am not a marriage counselor. I am simply a person with a laptop that taps away my overthought thoughts while I drink coffee.
Every person is different, every marriage is different. I can’t speak for anyone but myself. I can’t offer my perspective on any relationship besides my own.
So… how did we make this work?
Honest and difficult conversations, for one. BUT none of that matter until I actually started LISTENING and ADAPTING.
For example, if my wife said “no lingerie during sexy time” I need to LISTEN and, well, not wear lingerie during sexy time.
Our partners need only tell us once. Of their feelings and of their requests.
Kind of like when I constantly asked her to go out en femme with me. She told me the first time I invited her that she wasn’t ready and she would let me know if she ever was ready.
And really, that should have been that.
Buuuuut it wasn’t. I kept asking. And I don’t know why. It’s not like her mind was going to change in a couple of hours or in a few days. I mean, she told me she would let me know. Why didn’t I listen?
Well, I know why. The Pink Fog.
When I started to dress fully en femme I noticed how different things were. The challenge of drinking without smudging my lipstick. The proper way to sit down in a short skirt. But some of the differences were more… introspective. I could now understand how it felt to have “an ugly day” when my makeup just wouldn’t cooperate. I learned how a cute outfit could make me feel.
This led to a desire to experience the world outside of my living room. I wanted to go out en femme… so I did.
When I finally stopped asking my wife to join me on these adventures, I realized that if I wanted to hit the mall with someone Hannah needed to make friends.
I wanted to interact with the world, with others… as Hannah.
I started attending local PFLAG support meetings. I started to attend a transgender support group. I met others like myself. I started to make friends.
Looking back, I realize that much of this kind of satisfied the part of me that I needed. I needed friends, I needed to know others like me.
This side of us can be a lonely one. This side of us can be a lonely one for our partners, too.
Long (rambling) story short, once I started to go to LGBTQ+ support groups and make friends who were also t-girls, I was able to, well scratch that itch of having someone to hit the mall with or have a coffee with. We need to know girls like us.
It was at this turning point where I stopped driving my wife up the wall.
For the most part.
It shouldn’t have taken her telling me more than once that she wasn’t ready to go out with Hannah and that she would let me know if and when she was ready. But again, I was lost in the fog. It’s not an excuse but it is the reason.
3 thoughts on “Turning Point”
As always, you say what we’re all thinking. This is fantastic.
As usual, I am of two minds. I couldn’t help but recall and reflect upon all of the relationship mistakes I have made, almost all of which were included above. (Almost all…I could add a few more.).
Its far to late for me to avoid or even to make amends for my mistakes. I have lived with remorse for a long time, so I’m used to it. I’m also reminded that my mistakes are not unique.
Thank you , this is a wonderful article to ponder all night on !