Crossdressing and Guilt

I don’t think crossdressing is a big deal.

I mean, obviously presenting as a gender that is different than the gender that is stated on my birth certificate is an enormous part of my life and who I am and I am always wearing clothes that are “for girls” but I have absolutely no… negative or uncomfortable thoughts or emotions about this side of me or about this side of my closet.

I mean, yes I get a little paranoid about someone seeing my bra strap in male mode or the lacy edge of my panties peeking over the waistband of my pants but really, that’s about it.

Of course, when I was younger the FEAR was there, of course. The fear of getting caught, the fear of someone finding out. This fear ranged from my mom arriving home earlier than I expected to the fear of a friend spotting me at the lingerie boutique at the mall.

But guilt wasn’t something I felt very often.

I never thought I, as someone that is legally a boy, was doing something wrong by trying on a dress. I’m not breaking any laws after all. It is not immoral to wear panties. I am not hurting anyone by sleeping in a nightgown.

When I did feel guilt it wasn’t because of crossdressing itself. I felt guilt because I was wearing something that I told someone I wouldn’t wear.

Again, I don’t think crossdressing is a big deal. And I think for most of our partners it’s not a big deal. No, it’s what we do that is associated with crossdressing that is an issue.

What I mean is that I often get emails from partners of crossdressers and many of them tell me that, for the most part, they really don’t mind that their husband wears panties. The issue comes from their partners lying about their crossdressing or being, well, reckless about it.

For example, a crossdresser’s wife may have no problem with what their husband wears to sleep, but it’s what their husband wears to bed. Does that make sense? Some people don’t want to be intimate with their partner if their lover ALWAYS wears lingerie for sexy times. It’s typical for someone to feel it’s no longer about lovemaking but more about an opportunity for their partner to wear lingerie.

Some partners will express that they are frustrated when their husband spends more money on clothes than they can really afford. Neglecting a car payment because you purchased a new pair of high heels is, well, not a good situation. It’s not necessarily about the heels, it’s about not being fiscally responsible.

Going outside the agreed upon boundaries is also a cause for concern. If your partner asks you to not post photos online or they ask you to avoid certain stores because you may inadvertently bump into someone your partner knows… but you do these things anyway… it is a complete violation of trust. Again, it’s not exclusively the crossdressing/presenting en femme that is the issue, it’s breaking a promise.

Why do we do these things? The Pink Fog.

But this post isn’t about The Pink Fog. It’s about guilt.

The first time I felt real guilt was when I was in my early twenties. I had come out to someone, a girlfriend, for the very first time and it didn’t go the way I had hoped. And that’s okay. This was about (oh God) twenty-five years ago and we were both young. We weren’t mature or experienced enough to have THIS element in our relationship and I was still working through a few things. Besides, having a non-cisgender partner is a lot for someone to go through.

My hope was for her to suggest hitting the mall to go shopping but she essentially had two requests:

  1. That I stop
  2. That I don’t discuss this again

I mean, good for her..? She was very clear about her boundaries and letting me know that she wasn’t a fan of having a crossdressing partner. It was a very black and white conversation.

Were these fair requests? Maybe not but again, we were both young and in the relatively early days of a relationship. It’s not like this was a revelation thirty years into a marriage and THIS was one more thing for the two of us to handle and communicate about.

Fearing the idea the relationship ending I quickly agreed. I mean, I was naïve. I thought I could stop.

lol.

I mean, I knew I wasn’t ever going to stop BEING a crossdresser but I thought I could resist.

Again, lol.

Please understand. Her reaction and her requests don’t make her a bad person. This conversation was, in a way, a product of the times, as they say. The complexities of gender identity weren’t as discussed or as familiar as they are today. I also could have come out in a more… accurate way. Back then I was a CROSSDRESSER and with that word came all the baggage that the word came with. If I were to come out to anyone today I would use different language.

Anyway.

I told her I would stop and that was, more or less, the end of it.

Sort of.

We wouldn’t discuss IT very often or for very long after that initial conversation… but stopping? No. But God help me I tried.

Mind you, I didn’t try to stop because I thought there was anything wrong with crossdressing. I tried to stop because I told her I would.

It didn’t take long for me to explore her side of the closet when she wasn’t home. It wasn’t unusual for me to drive to a boutique to try on dresses.

The siren song was too powerful for me to resist.

This is when, for the first time, I really felt guilt about what I was doing. I was going behind her back, I was unquestionably breaking a promise.

Of course, whether or not this was a fair promise is another story, but regardless I was still doing it.

I was afraid, once again, of being caught. She would forever remember The Talk so it wasn’t about keeping it a secret that I was a crossdresser, it was the fear of being caught after my promise to her.

Listen.

I don’t think there is ANYTHING wrong with crossdressing.

Or, to be more specific, I don’t think there is anything wrong with crossdressing ITSELF.

I believe in justice and morality. Which isn’t necessarily the same thing as law and religion.

Let me explain.

I don’t think it’s unrealistic to fear that crossdressing will be illegal in some parts of the United States in the future. Now, before you think I am being paranoid or an alarmist, let me clarify. It doesn’t take too long to find stories of people protesting drag shows or banning books with LGBTQ+ characters or stories. The justification for these actions are usually very subtle. In many cases the laws that are being discussed or passed usually don’t explicitly say “this book is banned because it has a part where two boys kiss”. It’s typically something more… broad such as banning the book because it has “adult themes” or whatever. Drag shows aren’t banned because it’s now against the law for a “boy to wear a dress” but it’s because someone thinks a drag show is about SEX.

Now, you may be thinking that regulating drag queens isn’t going to be impact you. Afterall, you might not think of yourself as doing drag. I certainly am not a drag queen. But for some people these nuances don’t exist. For some people there is not difference between a t-girl wearing a t-shirt and jeans running errands and a drag queen in towering stilettos lip-synching to a Madonna song at a gay bar.

It’s not unrealistic to imagine a law passing that says something along the lines of it being illegal for anyone to wear anything that conflicts with the gender on their birth certificate. If that happens, clothes could be “regulated” and a state could essentially have a dress code.

This is what I mean when I say I am afraid that “crossdressing” will be illegal. If this happens I know I would be “breaking the law” by wearing panties but all the laws in the world will never convince me that I am doing anything “wrong”.

When it comes to religion, I am well aware that there are religious texts in holy books which state, or are interpreted in a perspective that says crossdressing is immoral or is a sin.

Although God may be omnipotent and all-knowing, I really, really, really don’t think any deity cares what I am wearing. “Thou Shalt Not Wear Panties” could be the number one commandment but I still wouldn’t think I was a sinner.

Of course, I would also need to be a Christian to believe that not adhering to what the Bible says making me a sinner. I am not a Christian. If anything, I am agnostic.

But this post isn’t about religion. It’s about….

Um. Hang on, let me reread what I wrote.

Oh yes, it’s about the guilt some of us feel when we wear what we want to.

If crossdressing was clearly a sin or a crime, I still wouldn’t feel I was doing anything immoral. If I speed, sure, I might feel guilty about breaking the law. When I was younger and raised as Catholic I felt guilt if I didn’t attend Sunday service. But I didn’t ever feel guilty about crossdressing itself. Like a lot of aspects to THIS, it’s usually not about wearing a dress, it’s about the… actions that are associated with it.

I write a LOT about relationships and crossdressing. I’ve gotten countless emails from partners of those like you and I. Every crossdresser is different, every relationship is different and it goes without saying that every relationship with a crossdresser is different. But there are a few broad generalities I’ve realized.

I am always pleasantly surprised when I see an email from someone who tells me that their husband crossdresses and, well, they don’t mind at all. They may not understand it but they know that this is who they are and will unlikely ever change. They have gotten used to their man wearing panties or even presenting en femme. It is what it is.

But the… tension and frustration usually comes from aspects that this side of us can bring. Obviously I buy a lot a of clothes but it’s nowhere as much as I used to. The Pink Fog hit me hard and I often spent more money on shoes than I should have. My wife and I keep our finances, more or less, separate but when I couldn’t afford to pay a bill on time because I *had* to have a new pair of stilettos then things became understandably tense. I was being irresponsible.

For some of our partners there are frustrations involving intimacy. Some spouses tell me they don’t mind that their husband wears lingerie… but they have requested that they not wear it during sexy time. Similarly some wives tell me they think that the only reason their husband is intimate with them is so they have an excuse to wear a pretty negligee.

Finances and intimacy are significant parts of any relationship. If anything impacts these things, whether its’s crossdressing, an expensive hobby, or working too much, a home can become very tense.

Bringing crossdressing into a relationship is going to involve a LOT of change. It will forever impact the dynamic between two people. Boundaries, rules, and requests are pretty normal. Some of the more common guidelines include:

  1. No lingerie during sex
  2. Not posting photos online
  3. Avoiding certain parts of a town when out en femme
  4. Discussing things with each other before coming out to anyone new

I think these are all pretty reasonable, to be honest. Again, this is a lot to put onto our partners and I think it’s perfectly acceptable for us to make a few concessions.

bUt it’S mY LifE you might be saying. You might feel you should be able to do whatever you want whenever you want. If you feel that way then why did you get married? A relationship is about compromise and creating a life WITH someone else and committing to making it work. If a person wants to do whatever they want whenever they want then maybe, just maybe, they shouldn’t get married.

But that’s just my perspective.

Just like I get emails from our partners, I also get emails from people like myself. It’s pretty normal for someone to share with me details of their relationship and how they make it work or ask for my take on something. It’s also not uncommon for someone to, well, confess that they are violating some of the agreed upon boundaries.

I promised my wife I wouldn’t post pictures but I have been doing so on a crossdressing website

I promised my wife I wouldn’t go to a certain mall en femme because a lot of her friends shop there but I went there anyway

I think you get the point. It’s the violation of trust that is the problem, not the crossdressing ITSELF. Their partners are fine with this side of them but sometimes this side of us makes us prone to doing things we shouldn’t.

Lying about this side of us is unfortunately not uncommon. We might lie about where we went en femme (such as the mall example), not that we went out en femme. Again, it’s not about BEING en femme that is the issue, it’s about the lie.

Does that make sense? I hope so because I am moving on.

With these confessions comes the guilt. Again, it’s not feeling guilty FOR crossdressing… it’s the guilt that comes from activity and behavior associated with crossdressing.

I am not writing this as a lecture or anything like that. I am no angel and I have made many mistakes. Crossdressing has led to me to making decisions that I regret. Some mistakes were financial, some were within my marriage, especially in the early days when Hannah was emerging. I talked and talked and talked about HER and about clothes and every conversation my wife and I had likely had something to do with Hannah. It overwhelmed my wife and these one-sided discussions left no breathing room for her.

Once my head came above the water I could see how selfish and inconsiderate I was. I felt remorse and a tremendous amount of guilt for being blind to how my wife was feeling.

Again, it wasn’t crossdressing itself (although there are feelings our partners have about that), it was what came with it.

Crossdressing is, for the most part, legal and, in my opinion, not unethical. There is nothing immoral about wearing what you wish. Sure, social norms tell us differently but those are just norms. At one point it wasn’t the norm for women to wear slacks or for women to dine without a male companion. Things change… but it’s best when things evolve.

For those who feel guilt about who you are, think again. Religion, politics, and social norms are very likely the reason you feel this way. Spend a moment and consider if this guilt is because of these intangible reasons. For the life of me I can’t even fathom why it is “immoral” for me to wear a dress. I can’t rationalize why any government spends even a day debating about a law that impacts what someone is permitted to wear.

Hopefully there will be a day when we look back on these days and wonder why we as a society cared about the clothes people wore.

Love, Hannah

The Click

Hi!

I need your help!

I get a lot of emails from girls like me, from people like you, from crossdressers AND from partners, spouses, and significant others about relationships with a non-cis gender person.

Most of these emails are about two people trying to understand or trying to explain this side of us to their partner.

It’s not uncommon to hear about how someone came out to their partner. I don’t know if there’s a right way to come out to someone (besides being gentle and honest) but goodness I’ve heard of a lot of wrong ways to reveal this side of ourselves. Well, maybe not WRONG but it certainly didn’t go as well as intended despite someone’s best and most sincere efforts.

Helping someone understand this side of us is very very very difficult. It’s complex and simple and abstract all at the same time. I mean, I am at peace with who I am, I know who I am, I know what I want out of life. I also know who I am not and what isn’t right for myself. But could I succinctly and clearly relay this to someone else? No. I mean, I think it would take someone a long time of reading every meandering post on this site to “get” me. Not to say I am a baffling mystery but we are all very nuanced and every transperson is different from another transperson.

Someone was explaining lightyears to me the other day and how light travels and how super powerful telescopes display images of things that happened a zillion years ago and I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. It seemed to contradict every law of reality, like looking into something that happened in the past. He did a very good job patiently explaining it but I just couldn’t process it.

Gender identity is probably similar. How does one explain the physics of interstellar light in a couple of sentences? How does one explain why someone with a penis wants to wear a dress?

On a side note, the last thing I expected to write about this morning was comparing crossdressing to lightyears but here we are.

I have come out to three romantic partners in my life. One didn’t understand and avoided discussing it, another was accepting, and then there’s my amazing wife. Each time I came out there was also the need to explain who I wasn’t and what this didn’t mean.

No, I am not gay. No, I am not doing drag. No, this isn’t a sex thing. No, I am not in denial. No, I don’t feel I was born in the wrong body. No, I am not going to transition.

Each of those sentences was their own conversation, often over the course of several weeks. An exhausting conversation for both of us. These conversations rarely led to them being resolved. Resolution would come in time. What I mean is that no matter how many times I told my wife I didn’t want to transition, she wasn’t convinced or at least was very skeptical. It took years until she was at peace and had moved on from that fear.

The first thing that needs to happen when it comes to our partners understanding this side of us is them going in the right direction.

What I mean is them learning what this side of us IS, and them moving away from what this side of us ISN’T.

Our partners first have to come to terms with who are are NOT before learning who are really are, what we really want.

To put it a different way (and bear with me, I am not a mechanic), if you are fixing a car that is making a weird noise, you probably start with what is the most likely reason the car is making that noise. If that is indeed the reason, then you know how to approach it. If it’s not the reason, you go to the second likely reason and so on.

This side of us isn’t that different.

And here we are comparing crossdressing to auto maintenance. I mean, we already compared crossdressing to interstellar travel so we may as well roll it with.

The moment we realize that we want to wear panties or makeup or look feminine we likely immediately wonder WHY we want this. We probably ask ourselves the same questions. Am I gay? Is this a fetish? Am I repressing something I am feeling? Was I born with the wrong genitalia? Is transitioning right for me?

Thus begins a lifetime of introspection and overthinking.

When we come out to our partners, they process who we are in a very similar manner. Is their husband gay? Is their husband wanting to do drag? Is this a fetish? Is he in denial? Does he feel he was born in the wrong body? Does he want to transition?

I mean, to be fair, these are very common reasons why someone like us are who we are. Of course, there are just as many of us where these reasons are nothing to do with who we are. Myself included.

Our partners will likely need to come to peace with each of these questions (and this usually takes a loooong time) before they can start to see for themselves who we really are and what this is all about.

Going back to the car analogy, a mechanic will look at every likely reason an automobile is making a weird noise. If the noise isn’t caused by the most likely reasons they start to look at the situation with fresh eyes and realize it’s a different scenario, one they hadn’t considered. A new thing to understand.

Once my wife came to terms with who I wasn’t, it was only them she could begin the bewildering journey of learning exactly who her husband was.

Like lightspeed, she had to understand who I am in a context that she could relate to, that she could understand.

Something had to click.

And one night, it did.

This click was like a light switch. All of a sudden she could view something with new eyes, in a new perspective. To belabor the metaphor, she was no longer in the dark. She could start to see.

Of course, not everything was easy after this. It was like seeing a very messy basement that needed to be organized. You can finally see what something is and the real work is about to begin.

This click was realizing something about myself that she could relate to.

“You just want to feel beautiful.”

She nailed it. I did want this. I will always want this.

This is an universal desire. I think we all want to feel attractive…. or handsome or beautiful.

Everyone can relate to wanting to feel attractive.. and we all have different perspectives on what this means to someone. For some, it’s a floor-length ballgown. Others feel their best in yoga pants and flipflops. For some a three piece suit is what it takes.

I think her realizing that beauty doesn’t have gender norms and we are all wired in certain ways stripped the essence of who I am down to my core. She had to ignore every societal expectations and traditions when it comes to clothes and feelings and emotions. Black and white became gray, blue and pink become purple.

It was only then she could look at who I was in an objective way. She eliminated common reasons why someone with a penis wants to wear lingerie and could see things differently and she could see me for who I was.

In a new light.

Of course, not everything was sunshine and butterflies from there. We still had difficult conversations, she still had fears, complex feelings, and doubts. Much of this was two steps forward, one step back.

My point is that it took years for she and I to be more or less on the same page with all of this. It took years of going in the right direction, if you will, in any journey that was made, whether it was mine or hers. But it took that aforementioned click for her to see the first step in the direction that took her, that took us, to arrive where we are today.

So, what was your click?

What did you say, what did your partner say that helped to put this in a new light?

I would love to hear your comments.

Love, Hannah

The Pink Rule

Hi girls!

Thanksgiving week is always weird. For most of us it’s a short work week. Additionally most of us are also likely traveling or preparing a meal or dreading seeing certain family members. Whatever you are doing, or whatever you had to do, I hope it went by as well as it could!

In addition to all the normal holiday related activity, whether for family or work, I spent a lot of this week exchanging emails with ya’ll. And your significant others. Goodness that sounds questionable, doesn’t it? This was a busy week for some of you.

Most of the emails I get are from people who have questions about crossdressing plus marriage. Or emails from partners of crossdressers. Or people who are looking for guidance, support, and reassurance.

Some emails are partners who are venting their frustrations or pouring their hearts out. No matter how many emails like these I get they still move me. It’s also amazing how similar they usually are.

Not to generalize but most of the emails I get from partners of crossdressers are along the lines of:

  1. I don’t really understand why my husband wears lingerie but it makes him happy and I just roll with it
  2. ….but he keeps going behind my back and lying about this side of him. He tells me he doesn’t want to transition but it’s hard to believe him when I accidentally found his wig and he admitted he goes out en femme when I am not around

Please know this. Not every person who has a penis who wears “girl clothes” secretly wants to transition or is in denial about it. I have a penis and more stilettos than anyone I know and I have no desire to transition. They are more people like myself than one would think.

It’s very very difficult to explain who we are and why we are and what we want to someone else. WE get it. We know who we are. Helping someone else understand this side of us isn’t easy. My wife has seen my progression and journey over the last fifteen years and she will never REALLY understand who I am in the exact way I understand who I am, but she gets me.

It’s not unlike how I don’t understand how she can unwind after a very long day with a murder documentary but I get that this how she likes to relax. I don’t need to get it. I don’t need to relate. I just know that this is how she is wired.

We all know this side of us will cause varying levels of fear for our partners. We know that this side of us will cause tension and stress in our relationships.

And this isn’t fair to our partners. This is not something our partners ever guessed that they would live with.

When we commit to someone we make a promise to be honest and open to them. Doing anything less than this is, in my opinion, disrespecting them.

Lying about this side of us, refusing to answer questions about this side of us, getting defensive and angry about this side of us, gaslighting our partners makes our gender identity (which is already confusing and stressful to our partners) even more confusing and stressful.

Again, it’s usually not the crossdressing itself, it’s the behavior that our crossdressing can cause. What I mean it’s not wearing panties that is usually the issue, it’s LYING about wearing panties.

Bob Dylan once wrote “to live outside the law, you must be honest”. If we tweak that a little we could say “to live outside the gender norms, you must be honest”. I think that’s good guidance.

IF this side of you is more than panties, tell her.

IF you want to go out en femme, tell her.

IF you want or feel or think anything that is different than what you have said, tell her.

And yes, this is waaaaay easier said than done. I promise that I get it. I promise that it’s not this simple.

We are driving our partners to the brink of emotional breakdowns when we are constantly lying about this side of us. We tell them that this side of us is all about lingerie BUT then they learn that we have boxes and boxes or wigs and high heels. We tell our partners we don’t want to transition BUT our search history contradicts this. We tell our partners so many things to reassure them, to help them understand, to minimize their fears BUT our behavior, our actions, our secrets cause us to lose all credibility.

If I have any “golden rule” about crossdressing and relationships it’s that our partners WANT, and NEED, and DESERVE the truth. Oooh, maybe we should call it The Pink Rule?

And I know this side of us isn’t easy to talk about. To put into words. I know. I get it. I relate. Even after all this time I still feel a little silly and awkward when my wife teases me about how many dresses I own or the extensiveness of my lingerie drawer. Well, drawers. Well, entire dresser.

Please know that the extent of my conversations with my wife about my gender identity are not only about clothes. These days they are, but it took years of intimate and difficult and stressful and frightening talks about this side of me before she found peace with who I am.

Trust is fragile. It can take years to build on it but one small thing can destroy that trust and make it impossible to ever create it again.

“But it only happened once!” is something many people say. This can be about someone not being faithful in their marriage but this is often mentioned when it comes to this side of us.

What I mean is that I get emails from crossdressers who tell me that they have a supportive wife but one of the agreed upon boundaries is them not leaving the house. And guess what? They left the house. And were caught. All the love and support and patience their partner put into this is just… gone.

“But it only happened once!” they say.

Well, yes, but you blew it.

You may be forgiven for this adventure but your partner probably won’t forget. It’s not carrying a grudge, it’s not refusing to let something go… it happened and has fundamentally changed the situaion.

Years and years and years ago, I dated a girl who cheated on me with one of her exes. She was friends with him after the breakup and would still hang out. This was awkward for me but I did my best to not let my fear and insecurity get the best of me.

And then I found out she cheated on me.

“But it only happened once!” she said.

I forgave her, we moved on. But I never stopped being afraid it would happen again. Every time she hung out with him my mind drifted back to that time.

Our partners may have a similar reaction. The same fear. And they would be absolutely right and justified.

Listen. We feel guilt about this side of us when it comes to our relationships. Our partners sometimes feel guilt too. But it’s different.

“My husband promises this side of him is all about lingerie but I just feel he is not being honest and I feel guilty about not believing him”

“My husband wears dresses and I feel guilty for not being as accepting as he’d like me to be”

“I love my LGBTQ+ friends but I feel guilty about being uncomfortable when my husband dresses up”

For many of us, this side of us is the best thing ever. It’s sometimes the complete opposite for our partners. It’s like having a favorite restaurant that our significant others don’t care for but you still eat there every single day. This side of us might be fun and the perfect way to spend the day but it can cause so much stress and tension for our spouses.

To all my crossdresser and t-girl siblings out there, please be honest. Please tell the truth.

I encourage partners of crossdressers to look into counseling. Our partners need someone to talk to. This side of us is very, very lonely for them.

But I also encourage people like myself to do the same thing. I have been going to counseling for over ten years. Not because I am trying to find myself or understand myself or whatever, but getting help with communicating with my wife and getting someone else’s perspective has been enormously beneficial to my marriage and to my own peace.

Okay, I’m done lecturing. But please know many of our partners are more accepting that you might think, and more accepting that we dreamed, and more accepting that we deserve. It’s the lying about this side of us that becomes the problem.

Love, Hannah

P.S. I tend to speak in absolutes such as “tell the truth” and “be honest” and use words like “always” and “never”. I am aware that the truth may put someone in a very difficult or dangerous situation. I understand that not everything is black and white or pink or blue. Always make the decisions for yourself that you feel is the right choice… especially when it comes to personal safety.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

I get messages through my website and from time to time I see that the provided address to receive a reply is very likely fake. But I usually respond and in almost every instance my instinct was correct and the email is bounced back. It’s possible the address had a typo in it but my suspicion is that someone had something to say but didn’t want me to reply to them directly. Cowards.

Most messages like this are almost always snarky or rude. My guess is that they wanted to tell me something to trigger a certain emotion but not have to face any sort of confrontation. Again, cowards.

I think the reason for some of these messages are intended to… well, wound me. I suppose that’s a little dramatic. The internet can provide a way to say something, be it a compliment or an insult, that you might not have the courage or nerve to say in real life.

Instead of being able to reply to these emails, I will sometime respond to the question or address the inquiry here. Some of my postings are meant to, in a way, set the record straight about something. I know I shouldn’t “feed the trolls” but there are times when I feel defensive. I am often impulsive but I’ve recognized this over the years and have learned to (mostly) control this. Lately my boss has been an absolute jerk and sends incredibly nitpicky accusatory emails.

I don’t know, but I feel that there’s probably a more constructive, kinder way to manage, inspire, and lead people.

But this is a website that is mostly about femme presenting transgender people, not a place to air workplace grievances.

My point is that when I get a snarky email, either from my boss or in Hannah’s inbox I fire off a really bitchy response and then I go back and edit it to something waaaaaaaay less confrontational. And then I edit it again. And again. And again. I deescalate my reply to the point it almost comes off as objectively weak. It’s impossible to disagree with certain people and I’ve learned to pick my battles. I stand by the work I do and the actions I take in both sides of my life but I also know when it’s constructive or beneficial or pointless to present my perspective with certain people in the world.

One part of my life that I will always defend is my wife.

I received an anonymous message a while ago where the sender questioned how supportive my wife really is. It wasn’t someone looking for… clarification or had a genuine query it came off as more… competitive?

The sender told me alllll about how they and their wife would go shopping together, to the movies together, to dinner, together to, ah, the bedroom together…

It was all very smug. There’s a difference between “my wife is amazing. She goes out for coffee with me and helps me shop” and “I know my wife is supportive because she isn’t ashamed to go out with me. I guess it’s because I look like a “real” girl and she truly loves and accepts me”.

If someone has a supportive partner I am just as happy for them as they are. But you don’t ever need to throw shade at someone to make yourself feel better or to prove something or go out of your way to make someone feel bad.

It’s not a contest. None of *this* is.

The sender wondered how supportive my wife could be if she’s never gone shopping with Hannah. The sender wondered how supportive my wife could be if part of the reason I am not our to everyone in my life is out of respect for her.

Oh girl. This got my blood racing.

I think it’s natural for someone wanting to defend their partner and their choices so that part of me kicked in. My reply was… well, I am not sure how to describe it. But like an email to my boss I edited it, softened it, and reread and rewrote it several times. I hit “send” annnnnd it bounced back. All that effort for a junk email address.

Now I SUPPOSE I could have ignored it and not let it get to me, but again, it’s not unusual to want to defend your partner, their actions, their decisions, their character.

Listen.

This side of us is a LOT to ask of our partners. None of who we are is what our partners signed up for or expected.

Every gender non-conforming person is different.

Every relationship is different.

And of course it goes without saying that every relationship that involves a gender non-conforming person is different.

How two people express affection and love is different than another couple. People have different “love languages”. My wife and I express our love with very gentle teasing and doing small things for each other. Other couples show their emotions in different ways.

Our partners show their acceptance for this side of us in different ways as well.

True, my wife has never gone out with Hannah. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t accept her or doesn’t accept me. The truth is that neither one of us really like leaving the house at all, lol. Our ideal weekend is staying in and ordering food and reading or catching up on a show or taking care of our new home. The idea of going out, no matter my presentation, isn’t as appealing as it was ten years ago.

Unless I am running an errand, I am probably not doing much in the real world unless it’s Hannah enjoying a day out.

And if there are other reasons my wife isn’t hitting the town with Hannah then they are her own and do not invite anyone’s approval or opinion.

…and here they are.

Essentially if she or I were to be seen in public by someone she knows, then it will very likely open up THAT talk. The endless discussion of gender and identity and transgenderness.

The conversation that is exhausting to simply think about.

This side of me is my journey. And it’s also my wife’s journey. One that she never planned on taking.

And honestly? Neither of us have that energy to have that talk. We are both relatively private people and… letting someone into the uniqueness and nuances and intimacy and dynamics of who we are and who I am and who Hannah is is not something we want to do.

It’s like trying to explain a show that has gone on for ten seasons. It would take too long for you to be brought up to speed.

We’re content and at peace and happy.

And if you’re wondering, IF I wanted to transition (and I really don’t) then it’s likely our relationship would respond to that.

But since we’re both, well, settled into who I am, the “what-if’s” are not something we discuss and probably never will.

Support when it comes to this side of us adapts and changes, like any aspect in a relationship. When I came out to my wife as a crossdresser she didn’t understand. When I started wearing a wig and presenting en femme things shifted to fear and confusion. These days it’s “I love you and I love that this makes you happy and I don’t understand it and I hope you have fun and stay safe!”

And it’s perfect for us.

Years ago I wanted more than anything for us to go out together however she wasn’t comfortable. But I never saw her hesitation or reluctance as a lack of love or support.

Because I knew her.

Because she shows her love and support and acceptance in different ways.

She sends links to a hair removal device or other products that she thought I might want to try.

She compliments a specific picture I post.

She calls my outfit for the day cute or describes my heels as WHOA.

These are just examples into how I know how she feels. And it wouldn’t surprise me to hear how your partner supports and accepts you in different or even similar ways.

We bought a new house this past summer and she spent an afternoon looking for some new furniture. She sent over a photo of a cute dresser and asked “Would Hannah want this?”

And yes, Hannah did want that.

I love our new home but it lacks the closet space that our previous house had.

A few hours later the dresser appeared in our room and I spent a Saturday afternoon organizing my lingerie. It was wonderful. An entire drawer dedicated to my bras with their matching panties. A drawer for my camis and yes, their matching panties. Another drawer for basques and bodysuits.

I couldn’t help but think how fortunate I am. To be comfortable with who I am, to have all this beautiful lingerie. To have my wife.

My wife is genuine and sincere. She doesn’t say something unless she means it. She’s diplomatic and polite and gentle and direct in her relationships and because of this I have every reason to believe her when it comes to my gender identity.

Most of the emails I get discuss marriage and relationships. The majority are from other t-girls and crossdressers asking about how to make THIS work. I tell them that every relationship is different and that I don’t know their partner as well as they do and I can’t offer specific advice for them. All I can really do is encourage them to try to look at things from their partner’s perspective and to be honest.

And this isn’t easy to do when we are clouded by the fog.

It’s not uncommon for someone to share their experiences or what their relationship is like when it comes to their gender identity. Some of the common dynamics range from “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to going completely behind their partner’s back. Others have a partner that struts through the mall with them or enjoy a girls night in.

It’s normal for us to want more, though.

We committed to a person because we (presumably and hopefully) love and cherish them. We share a life with them and want to do things with them because they are our best friends. Going grocery shopping is boring but it’s (hopefully) a lot more fun with your partner.

Same thing with our gender identity. We want to do things en femme AND we want to do something we love, something that is important to us with the person we love more than anything in the world.

When it comes to this side of us, if we want more it might be for specific reasons.

I want to go out en femme with my wife because I think it will show that she isn’t embarrassed by me

I want my wife to do my makeup for me

I want to come out to my family but my wife isn’t ready for that

I want to be “the girl” in bed

And yes, I get it. I can relate to many of the things we want or think we want.

Sometimes I am given a glimpse into the dynamics between themselves and their partners when it comes to this side of them.

My wife and I go out as girls but she is only comfortable with me en femme at LGBTQ+ nightclubs

My wife buys me lingerie but doesn’t like it when I wear panties during sex

My wife lets me go out of the house but has requested I not frequent certain parts of town to avoid running into people we know

I mean… these all sound wonderful, to be honest. How many t-girls and crossdressers would absolutely die to have a wife that buys them panties?

Sometimes I’m told these things (and other examples) and it’s followed up by I WANT MORE.

I want to go to church en femme, not just gay bars

I want to wear lingerie when we have sex

I want to go to a mall that my wife said is “off-limits”

Again, I get wanting more. And again, this side of us is a lot to ask. It’s normal to want more. Sometimes what we have is never enough. That’s the fog clouding our heart and mind. And our perspective.

The key to life is loving and appreciating what you have. I mean, yes, there are aspects of our lives that could be better. It would be nice to have a boss that is not completely unhinged and to find a foundation shade that will never be discontinued but, well, life is going to happen.

If you have a wife that buys you dresses or helps you shop or picks up your lipstick for you… well, you have more than most of us could even dare to dream.

Yes, you might want more but appreciate what you have. Acknowledge the stress and feelings and fear and loneliness that this side of us may cause in your partner.

Our partners sacrifice a lot when it comes to this side of us. How many of our wives have stayed up all night stressed or worried about this side of us? How many of our wives have had to share the burden of our secret from others?

I know these things about my wife. And honestly I don’t feel I could ever be a good enough partner to show my appreciation for her.

I try to minimize the inconveniences this side of me creates. I plan my adventures or MN T-Girl events with my wife’s schedule in mind. It’s not much but it’s… something. It’s probably not enough. I feel so grateful for the life I have and my wife helps make… HER happen. Whether it’s shared closet space or teaching me about makeup or encouraging me to start the MN T-Girls and just being patient and firm and trying to understand me and who I am… I don’t know if I could ever be worth it enough.

Getting emails from partners of others like us are pretty frequent. One thing I’m asked, and this breaks my heart a little, is why what they do isn’t, well, enough? Our partners struggle to understand us as much as we can be understood and try to accommodate us to the extent of their comfort level. Not all of us have supportive and/or accepting spouses but there are many partners out there who are doing what they can, what they feel comfortable with, for our femme side.

But again, sometimes we want more.

I let my husband wear panties but he gets angry when I ask him not to wear lingerie when we are intimate

I accept my husband’s feminine side… but SHE is always around. I miss my husband

My husband keeps coming out to friends and family without talking with me first

These are examples of partners who have a level of acceptance but (in my opinion), reasonable boundaries. Boundaries that perhaps at one point their spouses were more than happy to respect. But as time passed… they wanted more.

Which is normal. I get it. I can relate.

But there’s a difference between accepting our partner saying “I’m not ready for that” and, well, us being a bitch when we don’t get what we want. Being passive-aggressive when we are not given permission or the blessing to… go to a different level is really not mature. This side of us has the potential to drive a wedge between us and our partners and when this side of us makes a stressful situation even more so? That’s even more stressful. It’s an example of how crossdressing ITSELF isn’t the problem, it’s the problem that behavior when it comes to crossdressing CREATES. Being bitchy, going behind our partner’s back, overstepping agreed upon boundaries… this causes problems.

This can lead to a good thing, maybe not an ideal thing in our mind, but a good thing turning bad.

I get many emails about asking how to make crossdressing and a relationship work. The short answer is that I worked a LOT on my partnership with my wife. I tried very hard to see EVERYTHING from her point of view, I listened to her the first time she said something, and I stopped (although it took longer than it should have) making THIS the center of everything I did and everything I talked about. I stopped making crossdressing more important than her.

Of course, this is easier said than done. We need a way to express ourselves AND we need to share who we are and what we’re feeling and thinking with our partners. BUT we can do this without overwhelming our partners. Sometimes I want to talk and talk and talk about gender so I turn to blogging. Sometimes I want to go shopping en femme so I hit the mall with another t-girl. Making friends with girls like us is very helpful.

I’ve used this comparison in the past but I have a friend who loves football. Like, LOVES football. Lives, eats, breathes, sleeps football. AND it’s alllllllll he talks about. His wife also loves football but not to the extent of him. For her, going to a game off and on is fine but he is down at the stadium every Sunday tailgating. Then he goes to the game. Then he goes home and watches other games. Then he talks about the game.

He’s a nice guy but not really good at picking up on someone’s vibe, you know?

Instead of driving his wife up the wall with endless and constant talk about football he turned to other ways to share his enthusiasm. He has a lot of other football friends. He made friends to tailgate with. He has directed his love and excitement for something towards others who share his passion. HIs wife is always invited to come along and sometimes she does, but the point is that their entire relationship doesn’t revolve around a sport.

We can learn from them.

Heck, I learned from him. Not every conversation with my wife didn’t have to be about clothes and makeup.

But again, much, much easier said than done.

No one gets exactly what they want in life. Even a dream job has it’s negative aspects, a beautiful dress just might be a LITTLE too snug in some parts, and the dynamic with our partner might not be exactly what we want.

But like a lot of things, we might have it better than we realize. It’s at this moment we need to appreciate what we have and remember that what we have is what someone else would die for.

Listen.

This post is to encourage you to look at your relationship objectively when it comes to this side of you. I get that all of us might want more, but is it possible what you have, the support from your partner is actually… well, more than you thought you would ever have?

Mine is.

A decade ago I wanted nothing more than stepping out with her. It’s what I once wanted. What we have is different than what I thought I wanted, but like the song says, sometimes you get what you need.

Love, Hannah

The Opposite of the Pink Fog

Love and hate are both passionately motivated emotions, however they are not the exact opposite of one another. I was told that the counterpoint of love is indifference, apathy.

And do you know? That’s much worse than hate.

If you’re apathetic or indifferent towards something or someone it really means that you don’t give them (or it) a second thought. And if you do, it sparks no emotion. I mean, even hate is fueled by emotion. You mentally shrug as you realize that something or someone has zero impact on you.

It’s… kind of freeing. But it’s also a little odd. Something that perhaps took up a huge part of your soul or heart at one point is now something you are completely indifferent to.

The singer Regina Spektor compared falling out of love to forgetting the words to your favorite song and what a beautiful and sad comparison that is.

With so much that has happened over the last few years it’s not surprising to learn that so many of us are feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. We’re just tired. We have to struggle to find the emotional or mental bandwidth to process an event or even take action.

The feeling of hopelessness creeps in.

We feel powerless to stop something, we feel powerless to reverse something. It’s tempting to cut our losses and just try to survive.

And yes! This is all very depressing and defeatist. Sorry.

I get questions on occasion asking why I post photos but specifically lingerie photos.

Like this one!

This is not to say that people are asking for any nefarious reason. It’s not like they’re saying “you look horrible, why are you posting this?” It’s just more of a curiosity question. Like, damn, those pictures are revealing. Why post something where you show so much skin?

I tried to answer why I post pictures a few days ago. It was, like many of my posts, a long and rambling and likely unsatisfying answer. But based on the emails I received in response to this was that a lot of t-girls “get” it. I said the short answer was vanity and it’s true, but other t-girls told me that it’s also about affirmation (and I totally agree) but it’s also because life is pretty short (although it doesn’t always feel that way).

So, I post lingerie photos because I love lingerie, I am (for the most part) confident in my body, and because one day I won’t be able to.

These all sound like very positive and inspiring reasons. BUT I could also take on a very different attitude in thinking that nothing really matters and I may as well do whatever I want because everything is going to hell and I really don’t have the energy or motivation to care.

And there’s the opposite of love. The apathy and indifference.

Not caring about what someone thinks can be a constant back and forth of “your opinion has no impact on me” and “nothing matters and who cares”. Swinging back and forth between inspiring and depressing.

When exhaustion and apathy and feeling overwhelmed cloud our heart and mind, it’s not uncommon to make choices that don’t align with our character or principles or weighing the potential fallout of an action.

This is not unlike the Pink Fog.

When we are lost in the fog we are so giddy with THIS that we make decisions that aren’t always the best or could have a consequential impact in the future.

Apathy does something similar. Like we KNOW we should complete that work assignment or pay that bill or schedule that doctor appointment… but we are feeling overwhelmed, we are spent, we are tired. We put it off, we ignore it, we hope it goes away. But it doesn’t and soon things are worse.

My wife and I moved back in August. The first weekend here we unpacked and organized and hung pictures and alllll that stuff. It was exhausting and overwhelming.

I had one box that needed to be sorted and it sat in my office for weeks. WEEKS. Everything else was organized except that one box. It sat in a corner for a very long time. I saw it several times throughout the day and instead of tackling it I just felt tired. And yes, this is a little silly.

And then one day I sorted it and finished the task. It took less than ten minutes and like many things I wondered why in the world I didn’t do this sooner considering how little time it took.

So, what does this feeling of hopeless and exhaustion has to do with this side of us?

When we are in the fog we are finally unshackled from the part of our soul that held this side of us back. We are more alive than ever before. We are happy, we are free, we are confident, we are excited. This can easily lead to spending money that we shouldn’t or coming out to someone without really considering the implications.

Although the days of being enveloped and influenced by the fog are mostly behind me, it’s not uncommon for me to feel apathetic about this side of myself when it comes to protecting my gender identity.

Simply put, I don’t want to have THE TALK with anyone else in my life anymore. Although it’d be nice for some of my friends to know Hannah, I am exhausted at the idea of coming out. Maybe I should do a Powerpoint and tell people I am not taking any further questions.

It’d be easy to have the attitude or perspective of just doing what I want (and presenting how I want) at any given time and to hell with the consequences or what someone else thinks.

I mean, that sounds inspiring but that wouldn’t be the motivation of wearing whatever I please.

As I write this I am wearing faux leather leggings and a femme top. I am, in my opinion, crossdressing. What I mean is that I am masculine presenting (no wig or makeup and with a few days worth of facial hair) but I am wearing “girl clothes”.

It’d be nice to leave the house wearing this outfit to run errands. I like these clothes, they’re comfortable, and well, I just like wearing “girl clothes”.

These days it’s a lot more… hm, tempting to just do that. Or rather it’s not as easy to come up with reasons why I shouldn’t.

And it’s not because this side of me is growing stronger. It’s not because I WANT to present as non-binary or gender non-conforming. It’s not because my gender identity is evolving or shifting.

It’s because I just don’t care.

I am exhausted and don’t have the energy to care.

See? Apathy. Indifference.

So, what’s holding me back? It’s recognizing that this feeling is not much different than the Pink Fog. I might not see anyone I know at the store while I am wearing faux leather leggings and a femme top buuuuut a lot of people know my wife. I may not care about what others think of me, especially someone I’ve never met or will ever see again.

But I do care how others see my wife.

Specifically I don’t want people to think my wife is naïve or foolish. My wife understand me as much as someone can. She accepts me and is at peace with my identity. She gets it.

And! We both understand that it would take a lot of time and energy for someone other than ourselves to have that same level of clarity.

Time and energy we just don’t have.

It’s like being asked to run a dozen errands after a very, very long day at work and you just want to get home and sit on your couch. I don’t want to stop at Target, I don’t want to go to the store, I don’t want to clean the house. I just want to take a break from everything.

Many of you have had the same talks that I have had.

“I’m transgender but I don’t want to transition.”

“I wear lingerie but this isn’t a fetish.”

“I wear femme clothes but I am not into men.”

And so on.

It’s not uncommon for these statements to be met with a HUGE amount of skepticism. No matter how much we tell someone else about the delicate balance of who we are and who we are not, some people just think we are in denial and that time will tell.

The passing of time with either prove we are right or we are wrong or we are in denial. I’ve always told my wife that I have no desire to transition and so far (not that I expect it to change) this has been consistent. Of course, I have also known a lot of t-girls who said the same thing and fast forward a few years later and, well, things have changed.

My wife has always made it clear that she doesn’t want to be taken for a fool. Like, “oh your husband wears dresses but he doesn’t want to transition? Sure, whatever you say. But we’ll see”.

I mean, that’s understandable and relatable and completely fair. She’s not a fool and I don’t want THIS side of me to add any more stress than it already has. I mean, a transgender spouse is not something she signed up for.

Keep in mind I am not talking about outing myself as a t-girl. I am referring to outing myself as a crossdresser. I think less people would recognize me when I am presenting as Hannah compared to being recognized as my wife’s husband wearing femme clothes. In a sense, it’s… “safer” for Hannah to at the mall than my male side in leggings.

A lot of us have partners who accept us but have requested some boundaries such as refraining from posting photos or dressing outside of the home. My marriage also has boundaries when it comes to who I am and one of them is not intentionally being careless. Another is not letting my guard down. Essentially doing what I can to avoid outing myself. Not making the choices that the Pink Fog is notorious for.

I don’t think these requests are unreasonable. I want to respect my wife in every aspect, especially when it comes to my identity. I think a rule for relationships is to do what you can to make your partner’s life easier… or at the very least, avoid doing things that would make their lives harder.

And this side of us is not a walk in the park.

Although I feel overwhelmed and apathetic about much of the world, my wife has always tethered me to reality, to the positive aspects of life. Reminding me that there’s still good out there and reason to be optimistic. To not throw everything away.

She is the voice of reason and the smartest thing I do is listen to her.

If you’re feeling alone, tired, hopeless, please know there is hope. There is help. There is support. There is light.

Trans Lifeline is a national trans-led 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to improving the quality of trans lives by responding to the critical needs of our community with direct service, material support, advocacy, and education. Our vision is to fight the epidemic of trans suicide and improve overall life-outcomes of trans people by facilitating justice-oriented, collective community aid. 

Need to talk? Call! Our peer support hotline is run by and for trans people. We’re available 7am-1am PST / 9am-3am CST / 10am-4am EST. Volunteers may be available during off hours.

Love, Hannah

Listen

If we are fortunate, we will live long enough to learn. If we are wise, we will choose to learn from our experiences and grow. If we are truly wise we can learn from others’ experiences.

There are times when I look back and wish I knew then what I know now. Often these moments are when I hear how I impacted someone with my actions or words.

I had a colleague years ago that had a very sarcastic sense of humor. He was hilarious. I would try my best to match his wit and to be as funny as he was. Often my attempts were about as misguided as you could imagine. I thought he would take my “humor” as gentle teasing, the way friends sometimes do among themselves.

The problem was that my humor wasn’t clever and after a few weeks he told me he was tired of me constantly making fun of him. I was shocked that he took my comments the way he did. It wasn’t my intention at all.

It was a reminder that the importance of our comments and actions is all about how they make someone else feel… even if it’s not what we meant at all.

I felt horrible. In retrospect he was absolutely correct. His sense of humor was targeted towards a situation… never individual people. He was sarcastic but never made fun of a specific person. But in my stupid attempt to be funny I resorted to making fun of HIM.

I felt horrible. Even now that moment pops into my head and I replay the conversation we had when he bravely, well, stood up to me. I’m sure he thought (and rightly so) that I was an asshole, a bully. I cringe at thinking I was the reason he hated going to work every day.

We cleared the air and got along… better after that. But my God, I am sure he hated me. I hate knowing that I made someone feel that way.

I learned from this. I wish this lesson didn’t have to be learned by making someone feel as horribly as I made them feel.

Of course, THIS side of us is always about learning. How to walk in heels, how to blend foundation, how to do all the tiny, numerous, practical aspects of presenting femme. There are countless tutorials online that teach the… hm, technical parts of all THIS.

The emotional part of this is what is the hardest. Learning to accept this side of yourself is not the step-by-step process that learning makeup is. The emotional part is not only about how we feel and think about ourselves, but can also include how who we are impacts the other people in our world.

Now, I am not referring to the random people we pass by at the mall or the transphobic jerks that say nasty comments online. I’m speaking specifically about our partners.

When my journey diverted from exclusively lingerie and underdressing to presenting femme, wearing a wig and “real” clothes, adopting a femme name and identity, and going out into the world my wife witnessed every single step. She was also there for every mistake, both practical and emotional.

That’s not to say she was going out with me. What I mean is that she was there when I purchased my first real wig online, she was there when I was learning makeup, when I decided on a femme name, and a million other key moments. She saw me evolve and change. Literally.

We both went though this but our point of view was very different. As thrilling as it was to shave my legs, it made my wife feel apprehensive about someone noticing my smooth legs and wondering why I was doing that… and perhaps putting two and two together.

I was very concerned about what she thought and felt about “all this”. But what I failed to acknowledge was how… impactful all of this was on her. Every new milestone could potentially trigger a new emotion or fear. My wife being accepting of me wearing panties doesn’t necessarily mean she would be comfortable with me going to the mall en femme. Both of these situations are different and opened up new fears, new emotions, new thoughts.

But being concerned doesn’t mean I was making the right decisions. It didn’t make me listen.

Why? If I was “concerned” why was I making bad decisions?

I was lost in the fog. I was so focused on myself that I didn’t always listen to her or pay attention to her nonverbal communications. When you are with someone for long enough you can usually sense when something ISN’T fine, even when they say it is. Sometimes it just means that they are not ready to talk about something.

I was also drinking a lot back then. When I was drinking or hungover my thought process, my ability to think things through and consider the potential consequences was pretty bad, to be honest.

After what as been more or less a ten year journey for myself but also for my wife and ultimately for US, we have both settled into my gender identity. I think the days of her wondering and worrying I would want to transition are gone and that the desire to come out to others has dissipated. No new milestones, no new paths on my adventure. Hannah has arrived to where she was heading to.

There is a peace in myself but also between my wife and I when it comes to who I am.

Of course this wasn’t ever easy. At first it was one major new leap after another. With each new THING, whether it was a wig or a name or starting the MN T-Girls or stepping out, new fears and concerns and emotions surfaced. These emotions for me were pink filled moments of excitement. For my wife… not so much.

Now that we are at the point that we are at, I can look back at the past. It’s not unlike being at the top of a mountain and seeing how far you’ve climbed and being able to recall the points where you stumbled. The hard parts. The moments you wanted to turn back. We’re at a point where my wife can tell me things like “When you were first doing THIS, it made me feel THIS way”. She can tell me she told me she was fine with something but in reality it really was stressful. She can tell me that in the early days how lonely she felt because she couldn’t talk to anyone about her husband’s wardrobe.

It’s very possible she tried to tell me these things at the time. As I said I was lost in the fog, drunk, hungover, and just too focused on me, too focused on Hannah, to really listen.

I’m glad she told me these things then as well as after the fact. I’m glad she feels secure to tell me how I made her feel. Of course I feel horrible about all this. To realize how selfish and self-absorbed as I was.

It’s another example of how often it’s not the crossdressing ITSELF that is the problem… it’s the things that can come FROM it.

I am often reminded of my selfishness, my self-centeredness, my carelessness, and my mistakes when I receive an email from a partner of a crossdresser.

Something that may be worth keeping in mind is how similar t-girls and crossdressers are. Many, many of us had the same feelings and desires as we grew up, as we came to understand and accept who we are. Many of us can relate to each other. Many of us have done, and want to do, the same things as each other.

We also make the same choices. These are not always the right choices. I admit I didn’t always make the best decisions when it came to this side of me years ago. These decisions impacted my wife. If you made the same choices as I did, it, it may be safe to assume they also affected your own partner in the same way my choices affected my wife.

Listen.

WE are all very similar. And our partners? They are all very similar as well. Why is that? Well, they are all involved with someone that most of the world thinks is a big, tough, manly man… but in the privacy of their own home, or in the safety of the internet… things are not what they seem. Our wives, partners, and girlfriends can all relate to each other in this.

If we as crossdressers and t-girl make poor decisions we will more than likely cause our partners to feel and experience the very same emotions and thoughts that my wife experienced.

The emails I get from partners of crossdressers are all strikingly similar. I am saying this not only to let those like myself know this, but also if your partner crossdresses I want you to know that although you feel alone in this, there are countless other wives and girlfriends who can relate to you. This side of us is complicated for us, but it is complicated in different ways for our partners.

Please know this. I am not wise. I am not, and have never been, the world’s greatest spouse. I am not the most enlightened crossdresser on the planet. If anything, I am fairly introspective, I am an overthinker, and I read a lot. In this example, I read a lot of emails and comments from the partners of people like myself.

During those early days I was absorbed with myself. With Hannah. I wasn’t paying that much attention to what my wife was feeling. I was lost in the fog, I was drinking, I wasn’t who I wanted to be and I wasn’t who I am today.

I was only listening to myself.

If I could turn back time and talk to myself, if I could talk to Hannah in those exciting and selfish days… well, maybe I would listen.

But I can’t do that. But maybe I can talk to you.

I am not here to preach, to lecture, to shake my finger at you. That would be hypocritical. If I think you are making a mistake it’s only because I made the same mistake. I didn’t know it at the time but in hindsight I realize so many decisions were, to say the least, selfish.

What I will say here are what many, many of our partners are telling me. And it’s very possible it’s YOUR own wife that emailed me. A lot of the emails I receive say things along the line of “…my husband reads your website…”

I know this side of us is not always easy… and it’s not always easy to hear how we as human beings can negatively impact others. I think I will forever be haunted when I remember how my colleague felt, how lonely my wife was, the countless other interactions and relationships I’ve had over the years where I said or did the wrong thing…

This rambling post is an effort, from one crossdresser to another, to let you know what your partner might be feeling based on emails I’ve received. What they might want to tell you. Perhaps what they already have told you… but their words fell on deaf ears.

Admittingly some of this might be hard to hear and hard to swallow. I can relate. I often had to brace myself when my wife would say “I need to talk with you about something” and I absolutely knew what we would be discussing.

For the sake of simplicity, I am going to use the word “wife” as opposed to alternating between “partner”, “spouse”, or “significant other”. Most emails I get from our partners are indeed our wives so let’s stick with that.

Once again, I want to reiterate that I am absolutely not holier than thou. Every single thing here is what my wife and I discussed over the years. I am as flawed as anyone.

I also want to make it clear that I am absolutely writing this from my perspective and my own interpretation. I am very aware I could be missing the mark on this.

What Is Your Wife Feeling?

In a word, overwhelmed. She is trying hard to understand YOU, the WHY, the REASONS. I know this side of you might be incredibly simple but, well, it’s not.

She wants to be supportive and wants you to live your truth BUT feels she is putting her feelings aside and is focusing on YOU. Some wives feel like they have to sacrifice their own desires and needs and be loving and giving. If you have kids you have likely seen your wife put aside her own needs for your children… whether it’s giving up sleep or a job or a social life. Some women feel that is expected of them. She might putting her needs aside for YOU and for this side of you.

What Is Your Wife Having a Hard Time With?

The CONSTANT conversation about clothes, makeup, going out together…

Trust me, if you’ve asked her ONCE about going out as girls and she declined you don’t need to ask her again. She remembers. She knows the offer is still out there. She knows you still want to do this. If and when she is ready she will let you know. Repeated requests and bringing it up again is not going to help and will probably, hm, backfire on you.

And yes it’s super fun to talk about clothes and style and fashion. For many of us we’ve been wanting to talk about this side of us for years, especially with our wives… and when we get the chance it is like a breaking dam. It’s a relief for us… but can be very overwhelming for our partners. Reel it in a little.

Your wife may also be tired of the CONSTANT same thing in the bedroom. Intimacy between people is a balance of “oh, THIS again?” and “Wow, WHERE did you learn that?”. It’s not uncommon for people to try new things in the bedroom. People enjoying sex with each other might take some time. Learning what you like with that person, learning what that person likes… just finding a flow that works for you both that is satisfying and sincere and fun.

Roleplaying, fantasies, costumes… all of these things can change the dynamic between people. If your wife wears… you know, THAT nightgown you probably knows what she is trying to communicate to you. PAY ATTENTION.

Aaaand of course, WE want to wear a nightgown too. And likely other things. Sometimes our wives are, well, up for it. Your wife knows you wear lingerie. She knows you probably want to (and you might already) wear something sexy, something femme to bed. This changes the moment. You may put on something cute and you may want to… hm, be the girl, for lack of a better phrase. Your wife might be into that, but maaaaybe not all the time. She maybe wants to have sex with her MAN. Your wife, again, for lack of a better phrase, might want to be the girl. To be the cute one. To be the sexy one. It might take her out of the moment if her husband’s lingerie is cuter than hers. Cue her feeling insecure.

And yes, I know we have needs too and I love lingerie on an almost obsessive level but this side of us is a lot to take in. A lot to put up with.

Sex is not always about SEX. Sex is sometimes an intimate moment between two people. Two people who have committed to a life together. It’s a time to enjoy each other, a moment of refuge from a demanding life. A crossdressing husband brings a lot of baggage and tension and stress. Intimacy is a break from deadlines and Zoom meetings and household chores and bills… and she might also want a break from her man’s penchant for bras.

And yes, she is very likely really hesitant and reluctant to bring this up to you.

What Is Your Wife Afraid of?

She’s afraid you are in denial. This was my wife’s fear. No matter how many times we discussed that I was not strutting towards transition she had a very, very hard time believing that. In retrospect I don’t blame her at all. We went from me telling her that I liked to wear panties to a femme name and going out en femme in a couple of very short and quick years. It seemed like I was going a million miles an hour towards estrogen. It felt inevitable to her.

Time dissipated this fear for her. Somehow she held in there until enough time passed for her to be at peace with this side of me. This was a LOT for her, it was too much. She felt so alone. My heart breaks a little when I remember these days for her.

My words meant nothing to her. It was a little hard to believe me when I was en femme and telling her that I didn’t want to be full time. I mean, she saw how happy I was. She perceived that this side of me made me happy (and it does) and thought (and understandably so) I always wanted to be this happy and would want to transition.

I didn’t have the perspective on who I am at this time. I didn’t have the words to reassure her. I wish I had been seeing a counselor at this time. Not because I needed help understanding who I was, but I think if she knew I was speaking with a trained professional about my identity AND still feeling that transitioning wasn’t for me then she might have felt a little more at ease.

So, perhaps seek out a therapist, one that specializes in gender if you can. You don’t need to see a therapist every week for years… even a few sessions can be helpful.

Your wife is afraid of coming off as non-supportive. This can be… hm, this can feel hypocritical for people in our lives. My siblings and mom are fierce advocates and allies of the LGBTQ+ community. BUT this side of their brother is a little… well, it is taking some time for them to be comfortable with.

Your wife might be in a similar situation. She may have a lot of gay friends and you might (naturally) assume that her having and loving her gay friends is just a hop, skip, and a strut away from loving a gender queer spouse. It’s not. For any of us that have come out to our partners we likely know this from experience.

This was something that I learned early on. Based on the friendships my siblings have, I (naively) assumed they would also be enthusiastic and supportive of me. They are… they were… in their way. It wasn’t instantaneous. It was an adjustment for them.

Your wife might also be afraid of someone finding out which I wrote more about more in depth here.

She is afraid you will cheat on her. It’s normal for our partners to think that because we are blurring the lines of gender that we may also be blurring the lines of sexuality. She likely has wondered if you are gay, to be honest. Although to many of us wearing panties has absolutely nothing to do with being intimate with a man, it’s not that simple, not yet anyway, to our partners.

Listen, the Pink Fog can be dangerous. Your wife has likely already felt that THIS side of us is making us do things that contradict what she is used to. I’ve heard from wives telling me that their husbands are very fiscally responsible so it was a huge shock to learn that their spouse just dropped hundreds of dollars on heels.

This side of us can tempt us to do things out of character… including cheating. A common fear that I hear from our wives is that if they request that you stop wearing lingerie during sexy times it may lead you to looking for someone else to dress up and be intimate with.

And yes, I know that this didn’t cross your mind. It certainly didn’t cross my mind when my wife expressed this fear. Regardless, it’s something many of our wives are thinking.

What Are You Not Hearing?

Years ago I spent the day out en femme. When I got home my wife asked about my day and I told her where I went. After a moment she reminded me that she requested I not go to a certain mall that I went to that day. She has too many friends who go there on the weekend and was afraid someone would see me.

This is understandable and reasonable.

However, I had no recollection of this request. I do one hundred percent believe her though. This was a perfect example of our partners setting a boundary and me absolutely not listening. It’s very possible I HEARD it but quickly forgot about. Again, the Pink Fog…

Some of us let a boundary request go in one ear and out the other. Some of us ignore it. If she asks not to post a photo, leave the house, or whatever else, please listen to her. Please don’t try to get away with it. Again, it’s not always the crossdressing ITSELF that is the problem… it’s the things that can come FROM it.

Some of our wives feel like they are talking to a brick wall when it comes to this side of us. This side of us, as I mentioned above, can find it’s way into the bedroom. Intimacy, sexy time, fun in the bedroom… there’s a lot going on between two people. Sometimes sex is raw, passionate, intense. Sometimes it’s gentle, an expression of a love and commitment. Regardless, it’s something that both of you need to feel satisfied with.

That satisfaction is more than the PHYSICAL. It can also be emotional and respectful. If your wife asked you once not to do THAT or touch her THERE then you need to listen. It’s not always easy but we need to pay attention to what our wives are saying, feeling, and responding to… especially in bed. If you feel her energy shift when she sees you in a cute bra and panty then maybe take them off.

And I don’t know about you, but what I am wearing can change my mood. If a work week brought stress and frustration I can bounce back from it by getting dolled up and spending a Saturday en femme. This is also felt when I am being lazy in leggings and a femme shirt (like I am wearing right now) or feeling sexy in lingerie.

I have received emails from wives who tell me that their man is a raw and sexual animal… but when they are in lingerie suddenly they are submissive.

Look, roleplay is a normal and fun thing in the bedroom… BUT it requires a new level of communication. If your wife tells you that she is uncomfortable with SOMETHING, then don’t do it. If your wife doesn’t like being called _________ during sex, then don’t do it.

Likewise if she asks you to leave your lingerie in your dresser during sex then listen to her. She has needs too and they can go beyond her sexual needs. She needs to feel respected and listened to.

And yes, you have needs too. It’s very likely you WANT to wear lingerie during sex. After all, lingerie and sex is pretty synonymous with each other. It’s normal to be aroused while wearing a Basque and stockings. It’s natural to want to be more aroused during intimacy and let’s face it, wearing something cute or slutty or sexy is a GREAT way to do that.

Some wives are afraid you are having only having sex because it’s an excuse, a chance to dress up and the sex is not about desiring HER.

That being said, let your wife set the boundaries here. Have this discussion OUTSIDE of the bedroom. Ask her what she thinks of you wearing lingerie.

Her response will likely go a few different ways.

“I don’t mind it, but please, not all the time”

“It kinda bugs me that you have sexier lingerie than I do”

“I am afraid that if I am not wearing something equally cute you may not be turned on by me”

“Aren’t I enough? Why do you need to wear lingerie?”

“Lingerie changes you… sometimes I like you being “a girl” in bed, but I am not always into that”

“I support your crossdressing but please, could you not dress up when we are having sex?”

These might be disappointing, to say the least, to hear. Of course we would prefer our wives to say that their man wearing a bra makes them very horny and that you should go buy more lingerie but that’s not likely going to happen. Sorry.

Please know that whatever she says about this topic likely required an insane amount of courage. It’s likely something she’s been wanting to tell you but could never find the opportunity or the right words.

Whatever she says, listen.

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

Hi Hannah. I am at a point well beyond hating myself for who I am. I have tried to give up crossdressing more times than I care to count and every time I come back to it. I told my wife a while back and it created such friction that I had to tell her I gave up crossdressing just for the sake of keeping the peace. Now it needs to be said that the dressing wasn’t the only cause of our problems, they extend far beyond the reach of only my little affliction. I completely understand that my wife would have issues with it, and for the sake of my own sanity I am more than happy to pretend that I have stopped and go back to the way things were (even though that bell can’t be unrung). I have had a handful of adventures dressed up that I keep completely to myself. Over the years (and because of issues completely unrelated to my dressing) I have reached a place where I don’t really care if we remain together or not. So I guess my question for you is, if you either never met your wife or you two had to go your separate ways, can you imagine yourself going through life on your own? And as a bonus question (I don’t know if you have kids or not), but would you share this side of yourself with your kids or keep it from them into perpetuity?

I believe people need other people. I think we have evolved to be cooperative and that we need the companionship of others… whether it’s the partnership of a spouse or a circle of friends. I like my solitude but I don’t think I could live alone.

Who I share my gender identity with, whether it’s family, friends, colleagues, or anyone else is determined by whether they need to know. Although it would be nice for Hannah to have coffee with some of the people HE knows, the thought of coming out and all of that it brings is exhausting to me. I don’t feel that anyone else in my life, at this point of my life, needs to know.

Please don’t hate who you are. Please. That will only lead to darkness.

And please. Seek out counseling. Whether it’s for you and your spouse or for you on your own. You are not alone in your gender identity. Please, please, talk to someone who is smarter than I am.

Love, Hannah

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Ask Hannah!

I recently told my wife of 16 years, about Rayne. She’s seems to be supportive, right now, and very confused, as I have been for almost 40 years, why I’m attracted to womens clothes. Nothing frilly, past that stage, I love the new styles, and I do have a desire to go in public. I was wondering, do you wear panties everyday, and who does Hannah’s laundry?

Preparing to do laundry

Hi! Yes, I underdress every day. Mostly it’s just panties but sometimes I’ll wear a matching cami as well. As for household chores, we split them pretty evenly and I usually do the majority of our laundry.

Please show your wife kindness and patience as she navigates this part of her life. These posts may be helpful to both of you.

Love, Hannah

Have a question for me?  Oh yes you do.  Ask me here!

Her Journey

If there’s anything I’ve learned after over ten years of blogging (do they still call it that anymore??) about crossdressing/transfeminity it’s that we all have so much in common. Most of us “got started” very young when we became enamored with anything from pretty dresses to lingerie to makeup. Many of us didn’t feel quite right doing “boy things” or bristled at the idea of BOY clothes or GIRL clothes.

We have shared experiences when it comes to what makes us happy. The joy of wearing panties for the first time. The excitement of finding heels that fit. The exhilaration of our reflections after our first makeover. The feeling of conquering all fears when we step out of the house en femme for the first time… or the thousandth.

We have also felt less desirable emotions. The crushing dysphoria when we don’t look as cute as we would like. Feeling we are “too male” to be pretty. The shame we are told to feel when we do or wear anything that is considered feminine.

Buuuut something we don’t talk about much is the… well, bad things that some of us do.

And I am not innocent by any means.

When I look back at the early years of when my wife and I were both discovering the depth of my gender identity I made a lot of decisions that were selfish and not completely thought through. I may have been lost in the Pink Fog or affected by a different kind of fog but the point is that I wasn’t always making the right choices.

What do I mean? Back then I spoke endlessly about clothes and makeup. All of THIS was overwhelming as it was but I didn’t pick up, or I ignored my wife’s cues when she needed a break from her husband babbling about high heels. I kept suggesting she and I go out dressed despite her telling me that she wasn’t ready for that.

I felt a little powerless when it came to the hold that my femme side had on me. It was overwhelming for my wife but it was also overwhelming for me as well. All of these desires and longings came rushing out, like a dam breaking and I just couldn’t find the balance of how THIS would fit into my life, my marriage.

This side of is complicated and multi-faceted and touches on all aspects of our lives and it’s easy to connect the dots as to how this revelation (not only to our partners but to ourselves as well) impacts EVERYTHING.

Having any sort of non-cisgender identity is hard enough as it is for our partners but we often put them through stress and fears as we try to navigate these strange new waters. My wife wondered (to say the least) if I was going to transition. Despite me telling her otherwise it was hard for her to believe this at the rate I was going. Discovering who you are is a journey but from her perspective this part of my journey wasn’t a slow, steady wandering… it was going a million miles an hour.

Nothing I said or did eased her concerns or fears. It took time. It took conversation. It required me to stop drinking. It took counseling. It took self-reflection. I “calmed down” over time. I made friends with other t-girls and found support, even if it was just a friend to go shoe shopping with. I LISTENED to my wife. And I committed to doing the things that she needed from her partner, her husband… from Hannah.

Accepting your own gender identity isn’t necessarily easy. Marriage takes effort. Both of these things together?? Buckle up.

I am fortunate she stuck by me. After all, THIS wasn’t what she signed up for. I think some people are afraid of what would happen if their partner had an affair… but not many people speculate on what their life would be impacted by their partner coming out as anything other than cis of straight.

Earlier this year I wrote the longest article in the history of the internet (obviously I am exaggerating) and it has generated a lot of emails… mostly from partners of crossdressers.

I mentioned above how much we have in common when it comes to what we wear or how similar our journeys are… but these emails have reminded me how similar the journeys of our partners are.

My journey wasn’t completely easy but it has had so many amazing moments. Photo shoots, finding THE dress, going out en femme…

My wife’s journey? Stress. Fear. Apprehension. Annoyance. Anger. Exhaustion. Confusion. This was, this is HER journey. A journey she did not plan for or expect or want to have.

My journey brought happiness and stilettos. Her journey had few bright spots.

This side of us impacts our spouses and significant others in many of the same ways. Our partners wonder if they themselves aren’t pretty or feminine enough. The same fears of us wanting to transition. The same lack of trust that this revelation came bring.

What has surprised me the most over the years of exchanging emails with partners of crossdressers is that *most* are actually fine with their man wearing panties. They may not understand but they get that this side of us isn’t going away.

But it’s the other things that this side of us brings that causes the most stress… anger… fear… annoyance… among other things.

For example:

My husband only wants to be the girl in the bedroom

My husband keeps asking me to go out en femme with him but I am not ready

My husband lied

My husband spent money on clothes when it was needed to make the car payment

My husband is posting photos of himself online when we agreed on not doing that

And so on.

None of these things are about crossdressing ITSELF. It’s about the other things we are prone to do.

I am not calling anyone out. Again, I am not innocent and I think it’s important that we acknowledge what our partners experience. It’s easy to be selfish and neglect our partner’s fears and insecurities and thoughts.

God knows I know this.

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

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.

Love, Hannah

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