Ask Hannah!

Wife and I been together for 10 years. She has always known I have dressed. Recently I brought up that I would like to take things further and start wearing norm day clothes, a wig and makeup. My wife says she wants to grow with me but is very reserved. How can I talk to her and make her more comfortable with expressing how she feels too?

Patience.

Understand that while you may want to go a zillions miles per hour and dive right into dresses and eyeliner and wigs and stilettos, she will likely need and want to take this very, very, very slowly. And gradually.

Let her take the lead, if you will.

Encourage her to seek support, whether it is with counseling for herself or for the pair of you.

Be prepared to hear things you don’t want to hear. Be receptive of what she tells you. There may be times where she needs a break from seeing you en femme.

Marriage is something we work for every single day. Gender identity is… it’s enormous. The two together is going to take a lot of communication and effort. There are a lot of aspects and nuances to this that would take a long, long post to cover and even that would be the tip of the iceberg. I’ve written a lot, and I mean A LOT about marriage and gender identity and have discussed everything from sex to boundaries to making mistakes. If you want my perspective on this, please spend some time reading about marriage and crossdressing here.

Love, Hannah

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

Ask Hannah!

 i am a long time closet cross dreser, my wife knows of me cross dressing, she has seen me dressing up and tells me when i can dress up. she has given me a dress that does not fit her or her friend, so she gave it to me thinking it would fit. yes, it does and i told her. she will not let me sit in same room as her and talk like 2 females. i under dress a lot and have more female cloths and make up and perfume then she does and even dress up like a female should. not pants and shirt look. she cross dresses like a man so why can not i dress like a female. i only dress up when our last adult child is at work. when i dress up i feel great about my self and look pretty. foundation and cover up i don’t know how to apply them just yet. how can i get my wife to under stand the cross dressing world? she seen me dressing up but will not be more excepting to my cross dressing. she know and lets me dress up, but will not let me sit in same room is what i don’t understand. thanks for your time

Okay, let’s jump in.

It’s not a surprise you have more clothes than your wife. I know I do and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was true for many crossdressers. Please remember that femininity is not a competition. You are not in a contest with your wife when it comes to your wardrobe, makeup, or perfume.

Women can dress however they damn well please.

and

There’s no such thing as a woman dressing like a woman should.

We good?

There’s nothing you can do or say to get your wife to understand your crossdressing besides communication but even that isn’t a guarantee. This is not the same thing as acceptance. Crossdressing is hard to understand, it’s hard to put into words. I don’t even understand why I crossdress and I have been doing it since I was in kindergarten.

It sounds like have your wife’s acceptance and I would rather have my wife ACCEPT my crossdressing than UNDERSTAND my crossdressing.

She may be aware you crossdress but this side of us is a lot to ask and she likely struggles with this side of you. It may be difficult for her to see you dressed up, even if she knows that you do. Be patient with her, be gentle with her, be kind to her. Be worth it.

And listen to her.

And accept that she may never be comfortable with seeing you dressed.

Almost all of us want MORE from our significant others when it comes to this side of us. In all honesty you have more than most crossdressers have when it comes to your relationship. I mean, your wife KNOWS you crossdress. It doesn’t sound like she is trying to STOP you from crossdressing. And goodness, she GAVE YOU A DRESS. So many crossdressers would love for their wife to give them a dress. If she doesn’t want to see you dressed, then perhaps you need to drop the idea and be thankful and grateful for what you have.

Love, Hannah

Related reading

Marriage

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

Why Having a Crossdressing Husband is the Most Stressful Thing EVER

Okay, fasten your garter belts, this is a loooong one.

Look, if I have a, hm, a mission statement when it comes to my website is that I try to be supportive, realistic, and honest. I feel I am fairly self-aware and not oblivious to how who we are impacts our lives and the relationships that we have, particularly the relationships we have with our significant others. I want to be sincere and real when it comes to this side of us, whether it’s how humbling and how wonderful who we are is, or how to accept that passing isn’t real and that the world loves us and hates us more than we could possibly imagine.

This side of us is complicated. It doesn’t always make our life or our relationships any easier. I am not saying it can’t or won’t, but I think we all can relate to how our gender identity likely caused some stress and tension and uncertainty at some point in our lives.

It can also create, for lack of a better term, an identity crisis. Most of us wonder who we are at some point in our journey. Am I a crossdresser? Am I transgender? Am I gay? Am I a lesbian when I am en femme? Am I in denial? Is this is a phase? Oh, this list goes on.

Questions about identity and labels can be confusing and overwhelming. It’s typical to overthink them. I know I do. It’s normal to not care about labels but the next day we are back to pondering which label suits us best and what that label means.

And goodness, this is stressful, but this is a side of us that has likely always been there. We may be comfortable and confident with who we are. It may have taken decades but at some point we will likely get to a place, mentally and emotionally, where we are secure with who we are in terms of gender identity. In some instances we have adapted to the stress and have learned to live with it.

But as stressful at this is for us, it’s… it’s a lot for our significant others. No matter how often I assured my wife that I did not want to transition, it took a long, long, long time for her to see that I didn’t want to take that step. And the time it took for her to be at peace with who I am also came with fears, doubts, and tears.

Not only do I try to be realistic about this side of us when it comes to clothes and how we present and the expectations and hopes and dysphoria that who we are brings, I also try to be realistic when it comes to how our gender identity can impact our relationship with our significant others.

I get emails from partners of crossdressers who have fears and questions. These emails may even come from YOUR wife. It’s not uncommon to read an email that begins with “my husband reads your website” or to see that someone found my site by searching the words “my husband crossdresses”.

I do my best to be gentle. I try to be sincere and kind. Rose-colored panties YES, rose-colored glasses NO. Sugar coating this side of us does little good. I can recall when my wife looked for support and resources when it came to her trying to understand this side of me. The internet wasn’t much help and often amplified her fears. Yes, I told her that this wasn’t a sexual thing, but Google “helpfully” provided her with dating websites about hooking up with a crossdresser. Thanks, internet.

Sometimes the search results come off as tooooo light-hearted and naïve to be helpful. I wrote about this recently and it inspired me to try to write a similar list with hopefully a little more of a realistic perspective.

The purpose of this list is to acknowledge that this side of one’s significant other is likely going to be stressful, overwhelming, and confusing, to say the least. Our partners have questions, fears, and a lot of thoughts and emotions about who we are. It does little good to downplay any of these things. I am going to be as honest and as gentle as I can in this little (well, it’s not little at all) list as I can be.

This is also the longest thing I have ever written in MY LIFE. This post has been compiled by the many emails I have received over the years from wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, fiancées, partners, and significant others. This took a long time to write and organize and variations of many of these questions have been posted on my website previously. Rest assured every question here has been previously asked of me over the years, although they may not have been posted before.

A couple of things:

-I can only speak for myself, my perspective, and my experience. My thoughts are based off my life as a trans person as well as from my marriage. Your relationship is YOUR relationship and I would never presume to be THE voice of authority when it comes to relationships, crossdressing, or when these two worlds collide. If you’d like my wife’s perspective on all of this, she did a little question and answer post here.

-I will absolutely encourage a partner of a crossdresser to seek our support if you need it, and you probably will. This part of your life can be very lonely. It’s not something that you may feel comfortable discussing with your friends. You may feel embarrassed that your big, tough husband who likes to hunt and fish also likes to wear panties. This is a normal feeling. I promise. A wonderful resources is PFLAG who offer support groups for people who have a family member who is part of the LGBTQIA+ community.

-Oh, I guess another thing. I am speaking in very, very broad terms here. I know that many relationships are positively impacted by *this* side of a person. There are many instances where this can bring two people closer together. And that’s wonderful! This can often happen. However, this list is for our partners who are struggling with coming to terms with this side of us.

-Wait! One more thing. This post may come off as a little harsh on crossdressers. I don’t mean it to be. Obviously I am a crossdresser and I love who I am. The vast majority of us are wonderful, kind, sensitive, considerate people. We have a side of us that makes us ridiculously happy but are fully aware of how difficult this part of us is for someone else to understand and accept. We know that what we wear causes a lot of stress and anxiety for our partners. We have a lot of empathy for our significant others. Wearing panties or nail polish or whatever we are drawn to makes us very happy but we also know that our significant others will struggle with this side of us. We don’t want to be a burden, we don’t want to put more stress on our partners, especially when it comes to something like this. So, we sometimes suppress this side of us, we try to stop crossdressing, we deny who we are. We do these things because we love our partners and we don’t want to hurt them, confuse them, or scare them. This is not typically meant to deceive our partners. We love our partners so much that we will try to be the best people that we can be and try to be the person we think our partner wants. We try our hardest to quit crossdressing. It’s not likely that will happen. But we still try. Our intentions may be good, but in retrospect we usually realize that yes, we should have been upfront at the beginning about who we are, what we wear… and everything else.

Okay, here we go.

Do I have to accept this? Do I have to let him crossdress?

Nope.

No one should stay in a relationship or incorporate something into it that they do not like or are comfortable with. If this side of your man, or any part of him or your relationship makes you unhappy, angry, turned off, or anything else, then you are under no obligation to “let” him crossdress.

This side of your man is likely not going to go away. He is likely not going to change. Even if it’s been a decade since he last slipped on a pair of panties and he never does so ever again, he is (in my opinion), and will always be, a crossdresser. If you are going to stay in the relationship or try to figure out where to go from here, then both of you will need to communicate on a level that you never have before. Many, MANY couples seek our counseling when this revelations comes to light.

The two of you may set boundaries, you may establish “ground rules”, you may adopt a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” agreement. You may ask him to never bring this up ever again. You might even file for divorce.

Crossdressing can sometimes be a deal-breaker. However, it’s usually not the crossdressing itself that ends a relationship. Sometimes there is lying involved with this side of someone that as a couple can be hard to recover from.

You may be hurt or angry that he didn’t disclose this side of him earlier. It would have been nice if he had told you about this before you bought a house and had three kids.

Your man is still the same man that he was before he came out to you. But you’ll see him differently, you’ll think of him differently. This is normal. This will often lead to you seeing in a different light, in a different perspectice.

And you may not like it.

This isn’t what you signed up for, in a sense.

But many couples do indeed make *this* work. If you are going to try to make this work or wishing to understand this side of him, then keep reading.

-Why is he like this? Why does he do this? Why does he want to wear a bra when I can’t wait to make mine off?

These are, unfortunately, mostly unanswerable questions. For the most part, the answers for these questions aren’t really satisfying. There’s really no “one size fits all” reason your man wears panties or anything else.

First, it’s important to know WHAT crossdressing is. So, let’s learn together.

Oh, you’re back!

Let’s get this reason out of the way. For some men, this is a sexual kink for him. Bluntly, it turns him on. It arouses him. It may be difficult to relate to this. You may wear heels because you *have* to and you look forward to kicking them off as soon as you get home. You may put on your bra and think about taking it off all day. If you feel this way it may seem strange that these same uncomfortable items could arouse someone.

If this is indeed a fetish for him (and it isn’t always) then please know that when someone is aroused by something it’s because… well, that is simply how they are wired. Fetishes and kinks typically develop at an early age. We see… SOMETHING and we are immediately intrigued by it. We look at it and we… react to it in a different way than other people do. For some, a glove is something you wear to keep your hands warm. For others, it’s the most erotic piece of clothing in the world. Fetishes rarely make sense.

In many movies and television shows, crossdressing is almost always showed as a kink. However, for most of us it’s not a fetish. We may feel beautiful, but this is not the same as feeling aroused.

If this isn’t a kink (and for some of us we THINK this side of is “just” a kink, at least initially) then it becomes even more complicated. For some of us we look at clothes as just something that can be worn and we don’t care if a piece of clothes is designed for a man or a woman. We just wear what we want, what we find comfortable, and what fits. For some of us, we just like to feel beautiful. Feeling beautiful is a different feeling than feeling handsome. For others, we want to wear something BECAUSE it’s “for girls” but this is more typical of men who crossdress as a kink, but this isn’t always the case.

For some of us, it’s just… fun and everyone has a different idea of fun. I have friends who watch golf for God’s sake and I would rather go to work than sit in front of a television while some man smacks a little white ball around.

Crossdressers tend to have a different relationship and perspective on clothes than what many cis women have. To you, a bra is a bra, or even a torture device. To me, a bra is beautiful and I am so happy when I wear one. Of course, you and I probably wear bras for different reasons.

Your man isn’t this way because of any childhood trauma. He may have a… ah, challenging relationship with his mother but that didn’t lead to him wanting to wear a dress.

So! In summary, there’s no real reason he is who he is. There’s no ONE reason EVERY crossdresser crossdresses. We are all uniquely and frustratingly different. I know that this doesn’t help and I’m sorry I can’t be more insightful but if it helps, there’s nothing “wrong” with your man.

-Will this side of him… keep going?

Maybe?? Today he told you that he likes to wear panties Will be be taking estrogen in a year? Maybe?? But not necessarily. I’ve been wearing what I wear for decades but never have I felt the need to even consider hormones.

This was my wife’s fear. It was her fear for YEARS. No matter how often I reassured her she was still afraid. However, it’s been almost twenty years since I came out to her and the needle on estrogen or transitioning hasn’t twitched at all.

We are all on a journey. You, me, your husband, your best friend, the co-worker that you despise. Every person in your life is at a different point in their lives and our journeys are all different from each other.

Look, I HATE the word ‘journey’. It makes it sound like your husband is on a magical adventure and inaccurately suggests that he is on a beautiful path of discovery and that this is nothing but fun and rainbows. Every journey that someone is on is fraught with challenges and fears and self-doubt and mistakes and setbacks.

It’s okay if you hate this side of your man. It really is. You are allowed to. You are allowed to be angry and hurt and to feel whatever you’re feeling (not that you need anyone’s permission to feel anything). You do not have to be enthusiastically cheer him on. You are not obligated to join him in dressing up. Just as he is navigating this side of himself and trying to figure out who he is and what he wants and how *this* will factor into his life, you will do the same thing.

He may wear a nightgown tonight, but it doesn’t necessarily mean he will put on a skirt when he wakes up tomorrow. Most crossdressers will only underdress (meaning they only wear panties under their boy clothes) and will never wear anything else. Ever.

His journey could indeed go down different paths, however not every journey is leading to estrogen or transitioning.

When I came out to my wife while we were dating, *this* side of me was all about panties and lingerie. And today I am at a very different point in my life, my journey, my gender identity. This… progression, from panties to who I am today caused my wife a lot of stress. More stress than I will probably ever know. I told her often that I didn’t want to transition or take hormones BUUUUT it wasn’t easy for her to believe as she watched me go from *just* panties to shopping for a wig and adopting a femme name in only a few months. Of course she wondered and feared for where *this* was going. Who wouldn’t think or feel those things? It was hard for her to believe me when I told her that I wasn’t going to transition because from her perspective I just… kept going. From panties to a dress to makeup to a wig to… where I am today.

Hopefully your man is being honest with who he is and what he wants. If he is being truthful about who he is and what he wants, then this is who he is and what he wants as of today. Could this change? Yes. Will it? Maybe not.

-Is he lying? Did he lie to me? Will he lie in the future? Will he cheat?

Maybe? Probably? He may not have meant to lie. Please understand, there’s no excuse for lying. And yes, he absolutely should have told you about this side of him before you were engaged or moved in together or gotten married or had children together. For most of us, this is a part of us that… hm, develops early in our lives. We usually become aware of this side of us at a young age. He PROBABLY knew about this side of him before you two met.

He may have been in denial about this side of him. He may have hoped he could have…. ah, controlled this side of himself and suppressed his need, his want, to wear whatever it is that he likes to wear.

But this side of your man probably isn’t going to go away. He will likely always want to wear panties. Even if swears he will never ever wear panties again, I can almost guarantee he will think about wearing them every time he helps with laundry or passes by Victoria’s Secret in the mall.

Is he still lying (or at least not being completely forward) even though he has come out to you? Maybe? This side of us is… huge. It’s complicated. It’s hard to comprehend and explain. We may… downplay this side of us because we don’t want to scare you, drive you away, or overwhelm you. Your husband loves you and is trying to be gentle. I’ve done this. However, he does need to be transparent and honest about *this* as much as he can. And for all you crossdressers reading this, I absolutely understand that is much, much easier said than done.

If he lied, will he lie again? It’s natural to think that if your partner wasn’t honest (or at least not as forthcoming as they should have been) about something in the past that they will lie about it in the future. If you have a difficult time believing him about *this* please know that this is understandable and expected. It doesn’t make you a bad or untrusting person.

It’s NORMAL. If my wife lied about how much money she spent on, oh I don’t know, lottery tickets, of course I would have a hard time believing her whenever she went to the casino. Not that she is an out of control gambler mind you, but you know what I mean.

Relationships are hard. None of them are completely perfect. It’s okay if you accept your husband’s crossdressing but have a hard time believing he is always truthful about it. It’s okay if you understand that he is who he is but hate that he does this. Listen to your heart and trust your instinct. Acceptance of something isn’t always being happy about it. It’s often an acknowledgment that this is who he is and he isn’t (and probably can’t) change who he is.

And accepting that your husband crossdresses is essentially knowing that this side of him isn’t going away. Accepting doesn’t necessarily mean approval or supporting him or buying him panties. You can accept that your man wears panties, and you can reluctantly do so. Acceptance is often done reluctantly.

Will he cheat? I don’t think there’s necessarily an overlap between crossdressing and infidelity. But this is a normal fear. I promise. If crossdressing is a kink and arouses him, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he wants to wear lingerie and then want to have sex or masturbate. Will he want to have sex while he wears a bra and panties? Will be want to wear lingerie during sex? Probably. On some level, even if this is a kink, he wants to share this part of him, his life, with you. Let’s face it, when someone has a sexual kink they probably want to engage in that kink as much as possible and they likely want you to be INTO it, if you know what I mean.

Please know that consent is ESSENTIAL. If you are not comfortable with seeing your man in lingerie, or if it kills the mood, then you are under no obligation to be intimate to have sexy time with him. Hopefully he understands. It might be a disappointment and he may be pissy about it, but people need to be on same page when it comes to the big and important things, including intimacy.

You may be afraid that if you don’t… indulge or participate in his crossdressing while you’re intimate that he might seek out someone else to “play” with. Listen: if he cheats it’s not your fault. You are not responsible for his infidelity. You are not obligated to go along with ANYTHING you are not comfortable with.

Related reading:

Ask Hannah!

-Will he wear my clothes?

Maybe?? He probably has. I know I tried on my girlfriend’s clothes when she wasn’t home. This can feel a little violating and it’s okay to not be okay about this.

-He says he only likes to wear lingerie and insists he does not want to transition or wear other clothes. Is he in denial?

Mmmmm, probably not in denial, but it’s possible he MIGHT be downplaying all of this. If he is, it’s possibly because he is trying not to overwhelm you or scare you off. Yes, he should be disclosing EVERYTHING but in his own way he is trying to be gentle with you.

This side of someone is a LOT to take in. It’s a lot for our partners. Crossdressers know this. More than likely your man has gone his entire life without coming out to someone or talking about this side of him and now the floodgates are open and he is struggling to find the right words to voice his feelings.

It’s also likely he himself is overwhelmed and scared of his biggest secret being shared with someone, especially the most important person in his world.

It’s possible in a week, in a month, in ten years he may disclose that he also wants to wear, or already does, dresses or makeup. He may be easing you into this part of his life. He also may be testing the waters, so to speak, and wanting to see how you will react to him wanting to wear panties before the other stilettos drops.

-Is he transgender?

That is up to him.

When someone comes out for the first time, or early on in the aftermath of coming out, there’s a lot of uncertainty and, well, fear, when it comes to labels. For some of us, the “T Word” is scary and we are reluctant to identify as trans.

In my opinion yes, a crossdresser falls under the transgender umbrella. But please know, and even take solace in this if it helps, transgender doesn’t always mean transitioning or taking estrogen or feeling you are in the wrong body.

-What is he REALLY doing online?

Who knows?

When I am online I could be scrolling through Facebook, looking at the news, shopping for a new dress, or even doing actual work. I might be emailing one of Hannah’s friends or updating my website. I don’t hide my browser history, my wife could log into my laptop or phone anytime she wanted and look at what I am doing. This is not to say that she would or that your partner must disclose his passwords or whatever to his email. I just feel that, well, I have nothing to hide. My wife knows about everything. She sees what is in my closet, she reads my website, she brings in packages sent from En Femme and Xdress.

Years ago I visited a lot of crossdressing centric websites such as crossdressers.com. In fact, you may wish to create am account and poke around the forums if you wanted to get a little more insight into what this side of us may be about. I believe there’s even threads on there for partners of crossdressers.

I visited these websites for a few reasons.

-I was looking for resources for where to buy clothes that fit.

-I was looking for advice for makeup or tucking or walking in heels.

-I was looking for support, friendship, and for others like myself. People who could relate to the happiness and confusion and challenges that crossdressing can bring. Many, many of us are tormented by how this side of us can hurt and impact our significant others. It may look like all we care about are cute dresses and being pretty but the guilt we have over how this can make our partners feel is quite significant.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if you think your man might be looking for someone to hook up with if he is spending time on crossdressing websites. There is a very prominent portrayal of crossdressing as sexual and it can be misleading that this side of us is all about sex. The fetishistic side of men wearing lingerie has been a staple for decades and it will be for a very, very, very long time. I mean, lingerie for all genders is pretty synonymous with sex. This is how people like your man, like myself, have been portrayed in media since I can remember.

Obviously I don’t know exactly what he is looking at online, but it might not necessarily for sexual stimulation. I mean, he MIGHT be but it’s not a foregone conclusion.

It also wouldn’t be a surprise if you are tempted to, or have already looked at his browser history or read his emails. I am not here to condone or encourage this, but I can tell you I absolutely understand wanting to do so. Getting off topic for a smidgen I was dating a girl who I was almost certain was cheating on me. It drove me mad thinking one thing but being told another. It consumed me, to be honest. She wasn’t good at lying but was insistent she was faithful and told me I was being paranoid and insecure. I am not proud of this but I logged into her email and learned my suspicions were correct. Strangely this calmed me as it confirmed that my instincts were right. I wasn’t being paranoid. I wasn’t crazy. I never confronted her about this and we broke up shortly after. Again, I am not proud of this… but I get it. Promise.

-Is he gay?

Probably not.

This is likely the most common question and fear that you have.

Regardless of pink or how frilly or how lacy or feminine his panties are, his sexuality likely hasn’t changed.

However.

Does he want to have sex with a man or another crossdresser? Maybe??

I want to be as gentle as I can be, but there are some crossdressers who are… open to the idea of being with a man when they are dressed up. Not necessarily because they are ATTRACTED to another man, but, well, having sex with a man might make them feel more feminine. Your man MIGHT (and again not all crossdressers feel this way) want to be sexually treated like a woman when he is wearing lingerie or dressed from wig to heels.

I feel more feminine when a man holds a door open for me or when a man addresses me as “ma’am”. For some crossdressers a man showing a sexual interest in them makes them feel more feminine and that MAY lead to a man wanting to have sex with another man when they probably have zero interest in this when they are in “boy mode”.

It’s…. hm, in a way similar to someone who hates dancing but when they’ve had a few drinks they hit the dance floor. If that makes sense.

Some crossdressers tell me they are straight when they are presenting as a man, but identify as bisexual when they are dressed up. The reality is that their sexuality didn’t change when they changed their clothes. In my opinion they are feeling a little less inhibited when they are en femme compared to when they are dressed in boy clothes which makes someone feel a little more… receptive to things.

Some of us want so badly to feel feminine, to be treated as a woman, that we go to lengths that we didn’t think were possible. Sometimes the things we do betray our values and vows.

-Am I not feminine enough for him?

Please understand that I want to be as gentle as I can with these responses, especially with this one. But his crossdressing has nothing to do with what you wear or how feminine you are. He is not wearing sexy lingerie or bold makeup because his partner isn’t. He is not lacking femininity in his life. He is not compensating for any lack of “girl things”.

If anything, part of what attracted you to him was how pretty you are. Crossdressers NOTICE what someone is wearing. When I look at a woman in the real world I am noticing her shoes and her clothes. I notice her makeup. When I met my wife I was attracted to her cuteness, her sense of humor, her personality, and yes, how she dressed. I still am. She has always dressed cute and given how much I love girl clothes it was easy to fall in love with her style, among her other attributes.

-He keeps spending our money on clothes and is CONSTANTLY talking about crossdressing and when we have sex he’s the one that wears lingerie and I HATE it.

Yes, this happens a LOT, especially after he first comes out. When a crossdresser comes out he feels an enormous weight lifted off his shoulders. It’s likely he has been keeping this inside for decades and now that he has told someone it’s like the dam has burst. He feels relieved. He can talk about something that is a major part of his life and yes, he probably won’t shut up about it.

Unfortunately as much of a relief this is to him, it’s absolutely overwhelming to you. This likely came out of nowhere, whether he came out to you or you discovered this for yourself. After he comes out you likely need a drink, and some time to process it. This is absolutely normal. You may miss how things were “before”. You may want to pretend the conversation didn’t happen. You may never, ever want to discuss it again.

The weight has lifted from his shoulders… but passed it to yours.

There will be times when this is the last thing you want to talk about but he keeps going on and on and on about a dress he saw at the mall. Your man is lost in the Pink Fog. He is so absorbed in his crossdressing he literally can’t stop thinking about it, talking about it, and possibly DOING it. He will miss your nonverbal cues when the subject comes up. He brings it up ALL THE TIME. And it’s exhausting. It’s frustrating. It feels like he is being selfish. You just want a normal night in but he keeps talking about the makeup the actresses are wearing in the show you’re binging.

And the shopping! Packages are being delivered, there are new panties in his drawer almost every day, and your shared bank account it taking a hit. Again, the Pink Fog.

So, what do you do? Tell him how you feel. Tell him how you feel again. And again. Just as he may miss your non-verbal cues he may be so absorbed by his crossdressing that it might take several conversations for him to get it. He is acting really differently and, let’s be honest, it’s really annoying and frustrating. And yes, communicating with your partner isn’t always easy. It’s sometimes hard to be direct. It’s challenging to find the right words to say. Again, this is when counseling can be very beneficial.

Sex needs to be about consent. You might want to be the one wearing pretty lingerie in bed. You may be turned off by seeing your man in a bra. Why is he wearing lingerie during sexy time? Three reasons:

-It turns him on

-He is hoping for a little… role play. He may want to “be the girl” in bed. He might have a lesbian fantasy. You many not want this AT ALL. If this happens (and it might) then clear and direct communication is key. Conversations about what happens in the bedroom, whether it is about wardrobe or anything else can happen before, during, and after intimacy.

-It makes him feel beautiful and we all want to feel beautiful during intimate moments.

Regardless of WHY he’s dressed the way he is in bed, if it makes you uncomfortable or you simply don’t like it, then he should stop.

-Will someone see him shopping for panties at the mall? Will someone see his bra strap under his shirt? Will our kids see his high heels in our closet?

Maybe?? Realistically these things could absolutely happen. My wife’s fear (and this is one I absolutely share) is someone we know seeing me buying a skirt at Target or shopping in the lingerie department. This is where the two of you need to set boundaries. I do most of my shopping online, to be honest. When I am en femme I go to malls and parts of the city where it is less likely I will encounter someone that my wife or I know.

Bra straps are almost always visible. There’s always the risk of the pink waistband of his panties peeking out of his jeans. Since I underdress (wearing panties) when I am in “boy mode” (which is most of the time) I am careful when I am stooping down lest the lacy waistband is visible. This has become second nature. Again, this is where boundaries and communications are crucial. If you are afraid of these things then you need to tell him. And hopefully he will listen.

And kids? Kids tend to be curious and tend to snoop around. I know I did when I was young. I was always going through my mom’s closet but I was always looking for a dress to try on. This is when your man needs to continue his… ah, vigilance, I suppose. For years he hid this side of himself and likely became very good at hiding his clothes and he will need to continue to do so if you don’t want your kids to find out.

-I am an ally and advocate of the transcommunity… but does being conflicted about my husband make me a hypocrite?

No.

You may be confused by this side of your man. It may even anger you. You may even hate it. This is a side of your partner that is hard to understand and is even harder to accept. You may be at a point where you accept that this is who he is and have accepted that this is a part of his life and therefor a part of your relationship, but you may never be “okay” with it. You are perhaps feeling terrified where this is going and what else he isn’t telling you. This side of him may have led to him being less than truthful about things. Again, it’s not always the crossdressing itself that is damaging, it’s finding out he’s been lying to you about SOMETHING.

Some crossdressers tell their wives they are going to Las Vegas for a work convention but in reality they spent a long weekend visiting a makeup artist and wearing a cute dress on the strip. Lies like these are what’s damaging and often impossible to heal from.

You likely know that people can’t choose their sexual orientation or gender identity. You can’t STOP being gay or feeling you were born in the wrong body. Someone like myself can’t STOP being who I am or wanting to wear what I want to wear. You may feel conflicted between knowing he can’t stop being who he is and not liking this side of him at the same time.

Still, even knowing that he can’t change this part of him it doesn’t mean you HAVE to accept it or allow it. The reality is that this side of your partner may not be something you want in your relationship. We all need stability from our partners. If your man isn’t sure of his gender identity then, well, he needs to figure that out. This is his journey and it’s not one you HAVE to take with him.

-What does he want or need from me?

What he wants and what he needs are two different things.

Typically.

Ultimately what he needs (even if he doesn’t realize it) is your honesty and communication. What he (probably) wants is for the two of you to go shopping together, to get makeovers, and have a girls night.

If you do not want to see him wearing panties, tell him how you feel. And yes, this is easier said than done. When we come out to our partners we feel… well, it feels like exhaling. We have been holding our breath for perhaps decades. It’s possible he will become so… enthralled with coming out that it’s a little like a bird being freed from a cage. Unless it’s very, very clear to him that this side of him is not to be discussed, he may talk endlessly about it. And yes, this will likely get annoying. It’s irritating whenever you have someone in your life that talks and talks and talks about the same thing ALL THE TIME, no matter if it’s about a podcast, work gossip, politics, or lingerie.

It’s even more grating when it’s a subject you feel conflicted or overwhelmed by.

What he (probably) needs are boundaries. Very clear rules (if you will) about how his crossdressing will factor into your relationship. He may have a hard time abiding by them, to be honest. I know I did. When I first started to wear dresses and makeup I would drive my wife crazy with only discussing clothes. She was still processing who I was and was easily (and understandably) overwhelmed and exhausted by the seemingly non-stop conversation about pretty dresses. I wasn’t paying attention to her cues to, well, give it a rest. I came off as selfish and self-centered. She often had to be more direct with me about my crossdressing than about other things.

You may hope that he picks up on your reaction or non-verbal body language when he talks about crossdressing or when he is dressing up, but there’s a good chance he may be so lost in The Fog that he isn’t paying as much attention to the rest of his world that he normally would. And I am just as guilty about this as anyone else.


Wow, are you still here?? How long did it take for you to read this? It took FOREVER to write and I am glad we went on this journey together. I like to think we discovered something about ourselves and the real treasure was the lessons we learned along the way.

In all seriousness, I hope this was helpful. I’ve written more about marriage and crossdressing here. I don’t presume this will cover all of your circumstances, questions and fears. This is, admittingly, a very surface-y perspective on many of the emails I get from spouses and significant others, including the emails YOU sent 🙂

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

Today, for the first time and with my wife being home due to Covid, I actually wore my favourite fitted bra under my t shirt which did show that I was wearing a bra. If my wife asks tomorrow if I was, shall I just tell her that I am a crossdresser or what?

I am hesitant to give advice on anything that will likely impact a marriage or any relationship.

To be clear, I am not a marriage counselor. I am not a gender therapist.

Basically, I may not know what the hell I am talking about.

Listen.

Every relationship is different. Two people interact with each other in different ways compared to other relationships. There are aspects in your marriage that are unique and different than another marriage. There’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” piece of advice that works for every relationship. You know your spouse better than I do.

If your wife noticed you were wearing a bra but didn’t say anything about it it doesn’t mean approval. She may have been too shocked to say anything. She may be processing it and considering what to say. Again, you know your spouse better than I do.

Before you consider anything I write about, I will absolutely, one hundred percent encourage you to get the perspective of a therapist or of a marriage counselor. They know what they are talking about, I probably don’t.

That being said, if you still want my perspective…

Short answer is yes, probably.

Long answer is… well, it’s going to come off as preachy and perhaps bitchy, I suppose, but here goes. You can’t turn back time but you probably should have disclosed this side of you before you two were married. Our significant others need to know as much about us as possible before a real commitment is made. The conversations about whether or not you want children or an open marriage are pretty important. Conversations about religion, politics, future goals, career dreams, sexual history, sexual identity, and gender identity are also crucial.

I do not think crossdressing is a phase or something someone can stop doing. This is who someone IS.

If you are mature enough to make a decision about marriage, you probably are self-aware enough to know that this is a part of you that you won’t grow out of.

On a somewhat related note, whenever I write something along the lines of “I do not think crossdressing is a phase or something someone can stop doing” I usually get at least one email from someone that says they used to crossdress but they grew out of it and don’t do it anymore. I’m like… good for you? Also, if you’re no longer interested in crossdressing how did you find my website, a website about crossdressing?

But I digress.

My whole thing is that a) crossdressing isn’t a phase and b) we should be upfront about this side of us with our significant others.

I guess that’s two things.

So, should you tell your wife you are a crossdresser? Yes, probably.

I qualify my “yes” with a “probably” because I know that coming out is going to very likely completely impact your relationship. It’s likely going to change EVERYTHING. Your partner will likely look at you and think of you in a completely new light and they may not like this revelation.

Could they have a positive reaction to this? Yes, anything is possible but it’s not something you should expect.

Could this conversation be swept under the rug? Yes, and if that’s the case they are communicating to you that they do not want to discuss this side of you any further.

Could this revelation end your marriage? Yes. And again, this sounds bitchy and scary but this is a possibility.

It’s not always the crossdressing ITSELF that causes a relationship to erode. It’s the “why didn’t you tell me this BEFORE we got married?” as well as the perceived (and typically accurate) dishonesty that this side of us can bring. Listen: If you ever told your wife you were on a business trip but instead took a couple of days to dress in a hotel room or visit a city en femme, well, that was a lie. Suddenly the connection between lying and crossdressing is linked.

Trust is gone, or at least has taken a hit that could take years to repair (if it ever repairs at all).

Marriage (or any committed relationship) likely has shared finances whether it is the two of you owning a home or shared debt. You may have children. These are parts of a life that will be impacted by the end of the relationship and will need to be sorted out.

Yes, I think you should have come out before you were married. But it’s too late for that now.

Yes, I think you should be honest with who you are.

BUT. I would hesitate to advise someone to come out to someone (whether it is your significant other or family member or anyone else) if you think it will do permanent damage to your life. If you think your crossdressing will end your marriage, then you may have a choice to make. It sounds completely simplified but it may come down to crossdressing or your marriage.

(Again, please seek out a counselor.)

Love, Hannah

Related reading

Marriage

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

Ask Hannah!

I am a male who has been crossdressing in private for many years. I have regularly questioned myself about why I do it and always come back to the fact that I enjoy it and feel more alive and comfortable when I do. My partner does not want any involvement in that part of my life but I can’t give it up. However, as time goes by when I am dressed I am becoming more attracted to other men. I have had some sexual experiences with T-girls but wonder if I should go all the way with a guy while dressed to help understand what is really in my head and what I should do in the future. Any advise you have would be much appreciated.

If you’re asking if I think you should pursue sex outside of the relationship you have with your partner, then no, I do not think you should go all the way or do anything with a guy or with anyone else, regardless of how you are dressed or of their gender.

No matter your gender identity or your sexual identity, I do not think you should be intimate with anyone besides your partner. Ever. At all.

If you feel the need to be physical with anyone besides your partner, for whatever reason, the two of you need to have a very serious conversation about this perceived need.

Aaaand as long as I am on my soapbox (and on the subject) I don’t think that clothes “activate” one’s attraction to another gender. If you are attracted to men when you are dressed up, then you are probably attracted to men when you’re not dressed up.

Also, I don’t think having sex with a t-girl or being attracted to a t-girl means you’re gay. T-girls are girls, remember? It’s not gay to be sexually attracted to a girl, unless you are a girl, I suppose.

Some crossdressers tell me they are straight when they are presenting as a man, but identify as bisexual when they are dressed up. The reality is that their sexuality didn’t change when they changed their clothes. In my opinion they are feeling a little less inhibited when they are en femme compared to when they are dressed in boy clothes which makes someone feel a little more… open to something.

If crossdressing arouses you, it’s not surprising you want to have sex when dressed. When we are aroused we often are open to things that we didn’t think we would be. Again, we are less inhibited and our… decisions are being made by our desire, not our brain.

Love, Hannah

Related reading

SEX

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Clickbait and Crossdressing

Every so often I come across a click-baity article along the lines of “Why Having a Husband Who Crossdresses Is The Best Thing EVER”, “How To Come Out To Your Wife” or “How To Get Your Wife To Let You Crossdress”.

And look, this is not to attack or criticize the writers of these pieces or the websites that publish them. I admit they can be fun to read. They tend to be lists with short sentences that are light-hearted and, well, optimistic, I guess.

These articles typically focus on the potential… benefits of having a partner who likes to dress up and/or wear makeup. Some of the pluses are being able to borrow your husband’s eyeliner or accessories, and having someone to shop with.

To be fair, my wife will borrow my makeup from time to time or wear one of Hannah’s necklaces, so yes, in our marriage there are things that you could consider benefits. Early on in my discovery of my gender identity I found I was able to relate to my wife on a different level when we chatted about feeling frustrated when our shade of foundation was sold out or something along those lines. Some of my friends complain about how long it takes for their wife to get ready but once the heels were on my foot I could understand that doing your makeup and selecting an outfit sometimes took longer than expected.

Of course, it took a lot of time and a lot of patience and conversations to get to where my wife and I are today. It took a long time for her to be comfortable and secure with who I am.

These articles seem to be aimed at the partners of a crossdresser, but they often feel like they are written as… hm, talking points for the crossdresser themself in regards to coming out to their wives.

Let me explain.

There’s a million different ways to come out to your significant other. And almost every single way is wrong. There’s really no right way to do this other than being honest and transparent and doing it early in the relationship. Waiting until after the two of you are engaged or married is probably not a good idea. You need to have the talk before there’s an invested commitment, whether it is proposing or having kids or buying a house.

It’s not uncommon for a crossdresser to consider their method for coming out by focusing on the positive sides of having a partner who likes to dress up. Some crossdressers think that “selling” their partner on crossdressing is the right approach. What I mean by this is hyping up a benefit of having a partner who crossdresses.

For example:

“Hi honey, I like to wear makeup and you can borrow my lipstick anytime you want!”

“I know you love to shop for clothes and now we can shop for clothes together!”

“Wouldn’t it be fun to dress up and have a girls night out?”

I am guilty of saying variations of these things to my wife and I quickly learned that her initial reaction wasn’t an enthusiastic agreement. I learned that if my wife wanted to be married to her girlfriend she would have married one of her friends. No, she wanted to be married to a husband and I thank God every day she wanted to marry me.

Over time she would indeed borrow my makeup, we would shop for clothes together, and have many girls nights in. These moments took a long time to get to. They took work, patience, difficult conversations, and trust.

And to be fair, there are times when our significant others DO initially react incredibly positive and supportive and excited when we have The Talk but I think it’s naïve to expect that kind of reaction.

And! If your partner doesn’t respond with enthusiasm to your coming out it does not make them a bad person. It doesn’t mean they hate you or not want you to be yourself. It doesn’t make them anti-LGBTQIA+. Someone’s partner coming out as anything but cis and/or heterosexual is a LOT to take in. It’s a LOT to process. Their partner’s gender/sexual identity impacts their own identity in various ways.

Again, I think some of these articles are targeted towards the crossdresser themselves. They are supportive and encouraging of the crossdresser in regards to coming out to their partner. And yes, it’s important to be honest, it’s crucial to have support and encouragement and talking points, but if often feels that these articles aren’t…. helpful.

They tend to focus on the practical side of being able to share a wardrobe/accessories/makeup/purses/etc. And yes, that is a benefit, at least in my experience. But I think it will take a loooong time and it may take many difficult conversations and intense emotions for someone to see any sort of pluses to having a crossdressing partner if it happens at all. I think some of these articles can be misleading to a crossdresser. They tend to be lighthearted and… well, everything a crossdresser would love to read.

We fall in love with our significant others for some many reasons. They are our crush, our best friend, our… everything. We have emotions and desires for them that exceed anything that we have experienced before. We want to share and experience everything with them.

And I do mean EVERYTHING, particularly crossdressing.

We want our partners to know everything about us and, ideally, share our crossdressing with them. We may daydream about our partners shopping for lingerie with us, dressing up and hitting the town or a million other things. I have had these thoughts too.

Wanting to come out to our partners is sometimes influenced by wanting to do these things with them. But the real reason we should come out to them is because they need to know about this side of us.

And why do they need to know? Well, because this side of us might be a deal-breaker for them. I think this side of us might be too much to ask of our partners. They may not want to commit to someone who is on a journey when it comes to their gender identity.

And that is completely fair. It does not make them a bad person.

Look, if I was dating someone who wasn’t sure of their sexuality, I would hesitate to commit to them. I would want them to be secure and confident of who they were and who they loved and who they wanted. The same thinking can be applied to your partner’s gender identity.

I think these articles (and I admit I am probably taking them too seriously) give a… misleading idea on how coming out to our partners will go and how we should have The Talk. The articles tend to be fun and playful, but this revelation rarely is. They make it all sound so easy.

I also feel that these articles can be a little harmful to our partners. When we come out to our significant other it will more than likely turn their entire world inside-out. It will create a myriad of emotions and fears and questions that feel impossible to find the right words to ask. For some their reactions feel contradictory and even hypocritical. Your girlfriend may be the biggest supporter of the trans community, buuuuut when her boyfriend tells her that he likes to dress up, her reaction may be less than enthusiastic. She may not come off as supportive or excited.

It’s just… different when someone close to you comes out. Their gender identity will impact your relationship. Gender identity is a journey, a work in progress. It’s not an easy adventure. T-girls and crossdressers spend much of their life discovering who they are and our identities shape our life and choices (and vice-versa) as well as what is right for us.

When I came out to my wife while we were dating she had the normal questions. One of those questions had much to do with who I was, where *this* was going, and what I wanted. I knew transitioning wasn’t for me, but she didn’t know that, no matter how confidently I told her that it wasn’t. My crossdressing was an x-factor, a variable that could create a change in my life in terms of my gender identity.

Is it possible that someone who “just crossdresses” may transition? Of course, absolutely. I am sure that many trans girls who live full time or takes (or has taken) hormones thought that *this* was simply about clothes only to realize after some time that *this* was indeed MORE than clothes.

When people commit to each other, they consider the future, they consider if this is the person that they want to build a life with, whether it is traveling the world or raising a family or anything else. A commitment is typically meant to be a long-term plan, it’s usually meant to be forever. People who make this commitment consider anything that could impact their new, shared lives. And yes, someone’s gender identity could potentially impact that.

Look. I’m trans. I heart the trans community. I GET it, as much as one can understand someone like us. However, if I were dating someone who wasn’t quite sure of their gender identity I would hesitate to commit to them. Like one’s sexual identity, I would want that person to know they are. I know from personal experience that *this* is a journey and we need to be as sure as we can be about who we are before we really commit to someone else.

And yes, I know that gender identity and what we want and who we are can change over time, ever after decades of marriage. It happens.

When we come out to our partners, they often do what they can to try to understand this side of us. The internet is what we turn to when it comes to figuring something out, whether it’s how to blend foundation, replace a bathroom sink faucet, or trying to understand why your husband wears panties.

Googling ‘crossdressing’ is rarely helpful.

These search results provides websites about transgender dating, fetishy blogs, and the like. We can tell our wives that *this* isn’t about sex or wanting to be intimate with a man, but search engines can contradict what we say and what we feel and believe.

If your significant other comes across a list along the lines of “Why Dating a Crossdresser is the BEST THING EVER” it might not help them. Your partner is looking for clarity and support, not… naïve benefits. As I said, these lists tend to play up sharing a wardrobe or your wife suddenly has a new best friend to hit the mall with.

Buuuut our significant others probably aren’t (at least initially) super excited that their man wears pink thongs or they have a femme name. Lists like these might contradict what our partners are feeling. They usually portray having a crossdressing husband in a very naïve, overly rose-colored-glasses way. These lists rarely mention the emotional crisis and fears that our partners typically have.

Additionally these lists may even cause our partners to wonder if there is something “wrong” with feeling scared or confused or angry about their man’s crossdressing. The lists discuss how having a crossdressing husband is nothing but a positive thing because you can share mascara or talk about purses… but your partner isn’t there yet, if they ever get there at all.

To put it another way, I recently finished a book that I thought was, well, kind of stupid. But everyone I know who has read it has LOVED it. It honestly made me wonder if there was something wrong with me or with my reaction to it. Did I miss the point of the story? Am I wrong?

Again, I admit these lists can be fun to read from time to time, but I would caution using them as a guide for coming out to your significant other. As I said before there’s a LOT of wrong ways to come out to your partner. Telling them “honey, guess what! You’ve just doubled the size of your wardrobe!” probably isn’t the right way to tell them.

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

Recently you have identified yourself as bi-gender or trans. If you wouldn’t mind sharing, I would like to know how your wife identifies herself. I have always identified myself as straight until my husband, now wife, came out as trans. Now I am not sure what identifier I should use.

Thanks for your assistance, and that of your wife.

I would never speak for my wife, but I think it’s safe to say that she identifies as straight. As long as we’re chatting about my wife, she did a little question and answer article that touches on this topic, among other things.

She accepts me, both of me. But she is not sexually attracted to Hannah. This doesn’t mean she is… disgusted by Hannah or sees Hannah as her “husband in a dress.” No, she more or less thinks of Hannah and of her husband as two different people. Which is absolutely fair and accurate. On many levels I think of myself and of Hannah as two different people as well.

I would also never presume to tell you how you should identify when it comes to sexual orientation, but please know, I get asked this question often. You are not alone in this.

Believe me.

But since you asked…

I think sexual identity is tied to who you are sexually attracted to. If you are sexually attracted to your wife, then perhaps your sexuality is a little more… flexible than you had previously thought.

Feelings of love and affection are not the same thing as feelings of sexual and physical attraction. You can have sex without love, and you can be deeply in love with someone that you are not sexually active with.

Some love transcends physical, sexual intimacy.

This uncertainty is something that many women experience when their partner has changed their gender identity. Someone’s evolving gender identity can impact everyone around them, most of all their significant other.

I do think that gender and sexuality is more fluid than we realize. I don’t like restricting myself to a lot of identifiers, whether it is a political affiliation or my sexual identity. This is not to say I am not straight. I’ve never put that much energy into thinking about my personal sexual identity, I was too busy consumed by my evolving gender identity.

Marriage, gender, sexuality… all of these things can be complicated, nuanced, and personal. You don’t have to put a label on yourself or your relationship or on yourself.

Additionally, we all need support. I am sure this has all been an emotional experience for you. I would encourage you to look into PFLAG for support groups near you. PFLAG offers resources for not only those in the LGBTQIA+ community but also for friends and family as well.

Love, Hannah

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

New En Femme Blog!

My new blog for En Femme is live!

Change Your Gender, Change Your World Part 3

In the third and final installment of Change Your Gender, Change Your World, Hannah McKnight, our resident expert, describes the butterfly effect and how it can be used to understand the journey in accepting one’s identity.

Read the third and final article – how does Hannah’s journey relate to your own? See it now>>

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

I came out to my wife in May 2021. One year later, we are now separated. She also outted me to her parents. I feel like a big part of me has been ripped out. We are still married. My wife says that I can move back, but I have to never dress again. I don’t know if I can. This is the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. I miss being with my wife so much but I can’t go back to the closet.

This is going to sound harsh and dismissive, but I mean this as gently as possible.

I am afraid I am nowhere near qualified to offer my perspective or advice. I would recommend meeting with a marriage counselor.

Good luck.

Love, Hannah

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

I Wish I Was Fun

I wish I was fun.

Well, perhaps it’s more accurate to say that others wish I was fun.

I get a lot of messages, whether it’s a direct message on Twitter, an email, comments on posts and photos, as well as Ask Hannah questions.  I respond to almost every email, and I post about half of the Ask Hannah questions I receive.  The half I don’t post are usually just shorter responses, perhaps a link to where one can buy a gaff, for example.  If it’s a question I get asked a lot, such as what to do with your voice, then I’ll reply with a link to a previous Ask Hannah question or article.  

Sometimes I don’t post a question because, well, the answer isn’t fun.  Oftentimes I have a feeling it’s not what the writer is hoping I respond with.  For example, a common question I get is along the lines of “I just bought a pair of panties and I love them!  Now I want to take hormones.  What do you think??”  Obviously I love panties and will never have enough lingerie, but going from panties to transitioning is… well, a little rash.  Transitioning doesn’t simply mean you’ll be able to wear what you want whenever you want (I mean, you can do that anyway), it is a serious, life-changing process and it’s one that shouldn’t be taken lightly or without a lot of soul-searching.  My typical response to questions like this is me trying to be supportive but realistic.  I will usually recommend that the writer seeks out a gender therapist and speak with their doctor.  I know, I’m not fun.  Perhaps the writer is hoping I provide them with a link to buy estrogen or simply telling them to go for it.  

Most emails I get are asking about coming out to their wife.  I could write on and on and on and on about this, and I have and will continue to do.  Coming out in it of itself is a GIANT, irreversible moment.  It will FOREVER change your life and the person you come out to.  Coming out to your spouse??  This will forever change your MARRIAGE.  In EVERY single aspect.  The person you may own a home with.  The person who you may be raising children with.  It is probably the most serious, relationship-impacting conversation you will EVER have.  There’s absolutely no way this revelation can be summarized with a paragraph.  Instead I refer the writer to my previous writings about this very thing.  I write a lot about the complexities and the potential aftermath of coming out, but I also write about how this will probably make one’s spouse FEEL.  I think most writers are hoping and expecting I can provide them with a few key things to say to help make their coming out as easy (and successful?) as possible.  It’s not that easy.  Most of what I write about when it comes to coming out to your spouse has to do with respecting their feelings, what they may be thinking and feeling, and being prepared for possibly breaking their heart.  I know!  Not fun at all. 

Real life isn’t fun.  A lot of what I write about when it comes to this side of us and our gender identity focuses on being realistic about decisions and expectations.  It is not realistic to come out to your wife of fifteen years and then expect to jump into the car and head to the mall to go shopping for heels together.  But… that’s what some people are thinking that’s what will happen.  I mean, I totally get HOPING that’s what will happen, but again, it’s not likely.  What will probably happen is tears, confusion, stunned silence.  Perhaps anger.  Likely a zillion questions.  Perhaps never talking about this ever again.  Days and weeks of tension.  Perhaps even counseling.  I wish I could tell people that this talk will be easy-peasy but for those who have come out to their partners know that this (usually) isn’t simple.

And while we’re on the subject, I know how many different emotions and thoughts we can have when it comes to coming out.  Excitement, fear, anxiousness, uncertainty, optimism… the list goes on.  Sometimes we are blinded by the Pink Fog and we’re not thinking things through.  Sometimes we think how coming out to one person went means it will go in a similar direction to another person we come out to.  It’s not the case.  I know from personal experience.  Every relationship and person is different.  Coming out to your spouse is not the same thing as coming out to a coworker.  Most of my coworkers wouldn’t care how I identify, they just care if I am getting my share of the work done.  But my spouse?  Yes, my spouse cares about my gender identity because what impacts my life affects hers.  When you date someone, you are probably thinking about what you want or need out of a relationship and if this person is the right person for you.  As time passes and as relationships (and your own gender identity) evolve, it’s normal to still think about that.  What one wants or needs from a relationship can absolutely change over the years.  Coming out to your partner will probably cause them to think about whether or not they want *this* in their marriage.  It’s a hard realization to accept, but again, real life isn’t always easy.  Relationships are sometimes hard.  

I think it’s easy for us to forget how our coming out will be processed by our partners.  WE may love who we are and we may love wearing lingerie, but this side of us rarely thrills our partners (and yes, I know there are wives out there who DO love this side of us).  It’s also hard for us to equate what this revelation can mean to our partners.  Us wanting to wear a skirt is not the same thing as our wives wanting to wear pants.  In today’s world, it’s normal for a girl to wear pants (this wasn’t always the case but that’s another topic for another time).  It’s not (and it won’t be for a billion years) normal for a guy to put on a pencil skirt.  Unfortunately, clothes, for the most part, are genderized.  Yes, a dress and a boy shirt are both pieces of fabric stitched together, but on the other hand, I would rather wear femme jeans than boy jeans.  Not necessarily because femme jeans are softer, but sometimes I want to wear femme jeans BECAUSE they are femme jeans.  

I suppose the closest thing I can think of, from an earth-shattering emotional perspective, is learning your partner has been secretly texting an old boyfriend.  I have been in relationships before where this happened and it’s thrown my world off its axis.  It changed everything.  What were they talking about?  Is she going to leave me for him?  Was she meeting up with him when she told me she was visiting her family?  It puts EVERYTHING into question.  When I came out to girlfriends in the past, they had similar fears and thoughts.  Again, it may not be a perfect comparison but I think you know where I am coming from.

HOW one comes also comes up a lot.  Most of these questions are people looking for the right words to say and when to have this talk.  To be honest, I don’t think there ARE the right words for every relationship.  Again, what “works” for one relationship isn’t necessarily going to work for another.  Timing is also subjective.  Honestly the best time to have this conversation is BEFORE you get married.  BEFORE you get engaged.  BEFORE you live with each other.  And yes, I know all of this is easier said than done (and may be too late for some relationships), but two people need to have ALL the difficult conversations before the relationship gets too serious.  Divorced?  Have children from previous relationships?  Financial trouble?  Gender identity?  Struggle with addiction?  Spent time in jail?  Ya’ll need to TALK about this stuff, even if it’s hard.  ESPECIALLY if it’s hard.  Again, not a direct similarity but if I was married to someone for a year and THEN I found out they were $75,000 in credit card debt.. well, let’s just say I would have preferred to know that before we walked down the aisle and tried to buy a house together.  Your spouse likely will feel a similar way when it comes to the clothes you want to wear.  

Although there’s no universal right way or right time to come out, there are a LOT of wrong ways to come out.  And this is where I am Not Fun.  I get emails from girls like us telling me that they want to come out to their wives by surprising them.  Trust me, no matter how or when you come out, this WILL be a surprise.  Some ideas others have had and have run by me (ya’ll don’t need my approval, but I am flattered by someone asking my perspective) include going to a drag show and then telling their wives on the way that they want to do drag.  Other ideas have included surprising their wives in the bedroom by wearing lingerie or “letting” their wives find their panties in their sock drawer.  Although I can understand why one would entertain these ideas, I don’t think these methods are thought out… at all.  Coming out is going to throw your partner off-guard anyway, and adding to the surprise in such a way isn’t going to help.  Sexy, intimate time is probably not the best moment to come out.  See??  I am SO not fun.

Of course it’s possible you may have come out to your partners by doing these things and perhaps it worked out so it’s entirely possible that I have no idea what I’m talking about.  

My point in this, as with ANY conversation about this side of you with your partner about your gender identity MUST be taken seriously.  Keeping their feelings in mind should be the priority.  Doing what you can to make them feel loved and listened to is THEEEE most important aspect to your coming out and every day after that.  

And YES! again, I know this is easier said than done.  And YES! I know I have a supportive wife which makes THIS side of me in our relationship a little easier.  BUT!!! I have had relationships before where this side of me WAS an issue and absolutely made things more difficult and likely contributed to the relationship ending.  I’m sure the girls I was dating had reservations about being in a relationship with someone who wore lingerie.  I get it.  At the same time, I myself had thoughts about whether or not I wanted to date someone where I couldn’t be ME, you know?  Relationships have to come with full disclosure.  Two people need to put all their cards on the table and show the other what they’re getting into (for lack of a better word).  And! doing this also lets your partner know what you need from the relationship.  The first girlfriend I had that I came out to didn’t react well to my coming out.  So I told her I would “stop”.  By the time I came out to the girl I married, I had accepted who I was and knew that this side of me wasn’t ever going to go away.  My future wife needed to know that.  

I have a lot of fun being who I am.  I DO have fun outings and love fun dresses.  I LIKE fun.  I don’t take life or myself tooooo seriously, but I take my relationships, and my identity, seriously.  I have fun identifying as two gender identities, but I also feel that my life/lives come with some responsibility and repercussions which are totally the opposite of fun.   I do love reading emails and comments, and I ultimately believe in being true to oneself,  but BIG steps, whether estrogen or coming out, must be taken seriously with a lot of things to consider.  

Love, Hannah