Ask Hannah!

I’m a married man that crossdresses. My wife knows about it. I’ve been crossdressing for quite some time now and the one thing I’ve always wanted to do is go out in public. My wife is not ok with me going in public all dressed up. I was wondering if you have any advice for that.

Yes, my advice is to listen to her.

Relationships and…what we do and who we are, are not easy.  Some of us have partners that participate and help us shop or put together an outfit or hit the mall with us.  Some of us have a “don’t-ask-don’t-tell” policy, some relationships are very tense due to this, and some of us haven’t come out to our significant others.

Telling our partners (mind, I use the term telling our partners as opposed to being caught by our partners) can be a huge weight of our shoulders.  We need to be honest with ourselves and with our partners.  I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s the truth.  And we need to have these conversations when the relationship get serious.  Not after you move in with them, not after you get engaged, not after you get married.  Before.  Before any of that.

Keeping something as big as this a secret is almost suffocating.  But we need to tell our partners.  It’s better to be up front with this than it is to be caught.  Once this secret is out, then we need to conscious of how they will react to this.  They are coming to grips with this, too.

And yes, once you come out to your partner, they will likely set boundaries.  Sometimes it’s not telling the kids or telling anyone else, or not posting photos or not chatting with anyone online or not leaving the house.

Sometimes boundaries can be a small price compared to stress of keeping a secret.  Out of respect for your wife, respect these boundaries.  She is dealing with this, too.  Be respectful of her and her feelings and her request.

If you go behind her back, you run the risk of losing her trust.  And nothing is worth that.

Love, Hannah

 

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Ask Hannah!

I’m in a sexless marriage. I started to dress a while ago because it makes me feel special. Are there any places near Ann Arbor Michigan that I can talk to ?

I would encourage you and your spouse to seek out counseling when it comes to your marriage.

I would also recommend reaching out to PFLAG, who, according to their website, unites people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) with families, friends, and allies, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education, and advocacy. PFLAG has 400 chapters and 200,000 supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas in all 50 states.

There are chapters all across the country, including one in Ann Arbor.

Take care.

Love, Hannah

So, This Happened…

day 2 dressI had a feeling, almost a premonition, that something interesting was going to happen when I went out yesterday.  I started by picking out my outfit, a white dress with a floral pattern and matched it with a pair of nude pumps as seen in the photo to the left.  But at the last second I replaced it with a hot pink dress and matching stilettos as shown in the photo below.

My makeup looked good.  My mascara made my eyelashes so long that they cast a shadow on my face.  My lipstick matched my outfit.  Whatever was going to happen, I was going to face it by looking fabulous.  I was going to meet up with a friend for dinner and I had some time to kill so I went to the mall.  I popped into a few stores and then as I rounded a corner, I saw her.

I saw my mom.

1I came out to my mom a few years ago, when I still identified as a crossdresser.   I still identify as a crossdresser but I feel transgender is more appropriate.  It was a surprise to her and although my mom is a wonderful person and supportive of the GLBTQ community, she wasn’t prepared for this revelation and it didn’t go as well as I had hoped.  But I think I could have explained myself better.  I think had I explained what it meant for me to identify as trans as opposed to me wearing dresses and heels it might have gone differently.  I think when I started to identify as transgender instead of a crossdresser I went from “this is what I like to do” to “this is who I am”.

I was excited for her to meet Hannah.  I wanted  very much to go shopping with my mom, to meet for coffee.  To be a daughter, even if only for an afternoon.  But it wasn’t meant to be.  She was glad I was honest with her but wasn’t ready to meet Hannah.

Over the next few months, we had a few more conversations but I didn’t feel they were going anywhere.  I soon gave up on the hope of her meeting Hannah.  It would still hurt from time to time, however.  I knew my mom loved and accepted me, but I couldn’t help feeling sad that there was this part of my life, another half of my life, that she didn’t want to know.

 

I could have pressed, but I respected her feelings.

Lately it has been on my mind, though.  I wondered if enough time had passed for me to broach the subject again.  When I considered this, most of the time I decided to drop it.  When I didn’t decide to drop it, I wondered how to do it, and ended up dropping it anyway.  But yesterday my mom faced me in the most literal way possible: by running into me at the mall.  Because of course I was at the mall.

As we walked towards each other, I didn’t have that sense of panic.  It was more like…what should I do here?  I remembered my mom saying she didn’t want to meet me, but it felt wrong to just pass by her and not say anything.  But I also felt like this was my chance.  It was meant to be.

After the initial shock, we got to chatting.  Small talk, how the week went, what was coming up later on in the month, my sisters, weekend plans.  I am sure running into Hannah was the last thing she expected to happen on her Saturday trip to JCPenney’s but my mom bounced back well and was comfortable, chatty, friendly and just…normal.  It didn’t feel weird or tense.

We ended up walking around the store and talking for about 20 minutes until she was off on her next errand.  In the parking lot I told her that I knew she didn’t want to meet me and that I was sorry it happened.  I am not sorry for who I am, but I respected her decision to not meet me.  I told her that this afternoon was something I had dreamed of for a very long time.  I let her know if she ever wanted to go shopping or have a coffee that I would love to meet up with her.

I was surprised at how emotional I was when I told her this.

We said our goodbyes, she told me she loved me (as she always does when I see her) and she hugged me.  Do you know how long I’ve wanted her to hug Hannah?

I walked back to the mall and immediately texted my wife.  After I told her what happened, we exchanged this:

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My evening went as planned and later my wife called my mom just to check in with her now that she met me.  My mom was supportive and talkative, had some questions for my wife and was very encouraging.  I suppose ten years ago I never thought I would have had a day like yesterday…having a wife who is supportive, having the confidence to go out, having the courage to tell my mom and for my wife and my mom to chat about my gender identity on the phone.

I never really thought what occurred yesterday would ever happen and who knows if she’ll ever see me again.  Yesterday life became a whole new world for myself and for my mom.  It was full of new.  I mean, how often does your mom meet you for the first time?

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

Dear Hannah,

I came out to my wonderful, selfless near saintly wife of 18 years. She knows what transgender is just not who it is. What I know is that she loves me and that will not change :):):)
It can be delicate for a while. Both of us just letting it digest. This can take overnight or it could take years (this would be a mutual denial) This is my greatest fear. The girl wants out and she wants to be acknowledged. To just go into a holding pattern would be worse then internalizing it.
Support groups? Books? Therapist? ( OK, I have one)
Any advice?

-Valerie

Coming out to anyone, especially your significant other is probably one of the hardest things we will ever do.  I’m sure it wasn’t easy and I’m glad you did it.  It’s always better for us to come out as opposed to being caught.  I get at least one email a week from a significant other of a crossdresser or t-girl who pour their hearts out because they caught their boyfriend, fiance or husband or discovered their wardrobe.  Many times it’s not about the clothes, it’s about the lying and not being honest with them.

I know it’s not easy, but I urge you all to please, please tell your significant other about this side of you before get married or live with each other.  I know it’ll be hard, but you owe it to them.

But I digress.

When you come out to someone, especially a significant other, it’s easy to let things get out of hand.  For many of us we have kept this part of ourselves secret for so long that it’s a relief to talk to someone about it.  It’s possible we’ve never talked about this to anyone else and soon our experiences, desires and secrets just pour out.  This can be very overwhelming.  The person you came out to is still processing this information and when you add more to it, it can be a lot to take in.  Take it slow.

When it comes to what’s next, well, that’s up to you.  What do you want to do?  What do you currently do?  Do you dress at all?  With my wife I did not go from coming out to dressing completely in a couple days.  It took time for both of us to adjust.  It started with her seeing panties in my dresser and her getting used to that.  Then sleeping in a nightgown and so on.  It was about four years after I came out before I was in a dress, makeup and a wig.  I didn’t always make the right decisions during this time and I got lost in the pink fog a lot, but my wife is an incredible person and she was always honest and direct with me with what she was thinking, feeling as well as what she was and wasn’t comfortable with.

Don’t be surprised if this is two steps forward and one step back for a while.  Don’t fight her if she asks you to not dress up for a few days…or weeks or around her.  If she sets limits or boundaries, respect and honor them.  You mention you have a therapist, perhaps you may consider a couples session where the two of you attend to discuss this part of you.  She may also need someone to talk to independent of you and I would recommend PFLAG, a wonderful organization that provides, among other things, support groups for our friends and families.

Good luck!

Love, Hannah

Ask Hannah!

Do you have any other hobbies?  Or do you focus on crossdressing related activities in your free time?  Just curious.

I like to keep busy and I am almost always doing something.  Sitting on the couch watching tv is not something I do very often.  I do like to read and I stay active by running, biking and working out.  Although I feel I have two halves of my life, I try to maintain a balance between them and not let crossdressing dominate my life, despite what my website suggests.  Balance is important especially when you are married.

Balance with anything in life is tricky, especially to crossdressers who are newly out to their significant others.  When we come out to someone, especially our partners, it can go many different ways.  Sometimes our partners are willing to see how crossdressing will affect their relationship and will allow us to wear panties or dress at home or set boundaries.  Many relationships are damaged when limits or boundaries are broken.  Crossdressing alone usually doesn’t lead to a broken relationship.  I hear from many t-girls that their relationship was damaged when they violated the boundaries their wives set, such as being asked to not post pictures online or leave the house.  Lying to your significant other, whether about crossdressing or anything else never helps a relationship.  If a crossdresser has a supportive partner, it is so easy for us to just go from zero to sixty with this.  All of a sudden our drawers are filled with lingerie and our closets have dozens of dresses in them.  This can lead our partners into thinking where will this end and wondering what they have gotten themselves into.

Usually a crossdresser gets one chance to bring this part of us into a relationship.  If we let this part of us dominate our lives or overwhelm our partners, it can lead to some very hurt feelings.  So, we especially need to keep balance in mind because it is not fair to our partners or significant others or wives.

I will take this moment to remind all of us that if you are not married, please, please, please tell your partner about this part of you before you do get married.  It is not fair to spring this on them after you are wed.  I fully believe in putting all cards on the table before you commit to each other.

Anyway, balance.

I have a friend who loves football.  He met a girl a few years ago who also loved football.  He thought he hit the jackpot.  She loved watching the games, loved tailgating, wore her jersey proudly and knew as much about the teams as he did.  They met and fell in love over a shared interest they were both passionate about.  He was thrilled he found someone who supported his hobby.

After a while, football really took over his life.  Whenever a game was on, he’d watch it.  All weekend he’d sit in front of the television watching sports.  He’d go to the home games, he’d go to Fantasy Football drafts, he lived and breathed football.  It was all he talked about.  His wife’s interest, however, didn’t keep up with his.  It got to the point where she was exhausted by it.  It dominated their relationship.  Everything was centered around the game.  They’d fight about it, she was frustrated by how this took over their life and she was simply overwhelmed by it.  Although she loved football, she grew weary of it and hated that she lost her husband to something.

He on the other hand was confused by how she had changed.  He thought she was into football and thought she was supportive of his passion for it.  Unfortunately he let it dominate their lives.  It was all he talked about, all he watched, all he did.

Having a supportive significant other is a wonderful thing.  Whether they are supportive of a hobby, a job, or crossdressing.  The thing we all need to remember is that we can’t let anything take over our relationship.  When many of us come out to our wives, we find it hard to talk about anything else.  I was careful not to let this overwhelm my wife with this side of me.  I tried not to talk about it constantly.  Sometimes it was hard and sometimes I wasn’t paying as much attention to her as I should have and didn’t pick up on her thoughts and feelings.  Through honesty and communication we found a very balanced life when it came to my crossdressing.

Love, Hannah