To NOT want my husband to have a makeover and dress as a woman?(181 Posts)
I have known about my husband's need to dress as a woman for almost 20 years. I came home unexpectedly one day to find him wearing my clothes. I was shocked and quite frightened. He explained that this was something he had been doing in secret since he was a little boy. Me being me, I felt sorry for him. We spoke about it for quite a while - I couldn't shut him up - I tried to understand him, but it became clear to me that this wasn't something that was going to go away. I told him that I didn't want to be part of it, that our children mustn't ever see him or know about it and he has been true to his word. There have been times when he has asked if he could dress and be with me and I must confess that, in bed, he was a lot more passionate making love to me dressed in my undies than he was when he was naked ... he's not gay! Now that our kids have flown the nest, he has had more opportunity and is taking more risks. He wants to know how good he would look with a professional makeover and he has found a place where he can go to do this. I have said no. I'm frightened where tis might lead? Am I being unreasonable?!
I don't think you're being unreasonable. He's wanting to move this very private thing outside of the home, essentially making it public. You've never agreed to it being out in public at all...
My aunt was married to a man who cross dressed. She couldn't hack it and they divorced soon after she found out. So I think you've done remarkably well in coping the way you have.
You need to keep talking this through to see if there is a compromise you are both happy with. Maybe a makeover in the home? Or maybe he does this somewhere else - on holiday by himself for a week... There is probably a common ground for you both somewhere, keep trying to find it.
That's a hard situation because you have in a way already accepted a lot of things. I can totally understand why you would be afraid of his "hobby" going further if he has the makeover, but if you say no he may do it anyway behind your back which isn't nice.
Have you spoken to him about how your feeling? Has he said how far he'd like to go with this? Would he dress like a woman full time?
Also what's your marriage boundaries? Would it get to a stage you would leave?
Have no advice Id probably have run a mile but hope whatever happens you end up happy
Did you post this a couple of months back OP?
It's very familiar?
I've been booked for a girls night in as a model next week, it's my first time so i'm slightly anxious..
But all is not as it seems...the girls are not adults they are all 5 and under and will be armed with make up and wigs.
It's going to be a long night and I hope they do me justice
You might find this website useful. www.gender.org.uk/wobsmatters/
Where do you think it might lead op? What are your concerns, that he wants to start dressing as a woman outside the home? I think if you can really articulate your concerns you can start to have a proper discussion.
When I first found out I was pregnant with my daughter and I know I didn't kick him out because I didn't want to be on my own! In any case I loved him, we hadn't been married long, I guess I just hoped it would go away, but of course it didn't. I fear I may have compromised my own feelings in condoning his habit. He gets so moody when he can't dress and I'll often go out so he can; when I come back he is a mch nicer person. It seems to calm him down? Does that make sense?
No-one knows about him except me. I haven't told our kids nor his or my family. I have been too embarrassed! I think I need to tell someone, get some advice. I just don't know where this might lead and I suppose I am more able to be on my own if things got so bad? I married a man, I wanted a husband, I already have two sisters, I don't need one more!
Madlizzy THANK YOU - I can't tell you how encouraging it is to know there is a group for women like me!
Well Grayson Perry is now officially a national treasure. What a lovely man.
Can we safely say that you wear the trousers then?
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
MyBaby that's very harsh.
I honestly don't get why anybody would object to an adult choosing to wear clothes associated with the other gender. Women wear "men's" clothes all the time, so what's the problem if a man wants to wear a dress?
It's in private, he's respected his wife's wishes, and he's not hurting anybody. Calling him vile and sick is just bigoted.
While calling it vile and sick is a it extreme, personally I would find this the ultimate turn off and simply could not fancy a man who felt the need to do this. I think the OP has been remarkably tolerant, but this sort of thing always seems to escalate, and would be a deal breaker for me.
Beaumont society. Been through it a million times before, all very normal there.
MyBaby, you are a nasty piece of work, aren't you? I hope you aren't bringing up your precious children to be so blinkered. What if one of them announces one day that he cross dresses?
I find these dressing agencies a bit odd, if I'm honest. I have no issue with anyone of any sex wearing whatever clothes they like - the whole idea of gendered clothing is a farce in any case. The bit I find super-creepy is that women (usually young slim gorgeous) put a lot of effort into turning men into stereotypical females, and reinforcing gender roles. I get that a lot of guys go there wanting to know how to pass, but really, the whole thing smacks of reinforcing gender, rather than breaking the whole thing down.
It makes me cross.
Anyways, the Beaumont Society is deffo your place. I'm sure your dh found them years ago.
Morning peeps, bit of a mixed bag this morning! The thing is he is a lovely man, he is a great provider, he looks after us very well and we have been together a long time. I do love him but I just don't understand him, or why he feels he needs to dress as a woman!
Can you find it in yourself to embrace this, enter into the spirit of it, go with the flow and humour of it and have fun together with it? It's what I do with my DS who is a mini-Grayson perry!
You don't understand why he feels the need, but he just does. Just like you find men attractive. It's presumably not something you can control. I think it's fine for you not to participate, but clearly this is something he needs. I think you need to try and negotiate some middle ground that you're both tolerably confortable with.
I was married to a cross dresser. It was difficult.
I find Grayson Perry disturbing.
A man dressing up as a little girl is just very disturbing, especially when he says he attracts lots of offers of sex from women.
I don't think he is national treasure at all.
OP: I'll post more tonight.
This is not an AIBU question, it's a bunch of personal questions.
I don't think what your DH is doing is disgusting, disturbing or worrying in the least. It may lead to him wearing women's clothing more often but I don't think this is a bad thing to do or that it would somehow pervert your children. They are just clothes and he enjoys wearing them.
However, I appreciate that you are in a difficult situation and his decision to dress as a woman is an odd one for you to understand and support. Why not talk to other partners who may have been through a similar sitution?
I think asking "Why does he need to dress as a woman?" is similar to asking "Why does it bother you that he needs to dress as a woman?". People have all sorts of needs and feelings that are not possible to rationalise or make go away by an effort of will.
Personally I think you should focus on his good character qualities. The fact that he is lovely is not going to go away when he wears a skirt, if he is a good father he won't become a bad one by wearing a bra, if you love him you love him for who he is not what he wears.
What's vile is not the actual wearing of "female" clothes, it's the way they all seem to want to look like some kind of pantomime dame with totally exaggerated femininity, like some hideous characature of women, it's hugely insulting if that's how they actually see women.
As for Grayson Perry, there's nothing "nice" about a man traipsing about looking like some Paedophile's wet dream, he looks like some hideous painted doll and he frightens children, I've seen him in the flesh and he looks extremely creepy, carting a teddy bear about looking like Pippy Longstocking, "disturbing" is the right description of him.
YANBU OP - you have every right to express your feelings if his proclivities are making you uncomfortable. Personally this would be a deal breaker for me.
I went to the Mardi Gras in Australia a few years ago and there were so many guys there dressed up as women (not girls, women) who were there with their other halves. I spoke to one guy called dave in a stunning sparkly ball gown and he told me that he only dressed up and went out of the house this one time a year and that she came to support him.
From talking to her it wasn't really her bag of chips but 'its better than golf'
I think it would be good if you could find a place, annually, where you could go and support him in this venture. I can understand now that the kids have grown up he wants to explore going out as a woman a bit more. I would want to have a few different converstqaions if it were my fella.
I would want to know:
Do you want to BE a woman? Or do you want to be a man dressed as a woman?
Do you want to do this regularly or all the time?
Would you be happy with say once a month doing a role play in the home and annually going to a party outside the home?
Because actually, whether YOU like it or not, if its something that he wants to do then that should be something you find a way to fulfil for him as a couple. I agree with a PP that the whole 'adult baby, wanting to be a little girl' thing is disturbing for different reasons and I would take exception to that.
But men wearing womens clothing? Quite common on the Sunday morning of a music festival, look at Paul o Grady for role-play and Eddie Izzard just for a guy who likes womens clothing.
Of course you are entitled to your feelings on it, but perhaps not to let your feelings on it mean that he cannot explore his own creativity in this respects.
'better than golf'
I would right down a list of the questions I had about if if I were you.
and get him to answer them, might help you understand his mindset a bit better.
I think you deserve a pat on the back for your approach to this. Many women would head screaming for the hills with this one I think
If my DH started this I would stay with him. I love him and would do my best to understand. I would feel like I never really knew him though and it would come as a monster shock to the system. I agree with others on here. It depends how far he wants to take it and now the cat is out of the bag, he may feel free to let it go much further than he would had it remained hidden.
I went to the supermarket yesterday in mens jeans and a unisex T shirt and my undies are not of the frilly variety so mmmmm...it makes you think doesn't it?
Yes dinna and it IS possible to cross dress without being really extreme about it.
I mean dressing like a woman would usually just mean wearing skinny jeans and a vest top!
I think like a PP said, its if he wants to dress as a characater of a woman that the problem comes in and more so if he wants to dress like a characature of a 'little girl'.
Bela - you are describing drag, not all crossdressing men are in drag anymore than all crossdressing women are drag kings, and not even all those in drag are as those described. Drag isn't about imitating women or thinking that when they're doing in something most women aspire to be, it's about creating a parody of society's portrayal of ultra femininity and a conscious comment on gender for entertainment and fun. Drag kings do similar, but men dressing as women is so shocking that it gets more press. Crossdressing to pass as a woman is very different from what you're describing though some people do do both (I have) and this is what it appears that the OP's husband wishes to do.
Katie4u - You appear to be having a very strong emotion reaction to this. I don't really understand it but I'm on the opposite side of the coin as a genderqueer individual who has done crossdressing both to pass and as entertainment. I don't see how him getting a makeover will make it much more public, presumably it will done in the privacy of a studio and then he'll come straight home, the only person being adding in the know is the artist and they already know if he's asked them about it. It's a bit of fun and it could make him happy. I'm not sure where you expect this to be going (crossdressing is not related to sexuality), I'm guessing you fear this moving into day-to-day or full public domain and that it will have a backlash against you or your grown children. That's obvious an important discussion point to you. YANBU to not want this for fear of reprisal and a serious discussion on how he can do this safety if you feel this is a serious cause for concern in your area, but I do think you are being unreasonable to not try to understand how your obvious disapproval (why do you have to leave the house? why does he need to do this alone except for the sexual experiences you seem to have enjoyed) could be affecting your husband. Your lack of understanding of why he wants to do this is part of the barrier - he doesn't want to be your sister, your portrayal doesn't even sound like someone who views themself as a woman, he just wants to dress in what he sees as feminine clothes and obviously wants to share it with you and enjoy himself in it. I just don't get the problem, I don't think I could remain married if there were such a division between me and my partner or if he felt embarrassed of me.
I also wonder if, at the root of the problem (if problem it be) is not the urge to dress as a woman but rather the urge to not be the man for a while ie take a break from being the provider/stronger sex/etc. Women struggle with 'traditional roles' a lot so it's not much of a stretch to imagine men doing so, I feel.
I think there's a possibility being overlooked: the frills, adornments and skirt may be signs of the chap's wanting, deep down, to dress as a scotsman.
Or a greek soldier.
You see, I would see the makeover thing as like going to evening classes in Italian. He's interested in dressing as a woman, it's his hobby, he has been given the chance to get better at it. He is interested in the expert advice, the make up, the dressing style.
Whether that means he wants to go more public will I expect not come from the makeover. It might come from the stage of life, kids grown up, less reason to be discreet.
Chat to some people in that society. Personally, I would rather my DH did private cross dressing than went to ultra-masculine things like pole dancing clubs and watched a lot of porn. Thes something very humorous and creative about cross dressing.
Though not as a little girl ith a dolly, Grayson perry creeps me out -- and is pottery is shit too--
Most women who find out their husband is a crossdresser do stay together. There are far far worse things they could do. The Beaumont society has lots of good resources and a group for wives in such a situation.
He won't be able to stop. He will say he will but he won't. The older children will probably not care - if they have left.
So either accept it or don't. Many women find a way to accommodate it - such as having them go to clubs or events. They cope and the man finds an outlet.
Most crossdressers are heterosexual. They just want to - for whatever reason dress up. And it is true that a lot do go for a more "stereotypical look" of what they have in their heads.
There is an interesting Radio 4 show on Iplayer called the Change where a wife is in your situation and how she copes with it - as do the family
But like I said - he can't help it. And it will not go away.
I find it so very sad that when men want to wear something pretty instead of the drab uniform they have been assigned by society, they get labelled as some kind of deviant.
Women's clothes are lovely. Why shouldn't men want to wear them? Why is it absolutely fine for women to dress in shirts, jeans and boots without anyone giving them a second glance? There's no such thing as a female cross-dresser, there's just women in dresses and women in trousers.
It's sexist crap, and comes down to the basic premise that women are inferior to men, and men are somehow "wrong" or degrading themselves if they like women's things.
It frustrates me no end that the term "cross-dressing" even exists, let alone that it only applies to men and it's seen so negatively if men want to break free of their limited clothing choices.
Open your minds, folks. It's just clothes.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
There is a man that cross dresses and works in one of our local shops.She wears jeans and pretty tops she also wears some make up and has shoulder length hair. That to me is fine but I find the Grayson Perry outfits disturbing, just had to look as had no idea who person was.
If your DH started walking round your local area I can see why you would fret because people judge. It's wrong but it would happen. Going to a place where it would all be done in private would surely not be too bad. I think it is brilliant you can talk about it on here. Anything that has been preying on someone's mind and they have has to suppress for years is bad for them.
Saying he is sick is very extreme baby I don't think that was any helpful advice at all!
I think OP you are doing really well, if I was you I would obviously be shocked to but i think that's something you can stand by (providing there are no other issues in the relationship) someone made a good point about women being able to wear, what are essentially seen as "guy" clothes, times change, if it makes him happy and it's not effecting anyone else, I don't see the problem. Maybe sit down and have a think about WHY it bothers you.
I wouldn't like it as a permant thing, I think the occasional lads being lads and acting up is fine because they are doing it as men having a laugh. It wouldn't sit right with me if my dh wanted to wear women's underwear/dresses/high heels as a "hobby"/"fantasy".
A man is a man and as such should look like a man not a women I don't think it looks nice just like I don't think women with shaved heads wearing men's clothes.
Each to their own but I couldn't be with someone like that.
I think women get to wear whatever they like so men should too.
I HATE that society judges them more on what they wear than it does women. It is just another way in which women are assumed to matter less.
sexist in the extreme.
It's not just clothes though, is it AnnieL? It's more than that- it's the lack of disclosure in the first place (OP discovered it rather than her DH being upfront from the start) and while gender is performative (if Butler is to believed and I quite like a lot if what she is saying) those of us who are very much engaged with gender as women and are attracted to men who engage with make gender would find this very disturbing. Why should OP accept it? I fully understand it's not linked directly to sexuality but at the same time it is - OP has stated the sex is more uninhibited when he dressed as a woman. On the plus side, he isn't asking her to dress or be different so OP can take comfort from that.
OP I think you have done really well coping so far. Don't have any experience or advice, but you are completely entitled to your feelings and don't have to apologise for how uncomfortable you feel. I wonder if those people who seem more laid back about this stuff would feel the same if it actually happened to them.
I agree with posters who say he's not going to change. You also shouldn't have to change your gut feelings about it all. It's if you can find a middle ground and if you can't then you deserve to be in a relationship where you don't feel there is a very large elephant in the room. It's not your DH's fault he feels this way - it doesn't make him a freak or anything, but it might just make him incompatible with you.
I second those who find Grayson Perry very bloody annoying. I half wonder if it's all put on Schtick to sell his rather duff pots.
Fine not to understand something (but we should all at least try to understand that which we find odd), but unreasonable to berate someone for doing something that they appear innately driven to, and is in essence harmless. Perhaps he'd be better off being a "real" man and beating the shit out of someone.
Interesting to write Grayson Perry off as creepy on the back of how he looks (sometimes) - listen to what he says, quite an engaging and empathetic chap for the most part from what I've heard.
But you've put up with it for 20 years already? Why, if you dislike it so fundamentally?
he is a great provider, he looks after us very well and we have been together a long time
Ah, I see. You don't really like it, but it suited you to turn a blind eye to it as long as he "provided" but now that the kids have left home he naturally wants to go further with his interest.
I'm with the DH on this one. You owe him one.
LadyRabbit - but don't you think if society were less hung up on men being all manly and it being shameful for them to like "women's things" since they are apparently inherently inferior, he wouldn't have felt like he had to hide it from his wife?
I just think the OP owes it to her DH to think very hard and deeply about where her issues with her husband's dress stem from, and examine her prejudices.
Many crossdressers don't disclose at the start of a relationship. Because they are scared of rejection and embarassed as society thinks it's "not normal".
If bit were my hubby I'd not oppose it but I wouldn't want to be there are see it easier. Very simplistic to say I know but there are aspects of me that my hubby accepts but doesn't understand or share in. We can be all things to all people, even our nearest and dearest.
This thread makes me sad.
I blissfully forget that some people are still made so tortured and unhappy by this.
I can honestly say it wouldn't phase me in the slightest to be with someone who was transgendered on any level.
In the same way that when I brought my first girlfriend home, my mums complete non reaction gave me the security in myself to not be screwed up about preferring women.
This doesn't have to be a dirty secret.
Please do get in touch with Beaumont or your local lgbt network.
Then have a frank and sensitive discussion with your husband.
You are his only confidante and your opinion will matter hugely to him, try to be as accepting as you possibly can.
I understand that this is outside your remit of normal but actually its not new. You are not the first nor will you be the last.
Good luck op xxx
I know it's not exactly the same, but imagine if you were expected to always wear dresses & skirts, and not to wear trousers.
It sounds like a really hard situation for you both to be in, OP. You're not comfortable with his cross-dressing, and he wants to be able to do it more.
My gut says that he should be able to dress however he likes, and should be able to have this makeover and not be judged for it. But that's a very black and white look at the matter. He will be judged; by you, by people who see him, and by association people will judge you.
My probably-over-simplified thoughts are that you and he need to have a talk about this. More of a talk, as it seems like you're already talking about it. You need to find out what he wants; does he want to be able to go about everyday life dressed in 'feminine' clothing? If so, then you need to decide whether that's something you can accept, and if not then what you're going to do about it. It doesn't seem right that your discomfort should stop him from being happy/relaxed in how he dresses. But it also doesn't seem right that you should feel uncomfortable in your house/relationship.
Really sorry you're having to deal with this; must be very upsetting/confusing to have to deal with.
Also, what Herrena said - that was a much more sensitive version of my thoughts!!!
The thing about those places which do a professional makeover are that they tend to have "stereotypes" - the nurse, office worker, school girl - where the outfits seem to be ...sexy / tarty and a bit of a fantasy.
Taking more risks - what do you mean by that? Do you think he wants to be "caught"?
It's true that it is much harder for men when it comes not just to clothing choice but even things like shaving legs and having long hair. The worst thing a man can do is look like a woman or even act like one (as far as society goes).
The clubs are a good outlet. If he lives near a big city, there will be one. I think people would be surprised how many men do "cross dress". It will help him and is a safe outlet as he can get dressed there.
Wow, you guys are amazing, I can't tell you how much you have helped me here - thank you! You're right, I do need to make a better effort at understanding his need for a makeover. He tells me that has never really mastered makeup (who has?!) and that he stopped trying some years ago - although I had often observed him taking a keen interest in me when putting on my slap, I hadn't realised he had been trying on my makeup! He says he would like to see how good he would look dressed AND made up. I guess understanding him better is one thing, being fearful of where it might lead is probably more where I'm at right now. The place he's going to organise day and night trips for men who want to do this, they go to clubs, theatres and restaurants - when he told me I told him it was a bit rich that he didn't take me out to those places as my husband! I asked him how he would feel if another guy approached him and my heart sank when he told me he would be thrilled! Does this mean he is gay? But he isn't, I know that, I'm just very confused!
The best thing you can do is speak to him about your confusion and fears. It will be good for both of you
Lots of sensible advice from annie, orlando and others.
The idea that his desire to cross dress has to be a dirty little secret, kept from the rest of the family, etc, is all rooted in our fundamentally sexist culture.
Think about the different types of women you know. Some are ultra feminine and love wearing dresses, jewellery, etc. Some love make up. Some like wearing smart or fashionable clothes. Some, like me, are much more comfortable dressing like men. Not literally- I'm not trying to dress as a man- but I like comfortable, practical clothes like jeans, trainers, t shirts, jumpers etc. Am I expected to keep this a secret, done only at the weekends in the privacy of my own home? No! Because of sexist double standards.
Surely men vary just as much as women in how they want to dress, but it's considered some sort of problem if they like feminine clothes.
Well done on supporting your DH. Keep talking, and do some reading up- coming fom the viewpoint that society is the problem, not your DH.
I think he means he would be thrilled to 'pass' as a woman.
Cross posted with you, op. I guess he means he'd be thrilled because being approached by a man would mean he's mastered the female 'look', and not that he'd want anything to happen? Have you shared your concerns that you're worried about his sexuality? Could he be bisexual? In which case you have nothing to worry about!
I find men in drag disturbing. I would prefer if my partner wasn't a cross-dresser. However, it'd be more important to me to accept him as he is. Much as I dislike the idea of him wearing make-up and women's underwear I'd hate the idea that my limitations would make him feel ashamed and feel as though he had to hide away something that was important to him being him.
This episode is relevant to you.
His wife has just found out.
Katie, we all get to that life stage when we realise that there will be no magic wand, not all that much "tomorrow/next year/one day" and so those things that matter to us, matter more. As mid life crises go, this one is much nicer than many. He still loves and respects his family. He just has always wanted to play this part, if you like. Explore another persona, as actors do.
What about you? I think you also deserve a treat. What have you been putting off and being unselfish about all these years? Not as revenge, you understand, but as recognition that you both deserve to be kind to yourselves and do the things that have had to wait before.
Not knowing your family, if I had to guess, I would say that he would rather not throw everything away by making this about casual sex with strangers or even about a very public appearance as a woman. If you can let him explore this in a safe territory, without undermining your marriage and your life together, I think you will make the man you love very happy.
I guess I don't understand why this bothers you so much. I can see that it does but I don't understand why. He still loves and desires you, he isn't going to leave you to live a new life, from everything you've said he isn't a neglectful or cruel husband. He just likes the look and feel of women's clothes - I can understand that. I am wearing a long swishy shirt, a tight-fitting top and a big colourful scarf today - I love the feel of the silky skirt fabric, I love the flamboyance of the scarf, I love the fact that the shirt accentuates my waist. Usually I wear leggings, short dresses, big cardies or waistcoats, or jeans but sometimes I like to wear something more feminine or dramatic. And I can. Men aren't allowed to. And that is unfair.
"Me being me, I felt sorry for him."
That is very generous of you, I hope I could be so forgiving.
Really Pendeen? I thought it should have been more along the lines of "me, being the woman who loves my husband, I felt I could accept this aspect of him...".
You've had lots of good advice and wise words, OP. I hope that you both can work things out together. Yet again Mumsnet members come to the rescue .
For myself, I would support my husband if he told me he wanted to wear women's clothing, and we would seek help together from support groups etc.
Are you aware if what it is frightens you so much OP? Are you frightened that he wants to live full time as a woman? That secretly he may self-identify as a woman? That you think he'd really like to undergo gender reassignation surgery? That any or all of these questions makes you not fancy your DH any more? Or the opposite - it really does turn you on? That other people will pick on you, your DH or DC? Maybe if you knew what was going on with you some more it would help you both discuss it?
I was in love with a cross-dresser in my teens - I regret that I didn't understand or support the person I knew as a boy more then. This person is now living full-time as a woman, which has included gender reassignment surgery and hormonal therapy. She is much happier, but has had a hell of a time getting there.
Would I be more understanding now of a long-term partner? I would try, but I think like you, I would find it hard. So please don't feel bad for feeling the way you do - your feelings count here too!
Katie it doesn't sound like your DH is respecting your boundaries here. You've told him you don't want to see it or be a part of it but he has continued to ask to dress with you and now he's involving you with discussing this makeover and telling you he would be thrilled if a man approached him in a bar. Sounds like there is some gaslighting going on here. You've said you feel your feelings have been compromised. There's no shame in not accepting your DH's behaviour and no kudos or pats on the back for accepting something you don't want. A marriage is not something to be endured.
You're worried about where this will lead. No-one here knows that but if he wants a makeover and says he would be thrilled about being approached by a man in a bar, there is certainly a lot more to this than simply liking the look and feel of women's clothes.
Your boundaries are important and you shouldn't feel pressured by him or anyone else into accepting something you are not comfortable with.
My (limited) understanding of transvestitism is that it is part of who somebody is, part of their identity. It's not a hobby.
We've had these type of threads before. Woman posts saying how disgusted she is. But it's always part of the story that she was aware of partner's preference very early on in the relationship but had shamed him in to denying and hiding his desires and then she feels betrays when it comes out later. I feel it's analogous to asking somebody not to be brunette and then feeling aggrieved when the roots start to show.
I am with Flora on that - there seems to be a real drive to be seen by others as a woman going on here, not just to 'play' in private. Is this what is disturbing you?
I really am no expert - as I said my own experience was in my teens - but even that made me aware of how intense that desire can be. It can really be very consuming for some people indeed, and that can make it hard to.negotiate in a way which respects your needs and feelings too. Although of course not everyone who cross-dresses will want to live full-time in that gender, and there are quite specific issues which arise in relation to that.
"He gets so moody when he can't dress and I'll often go out so he can; when I come back he is a much nicer person. It seems to calm him down?"
I think that's called being happy. Could you stop him from being happy?
As much as you are deciding whether or not to keep him, he will be wondering whether or not to keep you. He's with a woman who doesn't like him. Not his real identity. You like what he's pretending to be, but will he be able to live like that? I usually suggest counselling. Please keep talking. It will not go away.
Transvestites vary from near transsexual who likes to be realistic, all the way to the fetish side of things, such as Grayson Perry. MX Perry does not represent all transvestites! These dressing services cater for all kind of looks. I'm sure they'll have uniforms to evening dresses to ordinary daywear.
To all those who get sensitive about some transvestites going for a stereotypical ultra feminine look, that feminine feeling they will get might have to last them a month until they're able to dress again. And what's the point of dressing like a woman by wearing a t-shirt, trainers and shapeless jogging bottoms? If they want to feel their feminine side, something feminine kind of makes sense doesn't it?
Yabu. Why can he not dress how he chooses? I don't think it is up to you. It saddens me that you think your children shouldn't see him wearing different clothes as though it is shameful.
My XH was a cross dresser.
I understand perfectly why Katie goes out when DH is dressed up.
After our DCs left home XH dressed up more often: dress, wig, makeup, high heels.
When dressed up he took on feminine mannerisms, which I found irritating.
He also would wonder down the garden in a dress, wig and full makeup, sit in the house with the curtains open, sit on the hotel balcony dressed up whilst on holiday.
It made me very edgy, thinking a neighbour or friend could knock on the door or come round to the back of the house.
He insisted on wearing american tan coloured stockings which made his legs look just like his mother's legs.
Luckily he liked long wigs as a short wig would have made him look like his mother.
Imagine having sex with someone who greatly resembles your MIL.
We did go to cross dressing events and met some interesting people.
A twenty stone lorry driver wearing an ball gown and drinking pints is an amusing sight and they know they are too.
Several of you say everyone should be able to wear whatever they want and yes, I agree, but funnily enough some of the event organisers got very upset and shirty if some of the guests failed to follow the dress code, which was ball gowns - hypocrites.
I was married for 30 years and I suppose what bothered me most about the cross dressing, was that it was the most important thing in his life.
It was far more important than me.
It always came first. Holidays were planned around Mardi gras.
Cottages were booked for their seclusion.
It did seem that CD was all he thought about.
We never went to the theatre or out for a meal, but did go to lots of CD events.
But then my XDH was very selfish in many ways.
Yes, ok, we should all be able to wear what we like, but there's no way I would want to have a DH who wore a dickie bow all the time or a shell suit or a dress.
Katie, only you can decide how to proceed.
Best wishes to you and DH.
Having only read the opening post I don't think anyone is being unreasonable here.
Seems like you're just trying to find a comfortable place with each other and each others needs.
It sounds like your worried he is transsexual as opposed to transvestite. Have you asked him? Would that be a problem if he were?
FloraFox - gaslighting? Really? You're kidding, right? The OP has made her DH repress part of who he is for 20 years because of her own (unexamined and unintentional) prejudices, her own shame in who he is. He had gone along with it, been living as someone he is not, denied an intrinsic part of himself for her.
But the time has come for him that he isn't prepared to do that any more. Good for him, he should have pushed back years ago.
If the OP wasn't prepared to accept this side of him, to truly accept who he is and to love him unconditionally, she should have cut him loose right at the offset.
He is the one who has been treated cruelly here, not her.
Annie: Op was already married to him and had children when she found out, so cutting him loose would have had consequences.
Maybe 20 years ago DH wasn't ready to live publicly as a cross dresser.
Maybe he didn't want to push back and loose his family.
I think you are being very harsh to the OP.
My husband cross-dresses. I've never seen it as a big deal. It's just something he likes to do. He has become an expert in makeup and gives me advice, which I ignore because I'm less interested in such things than he is. I don't particularly like the look of him when he does it, but it makes him happy and I honestly don't see it as a problem. I like the fact that he has the courage to do something unconventional - very conventional people make me nervous.
If explained properly, a child is perfectly capable of understanding such issues There was an interesting programme where children talked about a dad who was a crossdresser Children are very understanding - but the natural (and understandable) reaction is not in front of the children
So something that is a part of him is supressed for many years and that is hard.
paxtecum, it's not the OP I'm being harsh to, I accept that she is just a product of the society in which she lives. Indeed, she has read the responses on here and realised that she should probably do a spot of self-examination on the issue.
The people I intending to be harsh to are those who seem to think it's the OP who is the one being treated unfairly in this situation.
Like I said - it's not going to go away. He may tell you it has but it won't. And he wants to explore this side more - but paxtecum is right that it can take over your life which may be an issue.
It is unfair on him to ask him to stop. It's unfair on you for him to want to be dressed up around the house if it makes you uncomfortable.
So a middle ground needs to be found. But he may want to keep pushing the boundaries on what is acceptable to both of you.
I wouldn't be happy with it, but it's harmless. I feel bad about my lack of sympathy.
And I liked Grayson Perry a lot.
As soon as I go to this part of the thread is when I thought enough's enough:
I asked him how he would feel if another guy approached him and my heart sank when he told me he would be thrilled!
Cross dressing or no, he is taking the piss here. If he had told you he'd be thrilled of another woman came onto him you'd be fuming and I think quite right in telling him to get lost! Just because it's a man then the same response applies. The cross dressing is a smoke screen.
He's completely making a mockery of you, your boundaries and yes, your marriage.
It's a big step though.
From private cross-dressing to using an agency. And then (I'm betting) they'll be pressure on the wife to head out to the Rubber Ball.
Once the ball is rolling...
And this stuff is expensive. The agencies aren't cheap, nor are the outings, nor the ball tickets, and the hotel stays and the specialist clothing and make-up, and then the treatments to retard hair growth so that the make-up looks more realistic.
I get that the op feels a bit like Alice In Wonderland tumbling down, down, down.
He's still the same bloke though.
Have you contacted the Beaumont Society yet?
(I am wondering if I've been hiding under a rock, btw. Who the actual feck is Grayson Perry?)
The thrill is totally about passing btw - nothing sexual, future. Which suggests absolutely certainly that this dude is ready to test the water and put himself out there. And that's a really brave thing to do, because it doesn't always go well. No one seriously wants to run the gauntlet of getting beaten up in bars.
I know a guy who used to go out and drive at night, dressed, as a half way house, before he went to an agency.
Grayson Perry is an artist. He designs the most boring scarfs in the world for Liberty and makes pottery that is equally as boring.
He dresses up in the style of a 1950s little girl, ankle socks, frilly dresses and bonnets.
His dress style is disturbing.
He seems to be embraced by the BBC.
Madwoman; I agree with you.
Even if the money isn't a problem, it's a bit like there being another woman in the marriage and the other woman comes first, always.
Annie unconditional love? Really? Unless you view women as supportive handmaidens to their husbands, you must be kidding. The love between a woman and a man is based on honesty and trust, it is not unconditional. If this is an intrinsic part of himself, he should have been honest about it before she committed to him but he wasn't. The OP discovered this and only when she was pregnant and didn't want to be alone. I would hazard a guess that the reason he didn't tell her before they were married is because he knew she would not accept it. He should have given her this choice and an ability to find another life with someone else before she was pregnant with his child. The OP did not get the chance to cut him loose at the offset because of his dishonesty.
You are shaming her into accepting something she does not want by saying this is about her prejudices but hey, it's the woman's role to support the husband, right? To make sure his needs are met, right? To put her own needs / desires / boundaries second, right? No. All women have a right to define the life and relationship they want and to define their own boundaries without being shamed into putting their husband's needs first.
This is an emotive subject for me because my ex-stepdad has been living as a woman for the last 10 years after having started out "just" cross-dressing from time to time. My mum couldn't cope with it and their marriage broke down, not necessarily because of him wanting to live as a woman, but because his personality changed enormously and (s)he became a very self-centred and unpleasant person.
The thing is, if your husband is feeling more and more that he wants to dress as a woman full time, it's not something he can just keep private. I think for all your sakes, it's worth seeking professional counselling to establish where on the spectrum between occasional cross-dressing and full on transgender he is. This isn't going to go away.
florafox As usual, you are displaying a total lack of understanding about trans issues and why people surpress them and hide them.
I lived with a cross dresser for 30 years and totally agree with FloraFox.
I can have all the understanding in the world, but may not want to give unconditional love to someone whose own needs totally outweigh my own.
A wife does not have to give unconditional love. Full Stop.
I gave unconditional love for 30 bloody years and nothing got ever better.
My needs were always bottom of his list and they stayed at the bottom of his list.
Life on my own is lovely.
Flora has articulated this far better than me.
Having read your latest post I don't think Yabtoou. I was going to say you were before fully understanding how confused you are and how hard you are trying to embrace his lifestyle.
I don't think it's something that should be hidden or made to feel like a dirty or wrong thing, but I can understand why in our current society where everyone is so keen to put labels on everything that you would feel that way. I think we are very much in a transitional period on the this issue as a whole. We know it's wrong to judge someone for something like this yet we can't help but do it. This is what progress is supposed to be for, a hundred years ago a woman getting a divorce or a man being fat would've been met with the same
Just try and keep talking about it, keeping it all in the open and accept that it's something I can't help/change as its part of the package of him and what makes him happy. Good for him I say, we should all be tolerant of people displaying 'deviant' sexual indentites, the more we are the better for all of us in the long run.
orlando I don't recognise you (maybe you've name changed) but this is not about "trans issues" . That would be about the husband's issues in dealing with his life and the causes and consequences of his behaviour. I have not been talking about that. I have been talking about a woman's response and the pressure put on a woman to accommodate whatever her husband might expect her to deal with.
Full disclosure: I am a feminist and I care about women - their role in society and their role in relationships. I want women to be comfortable in their relationships and not feel like they need to accommodate any old thing their partner desires in the name of unconditional love or inclusiveness.
Mewmeow: There is a big difference between being extremely tolerant of all trans issues and finding out that your DH is a cross dresser and would love to be chatted up by a bloke.
He is not the person she thought she had married.
OP doesn't want to see her husband dressed like a woman.
She doesn't want to chat about makeup with him.
And men need to be comfortable in their relationships and not feel they have to repress an important side of themselves.
Relationships and people change over 20 years. Just because the couple felt they were compatible 20 years ago doesn't mean they are still compatible. Sometimes there is nobody to blame when a relationship breaks down.
Depends why he would love to be chatted up.
How many women on here would love it if they were in a bar and Huge Jackman/Peter Andre/Gerrard Butler/Barry Chuckle tried chatting them up? He may have meant it would be a massive compliment and he would be flattered.
Is it a feminist issue or a relationship issue? If there was a situation where a wife had kept something hidden, but then wanted to express it - would you have an issue?
It's a relationship issue - not a feminist issue as a man could be asked to accommodate his wife's needs.
Re the selfishness: After decades of keeping something bottled up, there is the tendency to froth everywhere when your bottle is open. A Transvestite who decides they don't want to pretend to be 'normal' any more may bang on and on about it for a year. It passes as the novelty of freedom grows old. Many become a right pain in the arse for a bit.
And men can be selfish about anything if they're that sort of person. An obsessive transvestite comes from the same sort of place as an obsessive videogame player, or obsessive train enthusiast, or obsessive bagpipe player. It's the obsessive bit that needs addressing.
pax I'm sorry I x-posted with you several times. You have been at the coal-face of this issue and I have not. Your experience far outweighs my vies and I entirely respect your experience. Please keep posting, your posts are much more important than mine.
orlando I think it's a feminist issue because of the expectation of support from women to men. Can you give me an example of where this might occur for a wife hiding something from her husband?
Well put, flora.
I dont think I am an out and out feminist, my relationship is probably quite traditional, by today's standards. But I feel decidedly uneasy about many things
(a) how katie discovered her DHs preference, not through full disclosure, but when they were fully into their relationship and committed with a child
(b) the fact she is making a big compromise now on what she feels comfortable about and what she has believed her marriage has been all about, to date
(c) her growing concern that this is the thin end of the wedge, and she doesn't know where it will lead in the future
(d) her DHs admission that he would enjoy being approached by a man
Katie, please follow your instincts and take time to get support from one of the groups who can help you work through your concerns.
I would say expectation of support isn't normally it. Hope of support maybe.
Wife hiding things? How about affairs? Applicable to both sexes of course.
Don't you think in a relationship that each partner should support each other? And that that expectation should be there?
I'm sure there are people out there who do have issues that they never told their OH before starting a relationship. It could be drug issues, MH issues, sexual desires, fetishes - loads of things.
Of course he has lied to her. If you understood trans issues, you would get that. He has had a relationship with her and they have had children. She does not have to accept it. And pax is right - some crossdressers can take it to an extreme whilst others need to do it occasionally.
But the thing you need to understand is - he cannot help it or stop it. Just like any person who has a compulsion.
So the choice is - accommodate it, leave or ask him to stop. But he won't - it will carry on in secret.
I suppose it comes down to how much your partner means to you. And if you love them.
Of course, you could say - if he loved her, he would stop. I bet he'd love to but he can't. That's what trans stuff is like. You have no control.
I wonder how many women would be able to give up women's clothes for a month? No heels. No clothes that show any figure. Men's jeans, shirts, coats etc. No make-up. Short hair. It would drive most of the women I know potty after a week.
Imagine 20 years...
Tiggy is right about obsessive. How far do you go to accommodate it - even if it makes you feel uncomfortable?
And I think some people might be getting a bit hung up on being approached by a man. I think it just means he would be pleased that he passed.
But the OP does not have to accept it. No one does.
Tiggy is right about obsessive. But the point I was making is that TVs are usually obsessive in the SHORT term. While coming to terms with it.
Looking at your last op I think there is more to this than the cross dressing
You say he wants to join a club where they would go out to the theatre etc but he never goes out to the theatre etc with you.
Taking the cross dressing out of the equation, has your relationship gone a bit mundane in other areas?
It sounds like cross dressing fulfils his needs but do you have anything in your life that fulfils yours?
Tiggy: Many, many women would be very happy to give up women's clothes and all that goes with them: heels, makeup.
Many women wear all that reluctantly because it is expected of them.
I am curious what your experiences of cross dressers are, but apologise if that is an inappropriate question.
I was told off on the 'recreational cocaine' thread when I asked a poster a similiar question.
My XH was obssessive about CD all the time and wanted more experiences as the years progressed.
EverybodysStressyEyed: I think we all hope and expect that when our children have left home we have time to spend and enjoy with our partners, picking up again from before DC time.
We don't expect to be living seperate lives under the same roof, each finding something different to fulfil our lives.
Well that's kind of what I meant. My parents have their own hobbies but they also spend a lot of time doing things together. They have found a balance that suits them.
For op - her dh seems to have a hobby he wants to pursue at the cost of their time together. It's a hobby she isn't welcome to join in or wants to join in. So for me it is an issue of the impact of his hobby on their relationship, not what the actual hobby is.
OP, I think if you are actually finding this a turn off and feeling uncomfortable already then the escalation may be more than you can accept.
I know lots of women have no problem with this, I wasn't one of them.
With a male friend- no problem. In my relationship- a turn off for me. That's a very personal view though- I tried to be the cool partner because I loved my ex but it didn't work- cross dressing is a turn off for me.
However, if you separate he may well find a partner who enjoys this aspect of his personality. But if its not for you then don't feel guilty. Good luck with it all.
Of course he has control over it. He is an adult, he doesn't have to dress up as a woman, but he wants to.
Some woman have no problem with this and think, well it is just clothes. Other women have a major issue with this.
I think only you can decide how you feel about this. But your feelings matter. You don't have to accept something you are not happy with. You matter too.
I feel quite sad for you all. Well worth joining the support groups, I'm sure there are a lot of women who feel like you but there are others who have accepted that aspect of their partner, a friend of a friend husband now lives full time as a woman, they are still in love and in a relationship but he feels more comfortable living as a woman. Your kids are adults, as it's been hidden so much it might come as a shock but there is nothing to be ashamed about. I feel so sad for your husband having to squash a big part of how he feels down, like it's a dirty secret. If I found out my dad cross dresses I would be shocked but I would also want him to be happy, be that in trousers or a skirt. Who cares what neighbours think if he wants to go out in women's clothes, life is too short to worry about what others might or might not think
Letit: OP may not be worried about what neighbours may think.
The fact is that she doesn't like it.
I have great admiration for your friend of a friend.
I also have great admiration for Foster Carers.
But I couldn't foster and I couldn't live with a man who dressed as a woman all the time.
I don't know anyone who cross dresses so this is simply asking for information.
I take the point women have far greater choice than men and on the whole men's clothes are less interesting ( although as I'm someone who hates jeans and casual clothes I do think being able to wear a really well cut bespoke suit would be lovely)
Is the wanting to wear women's clothes a reaction to the general drabness of men's clothes or is it the fact it is "women's clothes"
If the former wouldn't the Eddie Izzard/Laurence Llewellyn Bowen/Prince/ Goth style of frock coats, flouncy shirts, silk and velvet, or Jean-Paul Gaultier kilts that aren't just tartan do the trick?
If it's the latter and it's important the clothes are women's rather than flamboyant then I'm finding it less easy to understand.
I mentioned Grayson Perry. I think he's a tremendously talented artist. His recent channel 4 documentary about class and culture was fab and he came across as funny, warm, empathetic and sympathetic. I don't understand his cross dressing but as what he wears is like nothing anyone would wear in real life it seems more like dressing up than a need to wear
clothes made for women.
Oh for goodness sake, FloraFox, you've seen me on the feminist boards, you know I don't for one minute think that women should be handmaidens or subservient in a relationship. Nor do I think they should just accept anything.
BUT, not putting up with that with they are not comfortable should take the form of either having a discussion with their partner and coming to a compromise which is acceptable to both of them, or ending the relationship. Not telling their husband to repress an important part of himself if he wishes to remain in the relationship. You would, I'm sure, find it completely unacceptable if the roles were reversed and it was a man laying down the rules of what was and wasn't acceptable to him in terms of his wife's behaviour.
Yes, he should have told her before they entered into a long-term commitment, and yes, certainly he should have told her before they had a child together. We don't know his reasons for not telling her, but shame probably had a lot to do with it. I agree with you 100% that he should have told her and was wrong not to. However, that was 20 years ago, and two wrongs don't make a right. She is equally wrong to tell him he can't behave in a certain way. If she wasn't prepared to accept this side of him, she should have ended the relationship 20 years ago, child or no child.
And he should have ended the relationship instead of accepting her cruel treatment of him by forcing him to keep it repressed.
To sum up the original question, is the OP unreasonable to not want her husband to wear dresses? In my opinion, yes, but that's my opinion. She is entitled to her own.
What she is not entitled to do, however, is tell him he can't do it. He is just as entitled to live his own life and pursue his own interests as she is.
So IMO her choice is either to accept him as he is or end the relationship. She can't continue to force him to be someone he isn't, just to placate her own sensibilities.
Letitsnow you are referring to someone who is dealing with gender issues and is happier living as a woman. That's a different matter from men who occasionally want to cross dressing. I don't think that's what OP's situation is although she's worried that is where it might lead.
The thing is it really is just clothes. Imagine if your dp told you he didn't want you wearing trousers or flat shoes or having short hair? Just because we deem dresses to be feminine doesn't mean they intrinsically are.
What exactly about it upsets you? I would hope that other peoples bigoted opinions of your dp don't affect your opinion of him.
Thants, I suppose she finds it upsetting because a man wearing a dress is so outside the cultural norm it's not easy to work out why.
Clothes are not just clothes. They come with all sorts of social and cultural baggage. What you wear makes a statement about yourself. Even the "I'm happiest in old jeans and a t-shirt" brigade are making a statement (with the subject text I'm not shallow like you in the pretty dress? But maybe that's just me being paranoid)
If OH told me he wanted to cross dressing I'd be confused about why. Does that make me bigoted?
OP I have had a look at that Beaumont Society website and I suspect you really will find it a useful resource. I would wander over there if I were you. I don't think any of us who haven't dealt with this will know how we'd react if faced with it firsthand. The risk of giving terrible advice seems high- but I feel so much sympathy for you I felt I had to post.
But clothes can just be clothes. Putting ideology onto them is a choice. We can choose to reject how we are socialised.
One thing that struck me when you talked about sex being more passionate after he cross dressed, is that for some men, this is a sexual fetish. Dressing up in women's clothes turn them on. That for some men is why it couldn't be a flouncy men's coat or lacy men's top. For some it is the fact that it is women's clothes, that is the important aspect.
I couldn't accept this - it was something I quizzed DH on when we were getting serious, just to make sure that it wasn't something he was into.
I find it hard to explain why I would find it so upsetting in my own situation - I have no issues with other men doing it. I guess I'm not very secure in my own attractiveness and I do worry about others think, I respect social boundaries and norms, and I want to fit into society. I guess that makes me narrow minded and judgemental <<shrug>>.
The OP found this out about her DH when she was pregnant - how more vulnerable could she have been? She thought they had reached a compromise - now he wants more. She's not the one breaking the deal, he is. Their deal as I see it was that his cross dressing was kept private, but she would facilitate it and allow him to do it in private.
Marriage is all about compromises. DH is off picking up his sports car with money that I would rather see in a pension plan. No one gets everything that they want, or if they do it's generally at the expense of the other partner. Last time I looked, society was not generally accepting of men dressed as women - perhaps it should be, but that's a different AIBU.
Thants that's a rather simplistic and not terribly realistic suggestion. It's also overlooking the person doing the cross dressing may be selecting the clothes because of the message they are sending.
As indeed are most people when they select what to wear.
A surprising amount of wives do find a way of accommodating it. That is why the Beaumont society can help as there are women who have been in a similar situation and no doubt have had the same reactions.
Marriages have often had to survive far worse things.
Thants: I accept your ideology, but the world we live in doesn't.
Maybe OP doesn't want to be gawped at by all and sundry if she is out with DH who is wearing dresses.
There is a famous transvestite on the Wirral, known as the Birkenhead Tranny.
He is famous because he is a big bloke, who looks like a bloke and dresses as a woman all the time.
I don't think he is mocked, but goodness you can't really miss him.
This blog could be of use. It's written by Andrew O'neil. He is a heterosexual, transvestite stand up comedian. He is a talented and inspiring person and his wife is proud of who he is.
°Thants* I am a very shallow person. I care a lot about clothes. I have an idiosyncratic style, although I admit, nothing which would cause raised eyebrows(other than very occasionally on work team bonding casual days, I don't do casual, I wouldn't be seen dead in jeans and trainers)
If you met me you could choose to " reject how you are socialised" . I suspect you would make certain assumptions, most of which would be correct.
As I said I'm very shallow, what I wear is very important to me and I get a lot of compliments about my clothes.
At the risk of being even more shallow, most ordinary blokes look terrible in a dress, so why wear one?
Orlando Woolf you're right, it's very far from being the end of the world, but I think most of us might need help to deal with it.
I don't think I would make a judgement about you.
And personally I think Andrew (in the blog I linked) looks hot.
Shame that Andrew is into Black Magic (occult) not choccies!
I think it is part of our survival instinct to instantly judge people when first meeting them.
I annoy myself by doing it, but it is a natural instinct.
"At the risk of being even more shallow, most ordinary blokes look terrible in a dress, so why wear one?"
You should probably ask a crossdresser that question.
I have been with my DP for 22 years. I think lots of women make far too many accommodations to keep a marriage together. OP's DP doesn't seem to be making any accommodations.
OP YANBU, in my opinion. I actually don't think there is a right or a wrong here.
Your DH may not be able to help his need to cross dress, and should be free to do whatever he wants. BUT if you don't want to be a part of it, then I think he should respect that and he doesn't have any more right to make you unhappy by forcing this on you, than you have to force him to stop.
BTW- I don't think the OP forced him into suppressing this for the last 20 years. She stated the terms on which she could tolerate the secret he kept from her- he chose to stay on those terms. He could have refused. And it seems like the OP has tolerated it to some extent- going out so he could cross dress without her there, making love to him while he was wearing her underwear and so on. I don't think that's entirely "forcing him to hide this aspect of himself".
To those posters saying "well I don't have a problem with it"- that's fine, but the poster does feel uncomfortable with it and has said that she finds it a turn off. She can try and work through that, if she wants to. If she cannot overcome her feelings, then I don't think there is any shame in that.
I wouldn't be comfortable with this, and I would find it a complete turn off from a sexual point of view. I also would not like the fact that he wanted to go out dressed as a woman and be chatted up by men (even if it was only for the attention)- just as I wouldn't be happy if he was thrilled to be going out to bars and chatting up women "just to enjoy the flirting" while dressed as a man- even if he had no intention of taking it further.
OP, I think you need to have a careful think about what you can live with and what is a deal breaker for you. You need to ask your husband to do the same. Then you need to sit down and have a discussion with your husband regarding some common ground, if there is any, and where you go from here.
Well Thants aside from the fact I'd never describe anyone as "hot" Andrew is rather beautiful. He struck me as being androgynous and beautiful in the way say Johnny Depp, or Tilda Swinton are or before they became fat and bald, Adam Ant and Boy George were.
I see from his blog that he mentions adrogyny as something very important to him.
A lot of his clothes are also either stage wear or stagey, explosions in the dressing up box ( a look which I wholeheartedly approve of on either sex). Keeping his arms bare also works, there are firm, masculine, heavily tattooed arms which contrast with the feminine clothes.
I note he refers to femininity in his blog, so possibility he wouldn't agree with you that dresses are not feminine.
Annie it seems like they did reach a compromise. The OP asked him not to involve her and gave him space to dress up when she was out. He seems to have pushed this further including having sex while wearing her underwear and now involving her in his makeover. That's why I called it gaslighting - the creeping erosion of the compromise the OP was willing to accept. She is worried about where this might lead which is not surprising given that her husband has not respected the compromise they reached.
This is only cruelty and repression if the OP puts her boundaries second to her husband's.
Sorry, I have not read the entire thread so hope this isnt repetitive at all, or breaks into an ongoing conversation.
It is interesting how it seems "wrong" for men to dress in "women's clothes" whereas society allows women to dress in "mens clothes" I.e. trousers, the trend for womens underwear to be shaped similar to boxers (I remember this as a trend when I was at school. All the girls were going mad for 'girls boxers' from Topshop)
The clothes we should wear are decided by society. Of course, back in the day, the difference in mens and womens clothing was more determined. Remember the fight for women to wear trousers! And now it is fashionable and "cool" to appear androgynous.
Just trying to say that clothes are clothes if a personality changes, that is a different problem! You say your dh is a good man. Well, a good man can wear a skirt! Just like a good woman can wear trousers!
Mumsnet folk like to say colours are for everyone, pink for girls and blue for boys is just gender segregation. Isnt this a similar example, just for clothes?
The compromise they agreed on was from 20 years ago. People change. Have you stuck to everything you decided to do 20 years ago?
crisps the reason why women wear "men's clothes" is that they are practical and comfortable unlike a lot of women's clothes that are designed for the male gaze rather than the comfort of the wearer (a strip of lace between the bum cheeks? no thanks). The women who broke down those barriers for us were derided by society at the time. But women don't really dress in men's clothes. I never see women at work wearing a shirt and tie. I liked wearing a tie at school and I like the look but it would be more than "just clothes" for me to wear one now. Women who really do dress in a way that is gender non-conforming still face disapproval and judgement, called ugly dykes etc.
The fashion in men's clothes has been more androgynous in the past than it is at the moment (e.g. 1970s) and no doubt will be more so again at some point in the future. I married a man in a skirt and he looked damn fine in it. If men want to wear skirts, dresses, makeup, nail polish, whatever, great, I'm all for gender non-conformity. It's a different thing though when you ask a partner to accept something they don't want. People obviously make accommodations for their partners. I've asked my DH not to buy Jeremy Clarkson jeans or red trousers and he's asked me not to wear military style jackets that make me look like a Russian shot putter. That's just clothes. Passing yourself off as a member of the opposite sex is not just clothes.
Tiggy it depends what it is. If something is a deal breaker, I don't think it matters how long it is has been. DH and I agreed a compromise on something 20 years ago and it is just as important now as it was then. It hasn't always been easy but that's how relationships are.
If the OP's DH is saying "I thought I could accept that but actually I can't" that's one thing. It doesn't sound like that though. It sounds like he's pushing little by little to get her to accept more and more while downplaying or denying what he's doing.
TiggyD- yes it was a compromise made 20 years ago. However, 1 party cannot just say "well i'm not sticking to the deal anymore" without there being any problems, can they?
I have no doubt he will go to a dressing service anyway - regardless of what his wife thinks.
That's the way this works. Secrecy, denial but compulsion. There are many men from all walks of life who do this. And there is a market for it. Some partners know and some don't know.
Why do some men want to do this? A good question. Sometimes sexual, sometimes a fantasy and sometimes because they are so restricted in what they wear and their lives that they want to escape to a different life.
We all find ways of escaping. Hobbies, TV, MN, shopping. Some men need this to unwind and destress.
And grennie - you said he has a choice about whether to get dressed up in female clothes or not because he is an adult. No, he doesn't. It does not work like that.
People do change over 20 years - they get older and generally more conformist. I agree with florafox - DH is pushing the boundaries on their agreement and seems to be doing it with little concern for the OP.
Paxtecum's story is really sad - she tried to support her DH, but she was the only one giving, needing, supporting in the relationship.
Dear all, thank you so much for your input and advice. I have been encouraged to try to understand him more and we are talking. My sense is that this is a lot more serious than I was led to believe. His tongue has been loosened, this is a lot more developed I him than I thought and he seems he wants to unburden his soul. Turns out he is on Facebook as a 'woman' and he has been socialising online as a woman, posting pictures and all the rest. He loves it when guys add him as a friend and 'chat' to him as if he was a woman. I asked him why he would be thrilled to be picked up in a bar by a guy and he told me that he never fancied guys until one told him how lovely he looked. He says that something in him flipped and he described how it was their affirmation of him as a woman that turned him on to them. Of course they don't know he's a man! I told him he ought to think about what a guy could do to him if they came onto him and found out he was a man. The thought of that terrifies me, but he thinks I am overreacting! When I asked him if he wanted to simply dress as a woman or BE a woman and he went quiet. Then he said he didn't know which wasn't what I wanted to hear. He then told me having this makeover and socialising in public as a woman was an important test. I was stunned. What sort of test? I couldn't go on, my mind was in a whirl. Is this a test to see if he could actually be a woman? He hadn't answered my question, did he genuinely not know or was he scared to tell me! I really don't know what to do but I have told him I wanted us to get professional help. He wants to wait until after this 'test'. This is a nightmare, it feels as though Pandora's box has been opened!
Katie: Thank you for the update.
I feel for both of you.
Please remember that it is not your duty to stay and support him if YOU don't want too.
He is looking forward to a life that he really wants to have, whether it is dressing as a woman or becoming a woman.
But for you it is a nightmare.
Don't sacrifice yourself for him.
Best wishes to both of you.
I would be looking at a divorce now. This clearly runs a lot deeper than you could have ever imagined.
Gosh, it's all on his terms isn't it? I feel for you op, it's not something I'd be comfortable with.
An important test for what? If it works well, then what is next? I think you should have councilling but alone to talk things through.
If that's what he wants, then chances are very likely that this happen. Not many couples survive such an event - but some do.
You don't have to. It's likely that a lot of stuff has been bottled up and now it's all coming out.
Tough times ahead.
I wouldn't be comfortable with that. Sounds like he wants to take it further, quite a bit further probably if he went quiet when asked if he wanted to actually be a woman. You are well within your rights to think you can't personally keep supporting him in this.
He is living a life without you. And that is the life he wants. Do you think he wants to go out on the town dressed as a woman with his wife? Sounds like he wants to go out as a single woman tbh.
I think you need to have a conversation with him about how he sees your marriage progressing if he continues on this path of his. Please don't feel your role is to support his choices. You have the right to make choices too.
Oh gosh, you are not obliged to be a bystander on this journey he's taking. Think about what you want and what's right for you.
Wow Katie that's a hell of a bombshell. I can't imagine what you must be going through right now. Please, get some professional support for yourself, and talk to your DH about the same for him (individually or together). Trans people are at a very high risk of suicide, and it sounds like your end is far from peachy too. Please don't try and get through this alone - this is VERY big stuff indeed. HUG.
I'm a little late in reading this Post, but would like to take the opportunity of adding my thoughts, which are based on my experiences as a husband that enjoys cross-dressing.
Firstly Katie, it's very sad that you only found out about this side of her Husband after 20 years. No wonder you're worried and unsure of the future.
I've been cross-dressing from early childhood and can say with some certainty, that this is something that your Husband (nor any Doctor) can stop. It is the way that some of us are born and I look at it as being one of hundreds of shades of grey, between black and white, or between Arnie and Kylie. We cannot help how we were put together.
Over the years, I have met dozens of guys who like to crossdress, some of whom enjoy wearing a skirt around the house while others were actually trans-sexual and have gone on to have surgery. The vast majority are the former and simply enjoy the feel of feminine clothes. After all, they are much more comfortable and are made from much softer fabrics.
I myself enjoy dressing fully as a woman and going out to restaurants or quieter bars, as I am very fortunate in be able to "pass" and not attract unwelcome attention. Whether this is what your Husband eventually desires, I can't say. What I can say though, is that I chose to be totally honest with my wife before I asked her to marry me. She was shocked, confused and we both shed many tears. I thought I'd lost her. That was 20 years ago and gradually, over the years, we have both developed an understanding that has seen me go from a guy wearing a skirt in secret at home, to a well-balanced, loving and faithful Husband who is able to release his feminine side, openly and without feeling ashamed or frightened of losing his family.
I think all that I'm saying here, is that the only way forward is for both to talk to each other, openly and honestly. Try to agree compromises and to understand each others feelings. The Beaumont Society is indeed a great source of information and support for wives. No-one fully knows what the future holds, but I honestly suspect that your Husband is no different to the tens of thousands of other crossdressers in the country, who just want to be accepted as a guy that needs to express his feminine side. Trust me, every man has one, but it takes a real man to admit it.
Wishing you both the very best of luck.
Rachel: I speak as someone who was married to a CD.
I whole heartedly disagee with your statement 'Trust me, every man has one, but it takes a real man to admit it.'
Are you really saying that everyman would like to wear women's clothes, but only some admit to it?
Pax - but Rachel actually said every man has a feminine side. I would agree with that. Obviously not all men want to express it by wearing feminine clothing.
Oak: Sorry, I think I read it differently, but after rereading it I think you are right.
I think I'm a bit too defensive on this subject!
Rachel: Please accept my apologies.
Absolutely no problem Paxtecum. Maybe I just worded it poorly and I'm glad Oakmaiden picked it up the way I meant it.
Obviously not all men would ever dream of wearing feminine clothes, but again, it comes back to the idea of varying shades of grey.
Rachel - It's not just the silkiness and sheerness of the drawers though, surely? Otherwise they would make men Calvin Klein boxers in knitted silk and peached silk, and that would satisfy the demand.
Most transexuals appear to dress as a sort of caricature of womanliness.
i would find it disturbing if i came home and found my husband dressed in my clothes , he would be shown the door .
It's a funny old thing though isn't it? I'm a gay woman. I like to dress in a very feminine way most of the time, dresses, make up, etc. My Dp is the opposite, she NEVER wears dresses, in fact the idea of her in a dress is a really strange one to her, she lives in jeans, chinos, smart shirts for work and fleeces etc for outside work. It's not a "costume" for her, it's what she feels comfortable wearing and I think she is beautiful.
People do sometimes mistake her for a man. It's a little bit embarrassing for her at times but she is not considered freakish and her preference for dressing like this isn't seen as something to be hidden. Isn't it funny that we have such double standards as a society? I'm not having a go at you OP at all. I can see how this could be difficult in a relationship for some people (maybe alot of people) but I do feel so sorry for men that they are not "allowed" to express that side of themselves without ridicule.
LibraryBook: No, it's not just the "silkiness and sheerness of the drawers". It's the whole feel of wearing a pretty dress or a nice skirt and blouse. By definition, a skirt or dress will feel so different to wearing trousers and the fact that the fabric and colours are also so different simply add to their overall "feel". It's very hard to explain, but I just feel so comfortable in such clothes.
Supercosy: Your point is very well made. Please don't take this the wrong way, but your point helps illustrate my view on the shades of grey between "absolute female" and "absolute male". I am a male the loves wearing feminine styles and your partner is a female that prefers a more male style. We are all different and cannot help the way we were made.
Totally agree Rachel. I find it really annoying when people say about "butch" women "why do they feel the need to dress up like that?" I say "because those are the clothes/style that makes them feel happy and comfortable....they're not trying to be something anymore than you are". It befuddles me that it offends some people so hugely that others transgress those supposed gender barriers. Or maybe I am just someone to whom that ambiguity is attractive but to others it's not....I don't know!
I always thought that cross dressing was separate from wanting to be the other gender, but I am not so sure now.
It would certainly make sense if we could all wear whatever felt comfortable. As a man I've thought on really hot days why I couldn't wear something like a toga. That need not be feminine, just cooler. After all, Roman men wore them. I've also seen men in kilts and that doesn't look feminine at all.
So is the point about cross dressing, wearing bright, soft, loose clothes or is it always about looking like the 'other' gender?
What would happen if it became common for men to wear short pink togas and women long blue ones. Would some men want to wear a long blue one simply because that is what women were wearing?
Most women wear trousers. It doesn't turn them into a man and most don't wear them to embrace their inner bloke. In the same way a man dressing in a skirt doesn't turn into a woman.
BackOnlyBriefly: Crossdressing is definately not the same as wanting to become a woman (ie: surgery), but has different degrees. For some, men are happy to wear something feminine in private, for others, they want to look as feminine as possible and to enjoy shopping and evenings out. Whatever degree, the men are very rarely gay, but someone who enjoys wearing something in privet will often want more.
LibraryBook: Exactly right
So what is the attraction then? It's been suggested it's not the clothes as such, the colors and materials, so is it what they represent? In other words because they are women's clothes.
The ideal thing would be if we could lose all the 'rules' about what people wear. That would be convenient for us all. If any random mix of clothes were socially acceptable and no one took any notice then next time there's a heatwave I could just wear a really long t-shirt. Essentially a dress, though I wouldn't pick one in pink because it wouldn't be any kind of statement for me and I prefer blue or white.
If that happened and men & women walked around in all kinds of stuff, a tuxedo and a mini skirt, a sari and a bowler hat, then what might those people who are cross dressing choose to wear. Would it still be the same dresses and high heel shoes or would cross dressing become meaningless?
BackOnBriefly: I think the attraction varies from person to person. Personally I'm a very happily married man (yes, she knows) and leave a very healthy and active life as a man. I do however enjoy dressing as a woman and going out to "normal" places with girlfriends, just as a woman does. So for me, it's more than just the clothes, whereas others may be content with simply watching telly in a skirt. It's such a broad and varied spectrum.
Thanks rachelmonday. I should probably say that I have no problem with it. I don't believe anything should be taboo unless it harms others, and this couldn't be more harmless. It's amazing really that we became so fixed in our expectations of behaviour that it could be considered a problem at all.
I don't think I could cope with it.
I suspect it won't go away and will only get worse.
Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.
I know this topic's old but I'm interested on the outcome?
I'm a straight guy and a crossdresser my self, have been since 6 years old lol hey I grew up in the 80s those girly men's fashion's stayed with me, I've always been fully open with it and my wife knew all about me before she took me on lol, I'm not one for dresses, panties, bras as it's not me i have no desire to want to look like an outright woman, I'm naturally a feminine kind of guy lol which is just as well considering my real name's "Jesse" haha jking aside that's me so I look for things to show that side of me, I'm more into woman jeans, tops, leggings, denim short shorts and other little feminine bits and bobs, that's about as far a I take it, I wear woman's clothing for one thing and one thing only because mens clothes are very boring the color choice is far better in the woman's section and there is a lot more to choose from in terms of style and more importantly womans clothes fit me better as I'm a tall skinny curvy guy.
What i find upsetting in this topic is the blatant disrespect the husband has for his wife, the fact that he's lording it over on everything is shameful and shows he couldn't give a toss what she thinks or at least that's how it comes across, the fact he's opened a facebook page parading as a woman and likes getting chatted up by guys speaks volumes, does he want to be be with guys? or is it fantasy, I fear the OP's marriage maybe heading for a rough time because he is clearly leading a different life and it would seem he doesn't need her.
OP I could almost have written your posts myself....except that I have only known for 2 years (we have been married 13).
I do my best to understand, help him with shopping, make up etc. He dresses well and I will even admit to borrowing the odd top or necklace from him.
However deep down it is killing me. I love him deeply and want him to be happy but every so often it all blows up and we have a huge row.
This mainly happens when he "moves the goalposts"
It went from something he did in private to something he felt he wanted me to know about.
I said "fine, I know but would prefer not to see"
To telling close friends, then going out in public (abroad)
Now he shaves his body hair, plucks his eyebrows and even his voice and mannerisms have changed. He drinks wine/cocktails when we go out although he was always a pint man.
I get occasional flashes of the man I once married and live for them.
We rarely have sex as he says he has no libido at the moment and washing his lacy knickers just doesn't do it for me!
He says he still loves me.
He has even said he will bury it all again as he has done for years to please me.
How can I force him to be miserable for my sake?
There really seems to be no answer
I honestly don't see why anyone feels the need to wear jeans, i have never been comfortable in a pair once in my life, but i don't call people sick who do like them.
Sorry to add
When he first told me this he said he identified as male.
Now he only ever refers to himself as trans/ cross gender.
His attitude has really changed too. Any one who struggles to understand eg his mum who he has recently told is closed minded and behind the times and in his eyes not worth talking to.
His DM's reaction was "ok, I still love you but I don't really need to know any more.Do you want to stay for your tea?" So could have been much worse.
Life's not worth a damn, until I can shout out.. I AM, WHAT I AM
And FUCK you sexist, controlling cunts who judge me on the clothes I wear.
I am not allowed to to wear the same clotbes as you because I have a penis.
You sexist, bigoted, bastards.
You wear what you want redshifter if anyone thinks it offends them it's their problem.
I fully agree that wearing whatever you like should be ok for anyone.
It's just clothes after all it's not like it hurts anyone.
From my point of view though I met and married a man who told me nothing of this then several years later told me about this and is now contemplating transitioning.
It's not the clothing,it's the lies.
I understand fully that it is our society that has forced him to hide this and really believe it should be different.
Not all men who cross dress will transition to become women, however some will and my husband (and best friend) is one of them. It took me a long time to accept that this wasn't something done to hurt me but that he was, simply, a woman and always had been. The pressures on him to be/act like the man society demanded he be eventually took their toll on him and he became increasingly ill, angry, unable to sleep etc.. When he first came out to me I was upset about being lied to but looking back I realised he'd tried to tell me many times. I accepted and helped him choose clothes and make up ( fortunately he's not the flamboyant type) but it became obvious that his feelings ran deeper. I was afraid of losing him but as he progressed onto hormones he seemed much calmer and happier and the 'male' side of his personality that I was afraid was lost actually returned. I did consider leaving him on more than one occasion, both for my happiness and his but I stayed because I love him so much I was prepared to keep him any way I could. I'm not gay or bi (not prejudiced either) but we now have a better relationship than before including sexually. No lies, no pressures, just the honest relationship we both always wanted. I've never had a lesbian experience in my life before but it doesn't feel like that. His (now her) body isn't a turn off, I just simply get turned on differently. She is a better lover and a better person than he ever was (and he was a good husband). Some people have accepted us and some haven't but we don't waste our time worrying about them. I've seen the Beaumont Society mentioned in earlier posts and they're definitely worth contacting. It doesn't have to be the end if he's TS, there's light at the end of the tunnel.
i hope the OP and her DH worked things out.
If my dh started doing this I think I would be shocked BUT we have been together since we were 15 I dont think I would leave him unless he changed his personality and who he was, I love him too much. However, I think it would mean the death of our sexual relationship - and I cant explain why but I just dont think I could be attracted to him if he was dressed as a woman or expressed a desire to be a woman. Perhaps I am wrong to think that but I do.
All I can think is that he shouldn't have to ask permission to go for a makeover. If he wants to, he should go ahead.
I don't see the problem with him cross-dressing. I only know 2 men who cross dress, although neither are gay.
If my DP wanted to cross dress, my only worry would be the possible comments and perhaps violence towards him if he did so outside.
Hi Katie, I can feel for you, I found out after 13yrs of marriage, when I thought I knew everything there was to know about my DH, that he was a cross-dresser. He sat me down and told me calmly one evening, out of the blue, words cannot describe how shocked I felt. It must have been a lot more tough for you to find out the way you did.
When you had your initial chats about it, did you tell your husband what you would be comfortable/uncomfortable with or have you since? I think you need to perhaps make it clearer to him, perhaps he is thinking 'she will come round' like you have been persuaded to do other things (albeit you say you enjoy them). I think you need to be clear in your own mind and make it clear to him that there is a point when you will say 'STOP - I'm NOT comfortable now with the way this is going' and your husband at that point needs to put your needs over his. I like to think that that is what I would do if my DH pushed the boundaries but is easier for me to say being on the outside looking in. Just be honest though, if you are not happy it will only lead to an unhappy relationship. Good luck.
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