Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
How do you know when its time to stop trying?(27 Posts)
I am a long time lurker, and have only posted a couple of times before under different user names.
So my problem is not entirely new, bit im just striving to decide if my marriage is worth saving. Of course I need to discuss all this with my husband, but need to get my head clear first. It would really help to habe an outside perspective on the issues, to see if it is just me expecting too much.
So, the background. We have been married for 18 years. I have 3 children from a previous marriage, we met when my oldest was 6, he's now 25. We have two little ones at home both in primary school. We have two problems.
Two years ago i found out my husband was a cross dresser. It was a shock, but I accepted it and am supportive. We occasionally go out as two women. I buy female clothes etc for him, help with make up and so on. Initially he said it was just a sexuak kink. I was ok with that. It has developed from tbat so that he wears knickers most of time when not working, frequently wears nail var ish and likes to relax around house in a nightie after moisturising so smelling girly (but not in front of children). He says he has no desire to be a woman. I dont totally believe this, because he lied for so long initially and because the cross dressing keeps developing. I dont think he's lying, i just dont think he knows yet because hes still exploring his gender identity. Honestly, i find this difficult because I don'tdon't want to be married to a woman. I don't find soft perfumed skin sexy. I preferred it when it was just a fun game. But still i want to support him in this. I feel a lot if sympathy for his pain and fear and self loathing. I love him.and want to help him at the same time i want it all to just fucking stop because its not what i chose, he's not who i thought I married. I dont think he knows how conflicted i am, because he tells ppl how supportive i am.
By people i mean strangers we meet out. None of our friends or family know, so i am on my own with this.
Second problem is that I feel unsupported by him in many ways. I dont feel he puts as much into our relationship. eg he forgot to book a restaurant for our anniversary, buys my presents last minute usually following a hint rather than researching and surprising me. I put loads of effort & thought in for him and her. He couldn't be arsed to make the effort to support me at an event recently, just collected me at the end. Didnt even say good luck when dropping me off because he was preoccupied with an issue with the car.
He has been lovely too- in small ways. But I just feel like i have been working so hard to support him and get so much less back.
I have really pulled back from the relationship over the last few months and am realising there are a million miles between us now. So i need to decide to work at our marriage, talk to him. Or just end it because if we keep on drifting ending it is inevitable.
I don't think you have got a marriage, well not in the conventional sense that's for sure. Sorry but I don't know how you have managed to stay with him during this, I couldn't, he's lied and deceived you and now expects you to just support him, it doesn't really work like that!
I don't think he is giving you anything, not in the way a woman needs a man to be, sounds like you are just there as his crutch and to help him put knickers and nail varnish on, hardly surprising that you are looking for more.
For me, it would be the deal breaker, sorry but that's not what I signed up for at all so it's bye bye, you can still remain friends if you want but you are not going to be happy for the rest of your life just being his companion and helper.
I'd also take a guess that he is very much wanting to change into a woman.
Thanks Jan45. Tough to hear that- but they say the truth hurts dont they?
Just don't feel guilty about wanting out, not many of us could accept this kind of relationship and you are entitled to one that you deem as happy for you, not sure this one is?
I wish it was as simple as just wanting out. I love him. I love the relationship we used to have. I want to get that back..but I am also confused and angry and let down by the lies.
And then there are the children to consider. And the practical and financial aspects to think about. Its not simple at all
Have you had any help, eg counselling? (Without him)
Cross dressing etc. is an"deal breaker" for some people and that's fair enough.
Why have you not told any of your friends about the issues in your marriage? Might it help to get RL support?
It;'s not simple no but you either put up with the way things are and be ready for it escalating or you decide to stay friends, co parent and live apart and go find yourself a man that doesn't cross dress - not simple no, but doable of course.
Duckdaemon i havent told anyone because he is not ready for it to be 'out there'. He says it doesn't need to be. He has never told anyone. I found out because he was careless and left pictures that i found.
It does mean I'mquite isolated and have pulled back from friends because I'm very indiscreet with my own sectets at least. Usually one of my better qualities i think 😀
Counselling is actually not a bad idea.
Jan, i agree that i deserve to be happy. We both do. But there is no guarantee tat ill leave him a d life will be suddenly full of joy. I was a single parent. Its really hard. Dealing with a sometimes parent is hard. The push and pull is awful. The financial situation is not great. It will damage my children.
So i guess i'm answering my own question. Divorce is a lastlast resort for me so i suppose its time for one last try before it's too late. Time to put in my big girl pants get some counselling and deal with this head on
Of course I am assuming that he wants to fix this too.
So he doesn't want to be "out" but it sounds like he has had VERY high expectations of you in terms of support, including expecting secrecy, while (you mention) being unsupportive of you. That is selfish and unreasonable of him.
You don't have to go along with his wishes. Why not just tell a few of your trusted, close friends?
I just don't see why separating is such a bad idea, he's not going to stop cross dressing, are you going to be ok with that?
By what you say your marriage is completely unbalanced, you are almost there to facilitate his kink but get not much back, if anything.
Not many of us would accept this as a happy healthy relationship.
What exactly are you going to fix?
Do you know if he is involved with other cross dressers online or in social meet ups?
It's all very much one sided and to his benefit, I don't see what you are getting out of it.
So he tells people how supportive you are but gives you nothing in return, in fact you have to keep this secret all to yourself, for his sake.
Sounds crap OP.
Does sound like he is intent on getting exactly what he wants from the relationship while contributing nothing back.
So his kink is cross-dressing?
Is he contributing enough so there's enough mony to support his hobby?
What else do you think he is keepibg secret from you?
Many of guys like him lead second life on the net and are addicted to porn.
Has he been totally open with you about everything I mentioned?
This is a blog by a woman who was married to a man who went on to become trans. They didn't stay together and I know you want to make your relationship work but I thought you still might be able to find some comfort/support here.
I think this sort of thing is beyond what most reasonable people would expect their partner to put up with. I, personally, would feel betrayed.
A fetish that is so time consuming is exhausting and if everything centres around him I'm not surprised you want out. I'll hold my hands up here and say I'm not too into narcissistic men particularly those that expect their sexual fetish to rule everyone's lives.
I don't think you owe your husband any more than you've tried to give for all this time.
Nothing more lonely than being in a one sided relationship waiting for him to tell you he no longer wants a penis or be a man.
It sounds to me that you simply have a supporting role in the Story of Him
Not a way of life that is acceptable to me. It shouldn't be to you either.
I couldn't stay married if I were you. The marriage is too one sided.
You can still support him as a friend without being married.
You are a very tolerant person but I think that he is very slowly pushing your boundaries and the more he pushes them the unhappier you become.
You did not marry a woman and you should certainly not feel that you have to stay married to one either.
I understand his feelings must have been hard to work through across the years but he was very selfish to marry you and create babies when he was harbouring his little secret.
I do think counselling would be a good idea
Thank you all for the input.
I honestly thought I was going to hear a lot of people telling me that CD is no big deal and i am being unsupportive or narrow-minded. The only place i have talked about this previously is a site for CDs that has a page for wives/significant others. They all advise giving it time and adapting to it.
I also feel I am one of those annoying posters who tells a story that sounds awful, then back tracks and says 'i couldn't possibly leave, I love him, hes a great father etc' . Sorry- I hate reading those posts, just want to tell the poster to get a back bone!
However, when i posted this i was really pissed off about his lack of support at my event (a race). On reflection, there were mitigating factors, but I am justified in feeling let down. So i am going to talk to him about that and explain WHY i feel unsupported.
He does have a lot of good points, and the Cd isn't all consuming- but every time i am cross about something, i feel 100 times more resentful of it all. I know that means I have not resolved my feelings about it. i'm not sure if i can- sometimes i think It is fine, other times I just hate it. I am torn between being supportive and being resentful. I feel i am owed a gold star for how fricking supportive i have been- but no one gets an award for being a decent human do they?
To be fair to him, he does feel guilty for all the lies and deception- but i guess the fear of my reaction was stronger than the fear of being caught out. I do understand that in some ways, because i know how hard it is to let people see the parts of you that you are ashamed of. N=But still, he lied. i don;t trust him, ge knows he has destroyed that. And we both know that i feel like our entire relationship was a lie. In man y ways it is similar to finding out your partner had an affair in terms of the emotional fall out. So he is not completely oblivious to the impact of this. But he cant change the past- and i cant fully forgive it.
I am also not as nice as i have made myself sound- Hes not the only one with faults. I have been selfish & petty in the past, and made the relationship with his family difficult, I am often a bit cold & bad tempered. and i am SHIT with money- constantly in my overdraft and so financially i need t get a grip.
So, i thank you all for supporting me in saying its ok to not be fully accepting of this. It actually made me feel a lot better (like my feelings are valid).
I am going to try again with him- that is, i'm going to explain to him very ckearloy why it hurts that I feel i am not as important to him as i should be, What i actually want from him, that he needs to treat me the way I treat him.
I have also decided to work on a exit strategy- so i'm giving it 6 months to a year. In that time i'll seek counselling- for me, not him. We can work on our relationship- but I will also work to get my finances in order, and think about how to separate. I need counselling to really work out how i feel and how to hold onto my self respect. If we do separate, it doesn't need to be a big dramatic throwing him out on the street thing, so I am taking my time and working on two plans.
Does that seem sensible?
I think it would help for you to be really clear in your own mind what a supportive relationship would be like. And then ask yourself, if you got that support, would you be content to work around the cross-dressing? Because I think the supportiveness can be changed but the cross-dressing probably can't, so if the answer is no, you probably won't be able to fix this. (Also, I'm not an expert but my understanding is that cross-dressing as a kink is different from cross-dressing with a desire to be the other sex - so if it's the former it may not lead on to a sex change.)
You can still love him, support him and co-parent with him very effectively, without being married or sexually involved with him. But perhaps you need to get your needs met elsewhere because he's no longer meeting them. You are allowed to have needs too and you sound anything but narrow minded.
Please tell someone. It's not fair for you to have to be isolated with this.
Join the discussion
Please login first.