A year ago I wrote a post called “Why Every Crossdresser Must Tell His Wife The Truth.” It was my narrative of the day I came out, fully and completely, to my then-wife. [It was also, truth be told, the day that I first admitted to myself that I was probably more than just a crossdresser, but that’s not the point of the original post.] That post was mostly my story, but it ended with this word of advice to other crossdressers out there dealing with the spouse situation:
For those newbies who come after me, who are struggling with similar situations: this is not easy. Do not fool yourself into thinking it is, But if this is you, authentically you, then it’s necessary. Even if it hurts, even if it puts your relationship at risk. If you love her, then you owe her the truth.
Since being published, that post has consistently been my most popular post. Every week, the post gets dozens of hits; some weeks it gets more page views than the new posts I put up that week! And a cursory glance at the site’s search terms tells me why.
- crossdressing wife support
- crossdressing and my wife
- crossdressing and marriage
- how to tell my wife i’m a crossdresser
- how to start crossdressing without my wife finding out
- i am the wife of a crossdresser
- crossdresser with wife
- crossdressing and my wife
- my husband is a crossdresser
- why my husband crosdresses
- will my wife accept my crossdressing
- telling my wife i crossdress
- coming out to wife
- husband came out crossdresser
I am still a little surprised at how much that part of my narrative has resonated with people. But looking back at everything I’ve experienced and everyone I’ve met in the last crazy year of this transition, I shouldn’t be. Marriage seems to be a common thread connecting those who identify as male crossdressers, especially those in my generation (Generation X) and older. Under the broad umbrellas of gender expression and identity, that moment where a person labels themselves a male crossdresser is a most difficult time, and likely to be the time when many people are struggling with doubts about who they are and what is appropriate and what she will think. And at some point, if that marriage survives long enough, we have to face that moment where we are either discovered or where we can’t stand to keep the secret anymore.
I don’t know how many visitors to that post go on to read about what happened to my marriage, about how I ultimately lost my wife in part because of that revelation. But I hope that if they do, it doesn’t discourage them from taking that step and telling their wife the truth. At the end of the day, not telling the truth for all those years is part of what nearly ruined me and definitely helped to ruin my marriage. By telling her, there was the possibility that I would lose her; but by not telling her for so long, I guaranteed that I would lose here.
Does that mean that telling the wife was ultimately a lose-lose situation? That depends on how I choose to view the situation. In terms of losing my marriage, yes. But in terms of losing myself — no, telling her wasn’t a lose-lose situation. In fact, looking at things a year later, the divorce was practically a win-win. My now-ex found a man who treats her better than I did, who makes her happy, and who makes her feel like a valued woman. Meanwhile, I have found myself — my Self, honest and truly — and I am a happier, better adjusted person today than I was when I had that conversation with my wife a year ago.
My guess is that a lot of the people who find the original post are looking for a way to fix things, to make things the way they were before he told me or to make it so that she loves me after I tell her. And honestly, there’s a fair chance that isn’t going to happen. For every crossdresser or transwoman out there who comes out to their wife and keeps their marriage, there are many who come out to their wives and lose the one they love.
Coming out is scary, and the odds are stacked against us. But the other option is living a lie, and it’s the stress and pressure of living a lie that so often ruins our relationships anyway. I know it ruined mine, and there have been several times in the last year when I’ve wondered: what if I’d told her sooner? What if I hadn’t waited until the damage was done? It’s a question I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
One final note: I know that this whole thought is coming, in many ways, from a “straight cis male” perspective and that there are crossdressers, transfolk, and other gender-nonconforming individuals out there who are also struggling with telling their spouses of many gender expressions and sexual orientations. I am specifically writing with a specific group in mind here, but I think that what I’ve said here holds true for any relationship regardless of the gender or sexuality of the individuals involved. No relationship thrives for long when it’s built on lies.