So you’ve discovered that your husband is a crossdresser. Maybe you stumbled across their hidden cache of clothing and makeup, or after years of bottling up a secret which they thought was shameful they couldn’t take it any longer and revealed it to you. Maybe you’re scared and confused about what this means about him, and what it means about your relationship. Maybe you’re concerned that having hidden something for so long, you don’t know who he is, or maybe you’re worried that if he’s been able to hide this from you, what else could he be hiding?
It’s very easy to get carried away with these thoughts and let your imagination run wild with possibilities – but the only thing that will do is make things worse. The first thing you should do is stop and take a breath. More than likely, things aren’t as bad as you might think!
Is he gay?
Almost certainly not. The majority of crossdressers are straight. Crossdressing has no correlation with sexuality. It could be conceivable that he’s bisexual or bi-curious, but don’t forget that he married you for a reason.
Why does he do it? What does he get out of it?
This varies a lot. There are some people who do it for sexual gratification – maybe it’s just something he gets off on, and that’s the end of it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. You might be ok with that, or you might not – but remember, it probably doesn’t affect how he feels about you!
For other people, dressing up can be just a way of expressing some feminine aspect of their personality. Think of it as the male equivalent of being a tomboy.
And then for others, they may internally feel like they should have been born with a female body.
Does he want to be a woman?
Possibly. This you can only find out by talking to each other. It’s certainly true that some people go from being a crossdresser to realising and accepting that they are transgender, but this is not a universal path. Just because you have discovered that your husband likes to wear women’s clothes does not mean he’s suddenly going to transition. Asking about the reasons as to why he does it will give you a much clearer idea.
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Who have I married?
It’s worth bearing in mind that if your husband is a crossdresser, this is who they are, and who they have always been. Your husband has not changed – only your opinion of him might have altered given this new information. You might feel as though you’ve been tricked into marrying someone without knowing everything about them, and I can’t even imagine what that must feel like, which is why I always encourage people to try to accept this part of their lives, and to share it with their partners.
Why didn’t he tell me this?
The reason he didn’t tell you is probably because he’s felt ashamed about it his whole life. For so many of us, we’re told that being men in our society means only doing manly things and conforming to the standard idea of what it means to be a man – certainly not acting in any way deemed feminine. Girly-men have been seen as jokes or a source of amusement. Confronted with a reality which would mock and ridicule you for being open about it, many men will hide or totally bury this part of them, causing depression and self-loathing.
How far does he want to go?
This is hard to say without asking him. It’s possible that maybe he wants to just do it indoors, or possibly go out while dressed. Some people are perfectly happy keeping it at home, and others feel like they need to be themselves not hidden away in a room somewhere.
So what next?
The best thing you can do is talk about it. Whether that’s with each-other, or with the help of a couples’ therapist, or a gender therapist if need be. If your husband doesn’t know that you’ve found out his secret, finding a way to sit him down and approach it gently would be advisable.
To those of you who are into it, or don’t mind it – that’s awesome! For him, it’ll be great to have someone to talk to about it and share all sorts of things with, and for you, you might find that you suddenly have a lot more common interests!
To those of you who find it disgusting – you may have a harder road ahead of you. It’s completely understandable if you feel this way, since this is not something you signed up for. But bear in mind that part of the reason why he’s been hiding it for so long is because he loves you, and doesn’t want to lose you, fearing how you might react.
I will say this over and over again: This is not something we chose. If I could’ve just turned it off years and years ago, I would have, because due to the way society views people like us, it’s been a difficult journey full of shame and guilt. But having a partner who loves us and accepts us as we are… that can make your marriage even stronger.
If you still have any questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be more than happy to reply to you privately and anonymously, without judgement.