Coming out to your wife as a crossdresser

Over the past few months there have been many forum posts, comments and chat conversations around this topic and whilst I don’t believe there is a “one size fits all” solution, it is perhaps worthwhile to look at some of the issues involved. I do not profess to be an expert and my situation is different from many who may read this article. I am blessed with a totally supportive and encouraging spouse. I am a part time crossdresser who has no intention of transitioning. I came to crossdressing late (in my 50s) and never had to “come out” to my spouse as she was fully involved from day one.

This article is written from the perspective of a MTF crossdresser with a genetic female SO, although I suspect many of the issues are the same for transgender people and their significant others. The feelings of anxiety and fear of reaction / rejection by the significant other on the part of the crossdresser are reasonably well known and have been expressed here on numerous occasions. So initially I want to look at this situation from the other perspective, from that of the allegedly aggrieved party. This analysis may not be complete and every situation is unique, however, when planning to “come out” to a partner, these matters should, as a minimum, be considered and relevant, honest responses prepared.

From the wife’s (girlfriend, spouse, partner etc.) point of view, one of the first emotions to surface when confronted with this information is SHOCK… (WTF? Am I really hearing this? This can’t be true. It must be a bad dream.) This reaction can be mitigated somewhat by picking an appropriate time & place for the revelation, but make no mistake, the news is SHOCKING to the recipient. The challenge at this point is to keep both parties calm and focussed enough so that they actually hear what comes next. Many don’t and the plan, whatever that may be, for the next phase is largely irrelevant in such cases.

SHOCK is often quickly followed by a feeling of BETRAYAL… (How long has this been going on? Why am I only hearing this now? What other secrets are you keeping from me? If you really loved me, you would have confided in me a long time ago.) This last statement is particularly powerful and not at all uncommon and yet the crossdresser feels somewhat vindicated for keeping it hidden by the current reaction (I knew you would react like this, that’s why I didn’t tell you).

SHOCK & BETRAYAL combine and are often expressed as ANGER. As the volume coming from the mouth increases so the listening capacity at the ears decreases, on both sides. If the couple can get beyond the SHOCK, BETRAYAL and ANGER, then the opportunity for dialogue exists and there is a chance that the spouse will gain some understanding of what drives their partner to behave in such a way that is so contrary to all their previous knowledge.

During the conversations that follow a plethora of emotions will be encountered and endless questions arise, all of which must be addressed. Chief amongst these is BEWILDERMENT (Why are you doing this? Why are you doing this now? Why are you doing this to me? How do you think this could ever work? Are you crazy? Are you suffering a psychiatric disorder? Is there a cure?) There will be many more questions, some seemingly not particularly relevant, but all need to be answered, frankly and in earnest if the partner is to come to acceptance. Remember, most crossdressers have been preparing for this moment, one way or another for years if not decades. They have no doubt played various scenarios out mentally a multitude of times. The spouse, on the other hand, in many cases has had no warning that this was coming and therefore no time to prepare. They are often simply overwhelmed.

Coupled with BEWILDERMENT will be FEAR. (Are you going to become a woman? Where is my Man? What is the future? Do you expect me to become a lesbian?). Often questions will be repeated seemingly endlessly as the SO attempts to reconcile what she is hearing and the crossdresser may well become frustrated at having to repeat themselves. Nevertheless, it is important to continue the dialogue in a calm and sensitive manner. Even if all these issues can be addressed there is no guarantee that the significant other will become supportive or even accepting, but the crossdresser will at least have the opportunity to put their case and be heard. If, on the other hand, she gains some understanding and is prepared to be accepting, she may well come to appreciate some of the real benefits of having a crossdresser as a partner. This will be looked at in detail in another article: Benefits of having a cross-dressing partner

It often happens that both parties report that they feel closer as a couple after the crossdresser come out and they work through the issues. With care, honesty, and an understanding that this is traumatic for the partner, hopefully a successful conclusion can be reached.

  1. Maxine! Great article! My perspective is as a formerly married crossdresser who is stlll examining herself to discover whether the dressing was enough by itself or merely a symptom of a deeper gender issue and need to let the woman inside realize her full potential.(not a minor decision to make!). My ex unfortunately never made it past the shock and betrayal phase above. She could not accept the entire concept of transgender issues-choosing instead to see it ass a perversion and mental illness. Though we are cordial now and she has acknowledged that the best thing she did was to get in me a good dad for our kids, she could not (and likely never will) accept that I have/had a strong feminine side to me that I could no longer restrain and deny. She let the transgender issues define me rather than the person I am that she fell in love with. That love was reciprocated by me and would not have changed or diminished no matter what physical form I might be in, I feel it was her loss when we split up and have no regrets about being who my core inner soul feels to be.

    • Author
      Maxine Doos 4 years ago

      Thanks for the comment.
      One of the messages I was attempting to convey was that communication is often the first casualty of coming out to your spouse. As I alluded to above, the next article is on the benefits to a wife of having a crossdressing husband. You mention that she accepts that you are a good father to your kids. I have to wonder whether this is (at least in part) because of your strong feminity.

  2. Tasi Zuriack 4 years ago

    I read a lot of articles like this and I can’t help but think that we’re getting the cart before the horse by not understanding the wife’s feelings prior to disclosure. I’m always pleased when these situations work out but let’s face it, wives are not wired to accept husbands in female dress and your relationship with her is forever changed. You need to be ready to understand and accept this and not expect her to change to meet your needs. And unfortunately there is not one answer fits all. The best starting lace is understanding her feelings, not just her reactions

    • Author
      Maxine Doos 4 years ago

      Thanks for the comment Tasi.
      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. One of the objectives of this article was to encourage crossderessers to consider their partners feelings before coming out to them. I feel that a mutual understanding of each others emotions can be a key to success.

  3. Stephanie Q 4 years ago

    Great writeup Maxine! This is very close to the sequence of events which happened to me when I fist disclosed my cross dressing to my wife. There was however an additional emotional component which came out after the anger phase. My wife felt that she was not ‘female enough’ for me, and that cross dressing was brought on by this apparent lack of femininity on here part. I had to convince her that she’s doing a great job being a girl and not to worry about that. She’s the exact opposite of me. She doesn’t like to wear dresses and skirts, and only wears these things when she has to.

    • Author
      Maxine Doos 4 years ago

      Stephanie, thanks for your response.
      I feel that one of the main ongoing issues, even when a spouse is supportive (as mine is) is the potential for envy. We all want to be as feminine and look as good as possible; only natural. The problem can arise when she PERCEIVES that we are or appear more feminine than her. Even if it’s not true (and certainly isn’t in my case), it’s what she thinks that will determine how she feel and reacts.
      That’s just one of the reasons I feel it’s critical to “bring her along” at every step of the journey.

  4. Desiree 4 years ago

    My wife will not talk about it and when i go out dressed with my makeup and all she won’t go out she would rather stay home and argue about it and she gets madder because i will not yell or get mad i tell her i know its a lot to comprehend but she just gets mad and yells and screams at me i just don’t know what to do or were to with this she tolerates me getting my nails done i have been getting my nails done for about six years now she has even gotten mad when a waitress at a restaurant addressed us as ladies she was mad at me i am at a loss right now.

    • Author
      Maxine Doos 4 years ago

      I’m really sorry to hear of your situation.
      As I said in the article, despite our best attempts, there is no guarantee of acceptance.
      I wonder if she was given the opportunity to “Ask anything” what her response would be.
      I think that often, the partner sees cross dressing as a threat and that makes them feel insecure but being transgender and wanting to transition brings a whole lot more issues into the equation.
      I wish you well and hope that you can arrive at mutually acceptable arrangement.

  5. Tanya 4 years ago

    Great article hun. I could not have said it any better. <3

    • Author
      Maxine Doos 4 years ago

      Thanks Babe,
      It’s good to know that some people are getting something from it.
      Thanks for your support 🙂

  6. Dianne Baldwin 4 years ago

    Great article. My wife knows now that I’m a Crossdresser she does not accept fact but tolerates my wanting to be femminne. It put a strain on our relationship as far as being intimate but still friends.

    • Author
      Maxine Doos 4 years ago

      It sounds as though you’ve managed to reach some sort of compromise, which is good.
      It’s great that you can remain friends.

  7. Dave S 4 years ago

    Came out to my wife and she is having the same problems as everyone else has mentioned. She wants me to get counseling.
    Has anyone successfully gone that route?


  8. Tasi 4 years ago

    Benefits to the wife, Maxine. I guess the question will be from whose perspective?

    • Author
      Maxine Doos 4 years ago

      Hi Tasi,
      As with this article, I intend the next to be from the partner’s point of view.
      The difference is that I do have personal experience for the next article which can be verified by Tanya, although not until the next one is published…. Spoilers! 🙂

  9. Mickaela 4 years ago

    Thanks to my daughter for finding my bra a little over a year ago I fully came out to my wife. Surprisingly she was excepting of it & has been helping me embrace it more.

  10. Katrinabo 2 years ago

    Recently I have been exploring my femme side more and during a weekend out of town I put on my wife’s dress after we had been out on the town. She didn’t freak out and asked me if I wanted to have sex as a girl and I said yes. It was a great night but the next day she brought up that we have explored new boundaries which I agreed. Since that night I have bought some lingerie for myself and her along with some stockings and a toy for her to have her way with me. I am taking it very slow but feel I need to tell her all about Katrina but not sure what will happen when I do. I only know that my femme side can’t stay hidden to much longer or I will explode

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