I too am not wild about the term crossdressed. Unfortunately it is the currently the best term, certainly better then transvestite. I prefer to use en femme when possible, but even then it is not quite right. Clothes are just clothes as my wife says. Society has assigned certain articles of clothing to certain sexes, but that has changed throughout history.
To some of the points brought up here, I would not blame a spouse for feeling betrayed because we kept such a big secret from them. If my wife had a hidden lifestyle she never told me about and I were to discover it accidentally I would be hurt as well. The old adage “honesty is the best policy” applies, but I also understand why this is so difficult, especially for us older individuals. Many of us grew up in a time where dressing en femme was very taboo co pared to these days where the younger generation is much more accepting of alternative genders, lifestyle and dress.
It is very hard to bring this up with our SO for fear of rejection especially early in a relationship. Then it gets harder because now we have been doing in a hidden manner and that adds another layer of deception. Sometimes it is just a fear of “rocking the boat”. All is well, so why stir up trouble?
My position is it is a matter of when, not if they find out, so it is best to control the narrative. That said, my wife has known from the beginning and has been informed as things have progressed so I have avoided many of this issues. I still feel letting them know, even if they feel betrayed, and the reason you have kept it hidden was from a feeling of shame and/or fear of upsetting them, etc. My wife is my life partner, so she needs to be informed in the things I do. It doesn’t mean she has to participate, or even like it, but she should be made aware of it. I loved to race bicycles, but she never did, but I didn’t sneak off to do it. She loves gardening, and while I help her in the garden, it is her thing not mine. If she were sneaking off, buying plants and them throwing them away (purging), I might be upset.
I would rather have a spouse who knows I dress, doesn’t like it, but is aware then spend my life living a lie with my life partner. Fortunately she is accepting though neutral on the subject, pretty much like my bicycle obsession.