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  • #382754
    Anonymous
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    Hi everyone, I’m new here and really needing some support and advice. I’ll try to keep the background story as short as I can.

    I married the love of my life last year. We spent many years apart after meeting and then got together. It was a romance of movies. He is everything I ever had been missing in all my other relationships: funny, adventurous, supportive, thoughtful, a great cook, and so sexy and masculine. Works out and enjoys keeping himself in great shape.
    He told me very early on in the relationship that he had a secret he needed to tell me because he loved me and wanted to be fully honest in our relationship. So he told me about CD and showed me briefly himself dressed up. I had a million questions so I read books and asked questions and he seemed open to talking. We made a big mistake early on and when he was dressed up we had sex and it really turned me off.
    That is when everything changed. I can’t handle it. I don’t mind if he does it, although it bothers me because he only wants to when he is feeling badly about himself. But I don’t want to talk about it, and I have said that I would like him to do it when I’m gone. I don’t want to help him pick clothes or have him comment all the time when we are watching tv about how cute women’s clothing is because it turns me off. I don’t want to feel turned off by my lover and this man I truly adore. He feels lonely doing it alone and so it keeps coming up and he doesn’t seem to respect my boundaries on it. In fact he once mentioned I should get some help so I can get better about it. He can dress at home but can’t go out where we live so I understand it takes some fun away if he wishes he could be with another person while he is dressed but if I’m his person, shouldn’t he respect my boundaries?

    The worst part is recently he decided to tell someone behind my back while I was gone and he was dressed. It was my adult child who is not his and is extremely close to me. He asked it to be a secret. When I returned home two days later he said nothing. I then got a phone call from my child asking if it is true. I was caught off guard and devastated. Heartbroken that he betrayed that trust between us. I lied and told her he was probably drunk and kidding. This is not something he had the right to tell her without input from me and he knows that. I confronted him that same evening and it has been a mess in our home ever since. I’m heartbroken. I love him so much. Now when I want to work through this he won’t talk about it, he’s acting like he’s the worst person in the world and did something  irreparable and I’ll never get over it and it will destroy our marriage. It’s like he almost wants it to because my gosh I never said that and there are far worse things he could have done. He did wrong, but now he is acting like the one who was wronged and won’t work through it.

    Here’s what I’m needing help on most:

    1. Should I have to work on this to accept it more if doing so in the past has made me turned off by him and distant for days after he does it?? Why would he want to keep risking my attraction to him?
    2. Can’t he just be happy that I DO NOT mind if he does it, as long as I don’t have to hear about it or be here?
    3. It seems like all the posts I read are people who feel positive about feeling feminine but he never describes it that way. An escape from life, yes. But should I be concerned that he only seems to CD when he is completely stressed out and expressing a lot of self-hatred??
    4. I understand that he’s the same person. I don’t fully understand my reaction being so negative to it. I hate his shaved chest. I like his hair. He’s so masculine and sexy and he did tell me early, when I could have walked away from the relationship but I didn’t. I think I hate it more and more because he’s not respecting my boundaries on it. Any input here would help me. I am not a woman who enjoys makeup or getting dressed up so I just don’t fully understand maybe? I don’t know.

    im just lost and so hurt right now

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    • #398332
      Mandy Wife
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      Sorry, I only just saw your reply (hectic week).

      Why did I think your response sounded “harsh” – sorry if you felt that was a bit blunt or anything, my head is a mess with other stuff that’s going on just now.

      It sounds harsh to me as you have said you were understanding and accepting previously (everyone has a right to change their mind in everything in life, Im not saying you can’t), but now you are basically telling him to keep his dressing far from you and to be done in secret only which is lonely and probably isolating for him and will only be adding to his confusion, self loathing (he doesn’t want to upset you), and is why the topic keeps coming up in conversation and that to me is harsh.  I don’t agree with “forcing” (can’t think of another word for it just now!) the other persion in a relationship to keep a secret no matter how difficult it is as that has disaster written all over it.

      It doesn’t have to be an every day topic of conversation, and that’s where boundaries come in, but I strongly feel, that talking things through and working on compromises together (he wears lingerie any time he wants, you don’t have to deal with that, but you don’t make an issue of the washing etc, he accepts you do not want to see him fully dressed type of thing) would make your husband feel better about himself and also encourage any discussions that NEEDED to be had to flow, rather than keeping secrets and resentment for the secretiveness building and causing other self loathing issues.

      xx

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    • #397956
      Jessica Wilde
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      I haven’t read the responses to this either. I saw one post that started with the same thing.

      • Know this. That self hatred is very real. He genuinely feels bad for what he has done. I told my fiancé of 10 years I was a CD 2 weeks ago and it has crushed her. I feel more shame and self loathing now than I ever have and I’ve been doing this for 30+ years.
      • The hurt we cause is unintentional. The hurt we cause causes us to feel an exceptional amount of pain and that’s not what we’re trying to do. We just want acceptance from those we love. We didn’t ask for this although it’s a huge part of us.
      • For most of us there are triggers that bring on the dressing. For me it’s stress. I believe for most of us dressing is relaxing. An escape to something that we like to do. Something that is not very accepted and something that some of us feel a great deal of shame about due to societal beliefs associated with our dressing.
      • We want someone who cares about us in a deep manner to accept and possibly love this aspect of us as we know how the rest of the world thinks about it. It’s not something that we readily tell people as the stigma associated with it is undeniably not a good thing.
      • We all want for our SO to accept us but the reality is no one really accepts us and it totally sucks! My fiancé doesn’t like this part of me either. The few spouses that do are I think at this point rare. You are one that doesn’t like that aspect of your man and that’s ok. My fiancé doesn’t either. Ylur man and I have a choice to make. Suck it up and be a man or loose a very good thing in our lives. I’m gonna suck it up and be a man and try to save what’s left of a relationship I nearly ruined by telling the truth. I’ll never do it again as long as I live whether our relationship works out or not. I should have never told her and will never tell anyone again because of her response. This is not something anyone should ever tell about themselves. It only creates a nasty mess that can’t be cleaned up. I wish I would have kept my secret to myself.
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    • #384330
      Stephanie
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      Registered On: September 14, 2020
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      I haven’t read all the responses so I apologize if anything I say is a repeat.

      1. Should I have to work on this to accept it more if doing so in the past has made me turned off by him and distant for days after he does it?? Why would he want to keep risking my attraction to him?

      Yes, I think you should work on accepting it more if you intend to stay his wife, you will always have the option to leave. We’re not in the middle ages, if you aren’t compatible, figure out a solution.

      That said, you might not be looking at yourself enough, what is really turning you off about his not being hairy or celebrating his female side? Maybe there is an issue deep down that you need to deal with, maybe it’s not his fault that you are unhappy with him.

      2. Can’t he just be happy that I DO NOT mind if he does it, as long as I don’t have to hear about it or be here?

      I don’t know him/her, but yes, he/she should be able to play by those rules if he wants to continue being your husband. However, you are perhaps asking for trouble if you want him to be silent and secret about it because it will be felt as rejection and can cause trust issues.

      3. It seems like all the posts I read are people who feel positive about feeling feminine but he never describes it that way. An escape from life, yes. But should I be concerned that he only seems to CD when he is completely stressed out and expressing a lot of self-hatred??

      I feel like I don’t have enough information to judge this but I would guess that he CDs when he feels bad and celebrating his female side makes him feel better. So, you might be looking at this the wrong way. I don’t think your husband is creating self-hatred or self-loathing by crossdressing but more that sometimes crossdressing helps him to deal with those feelings. For most people, self-hate/self-loathing is a very lonely emotion, everyone deals with it at times but very few are able to share it.

      4. I understand that he’s the same person. I don’t fully understand my reaction being so negative to it. I hate his shaved chest. I like his hair. He’s so masculine and sexy and he did tell me early, when I could have walked away from the relationship but I didn’t. I think I hate it more and more because he’s not respecting my boundaries on it. Any input here would help me. I am not a woman who enjoys makeup or getting dressed up so I just don’t fully understand maybe? I don’t know.

      Your husband can’t change what he is, you know what he is and he has never been dishonest about it. So, you have to answer your own questions. Why do you hate it when he is smooth? Why are these boundries so important to you? Can you be happy married to a man who is like this?

      You can answer these questions on your own.

      I disagree that him sharing his crossdressing with your ADULT child was wrong. If he has a relationship with your offspring and that offspring is of adult age, I don’t see how there is anything wrong with him sharing.

    • #384316
      Leah
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      Ash,

       

      sad to say many ladies will not try to understand our need/desire to dress up. It is something that most of us did not choose to do, but somehow is ingrained in us to do.  He desire/need to dress will never go away.   We all dream of having a supportive wife/so that will fully accept us, participate and enjoy it with us.  Sad to say, far too many ladies will not fully accept their partner does this.  this adds to our guilt and shame.  I understand your boundaries. As you stated, he disclosed this early on, which gave you the change to walk away. If you both cannot figure this out, it will breakdown your relationship as he will be unfulfilled, you will be resentful and it will break you apart.

      I agree with you being upset at hm telling your daughter, not acceptable. It is great that you have done research to try to understand it better.  You also state that you do not like “getting dressed and made up” which in my opinion plays against your acceptance.

       

      You both have a long bumpy road ahead of you, but you need to look at this from a high level over view…can you, will be fully ok with his dressing?  Is he going to be ok with your lack of participation and acceptance?

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    • #382881
      Bettylou Cox
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      Dear Ash,

      IMO, your former counselor was a quack, who many have contributed to the negative feelings you are having.  If you can, you both need to follow Kristen’s suggestion to find a counselor experienced in this subject.  Yes, your husband needs to respect your boundaries; total acceptance and support of our Dressing is something we all dream of, but it is not something we can reasonably expect to come about.  And would you please consider this:  Apart from the possible expense burden, cross dressing is a safe and harmless activity, as compared to other possibilities, such as gambling, drugs, porn, alcohol or a sports addiction, to name a few.  And his effort to temporarily “be a woman” is an area in which you are already expert – an endless source of advice and tips, should you choose to be.  This will require some attitude adjustment from you, and I do hope you can manage it.  Every marriage is worth saving, if at all possible.  My best to you both.

      Hugs,

      Bettylou

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    • #382848
      Mandy Wife
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      Hi Ash

      I would second all that has been said below and a counsellor where you can go together, as well as separately, sounds like a good idea – I get your hubby is reluctant but I would guess that he’s scared for someone to see the real him.

      From what I’ve read, self loathing is a common feature and comes from a place of fear of being ridiculed, not understanding and accepting that its OK to have these feelings and from being scared to lose everyone and everything they love.  Having a low self esteem and low self opinion, for any reason, is so damaging to mental health and lashing out or being in denial is so common as well.

      Your boundaries sound very harsh and were (are) probably confusing for your hubby if you were accepting to begin with.  We all mistakes tho, on both sides, and it’s about working together to find that balance.  I’m not saying you have to completely re-assess your boundaries, but I try and see it from the other side and think how it would make me feel and then try and find a compromise from there, no matter how small.  I hate that in the past I have said to hubby that I didn’t want him to do something that made him happy or he felt was right for him, and he never wants to force me into something either, but when we are at opposite ends of the scale there has to be give and take on both sides.

      I hope you can get to counselling, even to help your hubby be more accepting towards himself and that will, in turn, help your relationship I’m sure.

      • #382911
        Anonymous
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        Hi Mandy, thanks for your thoughts. I’m not sure why you feel I’m so harsh and I wonder if you could say more about that to help me understand or if maybe my message was unclear. The only things I have said is “I don’t want to talk about it, and I have said that I would like him to do it when I’m gone.” It’s not that we don’t ever talk about it, certainly we must in order to set the boundaries, but I just mean that I don’t want it to be an every day conversation. I don’t want to be with him when he does it and sit around talking about how great he looks. I love how he looks as a man.

        I did also write “I don’t want to help him pick clothes or have him comment all the time when we are watching tv about how cute women’s clothing is because it turns me off.” So maybe that was confusing. I didn’t say those things to him or put those restrictions on him and I have helped him with clothing. I just was trying to give more information about me and the troubles I’m having. I don’t understand why it’s so upsetting to me, so I just want to be clear about it. If I can’t say it, someone can’t offer any help here for me. I hope that makes sense.

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    • #382846
      Laura Lovett
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      Hi Ash

      You seem really open and willing to discuss things, which tells me that this relationship, this man, means a lot to you.

      I recognise the self-loathing in your partner’s behaviour – I was there for many years, in fact, decades about my dressing.

      I believe it is rooted in him not having fully accepted it in himself, and being confused by society’s attitudes, and your reactions.

      Your reactions are not wrong.

      How you feel is very important – and so is the way he feels, but I believe he is confused by the dichotomy.

      Please yourself OR your partner.

      It’s painful – and requires attention.

      Please get him to sign up here and discuss his feelings with the other girls.

      Once I realised that I was not alone in how I felt, and understood that to share something like this, which we as cross dressers frequently struggle with for a long time, can be very difficult, and much depends on how we present and conduct ourselves.

      Patience is the key – looking to the long game for both parties in a relationship.

      You both need to continue the conversation, and he needs to understand it’s not just about him – coming out really feels like “I’ve arrived”, and it can be very disappointing to find out that it’s not a blaze of glory, but a damp squib initially.

      To make it work obviously involves choices and compromises, boundaries which can’t be seen as permanent, but nevertheless form the early stages of trust and respect.

      The need to dress is strong, and doesn’t go away.

      For most, it starts in childhood, is suppressed, then, like anything under pressure, becomes ripe to explode.

      The feelings of guilt and self-loathing are also common, and you are almost bound to feel it too.

      He needs to explore it by himself – my wife suggested that I book a hotel in Brighton, 80 miles away, and dress so that she couldn’t see me.

      Each time we discuss the subject, it gets easier to have the conversations. We don’t argue, just discuss.

      I absolutely embrace my dressing and wish I could share it, but not with a wife who doesn’t want to see it.

      I have met plenty of people who do want to see me – and not in any sexual way.

      We both know it’s not going away, and we both know the same of our relationship, and so our journey continues.

      We both work really hard to make it happen – it’s not an easy ride, but the rewards it brings make it worthwhile.

      I really hope this is helpful

      Please get your partner to sign up here!

      Love Laura

       

      • #382914
        Anonymous
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        Thank you so much for your reply, Laura. I appreciate the time you took to respond. Reading this “I absolutely embrace my dressing and wish I could share it, but not with a wife who doesn’t want to see it“ is really meaningful to me and I guess that’s all I need right now is for him to find that place and give me some time. I hope that he will.

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    • #382813
      Anonymous
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      Thank you so much, Kristin, your responses were spot on and I would like it very much if he would agree to see a counselor, but he does not appear to be open to that at this time. I think that is part of the problem is that I have all these questions and when I want to talk with him about them, he gets so upset or defensive and discusses it as if it is a horrible awful thing and I don’t feel that it is, so that makes it so I can’t get my feelings about it out with him to make it better for us both. That’s the reason I finally said I don’t want to hear about it or be around it, because it’s never positive, it’s not fun, HE is the one referring to it with all the shameful talk and then confused about why I don’t like it. Does that make sense? Like if he was super positive about it, wonderful, but he isn’t. He never has been even when he told me, he presented it as the horrible thing he can’t control that is weird and stupid and disgusting. Pretty difficult to support something your partner does when they describe it that way.

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    • #382805
      Honey T
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      In my opinion, a successful marriage has 2 people who feel completely accepted, loved and respected by each other. When one is holding back for the sake of the other, resentment is sure to build. The more I learn about CD I see it evolves & likely grows stronger with age. Asking them to stop is not much different than them asking us for more freedom to explore. Asking an overweight spouse to diet often backfires into binge eating in hiding.

      Are you on the SO forum too? We sometimes need a safe place to vent among others who understand.

      I hope you both find a way to be happy with each of your needs being met. Maybe a counselor could help you come to that sweet spot. Good luck to you both.

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    • #382804
      Anonymous
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      Thank you, Bettylou, I appreciate the things that you pointed out and I do feel like he has been a bit unfair because he said he was glad that I was accepting of him doing it and just disappointed that I wouldn’t be around when he did. He also said he would respect a few other boundaries we agreed on and has not. I have never expected a purge, I have encouraged him NOT to feel shame about it in general (although I know this is easier said when it is something one is hiding from the world), and he know that telling my child was wrong. I even saw a counselor who has experience in this area a few years ago and I had gone thinking she was going to want to help me get over my feelings and accept it more, but she made a point of validating that it is not something I have to be around and if he wants to be with me he has to respect that main boundary, not ask me to change or “fix” myself to get over it. I wish I didn’t feel the way I do, it would be so much better if I loved participating once a month and we enjoyed the time together like we do everything else together, but I don’t know what to do to change how it makes me feel.

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    • #382802
      Kristin Danvers
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      Hey Ash. Thanks so much for sharing. It’s really clear in your post that you are struggling with a lot right now. I wish I could give you a simple answer.

      My piece of advice is to seek out a marriage counselor to help you both work through these challenges. Be sure to look for a counselor that has experience with LGTBQ+ couples. My wife and I have been working with a counselor for some time and it’s given us a safe space to express ourselves and be heard. Be warned: it may not produce the end result you want so you should be prepared for that going in.

      It sounds like you wanted to be open, accepting, and supportive but when faced with it found it really challenging. I get that. We all imagine how we would react in certain situations and are often surprised with the results when it really happens. It’s seems like your struggling with some disappointment in yourself as well.

      I’m no expert and it sounds like you’ve done some research which I applaud. I can speak from personal experience that dealing with gender dysphoria is a significant cause of stress. Adding other stresses like work and family can make it worse. Being able to express yourself, express some amount of authenticity, is a huge relief. But the act of expression can often compound your self-hatred especially when those you love see it as shameful. And unfortunately telling him that you don’t mind if he does as long as you don’t hear about it is a clear message to him that you find it shameful.

      Regarding his coming out to your adult child without your consent, I totally get your sense of betrayal. Your feelings are legitimate and real and deserve to be acknowledged. This is your child after all and his coming out affects you both. On the other hand, this is his secret to tell and he was sharing it with another adult who he clearly has a close relationship with. On the surface what he did wasn’t wrong, but it was inconsiderate as you are both part of this relationship. But, I obviously don’t know the details and may very well have done the same if I was in his shoes. Who am I to judge?

      Please find a counselor to help you both work through these issues. There is light at the end of the tunnel if you are both willing to work at it. I wish you both the best.

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    • #382800
      Anonymous
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      He told you before you married him and you still married him. That sounds like your mistake.

       

      “should I be concerned that he only seems to CD when he is completely stressed out and expressing a lot of self-hatred??”

      That’s just sounds like the point when he just can’t stand it anymore and has to. I suspect he wants to a lot more frequently.

      Well, I’m not sure what you mean by that. I don’t feel it was a mistake for us to marry. He did CD for all the years we dated and there were only a few issues like the sexual choice we made which we talked about and determined we would not do again and the boundaries discussions that we had before now have always been a lot better than now. He has always, every time we discussed it connected it to self-hatred, never to feeling good. Even back when we would have open discussions and more fun with it together. I could never have guessed he would tell someone like my child without talking to me first, so I’m not sure how marrying him was my mistake. We had clear discussions going into the marriage, he made the choice to change the rules, not me. Are you saying never marry a CD?

      As far as doing it much more, sure he would do it more, but either way it is always talked about along with self-hatred.

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    • #382798
      Bettylou Cox
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      Dear Ash,

      I married the love of my life 56 years ago; I wasn’t a CD then (that I was aware of), but I did have to learn a lot about boundaries and sharing our lives together.  Your man showed great trust and great love for you when he risked his future with you by telling you about his desire – make that need – to CD.  In hindsight, the CD sex was a bad idea, but you were apparently able to accept the fact that he was a CD,  I have learned that CD is an essential part of my life, and my desire is to share it (as with everything  else) with my wife….and I am one of a fortunate minority who has a wife who is supportive and mostly accepting.  It has worked for us, because in the beginning, I asked her to choose what she could accept, and to set the boundaries.  She was generous with those boundaries, and I honor them…and it has brought us closer together.   You can, and should set your boundaries, and they should be honored by your man;  BUT please note that if you make them too harsh, if you refuse to have anything to do with it, you are also rejecting a vital part of him;  and this does not bode well for your future together.  You two need to have what we call The Talk, and work your issues out together.  And I wish the best for you both.

      Bettylou

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    • #382766
      Celeste Starre
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      He told you before you married him and you still married him. That sounds like your mistake.

       

      “should I be concerned that he only seems to CD when he is completely stressed out and expressing a lot of self-hatred??”

      That’s just sounds like the point when he just can’t stand it anymore and has to. I suspect he wants to a lot more frequently.

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