Imagine if you will that you’ve won a luxury holiday. A week at a tropical resort sounds amazing. You’ve checked it out and you are so excited about the idea that you willingly agree to being blindfolded when you’re taken there. You trust everything you’re told so you throw yourself in wholeheartedly.
For the first three days everything is wonderful. There are little problems but overall it is everything you hoped for. You’re blissfully happy and glad you took the chance. Then, on the fourth day everything changes.
The resort manager takes you aside and confesses that there’s something he needs to tell you. With confused trepidation you listen as he tells you that this isn’t the holiday you thought it was. In fact, despite appearances up to now, it’s not even a tropical location. It’s all been a carefully crafted illusion. He’s telling you this because the weather is changing and they can no longer keep up the charade. They want you to stay, to see the time out and assure you that many other people have been in the same position and they’ve all accepted the idea. “Come on, you can do it” he tells you. Your world has been completely upended; you’ve been lied to and cheated out of what you’d signed up to. All this time you’ve been deceived by people you thought you could trust. Could you take their offer? Would you?
These days marriage vows vary wildly, from staid, traditional utterances of fidelity and faithfulness no matter what through to modern interpretations of mutual respect and support. Implicit in all of them though is the concept that both parties will be honest and truthful with each other. There is no reason why either party should expect anything less, yet it happens. Somewhere the weather begins changing. One half of the marriage says they can’t keep silent any longer. Then comes the confession that the truth and honesty has been built on a rapidly crumbling base of deceit. There have been lies, actual and by omission, and secrets. The secrets are what hurt the most because they suggests a lack of trust on one side and their exposure shatters trust on the other.
This is the reality for some crossdressers’ wives. We who have been the confessor, the one who so completely upends the life of a person we hold most dear, often feel that we had no choice. Some of us have dealt with depression and suicidal thoughts because of the secrets we’ve carried. Some have felt that we’ve suppressed who we really are and have reached a point in life where we have to confess. That’s when we expose our duplicity. Ironically, that’s also often when we feel that now everything will be, or should be, alright. One person occupies our mind; the person we feel we need to release. Do we really pay enough attention to the other person involved in all this?
Let’s go back before the confession. Let’s imagine instead that life is actually going along smoothly. Then you notice that your wife has become somewhat moody. She seems quiet and doesn’t want to talk but something is troubling her. There are signs you find you can no longer ignore. She quickly closes computer pages when you enter the room. When you look later you see all browsing history has been erased. You wonder why. Then she says that she has something to confess. You sense it’s bad and it is. She tells you that she is involved with another man. It has been going on all of your married life. In fact, it started before you married but she couldn’t bring herself to tell you. You seemed so happy together and she didn’t want to hurt you. She tried to end it with him but she couldn’t so she hid it. Another man, one you knew nothing about, is part of your marriage. She tells you she loves you and wants you to stay together, that you can work it out but she says she can’t stop her involvement with this man. Could you accept her offer? Would you?
Crossdressing isn’t exactly the same as that but it does introduce another ‘woman’ into your relationship. When we unburden ourselves we too easily forget that we might have just shifted the burden. We want to stay married but we also don’t want to give up this other woman. It needn’t be a take-it-or-leave-it scenario though. As much as you might hate the idea of your wife continuing her involvement you might possibly be able to accept that it’s what she needs to do. It doesn’t make you less as a person but understandably you can feel that way. In time you might be able to accept this other man as she wants you to, a friend who makes her happy. She wants you to be happy together.
Could it work? Perhaps, but only if the deceit stops. Would you be happy to know that after shattering everything you thought you knew about her she still keeps secrets from you? If you suspected she was could you ever trust her again? Most importantly, would you want to? Could she blame you if you didn’t?
Being married to a crossdresser isn’t all lollipops and sunshine but it doesn’t have to be lemons and darkness either. It can work, but only through openness and honesty and each truly considering the other.