Hi all - thanks for reading. I'm new here, so I really appreciate it. I would love some thoughts/advice about my current situation.

Apologies if this sort of thing has been asked/talked about before. I'm a long time crossdresser. Since about the age of 12. I grew up in a very conservative area and went through so many of things that others have...getting caught, dealing with shame, purging, coming back to it, purging again, etc. I'm also bisexual as well, so there's aspect too. I've been beating myself up about this other side of me for about 30 years now. Absolutely hating myself. Due to that I've dealt with a lot of depression and melancholy through my life, but been able to hide it pretty well...especially from my wife of 5 years.

About a year ago I started seeing a therapist due to some other issues in my life, and things have definitely improved overall because of it. However, about 2 months ago I was having a really hard time and just opened up and told her all about my sexual and gender identity issues. With her guidance I was finally able to sit down and tell my wife about it. She was shocked, and her first reaction was that she was worried that I was actually gay and wanted to be a woman. I assured her that was not the case, and after talking it out, she was very supportive. We talked about everything, and she said perhaps we could even dress up together. I was over the moon. I felt even more in love with her.

Fast forward a little bit and I expressed I was interested in shaving my legs. I have super hairy legs and it has always bothered me. Arms too, but I just wanted to take things slow so as not to freak out my wife. She was supportive for the most part and even suggested some techniques to shave and remove my hair. So one night I finally did it. It felt awesome. It kinda felt like I had freed myself of some sort of shackles.

Then my wife saw my legs. I could instantly tell by the look on her face she was not pleased. We talked about it and she said it would just take her time to get used to it. Then days later she told me she doesn't like it and she's not attracted to that. She told me she's attracted to the typical signs of being male...and that includes hair on my body. We both agreed that our differing desires are conceptually silly because we're both reacting to norms that society sets up, but regardless we can't help the way we each feel. Since then we've had numerous other conversations about it and she is now extremely upset. She feels like she lost something in all of this because she thought we had a rock solid relationship with no secrets, and she's realized she's not attracted to that side of me. She has told me over and over again that she wants me to do what makes me happy, but that I need to understand that she may not be able continue this journey with me if that happens.

So now I'm kinda feeling like I'm back where I started. I regret telling her because all it has done has brought pain into the equation. That over-the-moon feeling has been replaced with regret and frustration because my wife is not interested in this other side of me at all. I am extremely open-minded and know that there's nothing wrong with any of this, but I can't get around the fact that it hurts my wife and makes her less attracted to me. I understand that she can't help the way she feels about it all. So I've been sadly watching my leg hair grow back and trying to just push forward. I don't want to dress all the time, but I can't help when that desire hits...which has definitely been more lately. I was just really excited to be able explore openly and not hate myself. I've tried to ignore this side of me for so long and I know that will never work. It always comes back. I see my therapist again soon, so hopefully I can make a little more headway, but I'd also love to hear from others who have dealt with these sorts of things. Any thoughts or advice for me? Thank you.