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Thread: Getting whiplash/how do I convince him it's OK to talk to me?

  1. #1
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    Getting whiplash/how do I convince him it's OK to talk to me?

    Hi, all!
    (If this is in the wrong spot or has tmi, please forgive and direct me - this is my 1st time on a msg board.)

    I'm hoping to find some insight or advice about my husband, who first mentioned his desire to xdress 6 wks ago- after 20+ years of marriage. Apologies in advance for the life story. (Please feel free to skip ahead 11 paragraphs for the tl;dr version.) ��

    Some relevant background: I'm feeling guilty bc I feel responsible. For a lot of the confusion, anyway.
    On one side of the equation: we have 3 adult daughters. Our middle one came home for spring break and announced she's transitioning to male. (I'm using 'she' by her request; we live in a very small town in the Bible belt, and she's not 'out' everywhere yet. I will say that I appreciate that bc it's giving me time to get used to the idea.) My SO seemed to have more problems with it than I did; while I helped her decide her new male name and find appropriate clothing, he insisted it was a phase. Yes, it came out of left field, but I didn't/don't doubt her.

    I'm slowly realizing his reaction was a test.

    On the other side: the last 2 yrs or so we've been having a great time getting used to our empty nest & becoming, er, reacquainted. But shortly after our daughter made her announcement, I noticed him pulling back. (I always had to initiate, and even then got shot down 3 out of 5 times.) We'd had an incredibly lonely time for the 5 years prior to our kids moving out, where he only wanted sex on our anniversary, so I got worried and told him I refused to go back to that.

    He blamed his disinterest on job stress and his weight (he's 6'5", 400+lbs. I should add that we're a little mismatched, as I'm 5'7, 135). So like a total fool, I started looking for ways around those particular problems.

    One of the things recommended to me was a Yes/No/Maybe list. (Lol. Spoiler alert: don't do this. Not unless you're 100% ready for your partner to say yes to every single kinky/fetishy option.) That's why I picked the name Pandora: I totally opened the friggin' box. :-)

    One of the questions, of course, was about crossdressing. And this is where we've since enacted a rule about graphic honesty (no euphemisms allowed). Because while I answered, "Idk, I'm a girl, so don't think it's a problem?" - meaning, of course, that I couldn't think of any outfits girls can't wear--he read it as "she is OK with male crossdressing," which, in my naiveté, I didn't even know existed. I mean, I've done it with dudes in lacy undies before, but if you'd asked me what I thought xdressing was, I probably would have defaulted to the RuPaul stereotype--cases in which a guy would probably have very little interest in me to begin with, so again, didn't think it was relevant. (Apologies.)

    So. (Again, sorry for details!) My first clue I was missing something bigger: the night we were going to swap lists, he came home drunk to the gills. Waaay out of character. Looking back, idk why I did the list stone cold sober. I had no idea what he was so worried about... So when I opened his list and read all the things I already knew he was into, I was still confused about his hesitance. He shyly asked, "the crossdressing thing didn't throw you off?" I'd missed it, but my reaction was, "Um, no? Let your freak flag fly!"



    This was my first shock: he got so excited, so happy, that he immediately went online and spent roughly $600 on girl clothes. (This is how I know it was his first time shopping, btw. He didn't know where to shop or what sizes to get, let alone take advantage of sales. I told him the same thing I told my kid: I might not know the right things to say, but I have a black belt in shopping. :-) Let me help.) We have an old-fashioned cliché of a marriage: he makes the money & I spend it. I know everything he buys down to the penny. The man has never willingly spent more than $100 on, well, anything in his entire life.

    Fast forward 48 hrs (gotta love Amazon). His 1st packages arrived. I haven't seen him this happy since the day I told him he was going to be a dad. I'm under the understanding this is a family site, so I'll skip the graphic details.

    And this is where it got weird. ��

    So I was benched for a few days, which was probably for the best. It gave us time to assess. He wanted to make sure I was OK and not just going along out with it, and I needed to know that, too. We have to be very, very careful with anything new bc I have very bad PTSD (from a kidnapping/rape when I was 18. It ticks me off that I even have to mention it, bc I know this makes me a bigger cliché.) One of the unfortunate aspects is that I'm very, very good at compartmentalizing (or powering through) negative emotions and experiences. It's a survival technique. I don't always know I'm doing it in the moment; the telltale sign is foggy or unreal-feeling memories. I'm missing full years of my life, and neither of us wants that to happen again.

    So I promised to tell him the second anything got uncomfortable or too much for me. We both learned that I'm OK with the undies/bralette, but any bra forms/hints of actual breasts leave me cold. (I feel like I'm hugging my grandma, who was unfortunately built a lot like a busty version of my SO. Not hot.) Negligees are hit and miss, but it seems to hinge on that boobs thing. He seemed accepting of that. Ish. But when I mentioned that the full dress, wigs, makeup, etc would be too much for me (I have to see the man I married), he got really quiet. I tried to ask him if that was a problem, and he shrugged it off. (Note: he's only purchased undergarments so far. I still have/had no idea if he wants more.) He did ask the question, "so if you came home one day and I was hanging out in a dress, what would you do?" —but he phrased it like a joke.

    I sensed he was really asking, so I told him the truth: "I have no idea. It wouldn't bother me on an intellectual level, but emotionally?? And sexually, I'm into dudes. So as long as you're not expecting me to get hot and bothered... "

    He laughed and changed the subject. A while later, he said what I've learned is a common refrain, "You know it's all a spectrum. You liked it the other night. You might be a little bi."

    I lost my cool, and asked him if he would ask a gay man if he'd tried enough women. It's the same premise. I had to shut that down, hard.

    Long story short: back to now: we had a few talks over the next few days, he continued to dress in nighties, and I thought we were both OK. But after about 2-3 weeks, he told me he's always been "a little transgender." I admit I froze a bit - my daughter's transition hit front and center. When I asked him to expand on that, he said he was confused and didn't know exactly how far he wanted to take it. Then he said he actually got the idea from me, because I'd once used my bra on him when we were first dating (Thx.)

    I told him that I'm with him and not planning to go anywhere, but I need to know what is going on. I don't want to be blindsided. Inwardly, I was kicking myself. It explained so much. Not to mention making me the stupid cliché of the assault survivor who marries a closeted dude bc there's no safer man to marry than a female. Sigh.

    3 days later I came home and he'd hidden everything away. When I asked him about it, he said it had been something he was trying, but he wasn't interested anymore. It's cyclical, he said, but it'd be a long time before he'd even want to think about it again. OK. And the "possibly trans" thing? His answer: "I don't know what you're talking about." The next day, he refused to talk about any of it, and accused me of making it a bigger thing than it is.

    The stuff stayed hidden for 2 wks. He brought out the nightie again last weekend. But when I tentatively asked if he wanted to talk about it, he shut me down and basically told me I was imagining it all. (I mean, I have the receipts and the pdf of the kink list. So I don't think I'm making it all up.)

    He's making me feel insane, and I'm starting to suspect it's on purpose.
    So how do I convince him it's not something to be ashamed about, without accusing him of intentionally messing with my mind??? I'm familiar enough with denial to know this has to be killing him.

    (Not to mention, killing me. This uncertainty is hitting all my buttons and turning me into the moody, suicidal emo girl I grew out of 20 years ago. Ugh.)

    Any advice?
    -Dora
    Last edited by Di; 05-17-2019 at 08:01 PM. Reason: Yes it is a family forum/ check out the rules top left for help in what can be posted/ removed some TMI

  2. #2
    Member ShelbyDawn's Avatar
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    Dora,

    First welcome.

    Second, find a therapist in your area that works with gender issues and will work with you as a couple. I'm not one into ultimatums, but it sounds like you may need to force you SO to go.
    Having a nonjudgmental intermediary can help you both find a happy medium.
    Optimally, I'd suggest you each have your own therapist as well but know it can get expensive, so...

    If he absolutely refuses, get one for yourself and at least figure out how to deal with you.

    I am not an expert in much of anything but will tell you that therapy saved my life.


    Shelby

    ... I have about as much "choice" over being a crossdresser as I do in deciding my shoe size...

  3. #3
    I accept myself as is Gillian Gigs's Avatar
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    Go directly to see a therapist, both of you, do not pass go, do not collect $200. There are many things that ring true about the swing between desire and denial, only honest communication will bring out the truth of it all. The first step is to convince him that both of you should go and see a therapist. Be prepared for an answer based on whether he is in desire, or denial mode. Only some one who is properly trained will be able to cut through to the bottom and get this straightened out.
    I like myself, regardless of the packaging that I may come in! It's what is on the inside of the package that counts!

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    Super Moderator char GG's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum.

    Oh my goodness! That is quite a lot to think about!

    I do agree with the two other posters. If you could possibly get both of you to a therapist (and if he will open up and he does not clam up as he did with you), it's the only thing I can think of to get the two of you on the same page. Best wishes to you both.
    Last edited by char GG; 05-17-2019 at 09:31 PM. Reason: adding welcome

  5. #5
    Goddess-In-Training Macey's Avatar
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    There is a lot more going on within you, within him, and within the both of you as a couple than just crossdressing with possible gender issues. Not kidding here, it's time for some therapy, perhaps some spiritual counseling, and gathering your support network. I'm just one kook on the interwebs, but from your post (and it's only a small slice) there are some unresolved things going on that is now causing some chaos to say the least.

    Do not be ashamed, do not be a hero, do not think you can figure out everything on your own … you don't have to! We've all got issues great and small, we've all had trauma, crisis, and hard times great and small in one way or another. Get ye some help to sort this out.

    If you broke your leg, would you say "Well, I'll just deal with it on my own." Or would you see a professional to get it set correctly so that it can mend best? Emotional trauma is not all that different, sometimes it's best to get a little help in the right direction.

    We're here, here to help be a bit of a support network of sorts, but it would be the epitome of hubris to believe we'd have the correct answers. Let's hold onto each other (virtually), let's cry together, but please, please, start some therapy to help sort through this stuff.

  6. #6
    Member Helena's Avatar
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    Dora, welcome. You have come to a place with a lot of experience. I am reeling from all that is going on and my heart goes out to you. I can only echo the advice to seek out a therapist.

  7. #7
    Yeah Ok like whatever Tracii G's Avatar
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    Welcome to the site its good that you came here.
    I agree on the therapy advice. You two have a lot going on and it would be wise to seek help with a gender therapist if he is transgender.
    If he is a crossdresser maybe he just has strong fetishes and just likes the clothes and has no intentions of transitioning.
    Lots of questions need to be asked by an independent or outside person (therapist)
    Its not embarrassing or something bad to seek help and its actually the best thing you can do for you both.
    His 600.00 expenditure seems to have come from you saying let your freak flag fly and him thinking he has a green light to go hog wild.
    Everybody has a limit and I think you are getting close to that point.
    Am I close?
    Head Executive Chief of the Dept of Redundancy Dept.

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    Silver Member Micki_Finn's Avatar
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    To me it sounds like he’s struggling with 2 things a LOT of girls, here and otherwise, struggle with (even though many won’t admit it). First, He doesn’t just want to be a woman. He wants to be an ATTRACTIVE woman. That is nearly impossible for most of us to pull off without considerable help from clothes, forms, shapewear, makeup, wigs, etc.
    Second, I think he’s suffering from the “lesbian delusion”. There lots of CDs that think if they present as an attractive woman, they’ll be a magnet for lesbians and lesbian sex.

    So when you shot down both the possibility of his dressing progressing beyond the bedroom by saying “no boobs, no dresses” AND his lesbian desire by telling him it didn’t interest you, you completely blew his fantasy out of the water. He’s probably feeling like dressing is pretty pointless, especially around you, since you don’t want to go where he wants to.

    I just realized how this might sound, so let me say, you did nothing wrong here. You handled it fine, and you were honest and forthcoming.

    So where do you go from here? Well, as others have said, therapy can help. But you can also try to just sit down and have a heart to heart about this. Up until now, it seems all your conversations about this have been either gimmicky/jokey, or tinged with sex, or both. Try to have a talk without those things about what he wants out of his dressing. It also seems to me that you keep looking at this from a “bedroom angle”. What about if that wasn’t part of the equation? Would you be ok with him in boobs and dresses if you were doing other things? Best-friend kinda things, not husband things? Like going shopping or to the movies or to lunch with him dressed as a woman?

    I know that the hard part is going to be getting that conversation started, as it sounds like he’s in defensive/shutdown mode. Just try to be understanding and patient. Put aside your notions of what crossdressers do and want, and find out what HE does and wants. Good lick.

  9. #9
    Yeah Ok like whatever Tracii G's Avatar
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    Yes I agree Micki.
    Pandora no 2 crossdressers are the same so don't generalize and be locked into what YOU think a crossdresser is.
    Work on what he says he wants to get out of it and why.
    The why question is so very important.
    What do you think a crossdresser is? I would love to know and hear your explanation.
    Be honest so we can properly educate you what exactly one is.
    No bashing on either side just pure honesty.
    Last edited by Tracii G; 05-17-2019 at 07:24 PM.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member phili's Avatar
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    Wow- Dora, you have a wonderful capacity to be articulate. None of what you have said seems strange- just normal couple being drastically out of sync in communications- i.e. one is asking one question, the other is answering a different question. Each of you is offering, but with unspoken conflicting conditions,etc. But you seem very sincerely committed to staying in relationship and making it safe for both of you, and ...as is so common, he is playing hide and seek with you which is very frustrating!

    My view of a way forward is simply to say 'let's look at whatever we think is true for ourselves with respect to every issue- we are just going to get all the facts out on the table without judgment. The tendency of course is to hide whatever we think will separate us, but the very act of hiding is what separates us- and I personally find that knowing exactly how my wife feels at the moment does not actually ruin the marriage- it is the act of being married to be interested and to welcome the knowledge.

    Your story is focused around you as the assertive deal maker, and he as hiding. I think Micki's analysis is likely true, and although you were doing the right thing saying how you felt, he took it as you also saying " I don't care how you feel, I'm not doing it" . He doesn't see it as something small like whether you are going to Vegas or not- he is trying to cope with being more expressive of how he feels, and crossdressing is a simple shortcut. He is trying to just follow his instincts rather than sort out and validate his premises and goals, in the face of a million objections, etc. He now thinks you actually see him as a freak, so he misunderstood your comment to get his freak on as positive [though it was..but... ......]

    This is where a therapist can help- try to assist in bringing the many strands of personhood to the surface for each one of you and give them some kind of order, and help you agree on things without shortcircuiting because of all the linked issues.

    That your daughter wants to transition is likely to be difficult for him because he sees you are positive and helping her but not him. He sees his deep need for new gender orientation is being subjugated to his instrumentality for you as a [safe] masculine figure. He knows that he has always been the person he is....he wants you to see that this is part of what makes him good for you so ..it is by definition then good!

    Full disclosure, my wife rejects this argument because, in her view, I am what I do, not what I say I feel, and I can, in her mind, be perfectly happy being a man and she does not want me to adopt the clothes or behavioral cues reserved for females. I argue that feminine is not female- but it misses the point- she wants a masculine figure around so she can be the woman- it is a safe and comfortable place to be for her.

    Back to the just getting to see the facts- if you can let them be in the present then they are not harmful. He can be in a dress or test out feeling like a woman and using props like fake boobs to do it, and you can ask- how does it feel ? And ask yourself the same thing and write it down. For each of you some feelings will evolve. But closing the exits and trying to help each other has no downside, as long as both parties are in.
    Last edited by phili; 05-17-2019 at 09:56 PM.
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    Oh my goodness, y'all - -

    Thank you all for slogging through that mess. I'm not a writer, so I'm grateful for the patience. I swear I don't come across as a wackadoo irl. :-)

    I should explain (more carefully, lol) that I have seen a therapist, for years. My SO and I both have, bc most people don't survive what I did and come home 'normal.' In our early marriage years, my husband (and I) didn't understand how badly I would contort myself to avoid saying 'no.' I used to be afraid to set boundaries bc I was too scared (faulty logic: if I agreed to everything, then nothing was done against my will). He originally didn't realize that my panic looks like agreeability. So, yes, therapy was helpful. (Those therapy sessions, btw, are part of what makes his hesitancy to share so baffling. He's been privy to so many of my deep dark secrets... I think this inequality is a big part of what hurts so much.)

    I've also learned that sharing only bits that make you sound good isn't helpful, for so many reasons. But it's also difficult to narrate your own life, bc we seldom know which are the most important details, if that makes sense.

    I should clarify that the $600 didn't bother me (it's his money, and quality plus size clothes are expensive) - it just showed me how badly he wanted this, while his words were kind of brushing it off.

    I'd love to get him to talk to me in a nonsexual context. Heck, that's why I offered to shop with him. I don't know how to go about it, though. We saw our therapist after our daughter came out, to learn more about how to support her. The therapist was more on the "it's a phase" boat, even though she's listed as LGBT-friendly. She made some comments about "boys are boys and girls are girls," and suggested my daughter come in to discuss what is "really" bothering her. (I don't believe that tg - or crossdressing, for that matter - is something that can or even needs to be 'fixed.' If that makes sense.) Her reaction made my suggestion about us going together into a nonstarter. (I haven't found any listings for trans-friendly LPC/MSWs in 500 mile radius, let alone any crossdressing ones, anywhere. Which is why I tried the internet at large, lol.)
    ❤️
    Ps. Just in case it was the emo mood swings that spooked y'all: I've had PTSD + MDD for two decades--I'm really lucky bc I do know enough to look for outside help when my mood goes black. I'm safe, I promise. It's just frustrating that even after all this time, small things can still knock me down. The PTSD was triggered earlier last year with a major health scare--I'm in the middle of a series of surgeries - so that's been a factor, as well. In a way, it's lucky, bc I can blame the scariest dark places on my health without making my SO think any of this is because of him (I hope). It would kill me if he thought his sharing was hurting me.

    Pps. Moderators--thank you for your help and patience! I'll do better next time!

  12. #12
    Member ShelbyDawn's Avatar
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    Dora,

    Just so you know, I started seeing my therapist to deal with issues with my failing marriage; why I was such a failure. She was acceptable to my now ex wife because she was listed as a Christian Faith-Based therapist.
    What I soon discovered is that first and foremost, she was a consummate professional and not only was I pretty normal and sane(my ex is bat-crap crazy), when my crossdressing came up, she didn't miss a beat, she helped me realize that it is just part of who I am and, as you said, didn't need to be fixed.
    I have no idea what her personal thoughts are on the subject but as a professional, it was just one more piece to the puzzle.
    My point is, don't rule out a therapist because they aren't LGTBQ or Trans friendly; find one you feel comfortable talking to and don't be afraid to switch or call them on something that seems to go against the defined mission of helping you.

    I would also suggest that you ask your current therapist what was meant my "boys are boys and girls are girls." There is a good chance that there was a misunderstanding and, if not, perhaps she is not the right therapist.
    And, she may have been right where your daughter/son is concerned.


    Shelby

    ... I have about as much "choice" over being a crossdresser as I do in deciding my shoe size...

  13. #13
    Platinum Member Beverley Sims's Avatar
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    You both need a second opinion Dora, I would value the other replies that have seen a therapist, they already have experienced problems.

    I have grown up all my life without external help and I feel fine with my situation.

    It is good that you have come to this site to vent as you are most likely to get balanced replies from us here.

    Keep making comments and talk about your progress as this does help.

    I can assure you neither of you are alone and you should both subscribe to this board, even if it is to get conflicting opinions.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Aunt Kelly's Avatar
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    Dora,

    Let me add to the warm welcomes you have already received, and please let me commend you on your courage and determination to reach out here. As you can see, you will find support and understanding. The support is deep and sincere, I assure you, and the understanding... it's at least as much as a bunch of cross-dressers and trans-women can muster.

    What you've shared is a lot to unpack; way more than will likely be successfully accomplished here. We're up to 12 responses already (countin mine). Prepare for a lot of more. Don't let it overwhelm you, but take one thing away from virtually of those responses so far - you should seek professional help, as a couple and as an individual. You seem to have a good handle on the scars left from that terrible experience, and how to handle them. In this turn of events though, the two of you have wandered into an emotional minefield. I won't say that you'll be able to find your way unscathed, but it will be easier and safer with a competent guide. On that, you may want to keep shopping for someone who really understands the TG issues. I understand that the market might a bit thin where you are, but finding the right help will be worth the hunt. It's also fair to share your concerns with your current therapist. As you know, trust is essential so you are entitled to satisfy yourself that this one has the knowledge and skill required.

    On more thing... I'm sure you know this, but just in case... Nothing you did made him TG. He has almost certainly been that way for a long time, whether or not he even realized it. The cyclical nature of his desires are common to a lot of crossdressers. Guilt often has a lot to do with it, but even those who've fully accepted their nature will tell you that "the pink fog" comes and goes for reasons sometimes never understood.

    Best of luck to you, Pandora

    Hugs,

    Kelly
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  15. #15
    Goddess-In-Training Macey's Avatar
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    *whew*, your second post clarifies things a bit and it sounds lime you've got a lot of the 'other stuff' in hand. At least for yourself. I'm wondering if he may have retreated because he spooked himself a little. Yes, open and honest communication, but he may need a little time to process before he can do that. Keep ringing the bell of 'you don't need to be fixed', be present, be open, and don't push too too hard. Gently see if he'd like to talk to a professional too.

  16. #16
    Aspiring Member abbiedrake's Avatar
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    Macey, Wifeling commented to me that she thought Pandora's hubby may have spooked himself. It would certainly explain a thing or two. (She's in the process of contributing herself I think...)

    So, Pandora, a lot going on. Wifeling and I know what that's like, but the crucial things is talking. I'm typically hesitant to join the chorus suggesting therapy but in your own instance it seems the only way forward for now. His not talking is the sticking point. That he's not only not talking but is actually attempting to gaslight you is a worry. But it should underline for you that it's certainly not 'nothing'.
    I do wonder if his current stance is an attempt to shut down his dressing because he knows he can't get what he wants. ie. If it's primarily sexy time as a woman he wants and you've nixed that maybe as Micki says he doesn't see the point and thinks he can out it aside. One of the things you'll hear time and again here is how that doesn't work. His claim to it being cyclical will likely be down to his periodic efforts to suppress, than the coming and going of his desire to dress.
    He really needs to start opening up to himself and to you. I'm not a fan of ultimata but if his silence continues he's going to have to realise that you need to weigh up what you have invested in your relationship.
    You yourself are doing as good a job as can be expected. I always maintain whenever asked (I answer questions on Quora amongst other things) that a woman has the right to do with her husband's crossdressing whatever she chooses. It's too big a thing for us men to expect to lay out after a couple fo decades and not expect our wives to go bananas. But clearly your current view is that your marriage is worth the effort. He needs to realise the same and come to the table with the same level of honesty and openness as you have. Even with diametrically opposed views there are ways forward if you're both open.
    For now, please know there are those here who understand your situation only too well. We'll be thinking of you and we'll be here for advice and sympathy.

  17. #17
    Aspiring Member Maid_Marion's Avatar
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    I think he just needs time to process what just happened. More than likely he has questions about both his gender and sexuality that have been repressed for decades.
    It is hard, but maybe you just need to be there and talk to him when he is ready.

  18. #18
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    Pandora, welcome to the forum. You sound like an intelligent, well grounded woman and you think rather deeply about things. That is an admirable characteristic; don't let it fade.

    Lots of great responses and suggestions presented here. I think the best is to admit this is a problem you two, plus your daughter headed to the masculine world, need some professional therapeutic help with. In the presence of a good therapist, you will receive the help in sorting things out so you and your husband can work with a less confusing model of your relationship. That helps immensely.

    Been married to the same woman for 50 years. When I came out 6 1/2 years ago it was chaotic for awhile. I went to a gender therapist and she went to another therapist to help her accept this characteristic in me and deal with. Made all the difference in the world. Not many answers, but we learned to tools to find answers suited for us. Since then I did most of the work in finding the details and more stable condition and that helped her accept it. I don't fully dress often at all, but I have found including some hints of my combined masculine/feminine gender was sufficient to keep me and her happy. Your solution may be different. The point is, with the help of a therapist you can find a path to communicate without either of you losing your own identity to satisfy the other - that never ends well.

    But you mentioned that to some extent you blame yourself and he accused you of triggering his gender issues when you put a bra on him early in your life together. Don't buy it. Not true. You didn't cause anything and his accusation is likely due to a lack of understanding of where this comes from in him. That is terrifying. Those trans tendencies in him almost certainly have been there all along, but they were deeply suppressed. We do that a lot until the pressure builds and the cork pops out of the bottle and all of our lifelong suppression comes flowing it. It often makes us a little crazy and think all kinds of things that are not true. Thus, the need for him to see a therapist with experience in gender issues so he can understand his own feelings better. But don't go blaming yourself. You had nothing to do with causing this. And your reaction to him is pretty normal for a wife.

    His pulling back after the initial crazy and poorly thought out start seems to indicate that he was shamed at some time in the past for crossdressing. Can't be certain of that. The cork had popped, he felt the freedom and relief, went a little wild and yet he may feel that as a result he was shamed again and was safer pulling back into the shell. That is a common problem with most of us. Hard to be solved by yourself; it can be done, but there really is a better way if it all becomes too much to handle. Thus, the need for a professional to help him and you to sort things out.

    Your daughter's desire to transition is also a factor. You support her; he doesn't. It may be that he doesn't because he doesn't want her to live a life like he has lived knowing that there is some kind of basic transgender aspect to who he is that has brought him great pain. He may be afraid for her and therefore resists her desires because he doesn't really understand his own desires. I was in that twisted trap for 60 years until the cork popped and I had to face the truth. My life has changed since as has my wife's. Better in some respects than ever before.

    Point is, this is all very confusing to all three of you, but mainly to you and your husband. You are both traveling in uncharted territory and need a pro to help you develop a rough map you can follow and thus fill in the blank areas with more detail. Please don't try to work this out yourselves; it is way too complicated. Even if you were both psychologists you would need some help because of all the personal emotions involved in trying to find solutions. It took you courage to join here and so you are a courageous and caring woman. Just like your husband and your daughter, you are a factor, but never blame yourself. It is just a really confusing and currently pretty dysfunctional puzzle. It is solvable with a good outcome.

    I wish you and your husband the very best and hope you will continue to use the forum to learn more yourself about this behavior pattern AND for support from a bunch of guys who are also a bunch of girls. Can't say we understand both sides equally well, but we do have experience with both sides, something that is totally foreign to a vast majority of men. But on the larger forum there are also women struggling with the fact that at least some of the time they feel like men. Works both ways.

    Gretchen

  19. #19
    Senior Member phili's Avatar
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    Hi again, Pandora. Your energy and sincerity and willingness are evident. Your reasons to be hyper-vigilant are clear, and you have about a zillion huge stressors operating all at once.

    If I was there I'd take your hand and give you a hug and say let's just stand still for a moment and feel good about all the things that are going right. Your husband is struggling, so are you, and that's the way life is. We normally have shared stories with those around us, and some private stories we don't share, that we use to sort out and suppress unresolved issues so that we feel successful. What has happened, I think, is that your husband saw clues that you might be willing [like the bra incident], and took the plunge, beggings to share his private story, and make it a shared story.

    But - and as a typical man I do this, he is not used to managing the ebb and flow of strong emotions with any finesse, and he shuts down in order to get back to the stolid stoicism and withholding that is typically safe for him. This is frustrating to you since you are actively trying to engage and negotiate and ...he is just looking out at you calling to him from his hiding place and seeing someone who doesn't like the story he wants to share.

    To be fair, it is unreasonable for him to expect that you would, but I can say in my experience the fact of my inner femininity is real and existential, so it feels like a monumental tragedy that my wife just hardens her position more when I say that. I can see that gender is a trained performance, a cultural structure, integrated with thousands of restraints and privileges and bargains in our social and interpersonal life. Maybe that awareness is only easy to obtain in those for whom it wasn't a welcome training, [perhaps like your daughter], but as we get older we want to feel ourselves in relationship as genuine. We may only live once!

    I recommend Harville Hendrix' book, Getting the Love you Want. As a long time marriage therapist, he concluded that we marry people with whom we will eventually confront a difficult transformational task- that we will each find a point where we really don't want to give the other what they most want from us. (That heightened desire comes of course from the fact that we don't get that important thing.) But, if we do give it to them, we will also find that it releases us and meets a need we were not conscious of. I have found this to be a wonderful resolution of the apparent dilemmas. The case for me was that my wife wanted me to be chatty and hang out with her, and I found it boring and trivial. When I willingly became chatty, i discovered a whole world of emotional interplay that I had unconsciously held back from.

    In your case, you can understand and support your daughter's questioning of her gender role, but you hold reservations against your husband doing the same. OK- that means you feel you will lose something very important if he does expand in the direction he wants. As a simple point for helping a therapist help you, you can start there- explore what you forecast you will lose if he does x. Then, for the purposes of the exercise, imagine a what if scene where you willingly give him space to explore freely.

    My wife is not taking Hendrix' advice, and she has convinced our therapist that the fear she has is so monumental that she simply can't be expected to explore it. But my doing it on my own has really helped me find safety and growth, and realizing, as in my opening sentence, that I am safe being me, and others don't control how I feel.
    Last edited by phili; 05-18-2019 at 08:33 AM.
    We are all beautiful...!

  20. #20
    Gold Member bridget thronton's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum Pandora and thank you for reaching out. I hope someone has shared the fact that once you make 10 posts or replies in this forum you can join the subforum for Females at Birth (you will find some great ladies there working through the same issues you are)

  21. #21
    Platinum Member Teresa's Avatar
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    Dora,
    While most of us know what our wives / partners go through it's good to see a GG telling the story from her side .

    OK much is familiar ground for most of us , the revelation is only the starting point , where your husband goes from here is a very good question which I'm sure he's struggling to answer . As others have said outside help can only help the great thing is you are happy to go along with counselling but possibly not so happy about what the outcome may be .

    How much slack you give him is up to you , I know from experience that it's a balancing act , if you give him too little he will struggle with the suppression , if you give him full reign he may become uncontrollable . I feel you must set a limit on his spending until he knows more of the facts , it's so easy to end up with boxes of items that may be a passing whim .

    I was in a worse situation as my wife only wanted to see the man she married , I understand that but she did marry a TG with dysphoria as it turns out , so to be told they only want to see the husband and father is hard to deal with because part of a life was being rejected .

    It may also help to find a social group , where you can both talk to other people dealing with TG issues in fact it may also help with you daughter . The problems don't appear to be the mountain you're climbing when you find other people taking an easier and more workable route . Life does not stop through TG issues as I've found , sadly I separated from my wife after 44 years of marriage but we are both now happier and I'm still involved with my children and grandchildren .
    Last edited by Teresa; 05-18-2019 at 11:34 AM.
    The real me ,no going back.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Micki_Finn View Post
    To me it sounds like he’s struggling with 2 things a LOT of girls, here and otherwise, struggle with (even though many won’t admit it). First, He doesn’t just want to be a woman. He wants to be an ATTRACTIVE woman. That is nearly impossible for most of us to pull off without considerable help from clothes, forms, shapewear, makeup, wigs, etc.
    Second, I think he’s suffering from the “lesbian delusion”. There lots of CDs that think if they present as an attractive woman, they’ll be a magnet for lesbians and lesbian sex.

    So when you shot down both the possibility of his dressing progressing beyond the bedroom by saying “no boobs, no dresses” AND his lesbian desire by telling him it didn’t interest you, you completely blew his fantasy out of the water. He’s probably feeling like dressing is pretty pointless, especially around you, since you don’t want to go where he wants to.

    I just realized how this might sound, so let me say, you did nothing wrong here. You handled it fine, and you were honest and forthcoming.

    So where do you go from here? Well, as others have said, therapy can help. But you can also try to just sit down and have a heart to heart about this. Up until now, it seems all your conversations about this have been either gimmicky/jokey, or tinged with sex, or both. Try to have a talk without those things about what he wants out of his dressing. It also seems to me that you keep looking at this from a “bedroom angle”. What about if that wasn’t part of the equation? Would you be ok with him in boobs and dresses if you were doing other things? Best-friend kinda things, not husband things? Like going shopping or to the movies or to lunch with him dressed as a woman?

    I know that the hard part is going to be getting that conversation started, as it sounds like he’s in defensive/shutdown mode. Just try to be understanding and patient. Put aside your notions of what crossdressers do and want, and find out what HE does and wants. Good lick.

    i dont know if its a lesbian delusion or just sexual for him and it spooked him, sex is a powerful motivation for many facets of life. the mind likes what the mind likes and this could be scary to accept, the porn business it not going away anytime soon.

    what concerned me was what your present therapist said "its a phase" run dont walk....any gender therapist worth there reputation would never spew those words, you would more likely get more help from some other part of the states through a video call of some sort than what you described of yours.

    here is a link to the forum where you will find your peers

    https://www.crossdressers.com/forums...f#faq_gg_forum

    i think this would help more than your therapist they may help with your other issues you describe but gender issues require a bit more. you will need to post a few more times on the boards to gain access but i think it will benefit you immensely. you dont mention what part of the world you reside but here in the states we have p-flag support groups that i found very helpful, the one i attend is very helpful and knowledgeable and have a younger average age and is 80% FtM so i think she knows if she came out to you.
    you certainly have a full plate and sound like you are coping quite well, kudos to that.....its admirable, you certainly have your work cut out for you and i think i can say we have your back and personally i wish to hear updates as things progress, best of luck im rooting for you guys.....
    ....Mykell
    i dressed like a girl and i liked it! crossdressing...theirs an app for that those who deny freedom deserve it not for themselves
    NOBODY gets a pass to blow out someone else's candle in order to make theyre's shine brighter

  23. #23
    AKA Lexi sometimes_miss's Avatar
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    This is long. But hang in there with me.

    First, he is not 'making you feel insane'. Each of us choose how much to respond to other people's behavior. We like to think of therapists as experts in their field of practice, yet, we must remember that for every profession, there are poor, average, good and great practitioners. And just because a therapist is good in one type of situation, doesn't mean they're great in all of them. Example: You wouldn't go to a foot surgeon for an eye operation; no matter how much he wants to do it, and insists that he's capable, it's still not a good idea. Your therapist's "boys are boys and girls are girls" is a perfect example of how her own beliefs can become a problem for anyone stepping outside of the boundry lines of gender, as she's clearly not accepting of the idea of TG persons existing. This is understandable; there are still some theorists that only see black and white in this area. Why, there's no way to know; some chalk it up to religious believes, others, due to strict adherence to whatever particular discipline (Freud, Jung, etc.) they use to guide themselves in their practice. What you do know, is that you need someone else to help you through this particular issue if she is unable to overcome her biases, which, she may not be able to, OR, she may not be able to do, in time to help YOU! You need help now, and may not want to be the case where she goes through the motions of learning how to treat transgender individuals.

    Your husband's mention that 'he's always been A LITTLE transgendered' is key; either we are, or we aren't. There's no 'a little'; all there is, is to what degree he is capable of compartmentalizing it in his life. He said what he did, to see what your response would be, so he could backtrack a little if you were really upset about it (and apparently, he has done just that). Then his obvious disappointment that you had apparently changed your mind from the 'Let your freak flag fly' to declaring limitations indicating that you had not really meant that at all is no surprise; now, perhaps he feels a fool for admitting to you something which he now knows is disturbing to you, and he may see himself as having let out a secret that maybe he shouldn't have. Instantly, you both experienced a loss of sorts; you, of the 'all masculine solid as a rock always dependable' husband that you thought you could always lean on whenever things got rough, and he, because he's realized that he may have accidentally irreparably damaged how you think of him. Men understand how women rely on us for being the stable one, the shoulder to cry on when needed, the one to call whenever you're feeling insecure, the one to call when disaster hits because men are the ones in our society who are expected to know how to deal with everything, and at least come up with a plan to solve whatever problem we are faced with, whether that being fixing it ourself, or deciding who to call to get the job done. Men are simply not allowed to lose control: Of our feelings, and admitting that we have feminine desires, we know is an admission to the world that we are no longer in complete self control of our emotional state; of our tempers, of our desires, too. It's simply not allowed. To do so, can often send a sense of discomfort or even panic through a female mate, because historically, women depended upon her mate for not just being someone to talk to, but the person who will provide food and protection for her. Sure, today, safety and provisions are universally available to everyone, but that's not how we evolved, and those feelings are still part of us when the unexpected occurs.
    Most of us who have suppressed the desire to crossdress throughout our lives, still live with the inner dream that someday, someone will come along and be the one who loves us the way we are anyway, and let us behave as we feel naturally inclined to. So it's a big, no, huge disappointment AND embarrassment when we think we've found that, and it turns out not to be that at all. So now not only is he disappointed that he won't be able to be what he wants to be, his dreams of it ever happening have been shattered as well. And what can be more devastating than losing all hope? In the last century, the woman's rights movement slowly advanced until women can be whatever you want to, and expect to be loved by men even though you may have changed your role so much. Many men thought that since women have been freed from the traditional expectations of the past, maybe we could experience a little of that as well. Even if we only get to role play as such once in a while, at least that would be something. But that isn't what happened. We're still stuck with the roles of what men have always been, or subject to ridicule; still, today, any man who crosses the gender line is often made fun of.

    In so many ways, men are still held responsible for everything, often, entirely. Pregnancy? Our fault (even though women have had the option of unilaterally controlling her own fertility since the sixties, it's not 'I got pregnant', it's still 'HE got me pregnant!). Divorce? Men routinely get severely penalized both socially and financially, even jailed if they cannot meet with society's demands. Women CAN decide to work if she wants to better her lifestyle. But men HAVE to work; there simply is no other option. I don't think I need to go on. I felt the need to add this, in case you've forgotten what he may feel like. Why? Because my ex had no clue.
    I don't know your husband's history; but at over 400 pounds, it's very likely that he deals with stress events by using food as his choice substance of abuse, to cope. What that means, is he's eating or drinking to suppress other thoughts that he doesn't want to think about (I can elaborate on that at length if you want, PM me once you get your 10 posts). One of those things, is very likely his TG feelings. Suppressing that takes a lot out of us. Even subconsciously, our mind needs to keep it out of our consciousness in order to do all the other things that life requires. For example of this mental mechanism, consider having a splinter buried deep in the ball of your foot. But you're at work. So you have to go through the whole day, always needing to push the pain out of your mind in order to do the work you have to do, and then walk home on that sore foot afterwards. You can do it, but it will take a lot out of you to accomplish your goal, because the pain keeps interrupting your train of thought (ever stub your toe really hard and then suddenly forgotten what you were going to do?). TG & crossdressing thoughts aren't allowed in men's lives, so we have to, like keeping the pain out of our thoughts, keep the TG/crossdressing out of our thoughts. We're expected to 'man up' and just ignore the desires, the feelings, and get on with life. So we need to push those thoughts out of our consciousness, bury them. And that takes something out of us. For each of us, it's different. Some may be able to suppress it just by occupying ourselves with a hobby or simple leisure activity. For others who suffer it more severely, and are upset by it, it may take using drugs, alcohol, frequent sex, thrill seeking activities, and in extreme cases of gender identity dysphoria, some feel the need to transition and get SRS, or they are almost unable to function at all. Each person is different.

    Your daughter? Perhaps it is a phase. Only time will tell. You say your middle daughter, who came home from spring break. So I'm guessing here that they're still young enough to be going through various experiences of learning who he/she truly is, and who she/he wishes to be for the rest of his/her life. A professional therapist is aware of this possibility, but probably shouldn't have phrased it that way. Still, it's another indication that this particular therapist may not be the one to go to for gender identity issues.

    I worked in a hospital that has a mental health crisis unit in our emergency room. We have telemetry services available to other hospitals who do not have specialty psychological services available. It works like a video phone call, and the patient gets to see and speak with a professional in real time over a computer video exchange. So it doesn't matter where you are anymore, you can access gender specialty therapists as long as you can get to a computer. You will have to take the time to locate a therapist who specializes in gender identity problems that either is available to you in person, or via a telemetry situation as I have described. Most hospitals have access to emergency crisis management of psychological problems, call your local hospital and get that number, They will be able to give you further information of who is available. With each step, you will need to ask the people who you deal with if they are able to refer you to someone who specializes in gender identity issues. Keep at it, until you find the therapist that you need. As GID is often co-existing with PTSD, they will be likely to understand your issues with that, as well.

    Or, look up the nearest CD/TG support group in your area, and go there and ask for more information; it's likely that at least one of the people in that group has someone decent to refer you to. You can go alone, or with your husband or daughter. Most support groups are very open to helping people new to the situation. You can go, ask for a referral, and leave after that, you're not expected to stay for the meeting if you don't want to.

    Feel free to PM me with any questions.
    Last edited by sometimes_miss; 05-18-2019 at 03:16 PM.
    Some causes of crossdressing you've probably never even considered: My TG biography at:http://www.crossdressers.com/forums/...=1#post1490560
    There's an addendum at post # 82 on that thread, too. It's about a ten minute read.
    Why don't we understand our desire to dress, behave and feel like a girl? Because from childhood, boys are told that the worst possible thing we can be, is a sissy. This feeling is so ingrained into our psyche, that we will suppress any thoughts that connect us to being or wanting to be feminine, even to the point of creating separate personalities to assign those female feelings into.

  24. #24
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    Welcome, Pandora. Your "Pandora box" is certainly over flowing with all that you and your husband have to deal. It is time for both of you to become out-side-of-the-box activists. You've been given some excellent advice, here. Reread the suggestions given by GretchenM. Then read it again. If you need help finding appropriate therapists, contact the Psychology Department of a university near you. May you have good fortune in your efforts. This forum force is with you, as corny as that may sound. Hugs!

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