Thoughts from the wife of a Cross Dresser

‘You Know What’s Funny, even though I have been married for 40 years, I don’t know. I don’t know my partner, my husband, my man.

I thought I did. I thought that was something done. But no. Even now, I wake up wondering. Not if he is here, but which one is here, which version of him. The one meant to be seen or the private one even I was never meant to be around.

The latter is more present even when not. He is waiting under the exterior of my affable mate who makes me decaf on demand and truly loves to make good food and give me a hug and a smile.

Middle-aged couple talking and holding hands.

But sometimes he is gone and the one that makes decaf is somehow preoccupied with what he wore last night without me, on his own, maybe in the basement. Prettier dresses than mine he has stuffed in drawers or hung at the very way dark dusty back of the closet.

Be yourself fully I say, even through my rejection and internal agony. The funny thing is that my loosening of any expectation regarding him has made me feel our marriage as I knew it is over. Another grief-stricken event, era, nonevent, it just is now part of our construct.

So the new normal is awesome for him but when he asks, “I hope you’re OK?” I don’t lie all the time. I actually finally said, after many years, “I guess I feel it’s all good for you, as it should be. But for me? Jesus, I feel as if I was put out to pasture and it doesn’t matter how or how not my needs are met.”

There, I said it.

On the other side of this stance came many months of imbalance between us. Many stalemates.

At the end of it all, nothing is “solved” and “tidied up.” But I’m more committed now than ever to our relationship. There is a new sovereignty for both of us.

What happened?

One day I finally got it.

It was during another interrogation session about the past, you know, “Tell me what really happened when….”, the endless rehashing of the story of our married life, but now filling in the more private details heretofore kept hidden from me.

Hearing what actually happened during the years my husband hid his dressing from me, I said “Well, the marriage we had before is over. It can never be the same. Especially since what I thought was going on wasn’t even the whole truth.”

The “before” marriage narrative had so many new details with all the revelations it started to feel like a different story altogether. It felt like a whole different situation! When it comes down to it, I didn’t know entirely what my husband was up to when I went to book club.

I now understand the last couple of years have been spent defending my version of our narrative, trying to return to “how it was.” Even though I see myself as a supporter of “free choice,” at some point you cannot argue that I have accepted my partner unconditionally when I am still trying to define what he does or does not do according to how I experience things.

Do I truly show love to my partner? Or the version of him I liked? Do I equate love with some sense of ownership over who I wanted him to be? The conscious decision to return to my original idea of Love as radical acceptance of another has led me to feel newly free.

If you think about it, the whole word “love” in its highest form has to do with agape love, which I was taught to mean a kind of radical acceptance of another. You shine out this kind of love, and a person feels it. It is experienced as profoundly powerful and liberating for both the person who puts out this energy and the person who is the receiver.

So if you act in a truly loving manner, and the receiver of this love accepts that into themself, and recognizes that you truly accept every part of them, they then feel the powerful force of true acceptance and love by another.

This has a kind of grace to it which has given me more courage to do the right thing in my relationship.

My husband is truly one of the best people I know, and me not accepting a part of him I now recognize as me trying to meld another human into their best version, according to me. Kind of a control issue if you think about it!

I recognized that I wanted him to be not who he truly is apart from me, but the one I want to see.

My need to know absolutely everything about my mate now seems like somewhat of an invasion of privacy in a way. If I truly believe we each are indeed “free to be you and me” then I should absolutely respect and honor even the aspects of my partner with which I don’t “jive” completely. The adage “do as you do as long as you do no harm” has been in my mind a lot of late. Are his private behaviors really “harming” me? Or is it just my ego talking, saying “Hey wait, I feel offended and left out!”

I now take it to be my job to adjust myself. I have been on a self campaign to regain my own sovereignty, within the construct of our lifelong partnership.

I have turned inwards. I have learned better coping skills like meditation, writing, and most of all, a real constant reminder to myself that I am who I am.

That is enough and he is who he is. That is pretty fabulous. I intend on being the most open partner I can be. This has cleared so much air between us and I feel this “new normal” that I had so much fear about, may even be more rich and liberating than I could imagine.

A new beginning.

A chance to be truly honest with each other more than ever. The chance to be more myself, not in a retaliatory sense, but having more agency to pursue my own things and not worrry constantly about “figuring” everyone else out.

At this point, I see things so much differently, the other person who was arguing and raging and feeling deserted in their own home by their loving partner for life, well, they seem like in Season one of a series that is now in maybe Season Three. This is when the couple is “working on it” and all the consistent efforts they both have made towards being a better partner are starting to pay off.

The feeling of being effortlessly happy together is coming back. The growth is showing in my body, I may have the same triggers and fears, but I am learning to recognize them and attend to them without causing harm towards myself or others and that grace of love I talk about, well, you can feel it all around and it’s growing’

May 2024.