By Amanda J.
After Mrs A had recovered from the initial shock of my 2013 confession, this was probably the first question that she asked me, along with enquiries as to whether I did it to attract men and whether I was a danger to our children. Of course, I answered all three with an emphatic no and whilst my answers to the latter two were immediately accepted and the issues were never raised again, she was unconvinced by my answer to the first and, indeed, asked it on several subsequent occasions. Each time, my answer was unchanged but, ironically, it was the consequence of that question that led to my downfall.
What did Mrs A really mean when she asked that question? Well, I can’t be sure but what I think she meant at the time was whether I wanted to undergo GRS and permanently transition. It’s a perfectly reasonable question to ask because, as a heterosexual male, I would no more want to be married to a post-operative FTM transman as I would expect Mrs A to want to be married to a post-operative transwoman, particularly one who used to be her male husband.
But there’s inevitably going to be a nagging doubt. After all, why would a seemingly normal, fifty something (at the time) husband & father of two recreationally dress in women’s clothing from time to time? Well, if it’s not a precursor to transition, the obvious answer then becomes for sexual kicks. I may have successfully convinced her that I was not out to attract other men but in her eyes that wouldn’t stop me from wanting to attract myself. And let’s be brutally honest here, many of us are ‘blossoming’ at a time when our wives are trading skirts, heels and makeup for less alluring but more comfortable & practical alternatives and it’s quite possible that this particular issue is not lost on them.
In fact, as I pondered the mess I’d got myself into in the months & years after being on the receiving end of a ‘cease & desist’ ultimatum and doing what was supposed to be a full and final purge, I often thought that it would have been far easier if it was just a sexual kink. Mrs A was well aware of the styles that I found attractive on women, styles that also featured in my stash of clothing, and an admission that that was the start & end of it would have added some weight to my emphatic no answers to the ‘woman’ questions and could also have enhanced our relationship in ways that are well outside the scope of discussion on this forum.
I could have lied of course and let’s face it, the life of a closeted CDer operating under the marital radar involves lots of evasion and half truths so I could probably have done it without too much pricking of my conscience. But I would have quickly been ‘rumbled’ because, again without diving too deeply into the murky waters, it’s a lot harder for a guy to fake that sort of thing that it is for a woman to. And having conceded that, we’re back to square one again.
So that then begs the question as to whether the ‘no’ answers I gave were truthful. Superficially, they were – nearly 10 years on from the first time that question was answered, I still have all the body parts I was born with intact, I still live a male life and I still have no plans or desires to make any changes in that respect. I also think I did answer the question that Mrs A actually asked and not a twisted version of it, the meaning distorted to fit my needs at the time.
The truth, of course, is that the question ‘do you want to be a woman?’ is multi layered, a bit like an onion. And the reality is that Mrs A and I only really looked at the outer layer. But when we peeled back the outer layer, the next layer down told a very different story.
Let’s look at the question first of all. As I said above, I absolutely believe that what Mrs A meant by that question is did I want to irrevocably surgically & socially transition to female. And I can assert that with near-100% because it would never have entered her head that there were any other ways of wanting to be a woman so she has no case to answer.
That then puts the spotlight back onto me. Whilst I may not have wanted to go under the knife, I can remember telling Mrs A that I did want to go out while dressed. Even then, I was starting to find ‘the closet’ restrictive and had a yearning to experience at least some facets of life from a feminine standpoint but did I link that desire to wanting to be a woman?
The answer is obviously no but is it a valid link to make? Can we really assert that just because a CDer has a yearning to break free from the confines of the closet, they must answer the ‘woman’ question affirmatively? In those days, whilst I had that yearning, it seemed like an impossible dream and the thought that I’d ever feel completely comfortable doing it was inconceivable.
But whilst I may have been naïve then, I now have an extensive ‘rap’ sheet which blows the premise of innocent until proven guilty out of the water. I’ve posted photos online. I’ve written over 30 CD/TG themed posts here. I have a fully formed feminine persona recognised within the online community. I’ve corresponded and compared notes with other like-minded CDers. I’ve been out and about six times. And so on. That’s compelling evidence that the original no answer I gave may not, with the benefit of hindsight, have been entirely accurate particularly when it’s extrapolated forward to what I may want to do in the future as I continue to push the envelope.
And whilst I can truthfully declare that being a husband and father is far more important to me than any feminine desires that I may have, I inevitably allow myself to wonder how I’d live my life if things were different and I did not have those roles. Would I want my feminine persona to play a bigger part in my life? Yes with 100% certainty. How far would that go? Who knows? Perhaps I allow myself to be open minded on that point because I know that it’s hypothetical but the mere fact that I have those thoughts points to a lot more going on here than I’ve been prepared to admit.
So how should I have answered that question?
As with most of my posts here, I had no idea how this one would pan out when I started writing it. With just the title and memories from situations nearly a decade ago that didn’t end well, it was going to be anyone’s guess. And it was made all the harder with the realisation that practically all answers to the question can be construed as correct – no, I don’t want surgery; yes, I would like to experience more life through a feminine lens; maybe, if things were different; probably not, but who knows how I’ll feel in a decade’s time? And so on.
And with that in mind, it’s obvious that there’s no easy answer. No right or wrong response. The reality is that, at the time she asked that question, Mrs A wasn’t prepared to hear anything other than the answer I gave – an emphatic no. Her relief every time I gave that answer was visible and if there was still any doubt, her assertion that she ‘didn’t want to be married to a woman’ after she encouraged me to dress in front of her (but quickly realised it was a bad idea as things obviously went far deeper then ‘just clothes’) and shortly before she gave me the cease and desist ultimatum was conclusive proof. And that’s an important consideration; whilst it’s true for example that I’d like to experience more life en femme, I don’t want that nearly as much as my wife’s happiness and the preservation of our marriage.
As regular readers here will know, I was faced with having to confess for a second time in January and, in some respects, I was far more honest second time around. I made no secret of the fact that this is something I’ve been battling with on a daily basis, the impact it’s had on me emotionally and, critically, I offered an explanation to support my declaration that it was obvious that it was not something I was able to conquer. But that honesty didn’t stretch as far as confessing to the aforementioned ‘rap’ sheet and admitting that I have a far deeper emotional connection with the smiling woman in the yellow dress halfway down the contributors page here than meets the eye.
It would be easy to say that the only right answer is the honest one. But, again, things are not that simple. The no answer was what Mrs A not only wanted, but needed to hear. The ‘no, yes, maybe, probably not’ monologue would have given her a far better insight but would that have been an insight she particularly wanted to hear and would the ‘no’ have been sufficient to reassure her given the remainder of the answer? Of course, I want to tell the truth but, equally, I have to consider the consequences of that truth. If Mrs A’s happiness and preservation of our marriage are top of my list of priorities and way above everything else, do I really want to give a hypothetical answer that would upset that particular applecart? I don’t want to consign Mrs A to a life of waking up each morning and wondering whether today’s the day that I announce that I’m going to leave my male life behind. I may be able to assert that that is not going to happen because I don’t want it to happen but would she believe it? And the answer to that is almost certainly not given that it’s in reality just a rewording of the original question she asked.
Some may read this piece and declare that I’m not being true to myself or that I’m only denying the inevitable. It wouldn’t be the first time! But I would answer that I am absolutely being true to myself. I’m the same person that I was when I was first answered the question a decade ago and because of the answer that I gave and thanks to Mrs A’s realisation that whilst she hated this side of me, it wasn’t going to go away and I could keep it well away from our marriage, I now have concessions that I could only dream about at that time.
And that brings us all the way back to where we started. Perhaps one day in the future, circumstances will change and I’ll have a different view. That’s all conjecture of course and, even at a conservative estimate, highly unlikely but if it was to happen and I was to push the envelope beyond what I currently view as a hard boundary, I would look back without a shred of regret. Because like everything else in life, the answer I gave to that question – an emphatic ‘no’ – was the best compromise I could come up with at the time and everything that has happened since only serves to prove that I almost certainly made the right call.
Thank you all for your feedback yesterday. I am currently out on the road for forty days, last night in Little Rock put me in a haze…..oops, I am not an American Band. I am only out for two, will compile all of your wonderful feedback and begin round two of my questions with Maeve upon my return home.