By Amanda J.
This series was supposed to be a three parter but, in conversation with another girl whose opinion I value greatly, I started to realise that if I’d used the original part 3 here, there would be a significant gap in the story so the original part 3 will now be part 4.
I’ve always felt that the big mistake I made when I confessed to Mrs A was that I failed to look at things from her viewpoint. That’s very true and the magnitude of my failure in that respect was spectacular. I assumed that she’d be fine with the idea of me slipping into a pair of heels from time to time and, apart from failing to consider that she may not be completely ‘fine’ with that idea, I’d completely overlooked the issue of how she’d feel about finding out that her husband had kept a secret from her for 22 years, a secret that if she’d known at the outset would have been a dealbreaker as far as marriage is concerned. I can offer a reasonable defence of that and had I used that defence as the basis of ‘The Talk’ it might have led to a better eventual outcome. But, there again, it probably wouldn’t because the eventual dealbreaker was Mrs A seeing me in all my feminine finery and declaring that she didn’t want to be married to a woman.
The problem is that as soon as the words ‘I’ve been crossdressing’ sunk in, the whole issue was completely out of my hands. I was having to constantly defend my actions whilst trying to hold myself together against a near-constant barrage of disapproval. Basically, I didn’t stand a chance.
But let’s take a step back. Suppose, when Mrs A returned home on that fateful night, I announced ‘I took a Nurofen/Advil today’. Or ‘I put a plaster/Band Aid on my finger today’. Yes, she would have surmised that I had a headache or cut my finger but it would have told her nothing about what caused the headache or how I came to injure my finger.
The point is that the tablet and the plaster are therapeutic treatments for the conditions, they don’t define them. I could just have easily had a lie down in a darkened room until the headache subsided or run my finger under the tap/faucet until it stopped bleeding. Or I could have taken the pill for a debilitating migraine or used the plaster as I’d painfully split my nail. In other words the treatment doesn’t tell anything like the full story.
And this is a key issue. Whether one is an occasional crossdresser or hovering on the cusp of full surgical transition, they are therapeutic strategies for underlying conditions, they do not in themselves define the conditions.
So bringing this back on topic, what on earth is a wife supposed to think when her husband drops the bombshell that he’s a crossdresser? Is her husband a fetishist, deriving pleasure from the whole exercise – pleasure that he seemingly isn’t looking to her for. Or is he the proverbial woman trapped in a man’s body? Or about to burst out as a high camp drag act? Or homosexual and a danger to children. And so on. I don’t think any of us could fail to be appalled by the thought of our wives having those mental images of us but we can’t control what our wives think and, as I found out to my cost, fail to put it in the correct terms and the whole thing is in danger of becoming a firefighting exercise. At one time or another, I was accused of being all of the things I’ve just listed either overtly or by implication but the truth is very different.
I crossdress because I have a nagging discomfort about my gender. It’s not a strong enough discomfort to make me want to transition in any shape or form but, equally, it’s not weak enough to ignore. For most of the time I can live with it but sometimes, like the aforementioned headache, I need to seek relief from the symptoms. There isn’t a pill I can take but there is a very effective therapy that deals with all of the negative aspects of it and, for a few hours, gives me the relief I need to be able to make a positive contribution to life at other times. I don’t know why I should feel the way I do but I suspect that the die was cast during my mother’s pregnancy, possibly as a result of her being prescribed diethylstilbesterol to combat miscarriage (which I believe to be the case as I was the only one of four pregnancies that survived the full term and my mother often talked about being prescribed something during her pregnancy).
How would ‘The Talk’ have gone if I’d set the scene talking in general terms about the struggles that I was facing, my concerns that I was affected by something my mother took during pregnancy and how there were times when things got so bad that I needed to do things that, on the one hand, plague me with guilt but on the other enable me to be the person that other people expect me to be when I interact with them?
I have no way of knowing of course but it would take a very hard-nosed person to either not feel any compassion or not want to be in some way supportive of the fight to live with it. It still wouldn’t be a walk in the path but the question ‘why didn’t you tell me’ may just have a subtext of ‘didn’t you think I’d be here for you’ rather than ‘why the hell have you been deceiving me for so long’.
The bottom line here is that none of us asked to be this way. But if we’re going to ask for understanding from others, we need to give them the opportunity to understand. There is absolutely nothing wrong with crossdressing, whatever our drivers and motives are for doing it. But if we fail to understand that others may have a markedly different view to us and we fail to guide them in their understanding of our viewpoint, we run the risk of rapidly losing control of the situation with potentially catastrophic outcomes for all concerned.
In part 4, I’m going to look at what I’ve learned as a result of my own botched confession and give some thoughts onto how to reduce the risk of doing irreparable damage to relationships by failing to properly plan. As I’ve said before, it won’t be a blueprint for success but it may just give relationships a fighting chance of surviving the matrimonial maelstrom which sadly all too often follows the confession.
Check out the new I’m Published! page!