By Amanda J.
In early 2022, I wrote a five part series of posts here under the collective title of ‘Matrimonial Challenges’. In it, I covered what I’d learned from my own confession in 2013, how I’d been unable to keep a promise I made to stop & was carrying on under the marital radar and suggesting what MAY be a workable strategy for structuring the confession. What I intended to be the final part had the title – ‘Uh-Oh, The Game’s Up’ when I declared that it was almost certain that our secret would be discovered, on our death, if not before. As I was writing that, I knew that there was every chance there would be a part 6. I didn’t know when or what would prompt it but given what I’d written in part 5, it would have been foolish for me to ignore the possibility.
I’m writing this on 23 January and looking back over what has been a memorable week, not always for the right reasons.
Five days ago on 18 January, Trish’s first post here was published in which she talked about how Kandi’s ‘Open Letter’ had helped her wife understand and accept her feminine side. I left a comment and, as a result, Trish opened up far more on how her wife’s acceptance had evolved.
The following day, Kandi’s post centred on a quote from Glawdys de Villandry, a CDer active on Flickr which beautifully summed up who we are and what we stand for. I logged onto Flickr to see the original post and wanted to comment but found that she’d blocked me at some point in the past. Her Flickr bio made the reason why obvious as it contained the following: ‘IF YOU HAVE NOTHING TO SHARE, I’LL BLOCK YOU’. The block had obviously come at a time when I had no photos of my own to share for the sole reason that I did not yet have the confidence or opportunity to do so. I left a comment about being blocked, Glawdys saw it and unblocked me. All sorted out but the whole thing inspired me to write a post about the challenges we face when starting out.
On 20 January, in her post Lisa mentioned how I was 100% in the closet to protect my marriage and what I didn’t realise as I read that and then started to write my post was how it, Gladwys, Trish’s post and Kandi’s open letter were all about to come crashing down around me.
I started writing the post on Saturday 21st. Mid-morning, my wife called me from work to say that our work computers had been ‘compromised’. She said that she was trying to copy and paste something but, instead of what she’d copied, ‘IF YOU HAVE NOTHING TO SHARE, I’LL BLOCK YOU’ appeared. I obviously realised the significance of this but said I would take a look and run a virus check. But worse was to come. She went on to say that she’d tried to copy and paste again but this time the name ‘Glawdys de Villandry’ had appeared and that she’d googled it and arrived at a website with lots of photos of crossdressers.
That was the point I realised that the game was up. But how had things I’d been copying and pasting at home come to be transferred onto a PC several miles away that, for obvious reasons, I would never use to access anything associated with this side of me? The answer, unfortunately, lay in software I use to remotely access our work PCs from home – Anydesk – and I was connected to the PC my wife was working on at the time I was working on the post for KL. Quite why it suddenly decided to malfunction in this way is a mystery but, whatever the explanation, it had happened.
If you’ve read my matrimonial challenges series, you’ll know that I confessed in 2013 but promised to stop under an ultimatum. Of course, I couldn’t stop and eventually returned to my old ways realising that there was far more to this than just CDing but hating myself for the deception that was involved. And now, as I sat with my head in my hands in utter despair, I was trying to figure out what on earth I could do to redeem the situation.
I clearly couldn’t confess to Mrs A while she was working and it would be another six or seven hours before she finished. I knew I had to talk to her at that time but what to say? I decided that I needed to prepare a script as I couldn’t take the risk of screwing up for a second time and let’s face it, there’s only one place to go if you need to write down a script for this sort of thing – Kandi’s Open Letter. I didn’t copy it verbatim as there were things I needed to add and there were some things that weren’t relevant (I’ve never had a ‘cheesy mustache’ for example!) but here’s what I ended up with:
When you phoned me about the computer this morning I felt everything collapse around me. Because the computer had not been compromised, as you thought, it was a malfunction that caused whatever I had copied and pasted here to be replicated on the work PC which I was connected to at the time. You are obviously aware of the implications of the name that appeared when you tried to paste and I need to offer you an explanation.
You are obviously aware of what I confessed to in 2013 and in May 2014, I made a promise to stop under threat of the marriage being over if not. I managed to keep that promise for a long time.
However, the lockdown of 2020 hit me hard. As you know, I became isolated to the point of being fearful about meeting friends. The old urges resurfaced and I sought solace in responding to those urges with a small supply of items that I put together when I was able to. Every day of my life has been a battle and the best I could ever hope for in that battle was a ceasefire. It was a battle I could never win and sometimes I well and truly lost it.
I hated myself every time I deceived you and would have done anything for it to go away. But the reality is that it never goes away and whilst I was able to bring it under control to the point where I only succumb to it every 3-4 months, it is something that I am trying to cope with on a daily basis.
I have looked for answers to try to understand why I am like this and reached out to a number of people online in that pursuit. That explains why the name you saw cropped up today. A few have given me unconditional support and, in the process, I discovered something that may explain why I am the way I am.
(I then included an explanation of how I suspected that my mother had taken DES during her pregnancy and, being a synthetic oestrogen, it was rumoured to be behind gender issues in the resultant sons.)
As I have battled with this, I have wanted more than anything to be honest with you. I made a promise I was ultimately unable to keep and the right thing to do was to tell you. However, I know that you have tried to completely blot this out of your mind and I felt that it was immoral to dump everything onto you just to ease my own conscience. If I have made a bad call here, I am very sorry but it was done with the best intentions, not to deliberately deceive you.
So why tell you now? Because quite simply, I cannot lie to you and doing anything other than explaining the truth about what happened with the computers today would require that if you raised the subject.
I want to make it clear that whilst I have looked to others online for support, I am not succumbing to the urges on a daily basis. For the past year, it has only been once every three to four months when everything got too much to cope with.
I want to be the best husband I can be to you and the best father I can be to our children. I’m not about to declare that I want to make permanent changes to my body or identity and am happy being me. I can’t commit to ridding myself of this because I know that it’s not going to go away but I can commit to giving you my unconditional love for the rest of my life and will make sure that this is kept well away from our relationship if you are prepared to accept me on that basis. I know that this has not been what you ever wanted to hear but I hope that now I have finally been able to share it with you, the barriers I have placed around myself will start to fall.
I love you.
At around 5:30pm, I delivered that emotionally to my wife, breaking down into floods of tears at the end. What happened next was totally unexpected. She stood up, walked over to me and hugged me. She told me that she’d realised it would never go away and that I would be continuing to dress in private. She told me that I could continue with what I’m doing as long as she never got to see or know about it and that our children were not told (although she acknowledged that they may be fine with it).
She did, however, express a lot of concern about being me online and, as a result, I have deleted my Flickr & Reddit accounts and I no longer appear on the list of Kandi’s Land contributors. That side of things is obviously a great shame but what I have gained is many times better so I’m definitely not complaining. Because as I write this now, two days later and dressed exactly as you’d expect someone called Amanda to be dressed and without the debilitating feelings of guilt which had previously accompanied these activities, I know how important this side of me is and to have had to choose between this and my marriage could not have ended well, whichever option I’d chosen.
As I bring this to a close and start a new chapter in my life, I’d like to leave a few final thoughts to anyone reading this who is either carrying on under the marital radar or who is faced with the need to discuss this side of themself with their wife:
1. It’s regrettable that I lacked the courage to confront my wife about this until I had no choice. But it’s also regrettable that she never once said to me ‘I know what you’re doing, it’s OK but don’t involve me or the kids’. Nearly nine years has passed since the ultimatum and that’s nine years that this was a needless barrier in our marriage. More than anything, this underlines the need to keep the dialogue going once the door has been opened.
2. If you haven’t already done so, I would urge you to read Kandi’s Open Letter. It doesn’t guarantee success but it’s a near perfect example of how to state our case with an absolute focus on how it will affect our wives. Whether my 2013 confession would have had a better outcome if I’d had it to refer to at the time, I don’t know but it certainly wouldn’t have made things any worse.
3. No matter how careful you think you are, you can only ever take precautions against things you realise could happen. On more than one occasion, I’ve seen words on forums to the effect of ‘it won’t happen to me, I’m meticulous in how I manage it’ but obviously my downfall came from something I could never have imagined in a million years. I console myself firstly that it wasn’t a lot worse in terms of what appeared on my wife’s PC and secondly, it’s ultimately had a good ending. It’s not a perfect scenario but it’s light years better than I could ever have hoped for and what I’ve lost in the process is nothing compared to what I’ve gained.
4. In the end, whether you succeed or fail in your confession, it’s beyond your control as it depends solely on your wife’s attitude to crossdressing in general and her husband’s participation in it in particular. However, if you are going to have any chance of success, you need to step into your wife’s shoes and look at everything from her perspective. Fail to do that, as I did in 2013, and you only have yourself to blame.
I’m going to be taking a back seat as far as posting here is concerned for now. I don’t see any risk as such (if I did, I wouldn’t have posted this) but my wife has given this side of me the greatest gift I could ever wish for and I want to respect her wishes regarding online visibility from now on. But I’m going to leave this particular door open and keep commenting on posts because I owe Kandi’s Land and its amazing leader far too much to ‘do a runner’ as we say in these parts.
Thank you for everything, Kandi, you’re the greatest!
7 thoughts on “Matrimonial Challenges – Part 6 – When The Game Is Finally Up”
As it’s now over one week since I wrote this post, and what has happened has had time to sink in, I’d like to add a postscript, particularly for those who are in a similar position and faced with the prospect of a difficult conversation with their wives.
On the face of it, a DADT (don’t ask, don’t tell) arrangement seems like a dream come true. Free reign to get up to whatever we want with no obligation to disclose it and no questions asked . In fact, it’s anything but that.
First of all, it does not signify that a wife approves of her husband crossdressing. Quite the opposite in fact; it’s a clear indication of disapproval – a polite way of describing something along the lines of ‘do what you have to do but I don’t want to hear about it or be involved in any shape or form’. It’s also potentially restrictive because there’s a huge element of trust implicit in the arrangement and that’s trust that never featured previously. Before last weekend, I saw nothing incrementally wrong in leaving the house en femme; I felt guilty about deceiving my wife but that was the same level of guilt whether I was inside or outside at the time. Now, there’s a difference because she has voiced her fears about me being seen by others; in the case of the arrangement, she was talking about the online world but that’s because she could never envisage me being in the real world en femme. It would be foolish of me in the extreme to try to justify going out and about in the real world because she only talked about the online world as it would undoubtedly jeopardise the concessions that I do have.
The second thing to stress is that, wonderful though it is, the ‘Open Letter’ does not guarantee success. Success or failure hinges only on one thing – the wife’s willingness to put her marriage and husband before any prejudices she may have. But the open letter does exactly that from our perspective – it puts the wife & the marriage centre stage and the actual topic of the letter – the husband’s need to crossdress – very much takes a back seat. And that’s exactly how it should be. But where the letter was particularly valuable for me was in giving me direction when I was in a state of blind panic and in helping me turn what happened from a potential confrontation into a discussion about how it could be accommodated into our marriage in a way that was acceptable to both of us.
Thirdly, it’s a two-way agreement not a ‘get out of jail free’ card. It’s an agreement by a wife to turn a blind eye and not discuss it. But that demands discretion on the part of the husband too. We have to take care to ensure that we are not careless and leave things lying around or do anything else that would bring it to her attention – that hit home late last week when my wife mistakenly thought I’d been ordering things online. The situation was luckily quickly diffused but it was apparent that she was displeased with the prospect that I was starting to run wild.
Fourth, there is inevitably a difference between what a wife imagines and reality. In their eyes, it’s all about the clothes and an inexplicable need to dress in them from time to time. They almost certainly don’t imagine a full feminine persona with a female name and, in my case, I can’t see that ever being resolved. Whether there will ever be incremental steps, I can’t say but I can say with 99.9% certainty that there’ll never be a day when ‘Amanda’ and my wife do girly things together – that’s not what she signed up for when she married me.
And finally, up until last weekend I had the guilt of deceiving my wife to keep things in check. I would think twice before transforming myself and sometimes it just wouldn’t feel right so I wouldn’t go ahead. Now that I no longer have that guilt, the drive to spread my wings is stronger than ever and yet, for the reasons I gave above, I’m placing far more restrictions on myself than I did previously.
So am I saying that what I have is a bad thing? Absolutely not, it feels like the most amazing gift and far more than I could ever have imagined. Of course, I’ve lost several things as a result – most of my online presence, the ability to easily reach out to others either to seek or to give advice and some of the freedoms I’d ‘awarded’ to myself (based on the premise that I wouldn’t get found out) but what I have gained is many times better. I no longer have to spend each day living with the guilt of breaking the promise I made, I’m living honestly once more and, if I feel the need to express this side of myself, I no longer need to battle the thoughts that I really shouldn’t be doing it.
None of this would have been possible without my wife of course. She put her own prejudices and, dare I say, disgust to one side for the sake of my emotional wellbeing and our marriage. And whilst it’s still very early days, the benefits to our relationship as a result are already starting to surface.
I would also like to pay tribute to Kandi’s Land. I could write a whole post on what I have gained since discovering the site, let alone being a contributor. Just because I don’t get out and about like the other contributors do doesn’t mean that I haven’t drawn inspiration from them. I’ve made several online friendships as a result of being here and, of course, it helped me in my hour of need. Nobody reading this needs me to tell them what an amazing person Kandi is, both as a force of nature in her own right and in the unselfish and unconditional way that she keeps on giving to our community in general and each of us in particular. What she gives to us is priceless and she has my undying gratitude for that.
But best of all, I can now wholeheartedly embrace and enjoy this side of myself as being a wonderful part of who I am and that is something that, just over a week ago, I thought was an impossibility.
Thank you for posting the details of your emotional roller coaster ride over the last few weeks. I hope it provides serious food for thought for other CD’s in similar situations. Try not to be too hard on yourself because of what went on in the past because as you stated you “did it with the best of intentions”, a difficult choice but your heart was in the right place. You are to be commended for thinking about your wife’s well being and doing what you thought was best for your marriage as well as your strong desire to be a good husband and father. Now that the burden of extreme guilt has eased, I hope you enjoy this new phase of your dressing journey.
All the best,
Fiona, thanks for taking the time to comment and share your thoughts and reassurance.
I’ll freely admit that a lot of my secrecy was driven by a desire for self-preservation. I knew that disclosure ran the risk of ending the marriage and the loss of everything I’ve worked for over a 40 year career. But as ‘Amanda’ evolved from a bag of clothes hidden in the roof space to a fully formed online persona, I faced a mounting feeling that I was stepping well outside the bounds of acceptability in the marriage, particularly as I had previously promised to stop. My concerns about my wife’s emotional wellbeing were real and I would spend time every day trying to figure out how to resolve this but I always came to the same conclusion – that it was unfair to dump everything onto her just to appease my own conscience.
But looking back now, I think that I could have delivered a version of what I reproduced in the post at any time and I’m not just saying that because it had a good outcome. Kandi’s Monday post – ‘Reasons vs Excuses’ – gives particular insight here because whilst I can say that consideration of my wife’s emotional state was the reason for non-disclosure, in many respects it was an excuse to cover the real reason that I was just terrified of the potential outcome. And in doing so, I put protective barriers around myself which inevitably affected our relationship.
As I said above, both myself and my wife could have handled this very differently and I now realise that the DADT arrangement didn’t take effect on 21 January 2023 but several years earlier! We’re both guilty of failing to confront something that could have ultimately destroyed our relationship – not because I was a CDer but because the way we acted as a result gradually hammered a wedge between us.
But that’s all water under the bridge and, as you rightly observe, I’ve reported the whole thing in a lot of detail to provide food for thought for others in this position. I have the happy ending I never dared hope for and, really, the only residual issue is that my wife will probably never understand, or even realise, what looking in the mirror and absolutely love the person smiling back means to me. But I know and that’s the main thing!
You are a heroine in my book. We all compromise to be ourselves, but knowing what you are all about is the key to making the “right” compromises. A good rule of thumb is to be as unselfish as possible whilst maintaining your own sanity.
My dear you exemplify that rule. So calling you a heroine is not a false compliment.
Lisa, thank you and I am humbled by your comment. From my earliest days here, you have always been a guiding light to me, in particular in how you manage this within your marriage combining your own need for honesty with your wife’s need for it to be kept away from her.
As you say, it’s all about compromises and what I have now – a restriction of scope in return for removal of guilt – is far better than any compromise I manufactured for myself when all of this was conducted in total secrecy (or at least I thought it was!).
Thank you for your friendship and support.
Thanks for sharing your experience. Although its has been a struggle for both you and your wife, it seems you are in a better place and can hope to preserve a satisfying marriage and enjoy some freedom of self expression.
I am sorry to say that my experience with coming out to my wife was not anywhere near as successful and ended in divorce. Looking back, I can see many mistakes on my part, in particular the level of concealment and dishonesty that I suppose is a learned behavior. To me, it was rationalized as self preservation, but from her perspective it was a betrayal of trust on an ongoing basis.
Athat time, I failed to understand that she came to view my cross dressing as a reflection on her as a woman. That wasn’t my intent, but I failed to comprehend that part of her attraction to me, healthy or not, was based in a validation of her sense of self worth. My behavior robbed her of that sense of self worth. She would regain it by replacing me with a male that allowed her to recapture that personal validation.
Kim, thank you for sharing your experience and I’m so sorry that things didn’t work out for you.
For me, the comments are far more valuable than the posts because it’s through the former that we get diversity of experience. There are some CDers who are lucky enough to have supportive wives who participate fully but, for most of us, an uneasy truce is the best we can hope for and often that’s a forlorn hope. A relationship is multi-faceted and as I found out on both occasions that I confessed, it’s impossible to second guess the outcome. Your point about your ex-wife’s self worth should reverberate around the mind of anyone faced with having or wanting to confess. The big issue I failed to consider prior to my first confession was how my wife would actually feel when confronted with the revelation. Perhaps if I’d asked myself the simple question – how would I feel if the tables were turned and it was her confessing to wanting to transform herself into a guy on occasion – I would have made a much more considered and better job than I actually did.
Once again, I’m so sorry to hear how things turned out for you but hope that you have found solice in the time since.