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Sharing Your Feminine Self with Your Wife with a Happy Ending

This is awesome!

By Crystal Joens

What worked for me may or may not work for you. These are roughly the steps that I took and stages we went through. Not to spoil the ending, but all is well with us. And I feel a certain joyous obligation to share my story here on Kandi’s Land because she and others here helped me so much with this.

First, know yourself. After 50 plus years of dressing I worked with several key people to realize where I am on the gender spectrum. As with most, my dressing was on and off and I was clearly confused about why I did it. There was shame, fear, uncertainty and doubt throughout my years of dressing.

Several things fell into place for me to realize that ultimately, I am a happy man with a strong, balancing feminine side that I embrace, partly through dressing. I am not gay, and I do not want to transition to become a woman. Wherever you are on that spectrum, is where you belong. This is where I am, and I am very clear on that thanks to key recent experiences and Friends.

Second, know your wife. I knew 52 years ago on our first date, that she is a caring, compassionate, loving person. Though I knew telling her would be rough, on both of us, I had a great deal of confidence in her and was right. She told me that my being so vulnerable made a big difference. So, I hope you married well and remember that you are both still the same person as when you got married.

Do your homework. Read other people’s stories. Follow the old rule of not reinventing the wheel. Learn from others’ successes and mistakes. And realize that after all that insight, your story is unique to you. Other people’s experiences are theirs and will inform your own, especially if you can communicate who you are and that you still love her.

Journal. Take a lot of time to write down your feelings and review it to dig deeply into who you really are and want to be. I have learned in my business coaching practice that writing down your thoughts helps greatly in shaping and understanding those thoughts. Then read them. Them edit them. Share anything with her that she wants to know.

Organize your thoughts about what and how to tell your wife. Outline everything you want to be sure to say and explain. It is probably not a script. Just outline all of your important points, so you can keep it genuine while having notes to stay on track. Your nerves and her nervous questions can derail the conversation, and those things are to be expected. The notes outline makes sure nothing is left out. Take your time and give her time to process. She asked me to slow down or pause several times, which I did.

Test it with others. There are no long-term Friends who know or will know. I ran my plan past Kandi and my Friends in Kandi’s land and some Flickr friends. I also talked a great deal with Brittany Muse in Nashville who understood me best of all. I learned who I am, where on the gender spectrum I fit, how others presented and how others’ wives responded, both good and bad. Consider it “dress” rehearsals.

Find a good and qualified gender therapy psychologist. We had a brief consult to make sure we were both comfortable with one another and my goals. And I was very clear on the goals.

1. Help me understand myself based on all the above.

2. Help me frame my revelation to my wife.

Three one-hour sessions got me there. How? I role played in advance, was very careful to desensitize language I used, clarified definitions and descriptions and watched her physical and emotional reactions carefully.

Ask yourself how your wife learns and processes. Is she visual, auditory or tactile. Look it up. Mine is visual first then auditory. So, I created a folder with the appropriate journaling, articles and photos. She didn’t look at the book for several days, but when she did, it helped greatly. Edit the writing carefully as she is likely to focus in on a single thought you wrote, when maybe it was fleeting at the time because you were still wondering, exploring and discovering who you really are.

Look for a relatively safe time and space. I picked a Sunday afternoon, without a busy Monday to follow, I picked our family room on the L-shaped couch. I allowed some distance to create mutual safety and faced her directly, yet close enough to reach out and hold one another. She began to tremble, and I slowed down and paused.

Get permission. First, ask if it is a good time to talk about something important. If not, reschedule. If so, ask permission to tell your entire story before she starts to ask questions. This is another reason to have an outline because if and when she interrupts with questions, and she will and should, you know where you were in the process.

Start with a sincere apology for the deception and lies she will justifiably feel. Then promise to tell all if you are truly willing to do this. She will likely ask many times if there is more you are hiding. And she is right to be unsure and ask. Be honest. After a long time lie, now is not the time to hold anything back or reframe blame.

Be ready for whatever reaction you may receive. Consider a full range of reactions and how you will respond to each one. Even a violent reaction is possible, though not in our case. Defensiveness will not help. In my case it was a roller coaster that ran from shock to fear of being feeling alone to relief that the news was not terminal cancer to anger at the deception to the great fear that I would want to transition fully and will leave her.

We went to bed very late, with me feeling it had been a good conversation. Unaware to me, she got up and went into the other room for four hours of fear laden agony and came back in torment. If she reacts strongly and negatively, like mine did there in the middle of the night, crying, even wailing in fear, resist the desire to flee and just hug and hold her. Let it play out fully! Give her time and space and grace. And give yourself the same, if she will let you.

Be very patient, open and honest through the very long conversations that seem both inevitable and endless over the weeks and months to follow. These have been some of the richest times together and beyond bonding us helped me to think more deeply as well. Be slow to answer to be thoughtful and honest. And sometimes open the conversation yourself. And listen, listen, listen!

My wife has become very accepting, though remains worried and curious. Together we have agreed I will dress around the house a few times a week. And we have become more intimate than any time in our lives. For the first month or so, she still saw me as two people, one male and one female. She now sees me as one person: masculine with strong characteristics that are feminine but not effeminate! She sees that because of my femininity, inside my masculinity, I am a better person for her and others. At the outset I was not anticipating the good that would come from my honesty and vulnerability.

We are great together. We have agreed that this is the happiest we have ever been! She even helped me write this and is considering writing it from her point of view, as so little is available from the wife’s perspective. It took me five months of deep exploration, after 60 years of doubt, so we both needed to explore and discover this to work towards our future.

-Crystal Joens

Editorial comment: Whether she knows it or not, Crystal just wrote a master class on dealing with all of this and revealing ourselves to our spouse. This should be required reading for all of us born male, becoming or presenting female.


12 Responses

  1. I’ll break the habit of a lifetime and not do a long rambling comment about this – I’ll just say that it has my complete and wholehearted endorsement.

    Ignore this advice at your peril!

    1. Crystal, in my quest to be brief, I fear I was a bit too brief!! For avoidance of doubt, my point about ‘ignoring this advice’ was aimed at your readers, not you!! This was a truly amazing post.

      1. I took it the way you intended, Amanda! Thank you for the clarification and “car-ifacation”!

  2. Crystal – You’ve written a wonderful and important article, a veritable “how to” guide! This coming from someone who just blurted the whole thing out one evening, unable to take the stress any longer. We’re OK, but if I had it to do over again this is the guide I would have followed. Should be required reading for all married CDs.

    1. Well, Kris, sounds like it did work out for you, which proves there is no single best way to explain it.

      So happy to hear that this may help others, because of those who helped me. If it relieves even a bit of stress and keeps a loving couple together – even one couple – it is worth telling the story, as well as living it.


  3. Crystal,
    There is never a right time to come , I wonder is it harder for those with a wife and possibly children ?

    Writing your thoughts down is so important , I found it helped me in understanding myself but just as important when the time came to try and find the right time to sit and talk it through with a wife aor partner . I also found when trying to tell the whole truth to my gender counsellor . That raises an important point , in the past I’ve read stories on an online forum , one comment I was surprsied to was witholding some information from a counsellor . It places them in a difficult situation because they are partly working in the dark , they are professionals , the information is confidential besides they charge too much to only do part of the job .

    We must accept that no matter how loving your relationship is once the words have been spoken there is no going back , you have permanently changed the relationship . To me the golden rule is never make promises you can’t keep , this is the time to be totally honest . I also discovered the fine dividing line between trying to remain the loving , caring husband and finding you have to make all the compromise leading to being totally manipulated . Sometimes you have to accept your partner has changed , she sees you in a different light , she may never forgive you for apparently lying and cheating to her , in her eyes you have possibly become a total embarressment . Some are lucky when they consider joint counselling , it’s isn’t an easy subject to understand and doing it together can help so much . My wife refused point blank , I was the broken one that needed fixing , also to her it meant a cure . That is one misconcetion many have , it’s a mental illness , while we all know that isn’t true if we don’t deal with it in the right way it can lead to severe mental illnes as I discovered .
    The sad fact is we may have to come to a decision , would it hurt all parties more to remain in a relationship or is it time all the cards should be laid on the table , in my case we were both relieved when we agreed to go our separate ways . For the first time we were happier because we could be totally honest with each other , we even started chosing new homes for each other . Looking back I question how much my transgender issues affected that decision or was a one we were frightened to make irrespective of it .

    We only have one life , are we making the most of it , I believe we both are now .

    1. How insightful, Teresa!

      Great point: a great therapist will be sure to dig deeply and work to understand. And they can only work with as much as we are willing to give them. Leaving anything out can derail the whole thing.

      When we did an online session with the therapist, together, my wife was literally trembling! She could barely speak. It helped that counselor knew my situation fully. I also was a bit of a hindrance because her confidence in knowing me so well, at least on this matter, almost seem to challenge my wife’s 50+ year knowledge of me. At one point, when my wife wondered why she was so supportive of LGTBQ people and yet frightened by me. The therapist said that most people react to such things when it is “in the family”. My wife took umbrage, rightly, feeling like the therapist was suggesting she was intolerant. The therapist worked hard to work that back and make my wife feel safe.

      You are also on target about once it is out, there is no “un saying it”. And, yes, despite her love and support and care, she does clearly see me differently. Mostly in a good way, but there is still uncertainty and threat in her feelings, which I respect and am happy to give her the grace to feel.

      One life! Together!

      Thanks Teresa, with affection,

  4. Hi Crystal,
    You post is an amazing piece of work and I send my heartfelt thanks for sharing it with all your sisters. Only one question though…..where were you and the internet 47 years ago?
    Thanks to Kandi’s land and numerous sisters help and advice in the past 2 years Trish’s life has taken 180 degree turn for the better and my wife has become very accepting although not supportive but this alone has become a blessing. I’m hopeful one day she will want to meet Trish and if not I will still feel blessed for what she has given me.
    The biggest hurdle my wife and I had to overcome was communication. Most of ours issues for many years was our personalities. I have a difficult time expressing my self verbally and my wife is a very black and white person. There are no gray areas. So a long came Kandi’s Land and “a Letter to the wives of Crossdressers”.
    Had the internet been around 47 years ago as well as your post Crystal our lengthy journey to where we are now would have, I’m sure, reduced our journey substantially. Your post is a road map to success as it can be put in writing for us verbally impaired individuals. It is going to help so many of our sisters who desperately need it.

    Trish ❤️

  5. Great question, Trish! I think I was about 27 years old and the internet was still a secret government project.

    On top of that, while there is still plenty of prejudice and bias and downright fearful hatred out there towards anything different, I do think society has moved, although glacially, toward acceptance by some, mostly younger people.

    That “black and white” is a great insight. That seems to still be one of my wife’s areas of fear. How can I be both feminine and masculine? Why won’t I want to transition? Do I do it to be attractive to men? All things I will have to prove out over time, which gladly, even in our early-to-mid 70’s we seem to have much ahead of us.

    Bless and thank you, Trish!

  6. Crystal, thank you for sharing this. I wish I could of had read something like this nearly 30 years ago when first came out to my wife. It’s perfectly said and it will definitely be helpful for those yet to go down that path. I’m lucky to have an amazing accepting wife and although she still has her doubts and fears we also have had some of our closest times more recently as she has become more accepting. Just loving Kandis land and the amazing people here. Much love to you all 🥰

    1. You are very welcome, Chris!

      Indeed, being 74, I wish many things had been different back in “the day”.

      On the sunny side, it heartens me to know that others who share our feelings will likely have an even easier path,


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