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Sharing Your Femme Side with Your Wife – Chapter Two and Beyond

A master class in the ups and downs of who we are.

By Crystal Joens

My original post on this subject concluded, “with a Happy Ending”. Turns out that was premature. Now would be a good time to read our earlier post – I said our, because my wife helped write and edit it. So, pick up at the end of that piece of writing and I assumed all was good. Remember the ass-u-me warning. In general, and in truth it was good. In fact, amazingly good considering the long-term deception. She made me feel comfortable in my dressing. Then I learned I got a bit too comfortable. So, this is for those of you who so glowing encouraged me after that original article. I hadn’t turned the pages far enough at that time.

It started when I dressed a couple of times during the week, and she came in and sat to talk with me. She said she was okay, I believed her, and she was – at the surface level. I could see her eyes widen and lower lip quiver as she asked me about it. Later I learned why – she felt I was escalating my dressing, when I was merely doing what I had done without her, before I told her. She had no reference point, so it seems like escalation. Her understandable fear and anxiety began to emerge as much as my dressing in front of her had emerged.

Next, I made two errors in judgement. When I had told the lady who does my pedicures (been going since I had a hip) about how my fingernails were splitting and cracked, she offered a solution. She said she could put a gel on. In fact, she suggested a very subtle pink and maybe a little, faint white line. They looked and felt wonderful. But to my wife, they became new evidence that I wanted to either come out more in public and maybe even fully transition. I tried to reassure her. She remained concerned. She thought people would notice and ask or make the assumptive conclusion about my inner femininity “coming out”. In fact, a few people did notice and ask. When I explained the splitting nails situation, they accepted it, even mentioning that other men they knew did that.

At one point I had a pair of skinny jeans on around the house and my wife complimented me on how they looked. Then she asked why I had to wear women’s skinny jeans when there were men’s skinny jeans available. My reply was because they were women’s and helped with my femme feelings. We looked and skinny men’s jeans online were about $50-75. So that afternoon, while at Walmart, I found a darker blue pair of women’s skinny jeans for $19, thinking that my thrifty wife would be impressed. She was not, taking it as another sign of me escalating my dressing and transitioning.

My wife is the most loving, caring, giving person I have ever known in my 74 years on this big blue marble. And she is also prone to anxiety and fear. We mentioned in our earlier article that there is not much good research on gender spectrum. Much of it is about those who want to transition fully to become a woman. There is almost nothing we could find to help the wife of a crossdresser understand. Yes, there are wonderful articles, like Kandi’s, but no actual accredited research. And the research she found included laying out that “most” or “many” of us who cross-dress go through five stages.

From her reading of this material, she assessed me to be in the fourth stage and that the fifth stage, which they either insinuated or claimed, and which she focused in on, was full transition to woman. Despite my assurances, she was not reassured, and I understand why. She was assuming that by coming out to her, I had transitioned through the three early stages, and this was stage four, with stage five behind the curtain. In fact, I don’t ascribe to the 5 stages theory. In my secret 62 years I believe I went right to stage 4, if such a thing exists, although getting makeovers and going out a few times in the last 15 years, may have been an increased staging. Again, I do not want to come out to anyone I know, except her. And I have no desire to become a full-time woman. We had long, deep and often uncomfortable conversations about this and have moved our own relationship stage forward positively. As Ted Lasso says, “Taking on a challenge is lot like riding a horse, isn’t it? If you’re comfortable while you’re doing it, you’re probably not doing it right!” ADVICE: Ride with the uncomfortable, it’s the only ride to understanding and progress and growth.

Then my eldest daughter had a style photo shoot that was amazing. She got one scheduled for my wife, who was nervous at first but is excited. I helped her create her 45-minute music play list that the photographer will use before and during the shoot to help them both get into and capture the mood and true essence that is my beautiful wife. She loved the playlist.

Then something truly amazing happened. She said she needed a dressy dress, cocktail dress or formal dress of some kind, which she doesn’t currently own. She asked if I had any in my wardrobe. I said I did, and she asked if she could try it on. For the next couple of hours, we pulled all my things out, she tried many of them on and then chose one for sure and a few maybes. The black dress in the photo doesn’t work well for her. The very colorful one has become one of her favorites and she plans to wear it for one of the shoot sessions. We had so much fun. I added those two to this article. And, after my first draft of this, we went shopping TOGETHER to some discount and thrift stores! I am in heaven!

It feels like another step in accepting that I am who I am and don’t want to become more and her accepting that as my truth. For the moment. We are confident our love and caring will carry us forward. We are both very excited. At the same time, it would be unwise for either of us, or you the reader, to assume that the final chapter is written. I used to write murder mystery novels. My style was to write the ending and then write the beginning and rest of the story up to that ending. On my second novel, I came to my ending when the characters and story rolled over into a second ending. Life has only one ending and we are not yet there.

Crystal Joens


16 Responses

  1. Thanks Crystal , great post. My wife has very similar reservations about me as well . I guess I don’t help sometimes by pushing the the boundaries. Now my daughter has moved back home and I don’t get to dress much , she actually feels for me. We are going on vacation soon and she suggested that I pack an outfit that I can wear in the privacy of our hotel. Things like this always amaze me. I recently lost my job but I am thankfully re employed , on the day my wife saw how upset I was and said come on let’s go and get you a new dress to cheer you up. I guess that’s why I get confused at times , because of things she does like that , but then doesn’t want me to do other things like make up. I’m just thankful for whatever because it wasn’t that long ago I’d ever thought I’d be in this position. I love my wife very much and respect her boundaries but it doesn’t hurt to ask the question from time to time! It’s hard being married to us I guess, but we need to open and transparent. By the way I have been thinking about a pair of women’s skinny jeans too!! I love my skirts but just had a need for some flattering jeans! 🙂

    1. You get it, Chris, as does your wife. I like that Kandi added a graphic of a roller coaster to my post because that what it is. When we were traveling I wasn’t feeling well and my wife suggested we go buy some new panties. What a joy and another roller coaster high! Then we had a low. Your patience will likely be rewarded if you keep your emotional antennae tuned up.

      And, try those skinny jeans – maybe some leggings! I always thought I could only look and feel femme in skirts and dresses. Then I looked at what women I admired were wearing and…..

      Stay well and thanks for the feed-forward!

  2. HI Crystal
    I can certainly relate to all of this ! Even if your SO is accepting or even participatory, you must curtail your exuberance from time to time as you will likely find areas that can push previously unspoken boundaries. For me, I discovered one of these when I expressed an interest in getting a professional manicure before attending the Keystone Conference. Since my wife was accepting and supportive in other areas I did not expect it would be an issue, but it was. Looking back, it was probably the idea of my going to an establishment in our area and revealing myself as CD which triggered her resistance, as she was more than happy to help me do the manicure myself with her at home. In any case, I’m glad I mentioned it first, as no problem was caused, and I did learn another step in creating a feminine image.

    I think we can all benefit by assessing the reaction of the important persons around us before making a move down the “five stages” checklist. We may feel comfortable , even cavalier, but what we do also can affect those closest to us, and be ready to adjust accordingly.

    All the best,

    1. “Read the room!” is good advice Kris. Although when the “room” is your wife, the fine print seems to get harder to read!

      Yes, I finally had my manicurist tone down the color (flat) and length (short). And now my wife is fine. Maybe in a while….


  3. Thanks for sharing this Crystal.

    Integrating CDing into a marriage seems to range from challenging to a complete nightmare (I have a lot of personal experience of the latter!) and if ever there was anything that exemplified the expression ‘two steps forward, one step back’ it’s this. As you have explained via your own situation, wives are often not as OK with the whole idea as they thought they were. What I found was that it’s very difficult to give a convincing ‘no’ answer to the ‘do you want to be a woman?’ question when one is clearly not only very comfortable en femme but also yearning to widen one’s feminine horizons and once that element of doubt creeps back in, it’s very hard to banish it. It’s sad in a way as there are many positives to being the way we are and as long as prejudices don’t get in the way, a good compromise can work wonders within the marriage.

    1. Right on target Amanda!

      Just yesterday, my wife came into my office to talk as she was really feeing depressed after nearly a week of COVID. We talked for nearly 90 minutes and she let her emotions flow. Later she said that my being dressed at the time actually made her feel that I was more compassionate and attentive!

      And, on that “convincing” her that I don’t want to transition…I finally have her agreed that the only way for me to prove that is….time!

      Isn’t marriage the ride of a lifetime?


  4. Crystal,
    Let me start by saying you’re a very fortunate to have a wife you can be open with.
    First let me frame my response: I am no longer married. My divorce had nothing to do with CDing.
    I can confirm that men get manis with gel. Many men that play guitar get acrylic nail. One of my nails splits from the root bed to the tip. I have a “dead spot” in the root bed from an injury. Another delaminates – top pops off. I have been getting acrylic with gel for the past decade. At work (pre-pandemic) I was known for my exquisite nails with many women comparting theirs to mine. Lately I have been using “Pink Abalone,” a very subtle color that’s pink to blue depending on the angle and light.
    I switched to women’s jeans (and shorts) about 8 years ago, the fit was better, and I like shorts that are short. I had to learn about sizing and pockets. In “low rise”, front pockets are only a suggestion. I got tired of hiding my knee-high boots under my pants, so I got my first skinny jeans. In the beginning I went to a Levis store and tried both the men’s and women’s skinny jeans. The women’s skinny jeans were superior to the men’s, hands down. Today my jeans are high raise FLEXX skinny jeans from (women’s) Express. They have sufficient front pockets and look great, especially under my knee-highs and have become my everyday jeans.

    1. Great input, Cali!

      There is no doubt we will “gradually” get there on the nails.

      And you nailed in regarding jeans!


  5. Hi Crystal,

    I feel for the wives of today because there is so much information available which is not helpful. I am not familiar with the 5 stages but can probably make a pretty good guess. I have heard over the years that the difference between a transexual, and a crossdresser is 3 years. The labels may not be current terms, but the phrase goes back to the 1970’s from what I remember. If you buy into that I am happily over 50 years behind their schedule. Still a crossdresser after all these years so I guess I missed something.

    I have been married for over 4 decades and she knew up front and was fine with it, but the escalation issue came up anyway. Why? Because I like most of us did what is called SOARING by the members of my CD group CHIC. The club started in 1975 in Southern California in the heart of the aerospace industry with lots of aviation-oriented people. The example given for SOARING was a fighter pilot speeding down the runway and pulling the plane up into a high-speed climb. Without going into the technical details if the pilot does not level off at some point, they are not likely to come back safely. Crossdresser wives’ level off the crossdresser one way or the other when she says enough!

    Over the 30 plus years being a member of CHIC I have known many happy couples who have found a balance for his crossdressing. All have agreed upon limits on a case-by-case basis once they both understand what is going on. My limits are:
    1. Don’t drink and drive.
    2. Get a hotel room no dressing at home.
    3. When I am in my everyday DUKE mode nothing in my appearance can be construed feminine like brow waxing etc.

    Regardless of what is said when the wife is told about the dressing, she will most likely do some research of her own online. She will be bombarded with paid ads for porn of every kind and form bad conclusions unless she has been warned up front. Crossdressers need to pay attention to that and make sure she gets the right information.

    The term crossdresser is getting pushed aside by every variation of trans, so women form conclusions accordingly that all roads lead to SRS. It’s not true but convincing her otherwise can be an uphill battle.

    Good luck,

    Micki Finn

  6. You make great points, Miki.I think I was SOARING a bit too high and fast for her, being on the ground! I am learning to lift and dive gradually.

    Your rules are wonderful, though my wife and I have agreed that I can dress at home and I do. Am right now!

    And terminology?!?!?!? My gender therapist, at the first meeting, recommend a book. It was awful. Most of it was a long, endless, frustrating, frightening list of possible “labels”. And it is not just crossdress or (insert something better), we get labeld and old or gen x or baby boomers or conservative or liberal or…….no one label in any area fits perfectly….kind of like skinny jeans.

    When my wife and talk, we avoid terms and just say I am, or you are, dressed. I am happy to be a male and a female and those labels work…to a point.

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment!


  7. Hi Kris,
    When my ex wife discovered ‘Pamela’, would you believe, her 1st question was…
    “Who else knows”?
    Oh the shame of it, What could be worse than the father of her children liking to wear a dress occasionally.
    Needless to say the marriage didn’t last

    1. That is a shame, Pamela!

      My wife is a worrier. She takes things very personally. She is not vain, but worries about anything negative people may think about her or us. Good that I don’t want to go out here in town anyway. Her nervousness, and wanting to keep it between just the two of us is, a price I am more than willing to pay!


  8. Crystal,
    Many of us would love the opportunity to share our feminine side freely with our wives/partners , what harm does it really do ? But of course it isn’t as simple as that , not everyone wants to transition but that is usually the assumption made ( in my case it was true ) . Even now just the thought of being a female companion sounds the ideal for me but separation and divorce was the outcome . While many get heated over the comment , ” it’s not about the clothes !” The truth is it is , how else can we express our inner feelings , the problem is as it’s our only outlet we tend to overdo it . We usually have too many clothes and shoes , we want beautiful makeup and gorgeous nails and then we have to convince our wives we don’t truthfully want to be women ! The problem is achieving the balance , which I discovered doesn’t happen unless you are free to live your chosen lifestyle and by then it’s often too late . Fulltime is quiet an eye opener clothes are no longer the full story , you have to find a balance because you have chosen to live as a woman . You have to question your actions and consider how a woman would do things , what she would wear and how she would act for the given circumstances .
    I understand both sides of your situation , who is right and who is wrong , your wife applies rules for your life and yet you apply none to hers . What are her fears , are they ill founded ? The fact you are prepared to dress sometimes may suggest to her you can control it so she’s wondering why do you need to do it at all . I agree there isn’t the same help and advice available . To some the solution is counselling but to others find a social group and attend as a couple , that works well for some people because she’s aware of your actions in company , she can chat with other wives and compare notes . It’s also answers the doubts about your interest in other men and finally it is a lot of fun , she can also push the boat out and wear something dressy .

  9. Thanks Teresa!

    What she “allows” and what I “want” are in prefect sync. At least to me, it doesn’t feel like I am living by her rules while she doesn’t live by mine. After years of secrecy, all I wanted was for my wife to know. That’s it. If she had said, “Ok, I just don’t want to see it, or hear about it……”, I still would have been ecstatic. That’s just who I am.

    The fact that she embraces it – in our home and likely outside when we travel – means everything to me. I am grateful.

    And, she has “upped” her dressing as well.

    Thanks for the thoughtful comments and hope you do well for yourself in this world.


  10. Thank you again for sharing your experiences. I know even if I am successful in reaching some type of compromise with my wife, it can change for the negative very quickly. I think even if you gave an accepting wife, she can change her outlook on the situation.
    My wife comments on my nails being to long or if I am shaving my legs. She is so fearful of my feminine side.
    Just knowing that the act of dressing or showing anything of a feminine nature is deemed inappropriate by my wife. Not having an outlet for my feminine desires has caused much distress in my life. Having that outlet is so important to my mental health.
    It is such a comfort knowing there are other people in the same situation that I am in.

    Love, Julie

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