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.