Close this search box.

The DADT Dilemma

Look who's back!

By Amanda J.

Back in January, a computer malfunction left me with no option other than to confess my crossdressing to my wife for a second time (see my ‘Matrimonial Challenges’ series of posts, particularly numbers 1 & 6 for the full background to both my confessions).  To my surprise, this time round, rather than giving me another ‘cease and desist’ ultimatum she agreed to tolerate my activities as long as they were kept well away from her and our adult children – in other words, a classic DADT ( don’t ask, don’t tell) arrangement.  To say that I was, as we say in the UK, ‘gobsmacked’ by her reaction was an understatement – I thought I’d be packing my bags and finding somewhere else to live.  But, for the first time in nearly nine years, we talked about it once more.  Not to any great degree but enough for her to tell me that she understood that this is something that never goes away but to also voice her concerns about online activities, and particularly sharing photographs, with the result that I immediately deleted my social media accounts and ‘retired’ from posting on Kandi’s Land.  I did not particularly like doing this as I effectively cut off my means of communicating with the wider CDing community.  But it seemed like a small price to pay for the freedom to be able to live this side of my personality without any of the guilt that accompanies carrying on under the marital radar.

And live this side of my personality I did.  The ‘once every 3-4 months’ assurance I gave my wife (who I’ll refer to as Mrs A from now on) quickly turned into ‘once every 3-4 days’ and I’m far further down the trans rabbit hole than I’ve ever been with a number of new purchases and constant thoughts in my head as to how I can take ‘Amanda’ from her virtual world into the real world.

But therein lies the dilemma.

Does Mrs A’s declaration that I can do what I need to do as long as it doesn’t involve her and as long as our kids don’t get to know effectively give me carte blanche to do whatever I want or are there boundaries?

Let’s be clear here – a DADT arrangement is not a ‘get out of jail free’ card.  At its very core is spousal disapproval; Mrs A and I are not looking forward to a girls’ night out together, she is not asking if I have a spare pair of tights because hers have a ladder in them and she does not see it as an opportunity to spice up things in the bedroom.  On the contrary, she wants nothing to do with it but has come to the realisation that it is something that, deep down, I need to do to maintain my sanity and that, despite everything, I am able to keep it completely separate from our marriage.

The problem is that as I started life under the new tolerant regime, I was quickly reminded of something I’ve known for some time – ‘Amanda’ is far more than a dressing up session followed by a few minutes of self-admiration in front of the mirror.  ‘She’ is a facet of who I am and that facet needs social interaction with others; I don’t stop being me just because I happen to be wearing a wig, makeup, dress & heels and calling myself Amanda but all of a sudden, nearly all of the vehicles for that interaction had gone and I felt more isolated than I had done for a long time.

So after a lot of soul searching, I decided to return to the Kandi’s Land cohort of active contributors and break the rules by having a photograph on the contributors’ page.  It’s in direct contravention to the promise I gave to Mrs A but is the fact that there’s no way that she would recognise the woman on that photo as me sufficient defence?  I like to think that if Mrs A did visit Kandi’s Land and see my postings, she’d understand the struggles I’ve had to keep my promises to her and perhaps even admire the support I was trying to give to others in what I’ve written.  Maybe she would.  Or maybe she’d be unable to see past the blonde floozy wearing too much makeup (and wonder exactly how, where and when I was transformed into said floozy) and be packing her bags in the hope of finding a ‘real’ man with whom to spend the rest of her life.    The latter option was a little tongue in cheek but I would never be so self-obsessed to assume that I can do whatever I want because there’s no way that Mrs A would ever leave.

In many respects, that’s the easy bit.  Mrs A’s boundary is clear and I’m taking a calculated risk, albeit minimal in the overall scheme of things.

But what about situations where things aren’t as clear cut or weren’t mentioned by Mrs A?  What I have found is that, freed of the guilt of deception that once plagued me, I have wanted to experience far more of my feminine life.  Spending the day at home dressed is all very well and I do love to do it but I’ve also got this nagging desire to experience the outside world – to hear the click, clack of my heels on the pavement, to look through racks of dresses and try on shoes in the shops without any feeling of self-consciousness, to order a drink at Starbucks and here ‘AMANDA’ shouted by the barista when it’s ready to collect and perhaps even enjoy an evening chat with a sympathetic GG who’ll listen as I’m finally able to talk freely about this side of myself and who’ll gently encourage me to enjoy life on my terms.

But Mrs A didn’t say anything about not going out and this is DADT so no problem then?  Well, I can’t be absolutely certain but I’m 99.9% sure that Mrs A didn’t mention it because she would never in a thousand years envisage it happening, not because it wasn’t an issue for her.  But she did express concerns about photos, because she didn’t like the idea of her husband dressed as a woman being recognised by others.  And let’s face it, being seen leaving or returning to the house en femme, whilst not guaranteeing that I will be recognised, does ramp up the probability to high levels, particular if one of the neighbours emerges at the same time.

Of course, there are ways around this and many of you reading this will have put them into practice.  But the mere fact that I’m having to consider alternative strategies just serves to underline that a DADT arrangement is far from straightforward.  And to make matters even more challenging, the arrangement only works because I work from home at present.  What happens when we sell our business and are both at home all day, every day?  How on earth will I release the inner woman without telling Mrs A what I’m up to?

The answer of course is that we have to do what all couples should do and that’s talk.  And that may be the opportunity not only to discuss how I’m going to manage my A-time when things change but also the scope of what I do in those times.   I am confident that we will find a solution but what that solution is and, more importantly, how it’ll work in practice I don’t know.  Despite Mrs A’s 180° turn between my first confession in 2013 and the second at the beginning of this year, her fundamental disapproval has remained constant and I can’t see that being any different in the future.

But let’s end on a positive here.  In 2014, I made a promise to Mrs A to quit for good.  I thought I could do it and managed it for several years before the urges became too strong to resist.  From that point on, I was plagued with guilt, not for being a crossdresser but because I’m a fundamentally honest and decent individual and the shame of breaking the promise I made and hiding what I was doing was all consuming.   Every single day, my mind churned over looking for an angle that I could use to come clean to Mrs A and every single day it came to nothing.  We’re all individuals but it would take a very hard nosed person not to feel guilty if they were in that position and mix that guilt with anger, frustration, anxiety and all of the other emotions we feel at one time or another and we have a potentially destructive situation.

For me, that is all in the past now.  Well, nearly all in the past; I still want more than is possible within the implicit agreement that Mrs A and I have – what I’ve written here lays testament to that – but what I do have is beyond my wildest dreams, even as I felt things disintegrating around me on that fateful day in January.  Everything in life has its boundaries that need to be respected and I’d far rather focus on the amazing things that I do have than those things that I don’t.  Maybe one day those boundaries will shift a bit in my favour but that’s conjecture.  What is fact is that, thanks to DADT, I’ve at last got freedom from the debilitating guilt of deception and I could not wish for more.


15 Responses

  1. Hi Amanda:
    This is a compelling post, one that most of us can relate to even if we are not in a DADT arrangement with our SO. In my short period of time as an active crossdresser I have found that our activity is pervasive, one that occupies a large section of our mind whether we are dressed or not. As such, how one achieves balance between our two sides is a constant challenge. Questions arise even with a more accepting domestic arrangement that call for communication on the subject that are not always that comfortable to bring up, and to not be able to do that must be very difficult. It is good that you have been able to get pat the guilt/shame cycle and focus instead on the positives that our shared activity brings.
    All the best to you,

    1. Kris, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      I was going to say that the life we’ve chosen isn’t an easy one but I think describing it as the life chosen for us is more accurate. In some respects, operating within a DADT arrangement is a lot more restrictive than operating under the radar. Under the radar, anything goes and we set our own boundaries; under DADT, those boundaries may be set for us and unless we’re particularly lucky, will usually give us less leeway than we previously gave ourselves.

      The other challenge is a point well made by you – the extent to which we feel comfortable discussing this with our wives and the extent to which they want to hear about it. At one time or another, almost all of us have been asked if we want to be a woman and, being CDers, we respond with an emphatic ‘no’. But is that a truthful answer if, for example, we take our CDing into the outside world, have a feminine name & persona and yearn for that feeling of absolute bliss that comes when we indulge the inner woman? And how would we answer if the question was what would we do about ‘this’ if we were single?

      But it’s important to put all of that into perspective and what I’ve lost is a small price to pay for what I’ve gained. Mrs A knows I crossdress and knows that I have contact with other CDers. She chooses not to delve too deeply into my activities and I try to operate within the spirit of the concession she’s gvien me. The fact that our marriage has not only survived but has benefitted from the truth (or most of it) finally being out in the open is perhaps evidence that firstly she realises that it can be kept completely separate from the rest of our marriage and secondly that she understands that whilst there is another woman in the marriage, she (Mrs A) was always the priority as I battled to keep everything together.

  2. Amanda,

    Thank you so much for sharing your deep innermost thoughts. Your personal insights are not only helpful for yourself, but give us readers an understanding of what another CD/TG person is going through.

    I’ve always thought that sharing personal information is extremely important to the teller and the listener. It allows both sides to quickly realise that they are not alone. We are able to walk through life “holding hands” with a friend.

    Cutting oneself off from the world causes great loneliness, which leads to self destruction. Sharing your life with others leads to happiness and being a part of an accepting community.

    Your situation, and mine, is to find the right balance between man and woman. Ours is not having to decide to be one or the other. We know we our both. Or better still, we know we are transgender. We are on the spectrum somewhere between fully male and fully female.

    And showing ourselves to the world, while dressed as the societal expectation for a woman, brings each of us a tremendous feeling of happiness. It makes things feel “right”.

    Amanda, continue on your wonderful journey and enjoy each step along the way. Thank you for sharing, and for being a friend.


    1. Jocelyn, thanks for taking the time & trouble to comment and, of course, thank you too for your friendship & support.

      The isolation can be crippling and heaven only knows how many people like us suffer in silence. And I know all about self destruction having come very close myself. It’s a tough thing to live with, not least because of the difficulty of self-acceptance – how is a guy really supposed to get his head around the fact that he’s far happier in a dress and a pair of heels?!

      As you say, sharing insights with others is important and that’s why I’m here. Having a platform to share my thoughts has always been an important part of this side of me but, equally, I hope that those lurking in the shadows can read what I write and firstly know that others have faced exactly the same challenges that they’re facing and secondly see that those challenges can be overcome. That’s the great thing about Kandi’s Land – it’s brim full of inspiration. Whilst I hope that my limited experiences will resonate with someone, somewhere, I can honestly say that I have drawn far more than I could ever give thanks to the experiences shared by Kandi, you and everyone else.

      Thank you again!

  3. Amanda
    Another well written thought , as you know me more that most , and you are well aware of parts of my life , the balance is sometimes very hard a achieve, it can be done , it just requires a lot of time , as you know we are our worst critics, I am very fortunate to live my life now on very open terms , this morning after I got out of the shower Mrs S asked who are you today , I think I am kinda 50 / 50 today , Mrs S ok you still have a girls brain


    1. Susie, thanks for stopping by!

      As you say, I do know you more than most here do and for that I feel very privileged. The relationship that you and Mrs S have is clearly very special but underlines that this not only needn’t work to the detriment of a marriage but can actually enhance it. I think the biggest problem that many of us have is that we try to rush things and I know that your family’s relationship with ‘Susie’ continues to evolve and strengthen with each day that passes.

      Like many things in life, building trust & understanding takes time and trying to rush it, as I did first time round, almost certainly will not end well. I can take little credit for Mrs A’s new found tolerance other than perhaps demonstrating to her that I was considering her point of view by keeping it well away from her, something I’ll continue to do for as long as is necessary.

  4. Amanda,

    I am happy for you but feel for you at the same time. Your posts are a roller coaster of emotions which must be extremely hard on you at times. I myself feel that you needed to come back here because dealing with all that without being able to discuss it with others is very, very difficult. At one point you wrote – “‘She’ is a facet of who I am and that facet needs social interaction with others” – which is something I really understand because, ever since now basically living as Fiona, my level of social interaction with others has increased over what it was as a male, both online and in person. When you emulate a female I think it’s kind of common for some CD’s to experience an increase in their social interactions. It’s just human nature to want to share with others as an outlet for the increasing stresses. It’s important to do that to help avoid having the stress impact you physically as well as emotionally. So please try not to feel too guilty about coming back here. It may just be that Amanda is a bigger part of you than you thought. Chat here on the blog and at some point you might have to decide if there is going to be a big next step or if you are okay with this new setup between you and the Mrs.

    Reading your posts always provides a lot of food for thought. Just know that we are here for you and we all wish you the best whatever you choose.


    1. Fiona, thanks for your kind words of support.

      It’s a source of great satisfaction to me that what I write does provide food for thought for others. I remember back in my early Flickr days looking at pics of the shining lights of our community and thinking that they must all have their lives completely sorted out and yet, having read my long & rambling bio, several contacted me to say that their lives were anything but stable with marital tensions being a common talking point. Some girls are incredibly lucky to have spouses who only see positives from having a CDing husband but the rest of us have to manage the situation as best we can.

      What struck me when I was writing this post, and also another I’m working on, is how important it is to be thankful for what we do have, not lament what we don’t. Because often, what we don’t have is a product of what we do have. My son is about to leave school and will be at home permanently for at least the next four months so dressing opportunities will be practically nil. But would I prefer to be without my son and have unlimited opportunity? Absolutely not!!! It’s the same with the situations I wrote about in this post – they’re frustrations but not nearly as frustrating than spending every day hating myself for deceiving Mrs A and having endless fruitless thoughts about how to resolve the situation.

      And even in the situations where I’m setting myself boundaries to respect what I believe to be Mrs A’s thoughts on all of this as far as I can, there are many positives – I can decide that leaving home fully dressed and made up is well outside what Mrs A would deem acceptable but that’s a huge step forward from the old days when I lacked the courage to even consider it. Life is always going to be a compromise and I’m sure that there will be many things I’d like to do that will end up never happening. But, as far as this side of my life is concerned, I now realise that if things don’t happen, it’s because the compromise solution I’ve accepted is better.

      And welcome to the contributors’ cohort too!

  5. Amanda J,
    In your response to Fiona, you bring up another issue, how to navigate us being us with offspring. You mention your son is returning home for a few months. This is a very difficult issue to deal with. Maybe worth a post, maybe worth a question to this community.

    1. Ahhh yes, Cali – my son!!! In just over a week, he finishes school for good and apart from a few days when he’ll be at school doing exams for a couple of hours, he’ll be ensconced in his bedroom until at least the end of September unless I can ‘persuade’ him to get a job. Given that he’s rather fond of Big Macs, I feel that McDonald’s would be a great life experience for him (and for me too both from the perspective of getting a family discount on my favourite chicken nugget meal and from the perspective of having an empty house again!).

      One of the conditions placed by Mrs A when she gave me her blessing was under no circumstances should our kids be told (although she admitted that they may well be fine with the idea) and I do want to respect that wish. Luckily, I can engineer nights away from home – I’ve got one coming up at the end of this month when I intend to pack a few extra items of clothing ‘just in case’ (!) – and another strategy I’m working on is to book makeovers with a trans-friendly places in towns a few miles away, spend the day en femme and then stop on the way home to change back. Clearly, though, there’s a financial overhead with both of those ideas.

      On the plus side, as I wrote in a couple of posts last year – ‘The dark clouds are looming’ and ‘Hooray, I’m cured’ – the end of my unfettered freedom to dress is something that I’ve known was coming for some time and, around this time last year, I did manage to go nearly four months without retrieving the stash (at the moment, I’m lucky if I manage to go four days without retrieving it!) and I had a similar hiatus during the height of covid. It’s not easy, particularly now that the major disincentive to my CDing – guilt – is no longer an issue.

      Sometimes, though, I think it’s important to step back and look at the big picture – would I trade my son for unlimited opportunities to CD? Never! And knowing what I know now, would I have traded the life that I have lived with all of its imperfections for another life where I was free to express my feminine side as much or as little as I wanted but with no aspects of the life I actually did lead? Again, no.

      When I wrote the aforementioned posts in 2022, I was looking at the future from the point of view of how on earth was I going to deal with the loss of freedom when everything I was doing was under the marital radar in secrecy. I’ve not put it to the test but I’m reasonably certain that if I said to Mrs A that I needed some me-time, she’d understand and turn a blind eye.

      It’s never easy though and, as you suggest, I’m very interested to hear how others navigate this particular issue.

      1. Many years ago my family all found out that I wore VS Thongs when one got stuck in the rubber ring of a front load washer. My son’s (then) girlfriend found it. Asked my daughter if it was her’s – no; asked my (then) wife if was her’s – again no; guess who was left. My wife knew I wore VS panties already.

        1. I’ve been in that sort of position twice – once back in 2013 when I mistakenly thought my wife had found my makeup, so had to confess to CDing, and once in January this year when, thanks to a computer glitch, I had to confess to her again, this time for breaking my promise to stop.

          It’s a strange feeling – blind panic at first followed by a sense of relief that the game is finally up. If I’m honest, I think my 23 y/o daughter probably knows because of my wife’s reaction & actions after the 2013 confession. My son may know, particularly as he and my daughter are quite close and talk/message each other quite a lot. In the end, though, I’m quite happy to keep this side of my life completely separate from ‘his’ life and even if they came to me and said ‘we know, it’s fine, just live your life as you want to’, there’d be little difference in my life.

          Ultimately, I think the answer is to become expert and makeup application and getting changed in the car!

          1. Amanda,

            Changing in the car and applying makeup using the small mirror; been there, done that! Not ideal, but it sure beats not going out at all.
            I’m sure I will do more “car acrobatics” in the future.


          2. Jocelyn, I have to confess that I don’t relish the prospect! Given my eyesight, it’s hard enough for me to put it on when I’m sitting down at a table in a well lit room so heaven only knows what I’d look like if I tried to apply it without that particular ‘luxury’!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Featured Posts

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Sign up for the first look at Kandi’s outfits, blog posts, and product recommendations.

Keep Reading

More From Amanda J.