Monday, 24 November 2014

Keeping Secrets

As the very perceptive 'B. Strong' commented on my last post, ive not exactly been forthcoming with my partner about what ive been getting up to lately when it comes to my girly side. Its not that ive been lying, ive just not really been telling her about anything.

I didnt tell her before I removed my body hair, I didnt tell her that I had ordered new clothes, and I didnt tell her that I had planned to dress up last weekend. She confronted me about this yesterday, and clearly wasnt happy that I wasnt talking about it, and that I was keeping secrets. And even during this conversation I didnt really want to talk about it. Theres a couple of things going on here that means im finding it really difficult to open up about this with her recently. Ive never been entirely comfortable with talking about it anyway but lately this is even worse.

I dont really ask or need to know about everything she does, when she shaves her legs, or what clothes she is buying and why, or even what plans she has on any given day. Im a great believer in personal freedoms, I dont see why I need to check in every thing I decide to do with her. I dont do it (or need to do it) with anything else in my life, so it feels awkward having to 'check in' things I want to do with her, before I do them. But then over the course of the year, she hasnt exactly been the most positive person when I have wanted to talk about it either. Her attitude changes and I can tell that she either wasnt really interested, or wasnt happy to be talking about it. And when I have brought things up like clothes, she shoots the conversation down. She hasnt really been very supportive lately, and again this attitude shows. This hasnt exactly helped with my confidence with bringing things up with her.

Thats not to say she has been entirely negative all the time, we still have had the odd joke over it and she has asked the odd question, but im in a position where I feel like if I do bring it up she probably wont be happy, and if I dont she wont be happy either. In fact, my confidence about showing her this side of me generally has just taken a massive dip. I feel embarrassed, I feel like I let her down. And her attitude with me is not helping.


  1. You raise good points. As we try to balance our 'T' tendencies with the hopes, wishes and tolerance levels of our significant others we walk a fine line.
    As we age we question why we have these 'T' tendencies. We often wonder why we are the way we are and we have an internal recognition that our desires do not match those of much of the rest of society. When we add a wife or girlfriend to our 'dressing' world they may wonder how being with a T girl reflects on their own femininty and how they are perceived by others. Women worry. It is part of their fabric. Men protect. It is part of our fabric. We especially want to protect those that we love.
    As such we struggle with trying to balance our desires to dress and get out and about with our instincts to protect the ones we love. Like the oath taken by doctors "First, do no harm", we do not want to do anything that causes those we love pain. If we keep those things that we do out of her sight and mind we cut down on her pain.
    I am not suggesting any solutions. I have been dealing with the secret parts of my dressing for 5 decades and have no answers.
    I try not to feel guilty but I do try to recobnize that not everything in life fits and runs smoothly.
    Good luck

    1. Its difficult. I havent broken any boundaries, I havent pushed things further than I have in the past, but because I didnt tell her before its an issue. I havent bought clothes in over 6 months, but because I decided to buy a few new things for winter and I didnt tell her, its an issue. I decided to have a dress up day and I didnt tell her, its an issue. I get the need for compromise and such, but I dont like feeling like I have to clear things in advance.

      On the clothes side of things, as I mentioned my confidence has been knocked in that area based on previous conversations/reactions. In fact, generally, my confidence isnt at its highest with her. I cant help but take the path of least resistance.

      You are right she does worry, she worries about why I do it and what it means for me and for us. And I know that doing this has just fueled that worry. There really are no easy answers here.

      Thanks for commenting Pat. :)

  2. I can relate. I rarely talk about my marriage and how we deal with "it". I will say that my wife was once very, very open to my feminine side. That has since changed dramatically. Almost a complete reversal. It kind of hit the head when she realized that I really did want to transition. It was at that point that I backed off. I know far too many who are living lonely lives because they took it too far. It is a great struggle for me that my wife, sadly, will never realize or understand. Nevertheless, we share a love that simply cannot be broken.


    1. That is one of my gfs greatest fears and has been since I came out to her, that I may want to go 'too far' and become a woman full time. Being aware of this from the beginning, this is another example of a secret ive kept from her in the form of what ive been through mentally over the last few years, especially a few years back.

      Im not proud of it, it was arguably a selfish decision. But if I had been honest it would have increased the chances of us going out seperate ways early on, whereas now I feel I am in a more stable place in this regard. At the same time, if this did happen and we had split up, who knows what I would have done with this new found freedom.

      Clearly the love for your wife is so strong, she is very lucky. x

  3. First, thank you for acknowledging me in this conversation. I think this is a very typical example of what a relationship goes through when there are questions of how far the feelings go. I don't know if I posted my blog before, but if you would like to read about my experience from a spouse, it's:

    So...what this reminds me of is our "pivotal" point. I wanted to be supportive. I wanted to be included in the joy, but it was a little scary to see a side of my spouse I knew was bottled up all the time. We let each other have our individual privacy, but I knew my spouse was obsessing about the crossdressing / transition things any time I wasn't there. I didn't address it. Neither of us did. It was just...understood that we wouldn't talk about it because we were both uncomfortable.

    It was easier in the beginning for some reason. I think it was because it was like a naughty secret we shared. Over the years however, it caused distance because she (well, he at the time) stopped sharing with me. I'm sure a lot of it had to do with my reactions sometimes too. I felt absolutely invisible when my spouse wanted to dress. I wanted to be supportive and helped pick clothes out, did make-up and all that jazz when the holy day of Halloween came around. Then I felt like I didn't exist when we went out. It was all about her and it scared me that if she continued down this path, I'd disappear. I go into it in more detail on the blog, but that's the gist.

    It ends up being a destructive cycle when it's not discussed and each of you gets more and more anxious about the subject. In order for me to really accept my spouse going "full time" and beginning the steps to true transition, I had to do a lot of really hard emotional work on why I was feeling whatever I was feeling about the situation. Some of the questions I struggled with: Am I a lesbian? Am I bi? What if I have physical needs to be with a man after my spouse transitions? If the secret is exposed, am I needed by my spouse? Was my spouse just using me as a "safe place" until she could be herself? Why would anyone really want me anyway...I hate myself. Why am I making this harder on her than it has to be? So many insecurities because there is no roadmap.

    The best thing I ever did was start writing about it. Yes, I have a blog now, but I began with just writing for myself. I wrote to other spouses and also joined some support groups on social media. We're out there...the supportive ones...but we have insecurities too. There is no rule book on how to feel or behave in this situation. The best advice I ever got from another spouse...."JUST KEEP TALKING"

    1. Well, you did pick up that I had been less than forth coming about what I got up to that weekend, which prompted me to write this post. Good spot! :)

      I have read your blog although not fully so far, but I do plan to. I love reading about people who are dealing with this from the other perspective, hoping to learn about how my partner perceives this.

      For my partner, while she has accepted this about me to a degree, I dont think she wants to be included. Initially she made loads of offers to get involved by picking out clothes and helping in other areas too, but while she has helped me with clothes from time to time, shes never seemed very happy about it. I can tell, her attitude just changes slightly, it just feels like its a chore to her. Tie this in with the hit to my confidence ive been through this year where I havent even dressed up for six months, and it meant I wasnt exactly ready to broadcast my intentions.

      Im aware there are a lot of insecurities she is dealing with. Two she has mentioned in recent conversation includes a fear that I may decide to transition at some point (if I did she would leave me), or may find myself wanting to sleep with men. Im sure there are many others as she is such a worrier. But, to be honest I can give her all the assurances in the world (and I have tried) but this will not be enough.

      Im very aware conversations need to be had, but theres never a good time to bring things like this up and we have been so busy lately.

  4. I'm glad that we're not the only ones who have similar behaviors and patterns. It feels sometimes that you are the only couple in the world dealing with this issue.

    I cannot speak for your partner since I don't know her at all, I can only speak from how I feel. It also seems that us partners have a lot in common and I hear these things a lot from others who have very similar experiences.

    One thing that I identify with is that I wanted to help with the clothing and makeup in the beginning, then became more uncomfortable over time. This not only had to do with us not talking about the issue while knowing it was still very much an issue, but more about me and my insecurities with myself.

    When it felt to me that my spouse was getting more serious about the clothing, makeup, etc and it wasn't feeling like just a "fetish" anymore, I started questioning a lot of the same things. What would happen to our relationship? Would my spouse want to experiment with men? Was being with a man really the end goal for her? If I am heterosexual, how do I handle becoming a lesbian? If I am heterosexual, how can I stay fulfilled sexually if I am with a woman? How important is sex? Can people explore sexuality with others while remaining in a committed relationship?

    Those are serious questions that only the two people in a relationship can answer. What I found above and beyond that were the things I began questioning about myself and how my spouse would feel about me.

    I have never been a "girly girl" so trying to help someone with a fetish was okay. Once it became more serious, I was much more aware how little I knew, or cared, about fashion and makeup. What kind of woman was I that I couldn't help with these things? I hate shopping for clothing SO much and if my spouse loved it and wanted my help, how could I really help? There was a lot of clothing she liked that I thought looked hideous, but didn't want to make her feel badly about what she liked. After all, with no fashion sense of my own, who was I to judge?

    A perfect example of this is turtlenecks and long sleeves. Yes, I understand those items make some people FEEL like they are hiding their "manly" necks, hair, size, etc. What it actually does is emphasize those areas and is very unflattering. I didn't know how to tell her that without hurting her feelings. Then the whole experience became uncomfortable. It snowballed and we both became very anxious before any shopping experience.

    What we did was research together what looks good on different body shapes. We also watched a very enlightening episode of What Not to Wear about a MTF trans woman. That not only gave great advice on styles that are flattering, but also addressed the emotional issues associated with transition.
    Bottom line in my opinion is that both of you need to really look deeply at what causes anxiety / distress in this situation, what your fears are, what your hopes are, and what each of you can do to help each other as well as yourselves. Honesty is key. Being able to listen to the feelings without becoming defensive is also important.

    Personally, I feel by us having to finally face the issues at hand, my marriage has never been better. We communicate better and we are each working on our own issues that triggered the issues in our relationship. Is it still difficult at times? Sure. But we have learned better ways to communicate and have allowed ourselves the right to work out our issues without judgement.

    Sorry for the extremely long post, but writing about what we have been through not only helps me see how much we have progressed, but hopefully can help others gain a bit of insight on approaches that may help. It might also help others who think there is no hope of it getting better.

    1. I think these are officially the longest comments I have had and will ever have on this blog! No need to apologise at all though, thank you for commenting! :)

      Im aware you cant speak for my girlfriend, but your perspective will be fairly close, although im sure the specifics will be different. I think this whole situation has been created by a mixture of insecurities, expectations and a lack of communication from both sides, compounded by the hit my confidence has taken this year. Admittedly, part of the reason I havent talked about this side for the last 6 months with her is because there has been nothing going on. Yes, I think about it every day almost obsessively, but there has been no action since I have not been able to push myself through the confidence issues that had come up.

      At this point im very aware that there are things I want to do to progress the exploration and expression of my gender identity that she would not be happy with, and that being honest with her would simply make things worse between us, or would mean that I would not be happy with the boundaries that would be put up and could feel this side of me being stifled.

      Of course, all of this may not happen. Without actually talking about it I will never truly know.

      In relation to your next comment though, I do know that progressing too far away from masculinity will push her away. This is partially why I find myself in this situation now, being embarrassed around her with my body shaved or talking about my female side. I know that in the back of her mind she wants her "manly-man".

      Im really happy that you have found happiness with your spouse, you are both incredibly lucky and amazing people! :) Oh, and ill definitely look out for that 'what not to wear' episode too, it sounds useful!

  5. I also wanted to say, in the beginning, I felt the same way about full transition. I didn't think I could or would want to stay. It was because of my own confusion about gender vs. sexuality I think. I basically said that she could do whatever she wanted in the bedroom, but I like men so need a penis. Looking back, I feel very guilty that I ever said that.

    If I had only known how much happier we could be as a couple being our true selves, I would have encouraged it a long time ago. It took 12-13 years. Hindsight is 20/20 but I can't necessarily say what I would have done. I wasn't ready to deal with my own feelings (about anything, not just this issue) in my early 20s. I can't dwell on regret, neither of us can. We can only move forward.