Transgender women come in all packages, some are cross-dressers who occasionally dress, others identify more closely with their femme side and assume this role more frequently and others believe they were born the wrong gender and are committed to making steps to change their gender. This is an important journey for the transgender community, including the many people who identify as being cross-dressers.
Yet, what about the ones who are married, perhaps for many years? How does this affect their relationship with their wives? After the initial reveal, what happens next? What is a wife supposed to do? There are no “top tips” for women to help her deal with the femme side of her husband. The person standing before her is different than who she married. At least to her, she is. Wives need to learn so much about the transgender psyche and terminology used in the community.
For one, she now has a woman living with her and her husband. This woman can manifest in many ways, yet will always want out of respect to be called a she not a he. For a wife who has never been exposed to the transgender world, most have not; this life-changing experience can be absolutely daunting! She doesn’t know who to turn to for advice as her children don’t know, nor her friends or family. She feels fearful and depressed, but, most of all she feels angry. The life she once knew is gone forever and she will have to readjust to stay married to her transgender husband.
A wife of a transgender is in many cases, just becomes more angry as time goes on and she realizes just how important it is for her husband to include his femme identity in their lives. She often feels upstaged by this “other woman”, of whom she doesn’t know and perhaps, doesn’t want to know. Yet, this woman is part of her husband.
A wife doesn’t know whether her husband wants to act out on his femme persona part of the time or if he really is looking to transition fully into a woman. This creates fear and then anger for her husband who she resents for not telling her sooner. Many wives live with this anger, yet stay with their husbands.
Here are the reasons why they stay:
- Money- Most long-term couples spend their lives together building a retirement account. Many have barely saved enough for them both to live. Divorcing and splitting the money they do have makes not economical sense for either of them. Or, a wives husband may have a lot of money and status and she doesn’t want her upscale lifestyle to be compromised.
- Children- Many couples stay together in a marriage because of their children. They do not want to have them raised with divorced parents, especially if their own parents were divorced. Many children are never told that their dad is a cross-dresser. Since they have been doing it in private, unless the kids have caught them, they are unaware of their fathers’ femme side. Wives’ often do not want the children to know about their father being a cross-dresser.
- Public Opinion- For many wives it is better to keep the secret of their cross-dressing husband between them rather than let their friends and family know. The wives are terrified of having someone find out; as they are embarrassed by their husband’s cross-dressing. Entering into a divorce could raise this issue and many choose just to live with it rather than having the secret of their cross-dressing husband exposed.
- Fear of Starting Over- After many years of marriage, the sheer thought of divorce is daunting. It is something they want to avoid at all costs, even if they are uncomfortable with living with their cross-dressing husband. As long as their husband can keep his femme side “their secret” they stay in the marriage even if they are not happy.
- Think Their Husband Will Change- Many wives when they finally find out that their husband is a cross-dresser believes they can “cure” this fetish. In fact, cross-dressing is not a fetish, for most, and is part of who they are. They are born cross-dressers much before puberty and cross-dressing is a gender issue rather than sexual.
Being married to a cross-dresser is a challenge for most wives. Partly because they don’t find out about their husband being a cross-dresser, until years into their marriage and are shocked when they do find out. Cross-dressing is more than the clothes as they have a strong femme identity that wants to be “woman-like”, at least part of the time. A wife needs to accept this in her husband which changes the rules of their marriage and needs to be redefined. It’s a complicated situation for both parties with a cross-dressing husband looking for support from her wife who now has to learn to live with “another woman” in their marriage.
The anger builds, yet many couples stay together. Many cross-dressing husbands are still repressed and feel lonely in their marriages even after they reveal themselves. This is a primary issue in the cross-dressing community that doesn’t have a simple answer. It all depends on how strong the marriage was in the first place and if their new life together can be mutually accepted.
Lastly, if her husband self-identifies as a woman, rather than wanting to be woman-like, part-time, a wife is now dealing with a situation which means her husband is now a woman and rather then being married to a man, she is married to a woman. This is a game-changer for most wives and they get divorced.