Cross-dressers have long kept their secret from their wife’s/girlfriends, family and friends. They have been forced to dress while traveling alone or when no one was home. Afraid of being caught, they carefully keep their clothing in a safe place tucked away until the opportunity to dress presents itself. Alone in this act of cross-dressing, there are isolated, often ashamed and saddened by their inability to share their secret with anyone.
Yet, times are changing for the cross-dressing community. The Internet has opened their world to connect with other cross-dressers, forming a support system or at least someone to share their story and challenges with. Sites like Sister House and the TG Forum reach cross-dressers worldwide and fulfill a much-needed forum for this community making them feel more connected to their peers, lessening the loneliness associated with cross-dressing.
Though many cross-dressers still “hide in the shadows” trapped between wanting to tell those they are closest to about being a cross-dresser. They long to be able to share their story and to dress in the open, even if it is in their own house. Many cross-dressers have been married for a number of years, never telling their wife about it as it has followed them since they were a child. Being so long undercover they don’t know where to start the conversation with their wives. Fearful that the one person they love the most will not accept them, many of them remain in silence.
The good news is more cross-dressers are coming out to tell their story and have decided they need to be open about who they are. Many are doing this when their children are out of high school and no longer living at home. They are taking a chance that their wives will not abandon them. Sadly, many wives can not deal with her husband’s cross-dressing and leave them when this “other woman” is discovered.
They are unable to accept their husband standing before them in a dress and heels with the passion of an adolescent. The excitement for a cross-dresser who does come out is all-consuming which makes a wife feel even more distant from their husband. She feels like they have been living a lie and quite frankly is in shock over the news. She doesn’t have the insight or information on what a cross-dresser is and feels threatened by her husband.
Some wives, even though they do not understand why her husband wants to dress in woman’s clothing, even after therapy, stay with their cross-dressing mate for a number of reasons from the fear of being alone, financial issues and the effect divorce may have on their family. These wives often lay down ground rules for her husband’s cross-dressing and though she knows he does it, won’t acknowledge it, hoping it will go away; of course it doesn’t.
There is hope for the cross-dresser as more women are supporting their husbands with the help of the Tri ess support groups which offer couples outings and a place to talk. Counseling works for some of these couples who want to make their marriage work, yet it will be a very different relationship that a wife will encounter. Yet, these wives are still in love with their husbands and respect their need to cross-dress. They integrate the cross-dressing into their lives rather than allowing it to define their relationship, of which appears to be the key to acceptance and a healthier relationship.
There are more and more role models for the cross-dressers and their families as cross-dressers begin to come out earlier in their relationship with their wives and girlfriends’ Being honest about cross-dressing at the beginning of a relationship allows a woman to accept you, all of you, from the beginning and work it into your lives. These couples appear to be the happiest and have long-standing marriages.
For couples where a cross-dresser is just coming out after years of marriage, it is a bumpy road that may lead to divorce, yet the relationship may not have been all that good before announcing being a cross-dresser and many times the cross-dressing admission is the final straw that ends the marriage. There is someone for everyone in this world; it is worth finding that person who accepts all of you.