By late 2013 I knew that my need to dress had become so strong that I had no choice but to confess all to my wife and hope for the best, but that didn’t mean that I just came out and said it. First of all there was about a month of considering the best way to do it, how to choose the best moment, what I was going to say if she asked me what I wanted to do next, basically playing out multiple scenarios in my head. But when the time finally came I still turned into a stuttering, bumbling circumlocutor.
I know the precise day that I made my confession. It was Monday 20th January 2014. I had intended to say my piece the previous day, on the Sunday, but there never seemed to be an appropriate moment so it was delayed a day. Then again, what is an appropriate moment to tell your wife that you sometimes want to be a woman (or want to be a woman sometimes, if that means something subtly different)?
It was after 9pm and I had just put daughter no2 to bed. I was sitting nervously flicking through random web pages on my iPad, waiting for my wife to come and join me on the settee. She walked in and I looked up at her with what must have been a pained expression on my face. She sat down next to me with a correspondingly pained expression on hers. An innocent observer would have thought we were both suffering from stomach cramps. I took a deep breath, opened my mouth to speak, winced, closed my mouth again. No words would come out. I tried it again. Still no words. By now my wife was starting to panic, saying “What is it?” in an increasingly alarmed manner. Still I couldn’t find the words. Then daughter no1 walked in – “I’m ready for bed now Daddy”. I got up to go and tuck her in, leaving my wife with the assurance that I would tell her when I came back.
When I had made my limited confession 15 years earlier, my wife had gone out and bought a book called “My Husband Wears My Clothes” in an attempt to understand this phenomenon, but she threw the book away in the mid-noughties. I had always believed her to have thrown the book away because she believed my cross dressing to be in the past, never to be revisited. I subsequently learned that the real reason she threw it away was because daughter no1 was learning to read and my wife didn’t want to have to field what were sure to be some very awkward questions. Regardless, I decided to use this book as my “in”.
I sat back down and told her that several years ago she had a book, and it sat on the bookcase, and then she threw it away. She knew immediately which book I meant. I told her that what the book describes is still me, and it never really stopped being me. Without getting into a whole verbatim transcription of our entire conversation, the gist was that she thought she had already told me it was ok if I wanted to put on a skirt, so I had to explain that it wasn’t just a skirt or heels, but a full transformation that I wanted. I wanted it so badly that I scarcely thought about anything else all day long. Not a permanent transition, but a regular, repeatable and meaningful feminine aspect to my life. I dealt with fears about;
- What the kids would think if they saw me (they won’t, at least not until they are much older if ever)
- What the neighbours would do if they saw me (again, they won’t but she was very afraid I was just going to walk down the street fully dressed in fem clothing. Not going to happen, if only to save the rest of the family the grief)
- How could she be sure that I won’t get a taste for this and decide a few years down the line that I want to transition to living full time as a woman (she can’t be sure, I can only say that it’s not a consideration for me, I like my male life most of the time and have no intention of giving it up)
When we had been through all this she looked at me apparently close to tears and said “Thank God. You looked like you were about to tell me you were dying or you had lost your job”. Small mercies.
The conversation continued for quite a while after that but it was much more practical in nature, including details of all the various types of make-up that I might want to buy, what it’s for, how much I should expect to pay etc. Useful tips really. She actually offered to buy make-up for me if I gave her a list of what I wanted. The only negative from my perspective was that she didn’t want to see me dressed, at least not yet. But I can live with that. It’s a lot for a wife to take in and she will need time to get used to the idea and to feel secure that her husband isn’t going to disappear. Or as she put it, “I’m not a lesbian. I need to be able to think of you as a man.”
All in all it went as well as I could reasonably have hoped, but something that happened the following night made an even bigger positive impression on me. We were sitting watching TV and unprompted my wife moved across, gave me a huge hug and said “I want you to feel like you’re supported”. I do, my love, I do.