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Coming Out To Your Wife

Copyright © 2007, 2008 by Valentina Simmons

Every day you find another transgendered person asking for information on coming out to her wife, children, or parents. Or that her wife has discovered her. Or just asking what it was like to come out for me, and what their story was about coming out.

Coming out is a big moment in the life of a transgendered person – cross-dresser, transsexual, etc. It is a life-changing but important step in a person’s acceptance of who and what they are, and represents a change in the trust relationship with those they care about.

This article is written for people who are transgendered and are married, mostly for the male to female who has a wife. For the transgendered person I hope it is a starting point on your path to total honesty to your spouse. For the spouse, I hope that it provides some understanding for what your transgendered partner is going through.

(Note: I use female pronouns for the transgendered partner. And I use transgendered person and trans-person as a catch-all for cross-dressers, transvestites, transsexuals, and other labels you might be more familiar with.)

A little terminology first…

Coming out is the act of informing someone that you are transgendered, gay, bi, or whatever secret you may be keeping about yourself.

Being outed is when someone else informs others that you have this secret.

Discovery is when someone else finds out your secret. They may (or may not) inform the person whose secret they have discovered that they know.

I believe that even if you are “discovered” or “outed” it does not mean that you have “come out”. You might deny it, for example. Whether or not it is true is immaterial to the matter – if you do not admit it to the person who discovered you or to the people who were told when you were outed, you cannot count that as coming out to them. Only by accepting it as true can you say you have come out.

Years before I finally came out to her I was discovered a couple of times by my wife, and both times I denied the truth – that I am a transgendered person. I had spent so much time trying to just “get over it” and I thought, finally, this was the incentive – a promise that I could just stop. I went into a decade-long denial, only to have it eventually become too strong for me to deny. I was depressed, and trying to figure out the reason, I would always struggle with this urge to dress and related issues. So I eventually decided to accept it, and it helped my depression. Finally, when I was asked by my wife if I thought about dressing, I admitted to her that I do and I am transgendered. The truth is now in the open, and in my case it has been a godsend.

Why should you come out to your spouse?

Knowing what I now know, I should have come out to my wife years ago. There are lots of good reasons you should come out to your wife if you are married:

I now realize that there is a bit of an “I know what’s best” attitude that permeates the logic of hiding. The trans-person unilaterally decides that they know what’s right and what’s best “for the sake of the marriage”, not considering the wishes, desires, or opinions of the wife. There’s also an implicit contempt in the ability of your wife to see the truth and an exaggerated belief in how much cleverer you are – after all, she hasn’t figured it out so far, you must be hiding it well. But maybe she already knows, but doesn’t want to believe it, or she doesn’t want you to know for some other reason. We’re not as clever as we think, and at some point you will make a mistake that she will see.

Excuses, excuses

I’ve heard all the arguments as to why trans-people do not come out: (I used to use them myself at various times)

At the end of the day, whether these are valid or not is not important. These are the costs of hiding it from her for so long. Once again, the real problem is trust.

The Trust Issue

I have two different times when the transgendered issue came up between me and my wife, separated by over 12 years. In the first instance I was discovered when I was not willing to accept myself. In the second, she asked me if I still thought about dressing, and I had accepted myself and finally came out to her. Both times I had to deal with a lot of anger, but less so in the latter case. While I got the standard questions (see later on in this article), the problem ultimately centered on an inherent lack of openness and communication between us.

The trust issue.

One complaint that my wife has is that before we got married I didn’t let her know I was transgendered and, therefore, didn’t give her an honest way to get out of the relationship. Quite true – I hadn’t accepted myself, so there’s no way I was mentally able to be honest to anyone about it at that point. Even when she caught me years later I still wasn’t able to be honest about it to myself, let alone to her.

Now I’ve been exceptionally lucky in that my wife is trying to accept my transgenderism. Some of it was due to timing, some if it is due to her personality. There are some things I did that made a big difference, though:

That last point is a big one. People tend to get so wrapped up in their worries and concerns, trans or otherwise, that they ignore potentially important concerns about other areas. This helps you stay grounded in life. Too often I see trans people forget about other issues that they have to deal with because they just stopped listening; the cost is more than your marriage, it is your self worth.

What are the “Standard Questions”?

When you come out to your wife, in addition to anger, there are several questions that you will have to deal with (what I call the “standard questions”). How you answer these, and how your wife deals with the answers, will be a determiner in what happens between you two. These questions include:

It helps to put yourself into her shoes here (I mean figuratively, hon!). You have to understand that you have had transgendered feelings for some time (in my case since I was a little boy). To you, coming out represents an opening of your true self to your wife, and taking a chance that she is going to still see the person she fell in love with.

For your wife, coming out is a big, unexpected change, no matter how much she may suspect. Most wives do not know what this means, and they are conditioned by a society that looks on any trans-activity as abnormal at best. Some wives understand that you are entrusting them with the keys to your soul. But they know you were hiding something from them, and that hurts. And they do look at you as someone different.

“I’m Still Me!”

One of the most common statements that we transgendered people say when we come out is “I’m still me!”  I said it when I was coming out, and I know others who did.  And it didn’t help.

What we are trying to communicate here and what is heard are two different things, however.  We are saying “I was always this way, I haven’t changed.”  But think about it – what are we really saying with this?  That we’re going to act the same?  That nothing has changed?  Inside, you may be the same person, but your wife is having to deal with an aspect of you she never had to deal with before.  If trust is an issue, this might be perceived as a disingenuous comment, and you might find that she is even less inclined to trust you.

Are there other issues in your marriage?

Having a transgendered partner in a marriage complicates things. If your marriage is already in trouble, it could easily be the thing that causes it to fall apart completely. Even if your marriage is strong, the trust issue and the transgender issue together might be enough to cause it to fall apart. Consider that the trust and transgender issues might be the cause of the other problems. The stresses of hiding a big secret can cause people to find ways to relieve the problem, such as substance abuse or extra-marital affairs. If you have other issues, you have to consider if the trans and trust issues could be the cause. They may not be, but they might be perceived as the cause anyway. So what should I do?

How does someone tell a loved one that you’re a trans-person? It’s not easy, and there are no guarantees as to how things will ultimately work out. The best thing I recommend is preparation. She’s going to have a LOT of questions for you, and in all likelihood be upset at you for a while. Or she may ask a few questions and then turn you the cold shoulder for a while, refusing to acknowledge the subject. She may leave you or kick you out, but that is less common than you would suspect.

Realize that you are going to be both an untrusted person and the main trusted source of information all at the same time. It’s this contradiction that causes some trans-people to get into trouble by assuming that their wives are accepting things a lot more than they really are. Your wife is going to be in pain for a long time. To some of them it seems like the husband they knew has died and they go into something similar to. To some it’s worse than if you had an affair, because at least an affair can end. Some find it humiliating. (Note: It’s not always bad – I’ve known a case where the wife was excited and very happy to have a cross-dresser for a husband so that they could share a lot of things together, but that is a very isolated case.)

The way you deal with this will affect the outcome of this more than you can imagine. Remember, these are first reactions and are not necessarily indicative of how your spouse will truly feel. The most important considerations are being sensitive to your wife’s needs, being compassionate, listening and communicating, and, most of all, be loving.

Research, or easy steps you can take

(A good reference is the Resources section of this web site.)

Read everything you can on being a spouse of a trans-person. There are now a number of really good books out there that cover a variety of different scenarios. They will help you to understand a lot of what is going on in your wife’s head and in your own as well.

The Internet is a great resource. Web sites like this one, Helen Boyd’s blog and discussion group (myhusbanbetty.com), The Crossdressers Forum (crossdressers.com), U R Not Alone (urnotalone.com), Transsexual Road Map (tsroadmap.com), and The Gender Education and Advocacy Website gender.org) provide a wealth of information as well as a way to find other transgendered people and supporters to talk with.

There are support groups that you can go to that are receptive to spouses. There is Tri-Ess, which is focused on married cross-dressers exclusively (their web site is tri-ess.org). Another, smaller organization is Renaissance, which has chapters mostly in the northeastern US (ren.org) but is open to a wider variety of transgendered people.

Finding a good therapist or counselor can help avoid problems before they happen. They can also help you before you come out to help you figure out what is the best approach to take, and, afterwards, they can help you and your wife figure out what is the best path for the two of you. Be sure that the person you find is trained in gender issues, however, and is a good listener. How will it work out?

The biggest question of all – how will she take it? Based on conversations I’ve had, and my own experiences, there are several common immediate reactions:

You may get one or all of these, in sequence or at the same time. And this will last for a while.

And there will be questions – lots of questions – the standard ones, and other questions (such as “Have you ever been in public as a woman”, “Who else knows”, or the like). Your trans-life history will also be a big topic. Be honest, don’t dodge these questions, and be very, very understanding to her reaction. This is where compassion and sensitivity are so important.

After the initial phase you may see one or more of the following behaviors:

Long-term prospects

Some wives cannot tolerate a man who cross-dresses occasionally; other wives can stay with a husband even after he has had SRS and is physically a woman. It really depends on the strength of the bond between the two of you, your evolution as a trans-person, and the compromises that the two of you make to keep the marriage together.

According to the percentages, it is roughly an even split between marriages that succeed and marriages that end in divorce, with a slight tip towards divorce. That does not factor in the trans issue at all. Empirical evidence suggests that the divorce rate is higher when one of the partners is trans, but whether it is the trans-issue alone or other mitigating factors is not well understood (by other mitigating factors I mean trust issues, infidelity, abuse, or other factors).

My final coming out in brief

When I decided to accept myself as transgendered, I realized that at some point I had to open up about this with my wife. My discovery a dozen years or so earlier had conditioned me to realize that she wasn’t going to be accepting – in fact, I feared that my marriage would end when I told her the truth. I just couldn’t see any other alternative for us. I didn’t want that it to end, and I cried a lot the prospect. I also realized that there was no way that it was going to stop, so I realized that I had to take the risk. It was the only way to make the situation right. I have a philosophy of “plan for the worst and hope for the best” that gets me through hard times, and I was seeing the hardest ahead of me!

The one thing I decided to do was plan it out. I knew when I wanted to come out, so I thought I had time. I started reading books on spouses of transgendered women/cross-dressers. I found web sites. Through this I found Helen Boyd’s blog, and that interested me enough to buy a copy of My Husband Betty, which is a great book focused on transgendered relationships from the point of view of a spouse. Research was an important part of understanding who I was and how it would affect others around me.

One of my online contacts had information about a place that did makeovers for transgendered people like me (the place was FemmeFever in Long Island, NY, but there are others around the countr). I called a couple of times and scheduled an appointment. Karen, who did the makeover, has helped a lot of trans-people deal with all sorts of issues and was a great help to me. It was the first time in my life that I truly saw myself as a woman in the flesh, and it unleashed a torrent of thoughts and feelings about me. We discussed my plan of coming out in a year from that point. She thought it was a logical approach.

T-minus one year. Or so I thought. There was only one flaw in my plan – no one told my wife.

A few days after my makeover, by luck, my wife and I were taking a walk in a beautiful park not to far from our home. We were sitting on a bench, and my wife, with some distress, decided to ask me if I still thought about dressing. A million things went through my mind in that second. My 1-year plan! But if I deny it and come out a year later, that will probably be worse than having it all fall apart now. I wasn’t ready to be on my own now, damn it all! I wanted to just disappear and have the question go away. But I couldn’t, and it never does.

I was finally guided by the thoughts of Viktor Frankl (“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”). I was in that space at that moment. I chose to tell the truth and said yes. So there I was – finally being honest to myself and my wife, but the cost would be the 23+ years of marriage and love we had.

Or so I thought.

I discovered that I wasn’t the only one who was playing the scene from a dozen years ago back in my head all the time. My wife had thought a lot over the years about it, and had done some research on her own. She realized it was not going to go away. She also realized that the anger she had shown me when she discovered me years earlier only resulted in my hiding it from her even deeper. She wanted to know how I truly felt so that she could decide how she wanted to deal with the rest of her life. Keeping it hidden tied her hands as bad as it tied mine!

This isn’t to say that she wasn’t upset – she was. Very upset. But I had decided to be as open as I possibly could be. I started to do lots of little things around the house. If she needed me to do something, I was there, unquestioningly ready to help.

And then there was the first magic moment – a few days after I came out. I took our youngest to a concert, and when I came home my wife shut the door in our bedroom and gave me a card and a present. The card said “I love you – and I don’t want you to be alone.” The present was a dress. She asked me to put it on, and I did. It was a new start for us. And she even took me shopping a few days later.

Then she read My Husband Betty and came with a lot of questions a few days later. That was a hard day, because what came out was that she was angry that when it would have been easy for her to leave I wasn’t honest to her (before we were married). A lot of anger. But that subsided for a scary reason: our youngest came to us a couple weeks after I came out and told us of a suicidal depression he felt. Suddenly coming out was a backburner issue, still there but on simmer. But coming out did help in that just when we needed to be open communicating to each other we were able to. And our youngest child’s issue put my trans in perspective for her, making it less threatening.

For me, coming out to her went from my personal fear to helping to save a life. I do not wish this scenario on anyone, but my point is that you will find that living a life of openness provides much better rewards than living a life of secrets and lies.

Now I do not paint myself as a saint – far from it. A side-effect of years of lying and hiding is how hard it is to break that cycle. I have had lapses, and I still find myself hiding things sometimes. I wonder if my habit of not bringing up my trans-ness is due to being considerate of my wife or because I’m too used to not talking about it. To me that is a big cost – I feel like a dishonest person. I hate it, but I was, and probably still am.

And there’s the legacy of pain. My wife’s philosophy these days is that one of us is always going to be sad – either her because of my desire to be feminine or me because I cannot express myself. But she has stated that she wants to always be there for me. And our love is so much stronger than ever, and we are closer than ever. But it’s still early in our relationship. I think we’ll make it, but the future is so uncertain. If you read Helen Boyd’s second book, She’s Not the Man I Married, you see that this is not a unique situation.

My story seems to have a happy ending, and it shows that there is hope when you come out. We are adding more stories to the web site, some with happy endings, some not, but all from the heart. I do not believe in sugar-coating the coming out process – it is not easy or taken lightly – but I feel that coming out to your spouse is one of the most important things you can do in your life.


1. Steve Andrews - August 24, 2012

Your story is like a mirror image of mine which I would like to share with you. I need to talk to my wife first to make sure she would be comfortable with sharing that much personal information with others.

2. Brenda Day - February 26, 2013

My experience with coming out to my spouse was somewhat different. After 10 yrs of tolerateing my crossdressing she decided that wasn’t for her.She compared our lifestyle to a lesbien relationship which troubled her and made her question her own sexuality. This resulted in her finding a man who makes her happy and I was able to become the person I was ment to be. Looking back I should have honestly expressed my inner feelings from the begining. The only regret I have other than not being honest with her is not being honest with myself and supressing my emotions for so long in trying to be someone I wasn’t. Hideing my being transgendered was so unfair to her and forceing her to accept a lifestyle she was not comfortable with showed my lack of respect for her as my wife and as a women. She is happy I’ve fully accepted being transgendered and says I make a wonderful women. I’m happy being the real me.

3. Elle James - November 9, 2013

Thanks for sharing your story. I’m where you were. I plan on telling my wife of 26 years in January 2014. I have no idea of how it will go. I just can’t deal with hiding it anymore. I have a good therapist who has helped me alot in this. My wife loves me and calls me her rock, I so hate that I have to cause her such pain in anguish in this.

andi - April 10, 2014

Elle, how did it turn out for you? I told my wife bout 3years ago, now married 25 years, but it didn’t go so well then. I also had a very similar experience as Valentina, in that my 16 yr old son told my wife and I about his suicidal thoughts so that is the most important thing rt now. He has since gotten better and now the Trans issue is coming back into conversation with my wife.

Jules - June 21, 2015

elle, how did it go, are you still married ?

4. Jay - May 3, 2014

In the last few days I came to terms with being trans gender. I have been reading up on it and fighting with the struggle of where I am going to go next. I know in my heart I am a woman and want a full transition but don’t think I I am anywhere close to being ready. I know I don’t want to keep it from my wife and want to tell her as soon as possible.

I was reading this tonight on my phone while in bed. She was asleep next to me and usually sleeps very heavy for the first couple hours. Not tonight… She woke up and asked what I was doing. I told her I was reading stuff on the internet. She asked what it was and I just said stuff. She looked over at my phone to see and I hid it (She has never done this before. So I guess a higher power was telling me this is the time).

So I told her the whole thing. She likes when I where her clothes but was not ready for this revelation.

She was hurt, angry, confused, and sad. She expressed a fear for our children. What they will think. What they will feel. What there friends will think. She had questions about our sex life and if I’ve enjoyed it or I have been faking all this time. She asked if I was attracted to men, which I’m not. I explained that I am still very much attracted to her but I just have never been comfortable being a man. After talking for a while she was not as angry but said she didn’t know how she could possibly stay with me if I decide to transition. She also expressed a fear that I would resent her if I didn’t transition because of her. We agreed that we would talk about this more in the next few days, but whatever we decide we will do it together.

This was not how I wanted to tell her but I definitely think being honest from the start is the best way. I knew I struggled with my gender but always discarded my feelings. I think this is a big step and we’ll see where we go from here.

Jay - May 7, 2014


It’s been 4 days since I told my wife. It has been a roller coaster of emotions. After the initial shock wore off she has been very supportive. She asked me to dress up for her and helped with my makeup. It was a little awkward but good. She has asked a lot of questions. The communication has been great and so far this has been positive. She helped me with a name for me while I am en femme. She is already referring to Emily by name. Took me out to buy some clothes and is talking about prioritizing other things we need to buy. We looked up counselor and made an appointment for both of us.

She is terrified of losing me, but she is looking forward to getting to know Emily.

I am not happy I was born this way but even though it’s very early in this process I am very happy. I feel more complete than I have in a very long time.

I think I am very blessed to have a loving wife who is understanding in a very messed up situation.

5. Veritas George - October 4, 2014

I find comfort in your story as I have searched for some parallels with my own family. My husband came out to me about 10 years ago. It was painful as I found out by accident, catching him dressed when I came home early from work one day. Needless to say, it is not easy and we face the challenges of his dressing and trying to integrate that side of him with our family and marriage. It was comforting to see we are not alone and I hope that we continue as a stronger couple and family because we love each other deeply and want to continue the life we have grown together.

6. Skye - January 12, 2015

I am on the flip side of your story and my husband just me a few days ago that he is a transgendered female and also a lesbian on top of all that, and that he picked me 14 years ago because he thought I was bisexual. Which I am not and now I am feeling very lost and betrayed and so very hurt. Right now I don’t know what to do.

Tina Simmons - January 26, 2015

Hello Skye,

First off, I’m really sorry about what you are dealing with. It’s not fair to you any more than it was fair to my wife when I came out to her. A really good resource is http://myhusbandbetty.com – it’s run by a wife of a trans woman who has transitioned (they are still together). There are other spouses of trans people who are active on their forums. It’s a very supportive place, as close to a judgement-free zone as you will find. I’ve spoken with several spouses who ultimately left their trans partners., and others who have stayed. You will have to figure out what you want in your relationship and if you both can make it work. Therapy can help, but you have to find a therapist who will be sensitive to both your needs.

Good luck and I hope you figure out what you need and want.

kimberlyann2015 - July 17, 2015

I am In the same situation. As a Christian, I can’t become an lesbian as it goes against my beliefs.
I love my husband of 20 years but does that mean I should invalidate who I am? I’m not attracted to women.
Our daughter needs us right now and we doing our best to focus on her and I’m trying to keep my marriage to a man who married me 20 years.
I didn’t marry a woman. I do feel bad for him. But has secretly cheated on me while on business trips he has been to gay bars dressed up and online looking for gay sex.
I always been there abs deicated my entire life to him and our child.
I just battled stage 4 cancer. I don’t even know how long I have. My daughter fears him leaving me cause he told me a few years ago he can’t promise anything.
He spends most him time online before work doing god knows what and works out every single day for at least an hour and watches tv.
I come from an abusive family who won’t understand and they aren’t safe for me.
I feel just broken apart.

7. Paul Dominguez - April 3, 2015

Valentina, all the advise is good. I am struggling with telling my immediate family that I had seen a therapist last year and was diagnosed with gender dysphoria. They have no idea how long I have wanted to transition to a female. My mom and sisters know and I recently told my dad. Hoping to have enough courage to tell my immediate family now. I fear rejection so bad though and they will want nothing to do with me because of this.

8. heather nicole - May 21, 2015

My biggest issue is the fact that as a woman im heterosexual(I prefer guys) sexually but feel a very strong emotional connection to her and the kids.

9. Jules - June 21, 2015

I have been married 26 years but transgendered since a boy. I have a date set for January 2016 and the parallels with your story are remarkable. I would love to talk more to you if possible

10. kimberlyann2015 - July 17, 2015

I have been married over 20 years to my husband. He doesn’t seem to want intimacy at all in the last several years. When I ask he makes excuses. Won’t talk about. He always told me it was just dressing up and he likes being a man. However he seems to be obsessed with his body, works out obsessively, reads articles on shape and fitness and how to appear feminine. He Only dresses up secretly when I go shopping with our daughter.
He has been researching online books about the law and being transgender.
I asked him why and he got mad at me and won’t talk to me.
I already gave him access to all my clothes and things while I’m not home. We do have a child to protect. He has agreeded with this agrangemebt. Although I don’t religiously agree to his choices, I won’t judge him and I pray for him every day as much as possible.
I don’t know what what I can do. I just faced stage 4 cancer and I almost dyed. So I’m trying to take care if myself as well as everyone else Abd it’s draining.
My dad is elderly bad just found out he too has cancer. My mother is unstable and has tried to murder me…and my sister so I can go to her or my sister and I have no real close friends.
My life is falling apart. Please help me.

11. Lillian Washburn - September 5, 2015

I am 25, my husband is 27. We have been together for 5 years. I have known for a long time about his cross dressing. When ever I broached the subject of hormones, transitioning all that he would shut off and say he didn’t know. Recently he is seeing a therapist who specializes in this. Things are starting to ramp up, now he thinks he may want to transition. I’m devastated, we wanted to have kids. And I’m sorry but he won’t be the same person I married. I feel so stupid. I should have known it would come to this. Part of me hates him. Now he is saying he doesn’t want to have kids. That in its self will make me leave let alone the fact that he is thinking about changing. I am more depressed, angry, and hurt than I have ever been in my entire life. I can’t sleep with him anymore, because I lie awake thinking hateful thinGs toward him. And I feel like it’s my fault for even marrying him in the first place. I wish I could leave, but I can’t.

Tina Simmons - March 13, 2016

Lillian, I am so sorry to hear this. I am sorry I am so late in replying.

Hugs to you. I do not know how your life or relationship is now, or how it has changed (if it is still on-going), but you should not waste any time blaming yourself. There is nothing that is your fault in this. You fell in love with someone, and that person was extremely confused about who they were. The resolution doesn’t sound like it will be the one you want, and I’m, again, very sorry about that.

A person you should reach out to is Helen Boyd – http://myhusbandbetty.com. She knows a lot of spouses in your situation (she is one, who’s wife transitioned several years ago). She runs an on-line support group for spouses of trans people.

Also, have you considered getting counseling for yourself? Either a social worker or psychologist who understands these issues (but not the same one as your spouse), or legal (if you wanted to explore your options there)? Not that I want to see a family fall apart or a relationship break, but you need to take care of yourself first before you can deal with you relationship with your husband.

My only request – do not hate your husband for being this way. We live in a society that still mostly treats trans people as garbage, and most of us try to hide it from ourselves as much as from others. It’s very hard to deal with, we deal with it alone, and it is quite scary and hard to accept. Many of us practice inner transphobia against ourselves and that aspect of our life.

Also, hate can make you do things you would not do nor want to do. And it doesn’t make anything less painful for you.

My heart goes out to you. I’m sorry I did not write sooner. Hugs.

– Tina

Mimi - March 15, 2016

Well I been married 21 years to a man who told me last Christmas he can’t promise me anything and needed counseling cause it may be a bit more than just dressing up.

Now he went through maybe 5 therapy sessions and all the sudden now his t is having a group gathering for those who are seriously considering transitioning? They did no talk about other possible causes which would of meant resolving the issues. Which he told me he would approach the possible ideas.
I feel lied to over and over and over. My daughter told me she think of suicude because of him now and she’s in therapy.
I can’t divorce at my age and I just battled stage 4 cancer and I can’t just create a new life and now after 21 years… I’m very much in love.
So if you get married… You may be me. Maybe not but maybe. Be sure.

Tina Simmons - March 21, 2016

Hi Mimi,

I’m sorry for what you are going through. I am a trans person who has not transitioned after coming out to my wife nearly 10 years ago. I am like your husband, I do not promise that I won’t. I think that would be more unfair than if I promised that I wouldn’t and then later either reneged on that promise or got so despondent that I tried to commit suicide. I have also told my wife that the only reason I have not transitioned is because I am trying to keep our marriage strong and going. I know my workplace would be supportive – someone on our team transitioned a couple of years ago. I am not out at work, not even to the transitioned woman.

To be honest, I agree with your advice about being really sure if you are the wife of a trans person. But I do not know how you do that. For me, I kept it so buried within me, I was so careful about even the tiniest trace of me being detected that I went to ridiculous extremes (making notes of how things were piled on top of other things so if I disturbed them getting/hiding my clothes I could put it back as close to originally as possible, avoiding anything that might even create the hint of cross dressing or transgender issues, etc.). And it’s not on the radar for most people, so that made my paranoia about hiding it easier. I only got caught because I got sloppy, and even then I went into a decade plus of trying to make it go away inside my head.

And that’s a big part of it. Your husband probably went through what I went through – purging things and thoughts, feeling disgusted with hisself, hating feeling like this, how come I have these feelings when others don’t, I must be scum, etc. It never goes away, and, for me, the harder I fought, the stronger it came back to me. There were times I wanted to die.

And none of this excuses hiding it from you, any more than it excused hiding it from my wife. It is awfully hard to discuss this because of society’s expectations of how a man should act and feel and how ingrained they are in us. The longer we wait, the harder it is to deal with. You feel caught because it took so long, and between your life issues and your cancer struggle it’s a raw deal. I really cannot say anything to you about what is the right thing to do. All I can do is just hope that you two can finally get to a place where you can communicate fully and figure out what is the best thing for you two.

I am so sorry that you are having to deal with this, especially after what you have been through. I wish you the best.

kimberlyann2015 - March 22, 2016

Thank you Tina.
I’m praying he won’t change who he is 100 percent and go full woman. My heart is so broken I’m not sure I can deal with this. He is/was my whole world. I don’t think it’s going to end up well. My life without him feels hopeless.
He wants to transitions even if that means we have no sex life. I can begin to describe how sick I feel. He will be happy but my life will be over if he does this. All my life I been abandoned. I thought he was the last person/ only person I have known to care/love me and even him now… Leaves me all alone in a world I feel like I don’t belong in.

12. Meh - September 27, 2015

I am the wife of a person who I’m not sure is a crossdresser or a transgendered person. I unfortunately found out in the worst way, my husband at the time was a truck driver he would leave two weeks at a time and I made sure to tell him that I trusted him but he wouldn’t do anything that would hurt me. I believed him when he said he wouldn’t. We got married and for the first year and a half we were good. However one day when he was home he went downstairs to pay our landlord. I trust my husband and I like to look at the photos on his phone because he travels around a lot. I found a folder in his phone with pictures of a woman at first I thought oh he downloaded porn. Then I noticed a picture of our bathroom. I looked at the pictures opening the folder and it wasn’t a woman it was my husband dressed as a woman. I was sitting down at the time and the shock hit me and made me almost fall off the chair. Double pictures of him in lingerie but the worst one was of a picture of him dressed in white lingerie with a dildo in the background. I felt sick to my stomach and that my marriage was going to end I was in deep shock. I put his phone down and went and sat on the couch waiting for him to return when he did I confronted him. It was so scary to see the man that I loved, we sit down on the couch and treat me like his father, a man that annoys him and he doesn’t like. I asked him several different questions, and he answered me in such a stiff fashion. The next few days were very hard for me I must have researched a binder full of information on crossdressing I made the mistake of having sex with him and letting him tell me his fantasies while we were in bed. He then had to go back out to work for another 2 weeks. This didn’t help. I ended up bringing up divorce and he said that he would try, he tried to reassure me that he didn’t want to be a woman a true woman. I want to believe him I love him very much but I put it out of my mind and went on with my life with him. Just recently I found porn on his phone. It was of something called pegging. I know my husband likes anal and I’ve tried to be close with him I’ve even pegged him, but seeing that video gave me that same first feeling. Once again I was sitting down, yet falling over at the same time. I don’t want to divorce my husband I still love him. But I am so afraid that he’s going to want to transition into a real woman and I don’t think I can take that. A lot of things that I read make me feel like a very bad person to feel this way. Sometimes I wish I didn’t love my husband because it would make it so much easier to leave him, I know it’s wrong to say but that’s the truth. We’re going to be married for 3 years. I don’t know how many more there will be if I can’t get over this.

Tina Simmons - March 13, 2016

Hi Meh,

I’m sorry this is so long after you posted this comment. I am sorry that you are dealing with this, and found this in the hardest way possible. My heart goes out to you.

I do not know how your life has changed. Your fears are warranted but not necessarily destined to become true, but you both have to accept that this is a journey with many destinations that you both are on.

YouR husband is feeling a lot of shame, a lot of self-hatred and anger (self-transphobia), and he has spent a lot of his life learning that you do not share this. Being defensive comes from this. He is struggling with how to share this (because he knows that no one will understand him, and many will revile him, even as many more will accept him or not care).

As I said, transition is not the only end result. There are many couples where one of them is a trans person who doesn’t transition. The reasons are many as to why – economic, social, and, often, fear of losing the one person you love. If you can get past the fear of talking on his side, you may find that you can get a stronger relationship – sharing a secret this big is a huge way to start dealing with other communication issues.

But I do not know your specific situation, or how it has changed.

My thoughts and prayers are with you both.

Meh - March 14, 2016

Hello Tina,

So a year has passed. Not much has happened I still love my husband and he makes an effort not to bring up the fact that he cross dresses. To be honest I think I might have traumatized him by blowing this out of proportion. He understands that he hurt me but I understand that my actions might have hurt him as well. We take things a day at a time and I remind myself at the end of the day I still love him. The only problem is that I know I can’t stay with him if he wants to be a woman. He knows this and in his attempt to secure me he’s grown out a beard. I like his beard but I feel like it mocks me.

There are days and moments where I feel like it’s my fault that he’s like this. Maybe if you never met me he would be different, happier. I’ve asked him several times to tell me the truth: “Would you rather be a woman?” So far he always replies no. I want to be sure that before we have children were stable. I still fear that one day he’ll come to me and tell me that he’s unhappy with his life and until he gets this transition he won’t be. And that kills me because I’m the one who’s keeping him from his real dream. Then again I could just be paranoid and he really does want to be a man who just happens to like to cross-dress. It’s scary because it’s all on him and I’m just the baggage.

13. Kristian - February 25, 2016

Thank you for sharing your personal experience
I have already come out to everyone including
My Drs. However I have not to my wife. I am mentally prepared
For her to leave if that is her choice , but in my favor she washes my clothes
Included are my panties and In Past we have gone to the nail salon together so I don’t know what to expect but I’m ready

14. Mimi - March 15, 2016

My husband swore that he didn’t want to be a woman, we been married 21 years and now he is seriously considering being an woman. Since I was a stay at home mom and I’m older now, survived late stage cancer. Need good Heathcare, can’t T really start a career I have to consider living with him and I have to accept him being a woman. My daughter is very depressed over this and may move 2000 miles away across the country now. I feel like o lost everyone. He told me that he can’t hide who he truly is inside and that it’s been an problem since early childhood. I would strongly suggest marriage therapy with someone who specializes in this type of issue before you get married and ESP if you have children.

15. Sophia - March 27, 2016

I am in the middle of a divorce. I was with my husband for 12 years married. When he came out to me as trans, I was very hurt and shocked. We have 3 children together. Apparently, my emotions were too much for him and he blamed me for his panic attacks. Now he claims he has PTSD because our alleged “relationship trauma”. He moved out and he refused to come home saying I was jealous. I was upset because after 12 years of lying to me about an addiction to porn and being trans, he decided to create a trans FB account and block me from that. He talks about me on there so he didn’t want me to see what he said. I understand he needed a support group, but he didn’t seem to care about my feelings at all! No trust at all. He turned everything around and blamed me. It hurts SO BAD. I told him “i would try to see if we were compatible” even after all the lies but he decided it won’t work. In marriage counseling, it’s like he hated me. All he could do was talk about my flaws, instead of the issue at hand, that he came out as a woman. I am devastated. I don’t know how I will ever get past this. He barely sees the kids. He has checked out of our lives.

Tina Simmons - April 3, 2016

Sophia, I am so sorry he treated you and the kids so crappily. No excuse for it.

16. Susan - March 29, 2016

I do not know yet if I am Trans-gendered or just a Cross Dresser because only recently did I discover how much I enjoy being a Woman. I love the clothes, shoes and makeup. I feel more comfortable and confident as a Woman. I do not understand these feelings. I used to be such a manly man.

Two years ago my Wife suggested that I would make a good looking Woman. I seriously doubted that, but just for fun we tried it. She dolled me up with a wig, makeup, clothes and shoes. Everything. She took pictures of me and I was totally shocked! I loved how I looked! So back then I thought I was just a CD, but gradually I became even more interested in Feminization.

Back then I felt like I would never want the Hormone therapy, but last year I developed Gynecomastia and my breasts started growing. I am very happy about that, but my Wife and my Doctor are not. My Doctor gave up on me when I told her that I was interested in Hormone therapy.

I was also seeing a Counselor (for DID) and when I told her my feelings about Feminization she also quit seeing me. So I have felt the hatred that people have for Trans persons. I never thought my Doctor and Counselor would turn their backs to me. These people are supposed to understand and accept Trans people.

My Wife has been as supportive as she can be. She was in a previous marriage to a TG, whom left her for another TG so my situation is hopeless. Wife is afraid that i will leave her even though I know that I never will. I truly love her and she is my soul mate. I have tried purging and growing a beard, but nothing helps. My experiences have made me understand why suicide rates are so high among Trans people. Often times I wish i would die. This is all very hard to take. I never wanted to hurt my Wife. I never wanted to lose my Counselor and I still have some unresolved medical issues.

Every time I go to a store I want to look in the Women’s department for clothes and makeup. It is hard for me to walk on by. I see genetic women out in public and i admire their styles. I am confused regarding who I am. Trying to be as much of a man as I can be for my Wife. She loves me so much that she tries to accept me. She helps with my hair and make-up, buys me clothes. She is wonderful, but as She often says…”I married a man, not a woman.” I never wanted to cause her this pain and I can’t live without her.

I used to feel like it was my Wife’s fault for introducing me to Feminization, but now I know that she opened my eyes to a whole new world and I appreciate her doing that. I just wish that my desires would not hurt her. She has said that I am selfish for wanting to be a woman, but I can’t fight these feelings any more. I don’t know what to do. I married my Wife as a Man, but now I want to be a Woman and still love my Wife. I don’t want to lose Her. I feel cursed and doomed. So I still try to control my urges to dress. I try to keep it inside of me.

I am almost fifty years old. In the last two years I have been diagnosed with PTSD, OCD, DID and now Trans. I know that I should not feel sorry for myself, but damn it, this is all getting way to hard for me to deal with. I trusted my Counselor and Doctor. I thought that by telling them everything about me that they could help me, but no one can or will. I tried. Now all I feel is embarrassment and shame. I have lost half of my strength and all of my sexual drive even though my Testosterone level is OK. I am only half the Man I used to be.

I welcome death because i am curious about what lies beyond, if anything and I need my life to complete it’s circle. All the way to the bitter end.

For the newbies like i was. Do not make the same mistakes like I did. Just keep it inside yourself. If you don’t then you will feel the wrath of society. You will lose like I did. There’s no way out of here. Keep your “Woman Within” and hide her very well. She will still try to emerge, but if you can successfully hold her down then at least you will die a slow death and finally be done with a miserable existence.

“Am I The Victim Or The Crime”? (GD)

Tina Simmons - July 9, 2016

I feel for you that you are overwhelmed, but I cannot agree with your recommendation that people keep it to themselves. It is not easy to keep secrets, and that has a negative effect on a lot of other aspects of your life.

Society is going through an interesting change right now. Trans issues are in the news, in part because the same-sex marriage battle has been lost, so the haters have latched onto us as the next frontier that they think they can win enough hearts and minds to succeed. This is on top of the transphobia that is in our society already, and the hate that gets heaped on us because of it (and especially on trans people of color). But we’re also having our successes, too. Did you ever think that a U. S. Attorney General would come out talking about transgender rights? I was so happy when that happened.

It’s not about life being easy. It’s about doing the right thing, and being true to yourself and those you love.

17. ALEX - April 10, 2016

Hi… I’ve been married to my wife for 3 years, and I finally came out about a month and a half ago (as a cross dresser). I’ve never been more comfortable with myself, and I can’t remember being this happy before… my friends are cool with it and my coworkers are amazingly supportive, even my two daughters are cool with it. But my wife has fought it the entire way… she has gotten better since talking to our trans friend about it, but only because when I started, I said no permanent changes. Since then I have shaved my face every day (which she hates), put on makeup, worn pretty clothes, got pretty good at tucking (she hates that too), and have been girly, and happy. But the prosthetic breasts I use (tho perky and comfortable ) just aren’t doing the job, I want the real things, I’ve done my research and I’ve found a few options, there’s just one thing in my way, my wife. I don’t know what to do, I want to be a woman, but I don’t want to lose her… she’s actually told me she doesn’t find me sexually attractive as a woman, but thatshe what I am inside… I dunno what to do…

Tina Simmons - April 28, 2016

HI Alex,

The best you can hope is to keep communication open and talk with her. I have no magic wand or blinding insight here. At some point she either will accept you or it will not be what she wants. You can’t make her like something the is not into any more than you can stop having the feelings you have. It’s a struggler for her. At least she is trying to make things work in some way, which is good.

Compromise doesn’t mean one wins and the other loses. It means that you both try to find a common ground that you both can live with. Both of you will have to adapt somewhat. You both need to figure out your priorities individually and then see if you can make them work together or not.

I do believe that you telling her is a good thing, but it’s only a first step. And beware the feeling of excessive euphoria that comes with coming out and accepting who you truly are – it can blind you to what you really value. I know after my first makeover I was so over the moon that I came very close to just leaving my wife then, but I didn’t listen to that voice, and given what has happened in our lives since, it was smart that I didn’t follow through. My choices are not your choices, however, and you have to do what is right for you.

Hugs and good luck. – Tina

18. Carole - May 8, 2016

Thank you for this wonderful article. My husband came out to me last weekend while sharing dinner at a wonderful restaurant followed by a concert of one our favorite bands. He has been battling depression and anxiety for years. Has been in recovery for nearly 14 years all of which he contributes to years of hiding this secret…..he is 63…. I can’t imagine having lived so unhappily all these years. Of course I was shocked but we have a very strong relationship and have always communicated well. I was glad he finally felt comfortable sharing with me. We will start councelling very soon but I am hopeful this will help us move forward as a couple. I still love my husband, he has been my best friend and I don’t want that to change. We have shared with a few close friends and family and so far have amazing support. I haven’t seen my husband so happy as he is shopping for lingerie, asking my opinion on how he did with his make up and modeling for me. I know it wont always be this easy but we are committed to try to make this work.

Tina Simmons - July 8, 2016

I hope it all works out for you. It is heartwarming that you are concerned for your husband’s mental health. Be sure to attend to your own as you go through this – it can be very tough on spouses! But it sounds like there is a lot of love between the two of you, and that is a great foundation to build on.

Good luck!

Carole - July 9, 2016

3months later…things are going great! ALL of friends and family have been supportive. We continue with therapy but more for how to transition into the world. Our marriage continues to be strong and I don’t foresee that to change. We are committed to making this work.

19. J - May 13, 2016

I was married for 15 years. Turns out my husband wanted to be a woman and in fact had already investigated it and started hormone treatment. He did not tell me, I found out on my own. Once I confronted him he didn’t really care what I thought or how our 13 year old son would react. In fact he told me that it was all my fault that he was transitioning because I was a terrible wife. So he took our entire relationship and turned it into a lie. There was never anything but a bunch of lies. I am a liberal person and while I would not have stayed with him any honesty would have made a world of difference. Instead I am left with a wasted life, a pack of lies and a grieving son.

Tina Simmons - July 8, 2016

While it is quite common for a trans-person to keep it secret because of fear of acceptance, the way your spouse reacted, well, he’s a jerk.

Of course it is not your fault. Of course he should have told you before starting hormones. Of course he should have been open about this. The think that gets me is that he acts as if his feelings are in a box that should not affect you, yet he blames you for having feelings that affected him. That is a double-standard.

20. Darren - May 19, 2016

Im currently in a very confused state with this overwhelming feeling to crossdress/be a woman
I have memory’s as a small boy looking at womens clothes and fantasizing about being a girl.
I hrew up all male and occasionally tried on womens clothes like as a teenager babysitting for a family friend id try her clothes and a handfull of times I’ve tried my wifes clothes.
Apart from those times up till now it been mostly put to the back of my mind and Im a pretty masculine kind of guy .
Now abot a month ago I saw a pair of faux leather pants in a store and bought as the impulse was to great I tried them on a few times and when the house has been empty just sat watching TV and felt really girly
Since then the feeling is immense Ive researched crossdressing transgender etc to death looked a online womens clothing etc I cant get it out of my mind but dont feel I can tell anyone if I know my wife like I think I do it wont go down well.
Feeling lost

21. Gary - July 5, 2016

Thank you.

Tina Simmons - July 8, 2016

You’re welcome.

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