Are there any words in a relationship that puts someone on edge more than "honey, we need to talk"?
Just hearing those words causes us to fear the worst. What does our partner need to tell us? How bad is it? How big of a conversation is this going to be? What are they going to say? For crossdressers and those who have more than one gender identity, these words can also cause a lot of fear, especially if we are not out to them. Did they find those pairs of panties we have tucked into the back of our dresser? Did they happen to see our browser history?
Being who we are is not easy. We cannot deny or change who we are. And we shouldn't. There is nothing wrong with wanting to wear beautiful clothes, whether it is gorgeous lingerie or a stunning dress with matching stilettos. There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel or look beautiful. It is not easy to accept this part of ourselves, but once you do, you eventually realize that you can't change. This is as much of a part of you as anything that makes you who you are. I am right-handed, I love to read, and I wear panties every single day. This is who I am. This is who I have always been, and this is who I will always be. I have accepted and embraced myself and I have never been happier.
From the day I started shopping for my own clothes I began what was a seemingly endless cycle of buying everything from lingerie to heels to dresses, wearing them, and then purging. Fueled by paranoia and guilt, I would throw them away, only to go shopping a few weeks later. It took much longer than it should have, and I spent more money than I like to think about, but eventually I realized that this is who I was. Its who I have always been and who I will always be. I knew that no matter what kind of life changes I was going to have, this would always be a part of me.
The most wonderful life change I will ever have was getting married. For those of us in a relationship, we know how wonderful it is to love someone, and to be loved by them. Love changes us, and it usually changes us for the better. My wife inspired me to become a better person. I became more patient, more considerate, and a better communicator. I wanted to be more open and honest with her. You have to be. Relationships are partnerships and consists of two people working together. It's hard to do that if you can't trust or rely on your spouse. Once I knew I wanted to marry her, I knew I had to tell her about...all of this.
So, I told her.
She had long suspected that there was... something I was keeping from her; however, she had no idea what it might be, and it certainly wasn't this. The shock wore off, we had many conversations over the course of the next few months. When I came out to her, my extent of dressing was mostly about lingerie and high heels. What's sexier than a lacy bra with matching panties, seamed stockings, and black patent stilettos, after all? She didn't quite understand my dressing, but that's okay. I don't understand why I like to wear what I wear. I no longer try to examine why I like what I like, whether it is a corset or a certain type of food. There are things that make me who I am, and this is part of that.
Over the years that followed our relationship grew, we married, and my dressing continued to evolve. I went from wearing panties to, well, still wearing panties but now I have an entire closet filled with everything from a beautiful gown to leather skirts to dresses perfect for Sunday brunch. My wife was part of this journey. It wasn't always easy for her, but I was always honest with her.
As hard as it was for her to go through this with me, it was also hard for me to be honest with her. Not that I kept things from her, it wasn't easy to come out to her all those years ago. We are used to keeping this side of us a secret. We know that others will likely have a hard time understanding this part of us. I mean, if we don't know why we like to wear dresses, why would someone else? We are also afraid of how others will react to this revelation. Will they think we are gay (not that there is anything wrong with that)? Will they think we want to transition? Will they never want to speak to us again? Will they share this information with everyone they know? It's not surprising that we want to keep this secret a secret, but we know that we need to be honest with ourselves and with our partners.
So... how do we tell them? Besides being two hundred percent honest, there is no right way to tell your partner that you are... well, who you are, whether you like to wear something pretty under your male clothes or you have a second gender identity. I can't tell you how to tell them, or what words to say, but I do know there are a few things you need to keep in mind:
-Know yourself. How do you identify? Do you identify as a crossdresser and simply enjoy wearing clothes that are traditionally considered women's clothes? Is this something more? Do you think this side of you is more than just clothes? I know it is for me. I feel different, there is a side of me that although is always there, emerges when when I am in heels and have my hair and makeup on. I feel that I have two very different and separate gender identities depending on how I am dressed.
-Challenge yourself. Be honest with yourself. This is very much like knowing yourself, but it's about getting really real with who you are. Are you in conflict with who you are? This side of us is not easy to resolve and accept so it can cause some stress, but is this stress a result of being unsure of your gender identity? You might think that this is all about heels and dresses, but is it really? Once I accepted myself, I spoke to a therapist about this side of me because I wanted them to challenge me. I never felt like transitioning was right for me, and my therapist helped in making sure I wasn't in denial.
-Be prepared. Your partner will likely be shocked at this and really, can you blame them? This is a conversation that most people do not expect to have. There will be a lot of emotions during the initial revelation, but also in the coming weeks. They may be angry that you kept this from them. it's a fair reaction. This is not an aspect of someone that everyone can accept. They will likely have a lot of questions. Tell them the truth. If you told them you had a business trip last year, but you actually went to Las Vegas for a makeover, this is something you should probably tell them. Nothing good comes from lying and lying about your crossdressing will just harm your relationship and credibility even more.
-Be compassionate. Listen to them. They may be afraid. Sure, today it might be all about panties, but what about in five years? As much as you tell them that you have no intention of transitioning, that fear will always be there. When people enter a committed relationship, it is intended to be a long-term partnership. Their partner changing their gender identity completely transforms the dynamic of the relationship and it's not a change that everyone can live with.
-Think. Think about your partner. The two of you know each other better than anyone else on the planet. Although you have no idea how they will react, you need to think about the best way to tell them. Over the course of a relationship, the two of you will experience wonderful moments but also difficult ones. We have all had to break bad news to our significant others and hopefully we know a little about the right way to reveal something that is potentially devastating or heartbreaking.
Listen, I do not want to scare you to the point where you are even more fearful of coming out than you already are. This is a terrifying conversation to have. No matter how well you know someone, you really don't know how they will react. I understand the hesitation. They may leave us. They may tell everyone. They may ridicule us. These are the fears. These were mine. I believe that being honest about this side of you is always the right choice. Your partner needs to know everything about you, particularly something that they may not be comfortable with. Be honest with who you are, because this IS who you are. Accepting yourself is a gift. Be honest with yourself. Be honest with your partner.
There are many happy and fulfilling relationships between a crossdresser and their partners. The common thread is that they were always honest with each other. I know it's not easy, believe me I know. But it's the right thing to do.