By Julie Freeman
Julie Freeman is the wife of a crossdresser who has been active in the gender community for over twenty years, particularly with significant others and couples groups. She has contributed to many gender newsletters and magazines over the years and currently writes articles on gender issues for the Diablo Valley Girls newsletter, Devil Woman. She may also be reached through the DVG hotline at (925) 937-8432 or by snail mail to DVG, PO Box 272885, Concord, CA 94527-2885
We know that when crossdressers first meet others like themselves and start comparing notes, so to speak, they find that many have had the same experiences. They begin to realize that in spite of their differences they are very much like the others around them. It helps immensely to forge those strong bonds we see in the gender community.
So it should come as no surprise that the wives and partners of crossdressers, when they compare notes, should find themselves sharing many of the same experiences.
When a significant other first calls a hotline, or attends a support group, or meets others at a convention, one of the best outcomes is finding that she has much in common with other significant others. She realizes she is not alone in her fears, concerns, questions, problems. It is the fact that we wives and partners find that we have so much in common that helps us, I believe, to become more understanding and tolerant of our crossdressing husbands. We begin to find answers to commonly asked question We also find that many of us, way too many, were in despair before our husbands or partners came out to us. We knew that something was wrong, but we did not know what it was. In some cases, we were on the verge of divorce; in other cases, we were baffled and bewildered by a declining relationship which many of us felt had to be our fault.
So what are these factors which seem to underline many relationships BEFORE the crossdresser comes out to his wife or partner:
1. Husbands had become increasingly cool, aloof and distant.
2. Husbands were blaming them for everything that was going wrong in the marriage.
3. Husbands were spending time away from the families.
4. Some financial expenditures could not be explained satisfactorily.
5. Husbands were becoming more and more involved in projects and less involved with the family.
6. Husbands did not want children or did not want any more children.
7. Husbands were drinking more.
8. Husbands were getting angry more easily.
9. Husbands did not want to discuss any of these concerns with their wives; their wives were only imagining there were problems.
Now certainly not all wives experienced the same factors nor did all experience them to degrees of discomfort. But I believe it is important for all of us to know that these factors have appeared in some degree in many relationships.
Therefore it should not come as a surprise that transgender relationships need healing in many ways. It is not always the crossdressing surprise that upsets and bothers wives and partners. It is the fact that for a long time many of them felt they were to blame; they must have done something wrong for the relationship to sour. The crossdresser needs also to rebuild his relationship with his wife and partner and this may take a lot of time.
(This article first appeared in Devil Woman, the newsletter of the Diablo Valley Girls.)