How to Get Away from Cross-Dresser?
Q: I have been married for 18 years. My husband is 67, and I am 53. I recently learned that he is a cross-dresser and that on business trips out of town he has donned full female garb, complete with wig, make-up, dress and shoes. Might I add that he does not make an attractive woman. We are now sleeping in separate bedrooms because I cannot deal with this. Seems he kept his clothes hidden away from home. He says he is not gay, but I am not sure. I am beside myself because I had no inkling that he was like this. I would have never married him. Both of his ex-wives apparently knew about it. I cannot look at him without seeing this "drag woman" picture in my head. I want out of the marriage, but he says we can't afford to divorce. I haven't worked for 15 years and have no real skills in the current market, and jobs are hard to find. What should he be responsible for, in order for me to get out of this lie of a marriage? He went to therapy, but quit, saying he could handle it on his own. Please help. -- Jackie, 53
Dr. Susan: The majority of cross-dressers are heterosexual males. Not gay. Before you run, I suggest you educate yourself about this behavior that your husband finds so necessary in his life. Numerous websites offer views on what cross-dressing is all about. It's not necessarily "curable," nor does it have to be a problem unless it causes distress in the cross-dresser's life. Yes, his fetish is certainly causing you distress, but I don't get the idea that he has any interest in giving it up regardless. But try to understand that one reason he didn't confide in you about his secret life is that he feared exactly this kind of repulsed reaction. A completely open and honest discussion between the two of you could be helpful.
If you still insist on splitting from him, you will have to plan carefully. Your mate should take an active role in helping you out, as he is the one who has been lying to you for such a long time. On the other hand, you've been married for nearly two decades. Have you been very unhappy? Is your urge to split mainly because you can't get that unsexy picture out of your head? Some women do manage to become accustomed to the idea. If not, you might consider going to school first to learn new skills to make you employable.
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.