In this post are questions asked by wives in the Private Wives Group which is a support and prayer group for wives of crossdressers. The questions are answered by a few ex-crossdressers from the Online Prayer Group. The wives have very diverse experiences ranging from husbands who actively crossdress with no regret or care to those who have given up crossdressing completely and many experiences in between. The ex-crossdressers who have answered the questions have all committed to giving up crossdressing completely, and they have diverse experiences in terms of how much they still struggle with temptation or not.
The idea for this post was to help the wives who have so many concerns and questions about crossdressing and unfortunately many of these wives have husbands who refuse to talk to them about it or refuse to hear how much crossdressing is hurting their wives. And frankly, sometimes wives may have questions they want to ask that they don’t feel comfortable asking their own husbands, or they might fear they will not get an honest answer. Thus why we made this post together. Hopefully the wives will come away with better understanding of their husbands and more wisdom to handle their difficult marital situations.
To keep anonymity, each person answering used only their initials.
1. What is stopping you from transitioning fully into a woman? Have you heard the joke: What’s the difference between a cross dresser and a transsexual? 2 years.
C: That actually plays a part as to why I’ve stopped engaging with it as much. I realized that going as far as some transsexuals do is ultimately not what I desire, nor what God desires for me. That joke actually ended up helping me more than hindering me, haha.
MP: For me it used to be a consideration and one I started to pursue on my own. I found how I could obtain female hormones and testosterone blocking meds and started to use them. That’s when my bride noticed I was developing breasts, and since I have a very athletic build it was so obvious. I considered my life as a man and, though the temptation of living as an outwardly appearing female way was tempting, that’s all it was. . . A temptation. I like what I’ve accomplished as a man and although the temptation still comes I know God and, deep down inside my own spirit, I know I was meant to be a man. Because of my naturally risky and daring personality, I have to constantly remind myself, “I am who I’m supposed to be”. For those of us that have considered such a drastic life changing procedure, for me I don’t want to be absent from my bride or our son. Truly, I think it would be fun but it would only be for a season. To see and hear what MTF transsexuals have to do to “maintain” an artificial female body, well beyond what a cisgender female has to contend with, is a lot. Many, and I believe it’s a majority, regret what they must now do to maintain themselves. Praise God, He showed me that reality and it was at that point that my heart began to change.
G: God created me a man. By transitioning I would be declaring that God made a mistake and that I know better than Him. It is not what I desire.
E: During the deepest phase of addiction I did wonder if I was trans, because the more I dressed up the more comfortable I felt as a woman and the less comfortable I felt as a man. But as I learned about transgenderism I discovered I’m not trans. One of many reasons is that my country required you to live as a woman for two years before you’d be considered for hormone replacement therapy. That showed a deeper felt-need than what I wanted – crossdressing for me is about other things, such as quick sexual release.
I: I honestly never considered myself on any type of fluid or dynamic journey that way. I just saw myself as a male who really was turned on by female things, even by donning them and feeling the persona of female a little in the imagination for my own pleasure. This of course cut into my self-image in the sense of not feeling like the most masculine male, but I never really swallowed the “female trapped in male body” way of looking at it. In other words, I have never felt really gender confused that way. In my younger days the daydream may have occurred to me to experience it all with actual surgical changes, but pretty universally, this “habit” has been sexual in nature to the point that I would very much not want to lose my key components that way. Sorry, really not trying to be graphic.
J: For me, I started having issues with gender identity at a young age. It may even have started before I started cross dressing. The two have been intertwined for me which I understand is not the same experience other guys have. I didn’t consciously choose to struggle with these particular things but continued on in ignorance for most of my life until I became a Christian. I knew deep down that it did not seem right but the outside world tells us so many lies about it that the truth is so hard to see. Over the past few years, I have really committed to the truth that God made me a man and I have embraced that fully. It has taken a lot of work, counselling, biblical study, and faith that only God can restore me. I actually really enjoy my God given identity now and have a blossoming marriage and family life. I wouldn’t trade that for anything now, especially for a lie that I can “become a woman” which I now find unappealing and ridiculous. I can only praise God for the miraculous change of heart I have experienced.
BO: My answer for what’s stopping me from becoming a trans woman is that being in recovery from my addiction to cross dressing is stopping me from cross dressing which in turn means I don’t get obsessed about becoming a woman. Yes, for me, cross dressing is a set of behaviors that are addictive and cause harm to me and those around me. So stopping cross dressing is the first step in stopping any ideas of me wanting to transition into being a trans female. I can only speak for myself. Cross dressing or becoming a trans woman may work for some, but for me, I’d rather be a husband, father and grandfather and express my maleness in healthy ways. This requires that I be in a program of recovery from cross dressing, similar to the 12 steps for alcoholics, because without help I am unable to stop cross dressing. Here is a link to Cross Dressaholics Anonymous, CDAA, a twelve step program of recovery from cross dressing. On this site the addict or cross dresser who wants to explore what it would take to stop cross dressing can find help. This site includes articles about how to stop cross dressing and info about phone meetings with other cross dressers who want to stop. Cross Dressaholics Anonymous site: https://cda111141949.wordpress.com/
NH: I’ve asked myself the same question, and that started a self-conversation that forced real observation, analysis, and answers, after which I realized some glaring inconsistencies between a woman’s reality and my perception of what being a woman is about. In a nutshell, there is so much to being a woman that has nothing to do with attire. I realized I had created merely an association with women’s clothing with the things I miss as a man – nonsexual characteristics such as gentleness, kindness, fun-loving, delicate, intuitiveness. A big factor is wishing I would not have to be the initiator all the time, but rather a receiver, including in sex. Sex for me is more work. I also saw that being a woman is not all wonderful. From physiological differences such as menstruation to lower metabolism, there are things I enjoy as a man that women do not. Intellectually, women are equal, but emotionally, women- in general, not across the board- are more in touch and able to express from within. Yet, sometimes I am glad I don’t have the flip side where emotions overtake my logic. However, women’s clothing and jewelry is much more attuned to creative expression than men’s attire. Women can and do use clothing, jewelry, hats, shoes, etc., to achieve any kind of look, from happy and carefree to sexy and alluring to rugged outdoorsy to professional and more. I am attracted to women when they dress with purpose, when they’re creative like that. I am not remotely attracted to men. So, when I crossdressed, I was imagining having those characteristics. The silky feel of lingerie is totally opposite to anything in my wardrobe, so it’s very easy to equate the feel to the feminine persona I want to have and am envious of in women.
2. What helps you refrain from cross dressing and falling into temptation?
B: Pursuing loving the Lord Jesus above all else. Also, my accountability partner, an internet filter, and staying busy with productive work and activities. Regular times of sex/intimacy with my wife is key.
C: Building the habit of not engaging in the act and engaging in something else. Additionally, therapy has definitely helped me come to terms with it, along with relying more on God. I’ve found that through a mixture of these things, as well as solid accountability, I’ve actually had my thoughts on the matter of dressing change significantly. While I still have days of temptation, those days result with less and less unholy satisfaction and more and more with disgust and repentance.
MP: Knowing Jesus is in my corner. I’ve heard non believers say that many Christians use Jesus as a crutch. For me, Heck yeah! I lean on Him for everything. He keeps me upright. He keeps me stable. He keeps my soul and spirit healthy. Hmm, just like a crutch 🤔. Other than this prayer group, I wish I had my bride or someone to talk to face to face about my weak times and temptations. With zero judgements. But, for many of us men, it’s hard to know how you’ll accept it, if it will make you think less of us or hold it against us, even unknowingly by our wives. Finding out some of our deepest thoughts are hard to express to someone you love, especially our wives, not knowing what you’ll think of us after it’s been said.
G: I want the freedom that comes with choosing to serve God rather than sin. By drawing closer to Him it has helped me steer clear. The healing from crossdressing website and the prayer group has been a great help as well.
E: Three pronged attack: spiritual, physical, emotional. None of these prevent relapses by themselves but they do make them MUCH less likely that I’ll get into temptation, or if I am feeling tempted they make it more likely I’ll resist. Spiritually, feeding on God’s word either by reading or listening to it. Praying, at all times, about all things including my desire to cross dress. Engaging with the prayer group, especially at key temptation moments. Recalling Scripture. Physically: keeping fit helps keep depression away, and one of the things I turn to when depressed is crossdressing. Physically providing barriers to temptations; not carrying cash so that I can’t buy things in secret, keeping my phone off at certain times. Emotionally: I’ve done a lot of work on understanding my emotions and how to react more evenly to circumstances, and my triggers. These are the normal methods. Sometimes God provides an immediate escape through circumstance. Recently I was packing up after holiday, and was holding a top. I knew I had time as my wife would be occupied downstairs for a good while. But no sooner than I had taken my t-shirt off she was coming up the stairs. There have been many such moments that I can only describe as God’s intervention.
I: It’s a big battle. Probably the biggest “relief” comes when I have my wife expressing herself in feminine clothing, etc. in the bedroom and allowing me to be turned on by it, etc. But even that’s not finally fulfilling in the sense of slaking the endless thirst/fetish. Instead, I have to practice a life of ascetic discipline in all areas to help me (prayer, fasting, confession). Talking things through seems to be my go-to help at staying on the right path. I write and reflect a lot on it to try to sort out my own motives and address them in more appropriate ways. I can tell you that big stress, frustration, disappointment, and depression/despair push me into temptation, and the strongest catalyst into me acting out/failing in my struggle is when I know my wife is willfully withholding from me (whether physically, or even just refusing to share/talk through problems between us). Ultimately, my faith in God is the most important element- and in the Christian faith, grasping the spiritual life that comes from His grace is key.
J: I echo what the other men have written. I have found relief from temptation through honest prayer, accountability with other men who know my struggle, engaging with this prayer group, and being intimate with my wife in a healthy manner. To me, crossdressing is an addiction and recovery is possible given a commitment to honesty, humility, and service. For me the goal is not simply to avoid temptation but to grow in my faith and service to God and my family.
NH: In my assessment of what constitutes a woman and what I was after in my crossdressing, I realized that I was as close to being a woman when wearing women’s attire as I would be to being a cougar if I wore a cougar costume. It was absurd. I finally realized that crossdressing was a gross misappropriation. I had bought the lie that I could truly feel like a woman if I put on feminine things. It was delusional thinking. This website’s prayer group helped me to see that, 1) I was buying a lie from Satan, 2) that I was not alone as the devil whispered that I was, and 3) that I had an addiction (crossdressing) to assuage undeveloped and misguided ideas and feelings.
3. Do you see your wife as a burden, a help or indifferent?
MP: God created our spouse as a “helpmate” Gen. 2:18. Satan paints my bride as a burden or someone to block my personal desires. But just her simple existence in my life makes her a help to my needs. If we sincerely face the spiritual truth regardless how us men feel about it, you are helping us just by being you. You must remember, this is an addiction. And like any addiction, sometimes the temptations and desire to dress up or do “girly things” will be presented to you as a lie that we’re doing something else or we will fight you to do what we want to do. That’s purely the addiction speaking. Alcoholics lie about drinking. Those addicted to drugs lie about popping pills or shooting up. We lie about dressing up. Trust me, each one of us feels the guilt of telling you anything other than the honest truth.
G: My wife is a HUGE help. She will not tolerate this sin and has helped me to re-adjust my priorities in life by demanding I strive to live free from this addiction.
E: A HUGE help, in all other areas than this area. She just doesn’t want to hear about it. It’s too painful for her, and I respect that. In some ways this is a help, as it means I know how much it hurts her. I do however wonder if it would make temptations or the thought of it go quicker if I could say that I was struggling earlier, or even just talk about the issue as a general issue, not necessarily tied to my temptations.
I: At different times, my wife is definitely all three. She is the worst burden when she is indifferent. When she is actively working against me, it causes flare ups, but it’s easier for me to understand and work through – usually allowing me to see where I am in the wrong with more clarity. When she tries to help, I move leaps and bounds forward, as long as she is not forceful or rude. The longer I am married (now over 10 years), and the longer that any indifference runs its course and/or finds deeper and more secluded hiding places in our relationship, the more I feel I am growing completely apart into my own ingrown life (and ultimately death). I don’t know if my marriage will endure in such a state once the kids are gone, since there will be no more of the binding duty we both feel for their sake to make things work. I strive not to see myself as the victim, but rather to consider how I can be better and do better.
J: I think my wife is incredibly helpful. I recognize now her desire is to come along side me in my struggle and help however she can. She tends not to withhold intimacy from me knowing she is the only healthy outlet for me. She listens to me when I need to talk, but she also doesn’t enable me to continue crossdressing. Believe me, my wife is not perfect. She has her own character flaws and those can be burdensome to me at times. But we both recognize our need for Christ and are committed to working it out.
NH: For a long time, my wife was a burden because she would say things that conveyed disdain for any man that would crossdress. How could I share with her my struggle when I felt she’d look at me with such disgust? She is an incredibly kind person, yet like all of us, she was blind to her own judgmental side.
4. If your wife was to leave you because of your cross dressing or inability/unwillingness to be intimate with her, how might you feel?
MP: First of all, I’d be crushed. But, I’d understand. And I think many of us men here would agree. We never want you to have to make that decision, but completely ridding ourselves of this addiction is never going to happen. Even if we stop, it will be a lifelong war and the daily battle takes its toll in various ways. While we’re in those battles we understand the potential effects and fall out it could have. That leaves us with the cold hard fact, that you, our spouse, just may not want to deal with those daily and lifelong battles. Before I asked my bride to marry me, I had a long talk with her regarding divorce. This discussion was mostly me stating that in no uncertain terms is divorce an option or a word in my marriage vocabulary. I explained how I had a unique shaped, empty hole in my heart that God filled perfectly with her. She is God’s gift to me. Nothing she could do to me would ever change my thoughts regarding that. My wife for life. On the flip-side, only she knows if she honestly feels the same. This challenge that was found out by her about 10 years into our marriage had to be devastating, and thus far she has remained my bride. Intimacy has been our biggest issue. My brain has been so twisted by my thoughts and the fact I’ve done this for 45 years that intimacy is very rare. Even for me just to hold my bride and make her feel intimately loved takes special thought and effort. It has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with her (or you). Since our brains are obviously wired differently we don’t see things that turn on “regular guys” the same. You are all beautiful women and each of your husbands love and married you for a particular reason or reasons. I’m sure when you do specific things to turn him on and they are not viewed as a turn on, it is hurtful and feels you’re being rejected. Finding a new definition of intimacy is needed and may require some sacrifices and understanding from both sides. I can say this, in most cases, your husband loves you and wants you to remain his wife. I cannot imagine myself with anyone other than my bride. And the little intimacy we share I wouldn’t give to anyone else. If they’re using this prayer group, just as you are, there is something still there that’s special.
E: My wife once did sleep in the spare room once to show me she couldn’t bear to be with me, due to a worsening porn problem. She did threaten to leave me if I was to look up that particular thing again. I felt numb. I knew she meant it. I hated that I caused such disgust in her. I knew I couldn’t be intimate with her – either emotionally or physically – until I changed, and until she forgave me. This scared me because I had no idea how long that might be. At the same time it drove me to make changes. It was a wake-up call. I think it worked because she didn’t tell me she was going to do this in the heat of the moment. It’s easy to over-blow things we’re thinking in the moment. Rather, my side said it afterward, as a rational, “this is what I must do.” It was a necessary and logical outflow of my actions.
I: If one partner refuses intimacy (or any normal relational element for that matter), I think separation/divorce is almost inevitable, so I definitely wouldn’t be surprised at that. “Inability” is a little more tricky and involves more understanding and mercy about what’s going on. But there has to be work done there. Again, if it just stays like that for too long, I see it all dying. I’m kind of a pessimist that way. If my wife up and left me over this stuff I would completely understand- I thought she was going to when I first confessed it to her- I accepted it beforehand. I would understand almost anything- her hating my guts, being grossed out, being afraid, being interested, or whatever. It would, however, make me very upset not to have a warning or open dialogue about this before she just disappeared. It would crush me if she went on to tear my life apart by sharing this with others. I don’t know how I’d even handle hurt like that.
J: As much as I would be absolutely devastated, I completely understand. My crossdressing is a threat to her own feminine identity. She deserves better than that, honestly. I know the burden of keeping our family whole remains on my shoulders as the husband and I accept that responsibility.
NH: Awful, a failure, and mad at myself.
5. Do you see your crossdressing desire as a choice or something you were born with, and therefore out of your control?
B: I don’t think I was born with it, but it developed at such a young age that it was definitely not a conscious choice. Who would choose it? The fact that it wasn’t a choice does not mean it is out of my control. A person can be born blind, but they can choose to give in to despair, or to learn things that will help them live a full life despite their condition.
C: I don’t think me seeing it as something I was born with or something I chose is really relevant. I’m a firm believer that my choices now are what are important as they either encourage me to pursue a more holy life, or they push me toward sin.
MP: There’s no way it’s a choice. What boy or man would want to face the locker room talk or the stereotypes that go along with being a crossdresser? I also don’t believe one can be born with it. After a lot of self searching I know I was influenced by certain things at a very young age. Besides my crossdressing side I have other things I contend with. I have absolutely been able to link those desires directly to things I saw, experienced or heard stories about from my parents that, at a really, really young age, triggered how I started thinking, “I wanna be like that too.” Because it started at such a young age it became ingrained in who I am now. Let’s take a very simple example. As little girls you’re always taught to sit with your knees together or crossed when you wear a dress. It’s just proper. Do you, now as a woman, even think about it? It just happens since you saw it, experienced it and did it as a little girl. At some point, our male mind was influenced by some feminine input that we followed, unknowingly, and it grew. Now that it’s been a part of us for so long, it feels out of our control but it takes a new devotion to overcome it. It’s not that easy. Just try to sit in a dress with your knees apart now.
G: I don’t think I was born like this but rather developed at such a young age that I didn’t really have a choice. However, I certainly have a choice as an adult. I am in control of my own actions and choices, albeit at times choices are very difficult they are still none the less mine to choose.
E: I’ve often thought about this and I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t need to know whether I was born with it, or whether it came after birth. It doesn’t matter. I can’t control what’s innate in me, what was my environment growing up, how I was raised, or what my natural desires were. I can’t control that I have desires. But I can control what I do with my desires. I have choices today. I can choose whether to engage with my crossdressing desires or choose to trust God in and with them. I can choose to ignore the bad desires and follow the good. And the funny thing is, I’ve learnt it’s a bit like living with depression. So often I need to act regardless of how I feel. I don’t feel like doing the dishes. Tough! They need done anyhow! William James wrote “actions beget feelings.” I do think the more we dwell and act healthily the more our feelings toward those healthy things grow.
I: I always see behavior as rooted in choice as a matter of principle (psychological, philosophical, and theological). But this does not negate influences to that choice at all. I wouldn’t have ever thought this was a genetic type of thing for me (i.e. “born with it”) so much as a matter of social-emotional narrative of how I experienced life and came to explore my own sense of sexuality. Yet, it certainly started pre-pubescent for me and is so powerfully a part of my history that I feel like I’ll probably always struggle my entire earthly life. Here I am in my 40s and it has not gone away as much as I have hoped it would in my more desperate times. Maybe I’m just not being stern enough. Maybe it can all die out eventually if I stop enjoying it from time to time. Hard to say. I’ve tried a bit over the last decade and I can say things are more mild in general, but I think that’s also because I’m getting older and a little past my prime, so to speak. Also the “illusion” in the mirror is definitely mostly lost these days…
J: Definitely not a conscious choice, but also not something I was born with (therefore I do accept responsibility). If I could pick a particular vise, it would be making too much money…but seriously I don’t wish this upon anyone. If I could go back and make better choices as a 10-year-old kid I certainly would. But the nature of this is such that once you are in this at a young age without a relationship with the Lord, it’s likely the choice is now out of reach. It took the Holy Spirit to work a miracle in my heart, I believe, to warrant the change necessary for me to leave this awful addiction behind.
NH: Both. I feel like there is something beyond my control or choices that put this struggle there, but I also have seen that engaging in crossdressing or entertaining thoughts of crossdressing or that being a woman would be “better” as willful choices on my part. What is it that makes one young boy think that wearing women’s attire is satisfying and yet it’s repulsive to another boy? I don’t think the curse of the Fall of mankind is limited to the physical realm. We see evidence that our minds are affected by previous generations as well. I also know that apart from discovering the tremendous love God has for me, and the work of the Spirit, I would not have found freedom from this crossdressing addiction.
6. Do you have a secret email, credit card or postal address for your purchases that your wife doesn’t know about?
B: I never did.
C: Nope. When I was in deep, I definitely fantasized about doing so, however.
MP: Email, yes. I had a credit card that she found out about, so I found another way. Yes, I had a P.O. Box. And purchases I was able to disguise. Since then, I have tried to be accountable by knowing she’ll see what I purchased at certain places. Knowing that curtails the desire to buy things I shouldn’t. That also helped me to get away from going to websites I shouldn’t, since going there would end up in purchases. There’s not a lot you can do about these three things. That lies more on your husband to close his credit card account, close his P.O. box and link his purchases to where you can see them. If he knows you’re not going to accept it, it will be done secretively. A good approach could be, “I’d like to see your purchases on the credit card so I know how much you’re spending.” Do not get upset, take time to truly see how much he is spending specifically on crossdressing, then help him reduce how much he’s spending, little by little. If you’re open and willing to work thru it instead of just making him do it forcefully and cold turkey, he may work with you too. Otherwise, it will remain a secret.
G: Yes, I used an email at times in the past. Never had a P.O. box or credit card.
E: The email I use for the prayer group is the old one I used for purchases. I still use it because my real email has my surname in it. One of the reasons we got a joint bank account was precisely so that I could stop burning through my salary on clothes (or anything else!) This has won so many battles for me. I did once have an item sent to work but I felt uncomfortable using work for personal things. I used PayPal because it is easier to keep secret. Amazon locker is a secretive place to get things sent to as you’re in control of when you pick it up, and it doesn’t necessarily need any extra journeying, which would arouse suspicion.
I: My separate email for this stuff is known to my wife (though she has never once tried to log into it or read anything- not even my extensive blog that she knows I keep but I don’t think has ever once visited or read a word of). I have, in my failures, opened a separate amazon account and ordered stuff (with the credit card that we share in our shared bank account, but she never looks at the records- nor would an “amazon” charge raise any suspicions since that’s a regular occurrence in our house). I had it mailed to amazon locker rather than a P.O. box… I did, in my single days have a P.O. box just for this kind of stuff. That kind of life/behavior is something I consider to be a drastic straying and I snapped back quickly and threw it all away. I couldn’t really live that kind of double life and feel right about it. I promised my wife early on that I would not live a secret life like that around this stuff. I have had to talk to her about my failures to assure her I am being honest and not hiding.
J: Yes, I have used all of these except the PO box. But I would find ways of getting things shipped discretely anyway. When I look back on this pattern of secrecy and lies I am so grateful I don’t have anything to hide anymore. Keeping all that up took so much energy and completely wrecked my heart. Being able to look my wife in the eye and tell her I’m not hiding anything anymore is priceless. If you are still concerned about this I suggest asking him about it. His reaction will tell you all you need to know.
NH: No. I’ve never bought anything. I just wore my wife’s things.
7. If your children (under 18) were to find out about your crossdressing, how would you explain it to them?
MP: My son never found out from birth to 18 years old. He’s now 20 years old and still doesn’t know. I had a constant dream of him finding out or discovering me and how I’d approach it. The only conclusion I would always come to was to just sit down and explain it from a lifelong experience and the things I believed started my desire to crossdress. The “birds and bees” would have to be presented to help them understand that it’s not only a private matter but a sexual matter. No excuses. Kids can sense a coverup. And reinforce the fact it’s a family and private matter. Seek spiritual family counseling, as needed, by a counselor who works with or understands crossdressing.
E: That thought terrifies me, and acts as a motivation to stop. I can’t think of any way to explain it that would either make sense or demonstrate how harmful it is. But in my society’s education, he would likely be taught it’s okay for men to dress as women and vice versa. I would hope to have a “crossdressing is harmful” conversation at some point. And how can I do that if I’m actively engaged in it? He would say “but dad…” and I’d have no leg to stand on.
I: Oh, God forbid. Seeing as it could happen, I would try to brush it away if at all possible (divert attention/thought to something else often works and they forget a topic). If actually addressing it, I would have to tell them something honest- that dad has an issue where he sometimes gets really curious about that and tries stuff on, but that he knows it’s really not for him and that he is happy that God made him a man and the dad and the husband of mom. It might spur a discussion about how we dress and what it projects and how we can/should live out our callings by God, and also that we should keep our outward life in order just as we do inwardly, etc. If they were older and understood sexuality some, it could be emphasized that this same ethic and struggle carries over to that as well. I would do all I could to help them understand that they should strive to live healthy lives in this area, prayerfully preventing the kind of mess that can come later.
J: I have 3 small children that know nothing of all of this. I do think one day I will share with them the truth especially since they are bound to encounter this with other people who have this struggle and will look to me for help understanding. I have striven to raise my children in the Church with a Christian worldview and I can now point them in the right direction. Had they found out when I was still active in my addiction this would have been different. I think they could have been deeply wounded by my actions.
NH: I would be totally embarrassed. This has been a deterrent to keep me extra careful and at times to say, “I’m done with this,” only to get sucked into crossdressing again in the future. However, I have thought about what I’d say about this were it ever to come out. I’d tell them that I had an addiction, that l grossly misappropriated women’s clothing for a need to feel loved on a secure, protective, gentle, adored manner. Even as I write this, I’m recognizing that that feeling was connected to my mom’s love for me and that my wife’s ways were kind of harsh in comparison (even if she was trying her best). I realize now that I attributed one kind of love to my mom and a distinctly different type of love to my dad (who was a very loving and good dad). I would tell my kids that I longed to be nurtured and substituted that longing with the feeling of women’s clothing. Embarrassing, but forgivable.
8. What can us wives do to encourage you from crossdressing?
B: As long as the husband is not actively sinning by crossdressing, a wife can really help by having regular times of sex. It also helps when the wife dresses femininely. That way the husband can enjoy feminine beauty in its proper place. A wife should also be extremely firm to never tolerate this sin.
MP: Communication. I don’t want to dispute what B said, but for me, more sex is not the answer. I stated earlier that I don’t function as a male should anymore. Be it age or that I’ve mentally rewired my brain, sex is not an attraction to me. And my bride wearing more feminine clothing does not do it for me either. In fact, it’s important for me not to imagine her in certain clothing because somehow my thoughts turn towards me wearing those things. Sitting and spending good quality time with my bride is what’s important. Sadly, she has brought up that she feels more like a roommate than a wife. That comment is what I want to work to change.
G: Stay steadfast against any type of crossdressing. Don’t deny regular intimacy. As hard as it may be, from time to time ask what we are doing to stay plugged into God and how we are avoiding temptation.
E: Help to be or find the antidote. What I looked for in crossdressing was: To feel sexy; to feel comfortable; to feel positive about myself; to get away from all that I hated about being a man. My wife showed me, or pushed me to understand through other means: She found me sexy; how to be comfortable; that she valued me; what she loved about me as a man. She didn’t do that by herself, and I don’t suggest any wives do that themselves. I had to put in a lot of hard work to learn my deeper motives and find other ways of thinking and behaving during my tempting times – through reading, thinking, psychology services, talking, this blog, the prayer group. Likewise she had others to talk to. Find out what it is beyond the clothes that’s going on and help your man learn a better way! Something that worked really well for me was to see how much it cost my wife to forgive me. If she had simply brushed it under the carpet and moved on, I wouldn’t have had any more empathy for her or understood the seriousness of what I had done. She spoke openly about how much it hurt her and why. Similarly, just by being herself she showed me what true femininity was, something more than just the clothes and stereotypes I had built up in my head. She broke those stereotypes for me and so broke the allure of crossdressing.
I: Besides reiterating question 2 above, some things come to mind: a. pray for him. I certainly forget this tool far too often for problems of every sort. Always pray. Not only for his deliverance from the behavior or its pulls into devastating failures in life, but also for protection since I think this weakness makes him a vulnerable target to the enemy, easily shaken and thrown off course in self-condemnation, fear, distraction, etc; b. forgive him (over and over). I’m not saying to just enable him to do whatever he wants without changing course. But I can tell you that 10 years ago my wife saw me in heels. She has never forgiven me for that grotesque sight. I’m sure it’s hard. Forgetting is something different (likely impossible), but forgiveness can be felt and distance can be blaring; c. affirm him in his life, self, body, career, or whatever. Men need their woman to be in their corner. We can be amazingly strong against outrageous emotional challenges, but we also have a deep need for womanly affection that it is painfully humiliating to ask for; d. please do not talk about this to other family/friends in your life. That’s my own personal opinion speaking, but I would be crushed to death if I found out this was leaked out without my explicit approval.
J: Like others have said: stop enabling us, hold us accountable, work on your own ability to fulfill your role in a godly marriage. I truly believe strong marriages develop as the result of following God’s design for it. That means that men must reject passivity, accept responsibility, lead courageously, and focus his heart on the Lord. I think women have a part in enabling this by honoring their husband, supporting and openly admiring him, and providing physical response as well. This doesn’t mean enabling poor behavior but rewarding the good behavior.
NH: Be gracious and humble, knowing, believing that everyone has something that we’d be embarrassed about should God reveal it. Give us room to try and figure out why we do what we do. Don’t talk at us, don’t lecture, condemn, scoff, be derisive, but provide the space and focus to help us talk through the whole crossdressing thing. Talk with us, not at us. My wife and I finally had a conversation about it. I was able to open up to her after she had, on her own, dearth with issues in her past that had gripped her with anger, bitterness, and judgement. What a good, wonderful thing it has been to finally share this. She’s been kind, inquisitive, patient. Try and separate the man from the addiction. Then your husband won’t feel, see, or read your disdain and repulsiveness. If he picks that up from you, it’ll make it harder for him to resist retreating to that private world of escape. When of a strong mind, he doesn’t want to go there. But when tired, weary, feeling alone or longing for love, he might believe that he can find those things there. You’re his best friend and the best one to be used by God to help him replace the lies and empty promises of crossdressing for the delight and love found only in his Maker. Thanks for your interest in helping your husband find freedom.
9. While dressing during your marriage, did you feel you were using your wife and marriage solely for your personal gain at her expense, and what would you have done if your wife was using you and your marriage solely for her own personal gain?
G: I never felt that way as it was secret. I always regretted dressing and generally wanted it out of my life even though at times I wouldn’t have admitted that. I do greatly regret having kept a secret from my wife all those years until I told her. But that was the first step towards healing.
E: I never consciously thought that, but that’s what was happening. The more I dressed the less I did for her, partly because of the time, and the side-effects of a worsening mood and lack of energy. Conversely when I stopped dressing I had more mental energy to look and see her needs and seek to meet them. I’m not sure about the second part to the question. I think I’m mostly okay with that. In marriage we are to help each other grow and blossom so that they can reach others. So if she was using me for her own personal gain I would be saddened she wasn’t meeting her potential to look out to others. But if I knew that she was wanting sex for her own gain, without a thought for me, I think I would feel horrid because I now realise how horrid it was to use her like that.
I: Not in the global all-or-nothing sense. In the bedroom, I can be pretty focused on my own pleasure sometimes, but not the entire relationship. I never dressed openly or anything- not in any time together other than by mistake once (came home early and I had shoes on), so I’m not sure what dressing in marriage really means. Based on what I think is meant, that sounds like things are pretty lopsided and unhealthy for a real marriage. I have often wished my wife had some sort of fetish or way that she could be easily aroused. I’ve told her that I would do that thing for her non-stop. I try to set aside times regularly to work on her pleasure slowly, carefully, focused only on her. And I definitely pour out my life in general in a sacrificial way for her and our family. If I felt “used” by her, it would certainly hurt. I think anyone should empathize with that. And if I felt the entire marriage was a sham so she could wear my pants without social criticism or something like that, I’d have a very difficult time not quickly making some ultimatums and setting up my boundaries as I prepared to walk away.
J: I think to a degree, marriage is selfish in nature. I think God gives us in marriage to meet each other’s needs and that is biblical in nature. I do think my crossdressing created a situation where I was abusing this design and working it for my own good at the expense of my wife’s security and that was terrible. Like I said above, I think crossdressing is a threat to my wife’s security and one of my roles as a husband is to provide for her security and God holds me responsible for that. She has always done her best to provide for me physically and I have also abused that as well. I think on the flip side there are ways she has abused what I provide her as well such as overspending on frivolous items and threatening the financial security I provide her. I think every marriage has its own power struggles, but that’s just an example for me. Again, I think adapting biblical roles for marriage and growing in these areas makes us more complimentary to each other and makes our bond stronger and more fulfilling. We certainly still have a lot of room for growth but have come a long way in the past few years. There is hope!