THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN
Many of our Transgender Life features here tell of understanding wives. Unfortunately, such reactions are not always the ones encountered. Here, an anonymous wife of a transvestite gives a point of view that may be all too familiar…
The marriage guidance people suggested I wrote down my feelings about everything that’s happened. I don’t think it’ll do any good, but I’m not going to be accused
of not trying.
My God, I’ve tried to understand. I’ve tried to forgive, but every time he comes anywhere near me he gives me the creeps. To think I married him and I loved him and trusted him and he’s done this to me. You think you know someone and suddenly one day it all pops out. I daren’t tell even my best friend about it. It all makes me feel so dirty and used.
When I got married I wasn’t entirely inexperienced, if you see what I mean, but even so, my mother thought she could pass on a bit of advice. You know the sort of things mothers go on about. Share the job. Don’t become a drudge or a mat for him but try to have some common interests.
It puzzled me when she went on about men’s foibles, I presumed she was going on about sex but Bill and I had always enjoyed it. He wasn’t fantastic but he was understanding and frankly I’d assumed if one of us was going to stray, it would have been me.
For weeks I’d half noticed something different about him. I wasn’t sure what it was but now I’ve decided it was he didn’t walk about the house naked any more. We’re not nudists or anything but when we come out of the shower and are getting dressed, we’re not shy about our bodies.
Suddenly, he became shy about this. It was odd rather than disturbing. I began to peek at him when he didn’t think I was looking. I found it a bit of a turn-on but he was strangely reluctant until the lights were out.
The fateful Saturday he was getting dressed when I saw those marks on his body. They looked vaguely familiar, but I innocently asked him what they were, conversation as much as anything. His reaction was startling. He blushed in embarrassment and muttered. Oddly, I recalled a comment of my mother’s, “Beware when a man mumbles”. I’d laughed at the time but now I just knew there was something wrong. What the marks were still didn’t occur to me and since I thought we had always been open with each other I pressed him. I was interested and cared!
That’s what hurts. I cared and then he threw this back at me. I still can’t bring myself to use the words he stuttered out. Harmless, he claimed, but how would you feel if you were sure your husband had been trying on your personal things? The marks? They were from bra shoulder straps that were too tight! Not to mention some sort of waist clincher. To give him shape, he said.
He’s always been so normal and suddenly I find he’s a pervert and has been visiting some place where he’s been dressing up. It gives me the shivers just thinking about it. The marriage guidance counsellor said I mustn’t get emotional? How would you feel if there was that niggling uncertainty your husband wanted to be a woman. And act like a woman?
I sent him off to sleep in the spare room. I couldn’t bear to have him near me. Then I began to wonder. I’m a normal girl. I like my bit of fun and fantasise with the best of them, but the thought I’ve been engaged, unwittingly, in a lesbian thing during our married life gives me the creeps…
It’s not knowing him that upsets me. He’s had a secret life all these years and heaven knows who he’s been with. He’s lied about everything. The thought he’s been trying on my knickers and bras made me throw them all away. I keep them locked now.
What really gets to me is I can’t forget him. Is it his feminine side that’s made him understanding and what I thought as a best friend and companion as well as being my lover? Have I been in love all these years with a half-woman and that’s what attracted me to him? There lies the problem. Not only do I have to face his perversions, but just perhaps I have to face my own sexuality and motivations.
What if it’s his female half that attracted me? I have to admit I’m the forceful one of the two of us. They say we women should take control of our lives and bodies and decide for ourselves. Perhaps Bill wants the mirror image of that and wants to be more dependent and passive and the natural extension is to want to be softer and to take on my traditional role. It’s disturbing turning all I’ve taken for granted topsy turvy.
He’s sworn he’s not gay and that he’s not been unfaithful to me, but can I believe him? If I do believe him, what do I do? If I make him promise to give it all up, can he? When he broke down and confessed he was clearly very upset and said he didn’t think he could give it up. Do I force him back into the clandestine world he’s been living in or do I invite ‘her’ into our home?
‘She’ definitely can’t use anything of mine, but how do I feel about ‘her’? Will it be ‘Bill’ in drag or will she be a real person? I don’t know whether I could cope with either, even though I suspect it might be best for Bill.
Despite everything, I simply can’t bring myself to forget Bill. He’s been part of my life for the past ten years and I keep on thinking about that stupid phrase of my mother’s, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander”.
Bill stood by and supported me when I wanted to go for promotion and took time off work to attend the wives interview, despite being the only male there. I expected him to cope with role reversal for me. It’s strange he hasn’t argued back like I expected him to.
He never mentioned that interview even though they made no concessions to him being the only male and insisted he trailed around with the half dozen wives. Did he enjoy himself more than he admitted?
I was told afterwards that my promotion was due to a great extent to the way he handled himself. He’s never thrown back at me my comment at the time about the blurring of roles in a modern marriage. Nor has he ever protested about the cooking, shopping and household tasks he takes the greater share of. Yet I expect him to be macho, when it suits me.
I wish I had chosen to ignore those remarks. My questions started something I can’t stop now.
I must be mad. I’ve decided to meet Bill’s other half and I’m not going to show what I’ve written to the guidance counsellor. I must try not to laugh if Bill looks silly, but if he wants to dress at home he’s going to have to do it properly. If he thinks being a woman is easy, he’s going to learn it isn’t.
In fact, if he wants to do it all, he’s going to find out how we suffer to keep our figures and looks. Yes, I want him to suffer for what I’m going through now, but that way we might both get something out of the next six months…