Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Trying to Organize my Thoughts

I wanted to write a post about relationships and how William's and my relationship is faring. But there are too many random thoughts flitting around in my brain. So I thought I'd just write all the thoughts down and see what happens...

Sex is something that all (well, okay...most) animals do in order to procreate. Procreation is a biological need for most species...but not humans. Humans choose to have sex for pleasure and several do not feel any need to procreate at all. While masturbation is acceptable, most prefer sexual intercourse with another human being.

Relationships are vital to human beings. Studies have been done on infants, depriving them of human touch and affections...nearly all of them died. Love is vital. Human touch is vital. So why do AGP's try so very hard to satisfy all of those needs within themselves?

I read somewhere that when a part of your life becomes dysfunctional, it's importance in your life becomes disproportionately large. Much larger than it should be. I have found that to be true in my life. I'm sure it's true for many who are trying to "find themselves."

Why do some AGP's only imagine that they are female when they want to have sex while others feel more feminine in other areas of their life. Is this then the difference between those who eventually choose to transition and those who do not? Can AGP be a gender identity issue for some and a sexual fetish for others? Is it the same AGP then? or is it actually different?

The issue of inadequacy and low self-esteem seems to be related to AGP, but are they caused BY the AGP or are they a result of the AGP. It seems to be a case of "which came first, the chicken or the egg?"

William has pretty low self-esteem when it comes to his looks. He is a very nice looking man. I thought so the first time I met him - and I still think so today. He, however, does not find himself attractive as a male at all. He sees himself as a "geek" and focuses on his "bad points" - which, oddly enough, do not matter to me in the slightest. He does, however, find himself attractive when dressed in drag. Obviously, his perspective is extremely skewed!__________________________________________

Not sure what really to make of all of these thoughts, but it was worth writing them down to get them out of my head. I'll finish with a quote I read yesterday by Emerson "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Feelings of Power? or Powerlessness?

Something happened this weekend that has me asking some questions and I'm hoping that some of my readers can offer some insight.

William had a bad day on Saturday. He was out doing "manly-man things" with a few male friends - and things didn't go like he wanted them to. He came home frustrated and irritated with himself. And he'd only been home for about 15 minutes when he came to me and asked me to follow him into the bedroom. He hesitated for only a moment and then confess that he was having an almost uncontrollable urge to dress in [something specific]. He said he was "about ready to come out of his skin. He just needed to do it right now" I asked what he wanted to do after he put the outfit on and he just shrugged. He asked me if he could. It was not the most convenient time (our kids were upstairs playing with a friend), but after considering it, I locked the bedroom door while he went and dressed. It was just the outfit and high heels. He admired himself in the mirror for a minute and then we had sex. It was over pretty quickly. Afterwards, he held me for a few minutes and kissed me. After we dressed in regular clothing, he kissed me again and thanked me - he said that he felt much better.

So...I have tons of thoughts about what happened... To start with, one of the things that I've been reading under the addiction component is that one should never use one's partner as an "object" to satisfy their sexual urges. I agree that this is part of a reasonable definition of a healthy sexual relationship. In this particular case, William did come get me when he felt an extreme urge; he asked me if it was okay - and I said yes; so in that sense, I'm not sure that I was completely "objectified", but I definitely felt that I was not an important piece of the act. It was completely all about him, the way his bum looked in his outfit, his heels - I was superfluous. I also felt that, in the moment, I really didn't have a choice to say "no." Now, obviously I had a choice, but I was definitely worried that if I said no, he would justify going off and doing something for himself - and that was definitely the worse option. (Just for the record - I have NEVER said "no" to him. He's said "no" to me plenty of times, but I have never said "no.")

I brought these questions up to William the next evening. Even though I was not angry (although just talking about this subject continues to bring up some hurt feelings and those can come through as anger) and William tried hard NOT to be defensive, we struggled a bit together to discuss what happened calmly and rationally. And after some discussion, we really didn't come to any big epiphanies. Neither of us are sure if my agreeing to what happened was the "right" thing to do. William admitted that if I had said no, he may have possibly justified going off and satisfying his urges on his own (he continues to maintain that he has not done that since my discovery), so his intent (and hope) in asking me was so that he wouldn't do anything to jeopardize our progress. Our hope is now that we have identified some of the "what-ifs" and possibilities inherent in this particular urge of his, in the future, William will be better able to cope with it. He does not want to resort to justifying an action that he knows would hurt us. He stated his hope that by discussing this now, next time he comes to me with an urge, I can help him try to control them- at least until a more convenient time. Eventually, we hope that he can control his urges as opposed to being controlled by them. Wow -this just occurred to me - if we are able to follow through with this, we are truly becoming "partners"...aren't we? sorry, I digress...

My blog doesn't end there, however...
As I have continued to consider what happened, more questions have come to my mind: why then? Why the "almost uncontrollable urge" right then? In an email he wrote a few days later to his brother about the events of that day, he described "putting himself down to his friends first before they had a chance to point out how useless he was." That statement made me pause to consider two posts that I read recently. The first, on http://www.autogynephiliac.blogspot.com/, one of the latest posts briefly described one theory of sexual/social selection as having to do with social "power groups" and the males "plumage" gaining him admittance to such social groups. The second was a comment left on one of my blog postings, Ag_in_Doubt, a self-described AGP, described his theory of AGP as "Through fantasies, [AGP's] escape their actual selves and the intimidating real life sexual reality that is likely to cause them shame and embarrassment. In exchange, they invert the situation and become vessels of sexual power, bestowing untold pleasures and delight upon the kinds of men they think they ought to be...You see, as the regular "us" in our everyday lives, we walk into a room and feel ugly and unnoticed by women - and scorned by the men. Our standing in the sexual pecking order brings nothing but insecurity and shame. But when we BECOME HER, all that is changed. " This felt "right" at the time I read it - it seems even more pertinent now, considering Saturday's events. Was William's need to dress a direct result of his feelings of failure and worthlessness in doing a typically "male" thing? Did he need to regain his power by dressing like a woman, thus becoming "powerful"?

More questions follow in my mind: Does William really consider women the more "powerful" group? And why? I've noticed that William's ideas of what women are and want are not "real." His fantasies are just that...fantasies. I think when he dresses, he becomes what he wants in a woman - again, completely satisfying his own needs himself...

Anyway, to sum up and get to my questions for all of YOU...
I'm still not convinced that AGP fully falls into any defined category out there - gender, sexual orientation, addiction, transvestism, fetish....any and all fit some aspects of this. To better understand how this affects my partner's particular case, I have a few questions for anyone out there who identifies themselves as AGP - do you always want to become female during sex? or is it only sometimes? Have you ever linked your desires with outside feelings or events? Would you agree that it has to do with "power?" What makes it powerful for you? Do you act on your fantasies as soon as they hit? What do you do if you can't act on those urges either immediately or at all?

12/16 - I edited some of the above post to clarify my questions just a bit...

And I wanted to add that William completely denies that his bad day had anything to do with his actions on Saturday. He denies that it has anything to do with power or feelings of inadequacy. Maybe he's right. I don't know.

Of course, William also denies any TG/TS feelings whatsoever, yet he has a LOT of shemale/TG/TS porn in his collection. He has downloaded several photos of shemales and used them to masturbate to. All of his written fantasy is about males becoming females. He has no explanation for any of those things - or anything he does - except to say that "it's just normal exploration and that [he's] sure that it's not trans-sexual in any way..." Maybe it's not TS/TG, but from my perspective, I'm not sure what else to call it. If it looks like a horse, moves like a horse, etc.

My point being that I'm not sure I can trust his "instincts" about this. I think he continues to fight to remain in the dark about himself. He doesn't want to know why he does the things he does. So how can I believe his answers when I believe that he is lying even to himself. Again, my question is "how can you control something that you don't understand?"

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Emotional Sharing

We had an interesting discussion last week at our therapy appointment. It revolved around the emotional sharing that occurs in a relationship. For most of our relationship, William has been resistant to this sharing. I knew he had emotions. I knew he loved me and the kids. I always thought of him as "still waters running deep." But I didn't realize until recently how much of himself he didn't share, how much he kept to himself. Even more than the sexual fantasies, he didn't share his desires, fears, and feelings - he didn't share himself. Prior to September 17th, William had been physically affectionate with hugs and kisses outside of the bedroom, he has participated in raising our children, he had done the surface things required of him as a husband and father., but it was a false front.

In the beginning of our discussion, William revealed that his fears. He felt that fully sharing himself emotionally with me would somehow dilute him; make him less than himself. He felt that I was asking him to sacrifice him as an individual on the alter of our marriage. Funny. I don't see it that way at all. In fact, I believe that it's the exact opposite. I believe that emotional sharing would make him MORE, not less. Certainly not less of an individual. I see that sharing as a way to "flesh out" the ghost partner that I've had for seven years, making him more real, more solid. Definitely not diluted. I actually believe that the emotional sharing is a key component of a committed relationship - otherwise we'd just be friends with privileges. Or maybe even less, maybe just roommates. And after much discussion and thought, I asked William to take that leap...regardless of his fears. I asked him to begin to share himself. And he agreed. And what's more, he followed up his words with an action. This week, he asked for my help with a recurring problem that he has never asked for my help with before. A problem that I have asked to be allowed to help with for years, a request that he had always denied previously. It was a big deal for both of us - and I can't tell you how good it made me feel.

William's reluctance to share his emotional self, to allow me "in" makes me think about some of the comments left on this blog and others. It's made me think about William's instinct to satisfy all of his needs himself - and what that "all" encompasses. About the fear of one's own inadequacies. About the dark and lonely side of AGP. And I believe that, in the same way that change, even a positive one, is scary, William is afraid to let this go. After all, this secret and secluded way of living is all he has ever known. In some ways, I am honored that he is fighting himself so hard...for me...for us.

In case you can't tell, I'm actually at a high point this week. I feel good. I am very happy that William is open to trying, to making efforts, to put himself into our marriage.

And so we continue our work...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Three Months Later...

Life has been busy the last few weeks and I have not had any time to blog. It’s not been easy, but William and I continue to work hard on our relationship and we both feel like we have made some significant progress that last few weeks. As we go along, we have, in effect, separated our issues into two different categories: communication and sex.

There was a comment left on a blog that I follow by an AGP that said (paraphrased) “AGP’s are ill-equipped to deal with relationships. They seem to lack the tools necessary to make relationships work. The inner self focus is not conducive to sustaining a healthy relationship.” William and I would both agree with those statements. With the help of a therapist, we are focusing most of our efforts on our communications, both verbal and non-verbal. The non-verbal miscommunications that continue to occur have been somewhat of a surprise to us. It has become quite obvious that we had a lot more problems than either of us realized prior to September 17th.

As part of our exploration of AGP as a gender identity issue, we have stumbled across the theory that AGP is a sexual addiction. While “gender identity” seems to address the mental aspect of AGP, there does certainly seem to be a sexual addiction component to this. It definitely fits the “problem” behaviors that William has displayed over the last several years. While it seems important at some point to address the “why” behind his needs (gender identity), right now, we are focusing our efforts on more of the “what and how” (sexual addictive behaviors). Treating the symptoms, in effect, rather than the “disease.” (and no, I don’t think this is a disease, it’s just a metaphor.)

The questions asked on tests given to sexual addicts are very telling:
· Do you hide your sexual behaviors from your partner?
· Do you get “high” from sex? Do you find that you need greater variety or energy to achieve the same level of satisfaction?
· Have you ever neglected your partner to pursue your sexual activities?

William can answer “yes” to these questions and more. His choices over the years have actually progressed him to the point of “sexual anorexia.” This is a sort of advanced state of addiction where the addict stops having sex with his/her partner in favor of the sexual addiction and completely describes where our relationship was before September 17th. None of these behaviors are conducive to a successful relationship. While I can accept the cross-dressing and role reversal during sex, I object highly to these other “addictive” behaviors. So our biggest question right now is (since this is not a standard sexual addiction) “how do we define sexual sobriety?”

For now, we have decided that it's up to us how we define sexual sobriety. And so far, we are choosing to define it as sexual behaviors that both of us are okay with. It will never be okay for William to choose to indulge any of his desires in secret. It will never be okay for him to choose his own desires over mine - this needs to be "us" together. And for now, we are choosing to indulge William's fantasies together - as part of our relationship. As far as how this happens, well, it continues to be an experiment for both of us - finding out what works for him as well as for me. Right now, what we are doing together is working for both of us., but William says that part of his excitement is that what we are doing is new and different. We are both a little worried about what will happen when it stops being "new" and he gets the urge to do something more. This is the "addiction" component of this that scares both of us...

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Few Course Corrections

This week has been very productive for William and I. Getting all of the anger and pain out in the open last week was actually a good thing. A few other things happened this week that has led to us making a few changes - "course corrections" according to our therapist - in our approach to incorporating William's world into our relationship.

The first correction is in how we are communicating. Up until this week, any discussion involving this subject usually dissolved into one or both of us getting upset and/or defensive. We learned this week that verbally identifying the intent behind a question or request is very helpful in diffusing that toxicity. We were able to have a very intense discussion on Tuesday this week without either one of us getting upset...and it was one of the most productive conversations to date.

William also had an epiphany this week. He learned that he knows nothing about what I like in the bedroom. It's not that I never told him or tried to share it with him; it was "selective memory" on his part. This realization took him a bit aback; it was a very solid piece of evidence showing him that his choices had really affected us. And even worse, I had forgotten what I liked in the bedroom. The truth is that we've had seven years of "quickies", not meaningful sex. William followed up his epiphany with sincere efforts to identify MY needs in the bedroom. And, boy, did he do it right! For the first time, he was able to demonstrate that he was capable of fulfilling my needs. Wow. And just as important to me, he was able to meet my needs and still enjoy himself. His response to this discovery showed me that he truly "got" it. And even more importantly, he gets that the changes that he is making need to be lifelong ones. This has helped immensely to lessen my anxiety. I feel like if he "gets" it, he'll be less likely to fall back into his old habits.

William's efforts made me happy, then, to work to identify what was not working for him in our efforts to satisfy his needs. Our stated goal was to try to fulfill his needs to the maximum degree possible while making sure that I was okay with what was happening. We were able to set aside a few hours this week to experiment a bit. William was very good about making sure that my feelings were taken into consideration during our session. He reported afterward that the changes we made were good ones and he was very satisfied with what we did together. And absolutely just as importantly, I enjoyed myself also.

Our most important realization this week is that the focus of our efforts needs to be on both of us. We both need to work to make sure that both of us are satisfied in whatever we do. We understand that there will have to be some changes and compromises, this can't be about just one of us, but at the same time, the truth is that if either of us has to give up an important part of themselves, this won't work.

And so our journey continues...together.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Hidden Reservoirs

Thursday evening, William and I were discussing our "activities" in the bedroom to date. These are the words that William chose to express his feelings: "while what we have been doing in the bedroom has been fun, it is not as fulfilling or completely satisfying as what [he] had been doing on his own." oh. my. God. As if those words didn't cause enough hurt on their own, William also unknowingly tapped a hidden reservoir of hurt, pain and anger that I didn't even know was there. The bucket turned into a wellspring and all those feelings that had been buried inside came welling up to the surface and completely spilled over. You can imagine our "conversation" from there. It was NOT pretty. My face was swollen the next day from all the crying that I did.

Fortunately, our appointment with the therapist was on Friday morning, so we were able to continue our "discussion" with some assistance. It did help....and I felt better this morning.

Right now, I am choosing not to go into great detail about my hurt and pain, but in a nutshell, my feelings are a result of the choices that William made over the past seven years and the effect that those choices had on our relationship. Prior to my discovery, William believed that the efforts that he made to act on his fantasies in secret affected only him. But that is not the reality. There were then -and still are now - repercussions from his past choices. And we have to deal with them.

I can accept who he is now with little effort. But apparently, based on what happened Thursday and Friday, I am still working to come to terms with who he has been for the past seven years. I fervently hope that we have tapped the last of any hidden reservoirs of negative feelings that I have, but I don't know. There may still be consequences for us to deal with over the upcoming weeks, months and maybe even years.

Love, committment and communication - all are healing, but it still takes time...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

One Month Later

It's actually closer to 5 weeks since my discovery, but life has interfered a bit with my blogging. The fact that this blog is not my first priority any more is actually a positive thing. It means that things are calm...and William and I are good. Very good. My last major upset was the email address episode. The bucket next to me has shrunk even farther. In many ways, our life outside the bedroom has returned to "normal". I have been able to go out in the evening with friends, leaving William home alone - and not worry about what he was doing. That is a huge step for me.

We are still working with a therapist -and he has been very helpful. Our primary focus has shifted from "how is Susanne handling this?" to "we need to work on our relationship skills." You see, William has spent over 40 years hiding himself from the world. It is requiring conscious effort on his part to open up to me, to bring me into his world. His communication skills (regarding our relationship) are quite poor. His historical preference has been to satisfy his own needs and not even consciously identify them, much less verbalize them. So, in some ways, his adjustment to this is even harder than mine.

Last week, our therapist talked with us about our path through this unknown territory and defining the clues we will see that tell us if we are on the "right" path or the "wrong" path. William's first response was that he will "feel that it's the right path." I'm not sure, however, that I trust his "feelings" in this particular case. William and I discussed this further at home and came up with some more concrete signs, such as "if he has to lie about what he is doing" or "if he is keeping something hidden from me, no matter how small" - those are signs that he is getting off the right path. The right path includes expressing his needs to me - something that he struggles to do. Actually, William is doing quite well with all of this, but the fact that it continues to be an effort means that we will be continuing therapy for quite awhile.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

One Step Back, Two Steps Forward

The "mass" hanging over my head has shrunk to the point where it fits into a bucket next to me. It's full of all of the negative emotions that are primarily associated with my feelings about the past and the "affair" that I feel William had. Every so often, I learn of something new that he did (or get enough detail about something that it changes my mental picture of what happened and makes it new). When that happens, the "new information" gets dumped into the bucket and is stirred up...along with all the bad feelings that I have about the lying and scheming that went on for so long. Fortunately, most days, the bucket settles quickly enough, it usually only takes a hug and "I love you" from William to make the pain goes away. And those times occur less and less.

Last Thursday was a wonderful day - my best to date. Then Friday also went well, then Saturday, - three whole wonderful days! But then Sunday hit. And my brother came to visit. My brother who is on the verge of divorcing his wife. He feels alone in his marriage; his wife doesn't love him. He told me of his efforts to try to communicate with her about his feelings...and her lack of response...and told me of his pain over that. It really stirred the "bucket". Unfortunately, I didn't get much of a chance to talk to William that evening and the pain got a chance to take hold...and started to cause problems.

So Monday started off not great...and got worse. A little devil sat on my shoulder and whispered into my ear all day "he lied to you for all those years, habits are hard to break. How would you know? He's very practiced at deceiving you. Are you sure you know everything?" And I told him, "William loves me. He had convinced himself that he was harming no one - he didn't do it on purpose. He loves me." Then the little devil whispered "Like an alcoholic, he could convince himself again that this would be a one time thing. And it could happen again. Are you sure that you know everything?" Until that damn devil got the best of me and I decided that I needed to look through William's email. My hope was to find NOTHING to shut that little devil up, but instead, I found...well, something. I found evidence of a secret email address. William had covered his tracks well, but I happened upon a copy of a year-old email that he had forwarded to his secret address and had forgotten to delete. So I found it. And, oh boy, that bucket completely spilled over.

William was out for the evening, but I couldn't wait and called him. To his credit, he gave me his password and told me what he thought I would find there. He was right - except he forgot about the email regarding a profile that he had started on a ts-dating website. Ouch! It was rather ugly when he got home. He tried to walk away once, but I didn't let him. He did have an explanation. He said that that he was looking at photos of men in lingerie, not trying to meet them. I already knew about the photos of shemales that he had downloaded, so his view is that this was not new information. He felt that he didn't lie. But he did admit that he had chosen not to tell me about the email account because he thought it would cause me more pain. I'm not sure what I think about that.

So...where am I today? Well, partly, I'm relieved. I actually do believe William when he said that he had not used the site to meet others (it helped that he never completed his profile and the last log in date was the date that he registered.) And I'm very glad that I didn't find anything else - it reassured me that he is telling me the "big truths" - and that what he is not telling me is not as big as my mind sometimes makes it out to be. So in some ways, my looking was not a bad thing.

But really, it was. A bad thing to do. And I'm mostly very sorry that I ever did it to begin with. I violated William with that action. It was a big mistake on my part and I've been thinking about it all day long. The realization I came to today is, that in order for us to succeed, I must trust William. While I may be rightfully angry over his keeping the secret for all those years, the truth is that he did not choose to tell me his secret, I found it out. And now that I know, I must prove to him that I am trustworthy to keep it. And to do that, I do demand that he reveal himself fully to me, but I must also allow him to do it in his way and his time. I must trust him when he says that he loves me and that he is now actively working to put us first. I must show him the trust that I am asking him to show me. Because the reality is, if I fail to do this, he is fully capable of continuing to live the lie again without me ever knowing. And that is unacceptable to me.

I have a new dream. A dream where William and I create a world where we can both live happily, able to express our needs to one another, knowing that our partner is there to meet those needs, no matter what they are. And I must do my part to create that world. So tonight, I apologized to William for my actions yesterday. I gave him permission to change the password on his email account so that I cannot access it. He deserves to be able to have some privacy - and as difficult as it is for me, I will choose to trust that he will not abuse it. You should have seen William's face...

I am writing this story down so that you all know that there ARE and WILL be bad days. And sadly, sometimes one partner will do something to hurt the other partner. But if you love each other, you must ask forgiveness and then allow yourself to be forgiven. Know that just because we have a bad day now and then, and just because this is not easy for either of us, it doesn't mean that we are going to fail. In fact, quite the opposite. The more we weather, the stronger our foundation becomes. We are both committed to one another. We both love one another. And tonight, we are both more than okay, we are awesome.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

So What does this all mean for US?

I have done a lot of reading about autogynephilia - and other "variances" on the sex/gender spectrum. Most of it is controversial. Blanchard and Bailey managed to piss off a whole lot of folks who then completely rejected their theories - threw the baby out with the bath water, so to speak. Myself - I think there is a lot more truth to their theory than anyone knows. I believe that Blanchard and Bailey got most of the information they used to develop their theory on autogynephilia from persons who fell on the far right side of this spectrum. Persons who had gone far enough that they were either living as women or were considering SRS. I personally believe that there are a lot more males out there who are closer to the middle or lefthand side of that spectrum who have just never gotten their information out there to balance the theory. Some of these men are ashamed of their feelings and try to bury them; some express them privately and/or in secret; while still others try to express them within the confines of a heterosexual relationship (ie. "pegging.").

I've read about the sex/gender issue not being binary, but comprised of multiple dimensions of birth gender/physical characteristics, emotion gender, mental gender and sexual desire. This would imply a 3 or 4 dimensional plane on which we fall as opposed to the 4-boxed graph of heterosexual/homosexual male/female. The problem with this is that it places an individual at a specific point on that plan and implies that it is fixed. But is it?

"Spectrum" is another term that some use to explain sex/gender issues. I live on a spectrum of a different sort every day. My son has some sensory issues which fall on the left side of the Sensory-Asberger Syndrome-Autism spectrum. He actually does not fall on a single "spot"; his is more of a "range." His location within the "range" and even the location of the "range" itself is somewhat dependent on other forces like his diet, the weather, his allergies and his activities. So I completely understand "spectrum"...and in some ways, it fits better...but it's still a pretty straight line.

So then I consider William's story. He has said that this started when he was a child wearing his sister's underwear. He then progressing to wearing lingerie and high heels as a young adult. Wigs, make-up and painted fingernails started after that. He didn't start using toys to penetrate himself until about three years ago. He has gone as far as having an ejaculating dildo that he deep-throats. He said that it was "taking the next step in his exploration of himself as a woman." Step" implies more of a "path" than a spectrum. He also spoke of being "compelled". So where is he being taken? He tries hard not to think of it.

And I don't know either. I have to confess, after a few weeks of trying to read and understand what my husband is, I got a mental picture that looked a bit like this:

I mentally placed my husband somewhere in the middle of the graph, still on "autogynephilia" line, but very close to where it branches. But is this path inevitable? or would he get to choose where he would stop? "Compelled" to take the next step implies no. And as a spouse, that can be rather scary.

But after three weeks of us trying to work this into our relationship, my mental picture of this graph has changed. William says that in some ways, the difference in our sex life is the same as "taking the next step." So my new mental picture of autogynephilia is that it is a multi-branched path that more resembles more a game of Chutes and Ladders than a straight line.
Every "step" that we take could potentially take him off this new path via a chute or ladder and put him on a completely different path...or can he be taken back to the same path? I don't know. Maybe.
I do believe William when he says that he is committed to me and our relationship. At some point in this, he does have a choice. A choice to act on his impulses and his drives...or to not. By including me in this secret, he now has a third choice. He can ask me to try to fulfill the fantasy with him. Yes, it's not alone, so in some ways, it's maybe it won't be as good as the fantasy. But, in some fashion, isn't that what fantasies are...something unattainable?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sex, Love and Everything Else

I love the Internet. I love the idea that I can look up all sorts of information and I love the fact that I can talk to others anonymously. Anonymous' comment on my last post got me to thinking more about this. Have you heard of the book that discusses how men and women think differently? Yes, I know there are a million of them. The one I'm thinking of, though, says that men have brains like boxes on shelving units. They compartmentalize themselves into little bits and pieces and, generally, only deal with one "box" at a time. Most men actually have trouble with mental multi-tasking or dealing with more than one box at a time. Women, though, have brains that are more like a plate of spaghetti. Every piece, while separate, touches every other piece on the plate. That's why women talk about everything at once and are great mental multi-taskers. This theory also explains why most men feel that sex and love are separate. That sex is just sex - and that's all it is. For most women, though, sex and love are intertwined. And those strands touch every other strand of their lives. I find this theory to be completely accurate in describing William and myself. And this is partly why I completely believe William when he says that he feels male/masculine, despite what he is doing to and with himself. If he felt like a woman, I think he would understand my "processing" better than he does. (He gets brownie points for trying, though!) And this is also partly why the term "autogynephiliac" fits William better than "transsexual."

When I first discovered William's secret, I took to the Internet. I tried to figure out why he was doing this. It was immediately obvious to me that this was more than just cross-dressing; one look at the photos told me that. This was a man/woman coming on to himself through the pictures, not just dressing up. I could find information about spouses of transvestites, but that wasn't ALL there was to our story. I could find some information about spouses of transsexuals (as limited as it is), but that didn't seem to fit either. And what I did find told their stories, they were told from the perspective of someone who had already reached their destination; someone who was already comfortable where they were at. They weren't quite detailed enough for me. ("It's not personal, so get over it" wasn't very helpful in those first few days.) For those spouses that still in their journey, there are discussion forums, but they are cumbersome and most of them are closed until your application to join is approved. (I'm still waiting for some of my apps to be approved - 3 weeks later.)

But there was absolutely nothing out there for spouses of those people who fall somewhere in between. No guide book for me to use in navigating my way though this. No road map to tell me where this was even leading. I began blogging as a way to process my feelings, but I certainly hope that if there is someone else out there like me, a straight spouse of a man who is not even certain of his location in the gender/sexuality plain, then this might help them. On Day One of my journey, I was kicked in the head and knocked for a loop. By Day Fourteen, I was feeling...better. Today is Day 21 and while the tough part is certainly not over, it is considerably better than it was. My mental picture of my own journey through this is one that takes place through fog. Periodically, I come to a place where the fog thins, breaks up even and I can see the sun and where I'm going. Then I hit the fog again. When I am in the sunlight, I look forward to our new life together. The intimacy that this brings could potentially be better than anything else I'd ever dreamed of. It's just different. I'm very much looking forward to the day when I'm out of the fog completely and can bask in the sunlight forever.

A man reading this might not interpret my writing in the same way that a woman would - and that's perfectly okay. Their comments show me William's perspective - and I find that very helpful when trying to explain to him what my side looks like. And with both of us working to understand the other person's perspective in this relationship - well, this can be my new fairytale dream.

As I said at the beginning of this blog...sex, love and every other aspect of my life intertwine...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I remember someone telling me once that forgiveness is NOT a single event, but rather an on-going process. This is also my experience.

While the storm is lessening, it still rages on sometimes. I am so sad today. Last night, William and I discussed the path that this has taken over the past several years. The details of what he has done cut into me like a knife. I can hardly believe that I am not bleeding. I think it's the first time that he realized for himself how much more time he spent on loving the woman within him - far more time than he has ever spent loving me. I am grieving the loss of my fairytale - the one where I am my husband's Everything. Today, I can hardly breathe, the pain and anguish are overwhelming, thinking about what he has taken from me...from us, over the last seven years. My chest hurts so much and my throat closes trying to keep the tears in. William was home for lunch today, but I didn't want him to see my pain; I don't want my pain to drive him away. I know that he is sorry and did not do this on purpose. So I swallow it down. I bury it deep, but it bubbles back out as anger. I am so angry that William did not tell me about himself earlier. I am so angry that he did not give me the choice, early on, before we were married and before we had children. I know I would have chosen him. The lack of faith and trust that that choice shows really hurts. And then the pain comes back and the cycle starts over. It's a bad day for me.

But then William called...to see how I am doing. He knew I was having a bad day. And like a pressure valve releasing, I spilled over. I told him of my pain and sadness...and I cried. And inside my heart, I forgave him all over again.

This has been my cycle since my discovery. I feel like this huge mass is hanging over my head. And I can only process little bits and pieces of it at a time. I get upset during the "processing phase" and then I am able to forgive him for that little bit of it. And the cycle starts over...

Poor William. I know he feels bad and there is nothing more that he can do other than love me, hold me, and give me time to process everything. This is hard for him also, in many ways. He doesn't understand my need to talk, my need to grieve (he's so male that way!) He is trying hard, though. He is here. He is listening to me. I believe that he is being honest with me. He is choosing me now, over the woman within. I have to focus on that, on the positives in our relationship. That's what gets me through the "bad." My marriage vows said "For Better or Worse...'til Death do Us Part." I have never felt those words so strongly in my heart.

So forgiveness is an on-going process - and one that I am willing to work through. Because I love him...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Storm is Easing

The Eye of the Storm has passed, I think. There is still wind, rain, and darkness, but the eye has passed and we are on the backside of it.

My William is baffled, a bit, by the "ease" which I have accepted the outer vestiges of this - the clothing, the wig, the make-up. The fact that all of this turns him on. This is the part that he was afraid I would not be able to accept. He says that he is surprised by the depth of the feelings that I have about the secrecy, the violation of my trust, the lies and deceit. In the years before my discovery, he had convinced himself that he was hurting no-one and it never occurred to him that I might feel differently. That I would feel like he was cheating on me.

Early on in this process, when I was still trying to even grasp what this was, I offered him an option - we stay married and be a couple in every sense of the word except sex. For that, he could do "his own thing" and I would go out and satisfy my needs as necessary. He said "no. Absolutely not." I asked him "why?" He said "because that is not what marriage is. That is not what I want. I do not want you to go outside of our relationship for sex." So. ... Ditto.

And I do believe that William understands this. He understands why his need to make love to himself as a woman is not acceptable to me. We are continuing to incorporate bits and pieces of the dressing piece of this into our relationship. With two small children around 24/7, it's hard to take the time for the painted fingernails, make-up, wig, etc, but that will likely be the next step - and I'm okay with that. Not only am I willing to do this, in some ways, I am very excited about it also. I am excited about the toys and the porn (I am one of those strange women who actually likes porn - William knew that at one time, but forgot it, I think.). We are slowing redefining our relationship in many ways (more ways that he ever thought!) But...

I seem to always end my blogs with questions. Our story is not yet done, nor will it be, I'm thinking, for a long time. So my questions continue, thankfully NOT as loud and urgent as before, but still there nonetheless... Will this be enough for him? Will his compulsion to be by himself force him to do things that, when not turned on, he really does not want to do? Only time will tell, I guess. We are still in therapy. So far, we are both happy with the therapist. And while William is hesitant to explore this side of himself, he is willing for the sake of our marriage, so I am ever hopeful.

As I said in the beginning of this blog, the eye of the storm inside me has passed and we are on the back-side...I think.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Midnight Ramblings...

It's the middle of the night. William is sleeping. We had a wonderful day today, so I don't want to wake him up to talk about this, but I can't sleep. Thoughts are swirling around and around in my mind. I want to make them stop. So, I'm up here in my living room...blogging.

I have known William for 9-1/2 years. We moved in together after 18 months of dating and got married about 9 months after that. Sex was great in the beginning, but even before the marriage, the frequency had dwindled to about once a week. I was barely satisfied with that, but everything else about William was wonderful, so I didn't push the issue. We are both older and wanted a family, so we started trying right away. If we had know that I would get pregnant on our wedding night, we might have waited, but we were still excited to be expecting. Our son was born very prematurely and we spent 4 months in a NICU about 2 hours away. William and I had had sex the night before he was born and to this day, William believes that may be have been a factor in his early birth. Sex post-baby was affected, I thought, by the stress and strain of our situation. It was not very frequent, maybe once a month or so, but with everything else going on, it was not an issue. When our son was 14 months old, we started trying for baby number two. Sex was more frequent during this phase of our marriage due to our efforts. It took six months to get pregnant, but it did happen...and the sex stopped. Due to our first's prematurity, I had a cerclage put in and the doctors forbade me to have sex; I couldn't even have an orgasm! I was not happy, but William was all right...too all-right. It bothered me a little bit, I remember, even at the time. I had offered to help him out in the beginning, but he said that he would take care of his needs - and I was not thrilled about not being able to participate in the act myself, so I let him. Looking back, it was waaay too easy... After our daughter was born, sex was almost non-existant. The stress of a new baby, the medical issues that continued to plague our son, the stress of my husband's job, etc. All were too easy explanations for why my husband didn't want to have sex. He didn't like sex, he said. When the pressure got too much, his libido was the first thing to go, he said. Several times, I hinted, even asked for sex and was turned down. I could always get his body interested, even when he said "no", but somehow, it seemed wrong to do that. "No" to a woman, always means "no". So I didn't...and got more and more frustrated. William was very aware of this. About every six months or so, I would get upset with him over the lack of sex. In the cover of darkness, in our bed, I would broach the subject with him. It always ended up with me in tears, asking "why?" Why don't you want to have sex with me? Am I too fat? Am I too ugly? Are you gay?? What is wrong??? And nothing ever changed. But our life outside the bedroom was great. William is a wonderful husband and father; he was affectionate outside of the bedroom with kisses and hugs for both me and the children, so I decided that I should be happy about everything else and let the sex go. It festered, though...and about every six months or so, I would blow up at him again. I am ashamed to say this, but it had gotten to the point where I consciously considered having an affair. I didn't do it, but I was unhappy enough that I had also decided that our next mid-night conversation would include this "threat." I hated myself for that - I'd like to think that I really wouldn't have done it, but if the situation had gone on for years...who knows. Anyway, it's moot now.

So on Sept 17th, I discover "the reason why." Why my husband didn't want to have sex with me. It was because he was having sex with himself. Two to four times a week! He may have only dressed once a month, but the rest of the time, he masturbated to photos of himself dressed in ladies lingerie with wigs and make-up. He masturbated to videos of himself parading around in clothes, screwing himself with a dildo, giving oral sex to a dildo as he imagined it was his own penis. When he knew that I was unhappy, he still chose to do this instead of making me happy.


William got up and came upstairs to find me. He was willing to talk, but I had blogged my mind mostly clear, so I went to bed. I'm leaving this blog intact because it really helped me to define WHY I feel that he cheated on me. oh, my mind knows that he didn't...but tell that to my heart...

okay, now I'm mad

okay, it took me a few weeks to get used to the idea, but I'm sure that I can handle the whole cross-dressing thing. I actually think it's fun. I'm okay with the idea of the wig, the clothes, the sex toys, the porn - all of it, no problems! But of course, that's not enough. I've got to add one more thing to the mix.

Masturbation is one thing - this is another. Looking outside of the marital relationship to satisfy his needs, especially when I have been here all the time wanting to satisfy them, especially when I've told him that my own needs were not being met - and he still chose to satisfy his needs away from me - that's cheating. That's an affair. Cheating is cheating no matter who you do it with. Period. End of Sentence.


Friday, October 2, 2009

I Never Saw a Thing...

"Prior to Sept 17th, I was just driving down the highway of my life...happy, driving. Going pretty fast, but clear on where I was and where I was going. When out of nowhere...BAM! - The next thing I knew, I was in the middle of nowhere. And I never saw it coming. I feel like the old cliche "Honestly, officer, I never saw a thing..." And afterwards...nothing looked right, nothing looked familiar. I think that I've been racing around, at about 100 mph, the last two weeks, looking for something familiar, something I recognize, something to lead me back to the road that I was on. But I'm starting to realize that my old life is lost. Lost forever. And I'm out here, in uncharted territory, all alone. Imagine how this would feel to you..."

This analogy came to me yesterday as I was trying make my spouse understand exactly how I was feeling. My entire life has changed. The foundation of my relationship with my spouse has been shaken. I am alone, now, like I have never been before. Those friends that I could always tell everything to, can no longer be the same intimate friends that they once were. I feel alone in my circle because, now, I have a secret to keep...all alone. And the only other person who knows it is the person who caused this pain to begin with.

Yesterday was...not peaceful. But last night, it occurred to me that I could stop racing around trying to find something that is gone. It occurred to me that maybe I could slow down a little. Maybe I should slow down a little. Maybe I should even think about stopping to look at the scenery here...where I am now. Yesterday, this thought was terrifying - because I have no idea where I am, maybe I'm on quicksand? Maybe it's dark out there... It's scary.

But today, I'm feeling that maybe, probably, the sun is shining out there. Maybe there are flowers and grass to look at here - where I am now. And just maybe, because I still know where my destination is, I can find my way to where I want to end up. And yes, my world has shrunk, but I need to focus on the fact that I am not alone. I am still very frightened and I'm still glancing around for my old road, and sometimes, I panic and start racing again. But my spouse is with me. And I am relying on him to help us forge a new road together.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Question of the Day

If he was satisfied with what he was doing with himself, for himself prior to September 17th, HOW is he going to be satisfied now? With me? Including me? Making love with me and not just himself? How am I going to know? How can I trust his answer? How can I get through a love-making session without wondering what he's thinking about? Feeling like I'm not enough? Feeling self-conscious? Feeling unwelcome?...

okay, maybe more than one question...

How Far Has He Gone?

Two nights ago, my husband cried. He never cries. We were talking about what to say in our counselling session the next day. William shared that he is terrified over the implications of this. He is humiliated. He is sick. He does not want to explore this side of himself, yet he realizes that in order for us to incorporate this into our lives, he must. I tried to reassure him that I would be with him during this journey, but he stopped me. He said that I didn't know everything.

oh, my God. My ears popped and I could hear the blood pounding in my ears. I asked what more was there? William took my hands and led me downstairs to a box in our closet. He took a small videotape out and handed it to me. I looked at it for a moment and asked what was on it. He said it showed exactly how far he had gone in to satisfy his needs. My head kept pounding and I just looked at the cassette in my hand. He said that he wanted nothing more than to destroy it so I couldn't see how much he had humiliated himself, but in the interest of honesty, he had to show it to me. I can't begin to tell you how scared I was. I asked him to please, just tell me what was on it. He gestured at a dildo in the box and told his secret. He said that he had gotten "oral" with it. (I already knew that he had been anal with it also.)

Can you believe that I was a little bit relieved? Here, my husband was crying and in pain and all I could think was "this is completely consistent with autogynephilia." I have to confess - I had to ask just one more question - "was there anyone else on the tape or was he by himself?" He said it was just him, he thinks that he was pretending that the phallus was his own penis. And then he broke down and just sobbed.

oh, my heart... I don't want to disparage anyone who is happy with who they are, but what an awful thing this is - to be compelled to do something that tears you up inside and causes you so much pain. I grabbed William and held him. There was no doubt in my mind as to what I had to do. I handed him the cassette back and said "Here. This is yours." He said "no, I can't." I asked him what do you want to do with it? He said "I just want it destroyed!" So I destroyed it. I smashed it and pulled the tape out and completely obliterated it.

I absolutely feel it was the right thing to do. I do not want to humiliate William; I think that if I had watched that tape, I might have broken something in our relationship that couldn't have been fixed, so I'm very grateful to have destroyed it. Yet my mind keeps wandering back to that tape and wonders... Why does he do this? If I had watched it, would I have learned something helpful? Something that might have helped us get a little farther down the road a little faster? Would I now be certain that this is all? Would it have helped to rebuild my trust - that he has told me everything? or would seeing it have made it worse?

oh, God. What an awful thing this is... Yet it is who my husband is...and I love him. So onward we go...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Like Boo-boos and Bandaids

When one of my children gets an "owie", they require a kiss to make it all better. Even now as they are getting older and understand that it's the pain reliever or bandaid that really makes it better, they still need that kiss at the end to "seal the deal."

In much the same way, adults use words to soothe the pain that life causes. We know that the words don't make things all right by themselves, but, like a parent's kiss, they can help. I realized this last night as I emotionally fell apart. This wound is deep - in some ways, deeper than I think it should be. And like a child, I need the "kiss to make it better" just as much as I need the bandaid to help the wound heal. I have been strong over the past two weeks; I have held it together fairly well, but last night, as the cat running away turned into the straw that broke the camel's back, I became a child. I needed William to touch me, hold me, and to also reassure me in words that he loved me, that he finds me attractive, that he desires me - and that we would be all right. Unfortunately, William's "love language" is doing, not saying. He distrusts words. He finds them difficult. Yet when someone is in pain, you must speak to them in their language, not your own. Many tears were shed last night, but, finally, finally, William was able to find the words that I needed to hear and give voice to them. He held me and "kissed it and made it better."

By the way, the cat came home this morning. Maybe my karma is changing..

Monday, September 28, 2009

Random Thoughts...

My cat ran away last night. He literally tore through the window screen and was gone. Shit. Too much pain for me to deal with today. It colors my day in shades of gray... I am sad...

I sit here alone, pondering my life this morning and have several random thoughts that I need to express. To put down on "paper". To get out of my head...

The complicated twisting of male and female - emotionally, physically, sexually. Much of the transgender discussion on the Internet focuses on the obvious, the "easy" part. Feeling that you are one sex mentally and emotionally, trapped in the body of the opposite sex is relatively easy to understand. The target, though, becomes much more elusive as you begin to separate out those different parts and name some "feminine" and others "masculine" and combine them in various ways. Now try to define it.

While autogynephalia has obvious feminine overtones to it, it also has a very masculine component. As a gender, women tend to be more concerned over other's well-being than their own. Autogynephilia, on the other hand, is almost the epitome of selfishness. I am angry. Creating a sexual and social relationship with oneself, all within one's own body and mind - it means that you never have to let anyone in. It means you never have to be vulnerable, it means you never have to trust another soul with the true you.

My William has chosen to ignore his "feminine" side to the maximum degree possible. He looks very masculine, acts very masculine, has very masculine interests...except when he can't help himself. Then he just does what he needs to do in order to satisfy those needs and then hides it aways again, even from himself. This isn't as simple as cross-dressing, this is so much more...

I want answers, I want definitions, I want to know how this is going to affect "us"...how it's going to affect me. And I want them all now. Yet, I have no answers, no definitions...and I have to be patient and wait for someone else to let me know these things. Someone else to discover and explore this side of himself. Someone else to let me know where my future lies. Someone else who really does not want to know, someone who is very good at lying, at deceit, at hiding.

Discovery versus telling. This is actually a very big deal to me. The violation of my trust is a huge deal to me. But now I must choose to fully trust the same person who hurt me with my heart, body and soul. If I don't, my marriage is over; the one person I love more than life itself will be gone...and I can't fathom that. Yet, it goes against my primitive, instinctive need to protect myself. This is my inner conflict. And these are the thoughts that swirl around in my head and body at night so I can't sleep. I am scared.

William is the only one who can ease this pain. He holds me and most of my fears go away... Most of them... But with my kids in school, I am by myself this morning... And the damn cat ran away. Shit.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sex and Emotions

I have had more sex in the last 8 days than in the entire last year, maybe even two years. No kidding. Lack of sex has been the only source of discontent in our marriage - for me, not for him. Now I know why. We were having sex once a month if I was lucky - it would not be at all unusual to go closer to two or three months in between sessions. (The truth is that William has been satisying his own needs a few times a week - which is a whole other blog posting!). Anyway, my point is that just talking about this subject- whether it's good or bad - makes William hard. And the sex has been awesome.

Part of me is surprised how sensitive and accommodating William is being regarding my adjustment to this new situation. Of course, one could argue that he has to be, but the reality is that he could just as easily NOT be so understanding. He could be defensive and angry (which was actually his first reaction, but he reined that it very quickly.) Maybe it's because of how I found out or maybe it's because he knows how I deal with things, but he has really tried to give me at least the illusion of some control over this situation. For example: last weekend, he waited until I came into the bedroom in the morning to tell me that he really wanted to masturbate. Do you know how erotic that was for me? I asked if I could watch and he let me...which turned into me helping...which turned into...well, you can imagine. It was a very emotionally gratifying experience for me. I have asked and asked over the years what "worked" for him, where to touch, etc. He had always been very non-committal, shrugging, changing the subject - this was the first time in 9 years of being together that he showed me where to touch, how hard to touch, etc. Then today, a few hours after getting interrupted by our two young children (in our third go-around of the morning), he came up to whisper in my ear that he was still unsatisfied and would it be okay with me if he "took care of himself." After a few moments of thought, I said "yes". And he did.

Some might think that this was asking permission, but the fact is - he is putting my needs, emotional and physical, ahead of his own for the first time in seven years. I understand that there is a possibility that, at some point in the future, he will feel the need to do some of this on his own, but he has promised me that if he ever feels a need that I cannot satisfy, he will talk to me first about it. For him to be willing, now, to do what I need him to do to make me feel secure in this relationship makes my heart swell with love. This is how I will recover from the shock of the discovery; this is how we will incorporate this into our relationship. Working together as true partners for the first time in our marriage and in our lives.

Friday, September 25, 2009


They are so confusing! I am trying to understand something that I don't personally feel, so how do I pick one? I am reading and reading and everyone seems to be arguing about the nuances of the labels.

Why are labels even necessary? I think I understand a little bit why. It's so we know what to expect. A Label means it's normal, predictable, acceptable - even if it's not... It makes you fit with someone else. It means you are not alone...

So what labels are there? Any of you reading this can probably list them better than I can - transsexual, transgender, transvestite, cross-dresser, autogynephiliac, transvestitic fetish...the list goes on and on. Where does it end? What are the differences? Are there differences?

One of the hundreds of websites that I ran across (I'm sorry that I don't remember which one to give credit) wrote a snippet that is sticking in my mind... It said that Nature created the Alpha-Male to have sex with all the females. So where did that leave the other males? Somewhere on the spectrum... So the spectrum must be natural...

I have "labeled" William autogynephiliac because he feels male and masculine most of the time. It's only in the sex act that he becomes "female". He is turned on by just the thought of dressing like a woman, by feeling himself as a woman. He masturbates to photos of himself looking like a woman. He uses sex toys to make love to the woman within himself. Yet he says that when he makes love to me, he doesn't think about the woman in him.

But is he just denying feeling the woman in him other times? He answered "yes" to my question "If you could go out in public dressed as a woman and be guaranteed anonymity, would you?" And he answered "I don't know" to "Are you sexually attracted to penis's?"

So is the"autogynephilia" label even accurate?? Does it give us what we need - the ability to predict and define his behaviors, his needs? Or is this label even a little off? Can the label change as he goes through his self-discovery? Where does he fall on the the spectrum?

How am I going to know what to expect?

The "Other Woman"

William asked me today about the wig. We were talking about introducing the next level into our marriage and he mentioned the wig. Wow, the wig...

My initial thoughts...
It's only been one week since I discovered that my husband is having an "affair" with another "woman." The worst part: he finds the other woman more sexually appealling than me. How on earth do I happily welcome her into my bed??? Is she separate from William? or are they the same person? How many of us are going to be in the bed - two or three? If just two, which two? And if three, who is he going to be more into? How can I be jealous of my own husband???

The clothes are one thing - I can wrap my brain around them as something kinky. The wig, though... And make-up? At what point does William become someone else and I find a stranger in my bed?

Was this autogynephalia because I didn't know and he did it himself, but now that I do, does this just become a cross-dressing fetish? Is there a real difference? Does the difference matter?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Do I really want to know why?

We have our first counseling appointment this afternoon.

Not sure what to think... I was surprised at how nervous I was just making the appointment - and I didn't even have to tell the receptionist anything! Gonna be interesting...

I know that we need to do this, but surprisingly enough, my husband is the one pushing for this. I had hinted that maybe we could work through this ourselves, but he wants to do this. He finally wants to know.

Do you know that he has never asked himself "why?" Never. Not once. Not until I asked him. How can he compartmentalize that part of him off so well? How does he feel about who he is? I think I'm having an easier time accepting him for who he is than he is himself. He used the word "perversion" when he first talked about it. He called himself a "freak." He's a very intelligent man, highly educated. It's not like he doesn't know what a transvestite is... But he has never explored this side of him. Never wanted to. He tears up when he talks about me accepting him for who he is. But he doesn't even know who he is. How scary for him now to think about it...and he IS thinking about it. He says that he doesn't have any answers, but he wants to explore the "why?" of this.

How scary for us... How scary for me...

Shhhh....it's a SECRET!

I suck at keeping secrets.
Really. suck. at. secrets.
But this secret is not mine to tell. This secret is vital for me to keep.

How isolating... I was afraid to sit down to talk with a friend this week for fear that she'd know something was wrong. She didn't and I was surprised that I was able to carry on a normal conversation. How could she not see that I was consumed by a secret?

My husband has been keeping his secret for a very, very long time. He remembers trying on his sister's and mother's underwear as a child, so we're talking over 30 years.

How does one go from keeping a secret for over 30 years to revealing everything to someone that he didn't trust enough to tell the secret to himself?

Why do I believe that he is telling me everything now? He says that he is...

And I do... am I in denial?

Believe it or not, I'm at peace this morning, but yesterday was...not so peaceful. I am immersed, consumed, battered by a constant barrage of thoughts about this. I have nothing to distract me. It's exhausting...

But because this is a secret, I don't get to process it in my normal way. I can't talk and talk to my friends until I've worked through my problems. It's a secret... Unfortunately for me, despite the fact that my husband wants to explore his feminine side in the bedroom, he's not very feminine. He's NOT a talker (he is trying, bless him, but it is sooooo foreign to him).

So now I'm blogging. At least it gets it out of my head...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good: I saw him last night...in some of his clothes. Only from the neck down and probably fairly sedate for him, I think, considering what I've seen in the pictures, but appropriate for what I was ready to handle. In all honesty, it was a little strange and awkward at the beginning of it- he felt exposed and I felt very self-conscious. In spite of that, the sex was intense - the trust is an incredible turn on for me and you know what the turn on is for him.

The Bad part came afterwards when, instead of focusing on the beauty of the moment, I focused on "me" and "before". It tainted, a little bit, the Good. The crux of my self-consciousness: Last week, after my discovery, I had asked him if he found me sexually exciting. I'll give him credit for answering that honestly, but oh, did the answer hurt!!! He finds women sexually exciting, but not necessarily me. Wow. Wow. Wow. Follow-up questions revealed that it's mostly my excess weight/visual issue for him, but that because he loves me, he can get past it. I guess I can understand that, but last night, it was very prominent in my mind. I hid behind him when we stood in front of the mirror - when he was being "visual" and looking at himself. I didn't want him to see me in the picture with him. Instead of thinking about him, all I wanted to do was hide myself under the covers... It was much better for me when we moved away from the mirror and toward the bed.

The Ugly:
The "Before". It came to the forefront of my mind as I looked through his clothes. As I browsed through them, all I could think about was "Where was I when he bought this? How many times has he lied to me? How much planning went into his lies? How much has he taken away from me?? Our marriage?? Our sex life?? How did I not know?? After the sex, these thoughts circled and circled around in my mind. Again, to his credit, William is being as supportive as he possibly can be . He laid awake as long as I needed him to in order to answer my questions. Despite all the thoughts in my mind, I only needed to ask a few questions - the biggest one that I am still thinking about - which items were bought before our marriage and which ones were purchased afterwards? I feel that I am truly okay with the ones purchased before, but my feelings about those that he bought after we were married are pretty intense. How wrong is it of me to hate those? How unreasonable is it for me to want them GONE? I'll even help him replace them (he has indicated an interest in shopping together.) I'm not rejecting who he is, but I can't stomach what it took away from "us" for so many years...

So.. this morning, I realized that we are left with two different issues. There is almost a line in my mind dividing my life before September 17 and my life after. When I think about the after, I feel a little breathless with excitement and anticipation and nervousness - like a virgin on her wedding night. Thinking about the before though, is...painful. I need to work through the discovery that my spouse was unfaithful to me. He took away so much from my marriage, dividing himself between me and "the other woman." oh, I know in my head that he really didn't have an affair, but it sure feels like he did...

Just so you know, we did discuss most of this this morning - and the sex afterwards was good. I think that we have just defined our first boundary. We need to deal with the "before" part of each and every little piece of his as we introduce it into our marriage so that we don't taint the "after" part. Make sense?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Day the World was Turned Upside-Down

Thursday, September 17, 2009 - the day my world changed. It has only been 4 days, but at the same time, it has also been a lifetime ago. I'm starting this story the same way that this journey was started. With the discovery...

It started off an a non-typical day anyway. I was exhausted from being up most of the night with my son who was suffering from a terrible bout of the stomach flu. I kept him home from kindergarten, but my daughter still went to preschool that morning, giving me a little time to prepare for my work meeting over the lunch hour. Even though I consider myself a stay-at-home mom, I still take the occasional temp job just to bring in some extra money. About 10:00am, I happened to glance over at my son who was snuggled into his blanket on the couch. He was feeling better at this point and looked so sweet...I thought "I need to take his picture". Indulging the impulse, I walked over to the shelf and grabbed the camera. Moving close to my child, I turned it on and a photo came up - the camera had been left on the view setting. It took me a double and then a triple take to understand what I was looking at. It was a close-up photo of a man's crotch in lacy red garters and panties. My ears popped and my head got fuzzy. My next thought was "this isn't our camera" followed by "someone is playing a joke on me". I started flipping the photos backwards. About 6 photos in (all close-ups of various body parts in sexy lingerie), I focused in on a full-body image. My eyes saw the dark mustache on the face under the long blonde wig and everything momentarily went blurry. Do you know the scene in the movie where the main character discovers something? The camera quickly focuses in on him, but the scene all around him goes fuzzy and jumps around? Do you know that that really happens? As I realized that I was looking at photos of my husband in our living room - there was our couch - the same one that my innocent son was laying on - I felt shaky, nauseous, panicked. I quickly flipped through the photos again and again, trying to comprehend what I was looking at. My next thought was of my son -- he couldn't know that mommy was upset. I don't know how I found the strength to say as calmly as I could "Mommy will be right back, sweetie" and nearly ran from the room into my daughter's room where I started to hyperventilate. I remember that I kept saying "Breathe, just breathe, oh God, breathe, oh, God, just breathe..." I was shaking. My brain kept trying to grasp what I had seen My thoughts turned to "Who took the pictures? My husband is gay and having a gay affair - in my house!" Who is it??? Is it Steve? or John? or someone I don't know??? Who took those pictures???

I started the above post four days into our journey. It's amazing how far one can come in such a short time... My husband is not gay; he is an autogynephiliac. The word fits, according to him. It is now day 6 - my reeling world has slowly come to rest, upright, I believe. We are still together. I feel such love for him and I believe him when he says that he loves me. We have committed to work through this and have an appointment in 2 days to see a counselor both to help William come to terms with who he is and to help us as a couple integrate this into our lives. At times, for me, the pain, rage, anger, betrayal that I felt at the moment of discovery wells up inside. When he holds me, though, I am awed by the level of trust that he is placing in me when he tells me exactly what he is feeling and I feel like our love affair is just beginning.

This blog is not about my husband - it is about me and how I am dealing with the changes that are occurring in my life. At this point, I debated whether or not to change the above, but decided to leave it in as it IS the point where our journey started.