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.