I want to thank all of you for your comments. I appreciate the warnings, I really do. You all might be surprised to find out that William feels that his AGP is more of an addiction than anything else. This is a recent "discovery" for him; prior to my finding out about his AGP, he thought that was just sometime that he indulged occasionally, he felt that he wasn't hurting anybody. Now he knows differently. I was hurt, and so was our relationship. In the four plus months since we started our journey, we've discussed the idea that AGP might fall somewhere on the TG spectrum. William doesn't believe that he is TG, although he does agree that there must be some biological basis to this and that there is a gender spectrum that he falls into. He definitely agrees that his lack of self-confidence and poor self-esteem are factors in his AGP, but primarily, he believes that he has conditioned himself into an addiction. So, from a practical standpoint, this is how we are choosing to deal with it. (Note: as far as I'm concerned, if William had told me from the beginning, we would likely be dealing with this in a much different way. It's the pattern of addictive behaviors that have been set that are a problem, not the AGP in and of itself.)
We continue to discuss, at length, how exactly we should deal with this. We both have personal experience with food addiction (me) and alcohol addiction (William, his father and his grandfather) , so we think that we understand the difficulty in "controlling" this. Moderate amounts of food and alcohol are fine for most people. So is cross-dressing and masturbation. It's only the unlucky few that are unable to control their "vices." So...since William has never tried to control his AGP, we have chosen to allow him the opportunity to try. And with that, we are choosing to indulge his fantasies...or at least most of them anyway. William says that it's not always easy. He has been self-conditioned to recognize opportunities to indulge his fantasies, solo and in secret, so those are the times when the urges hit him the hardest. So far, he has been able to distract himself with busy work (when you have a house and two young kids, there's always a long "to-do" list.) We actually discussed this morning the need to continue to address this on a very regular basis. With AA and OA or even Weight Watchers, they hold weekly support meetings for their sufferers. The idea is to provide support for their efforts, remind the sufferers of the reasons why they are working so hard to control their urges. We need to do something similar - and since William has chosen to NOT disclose this to anyone, we are going to discuss them together, regularly. We also discussed additional coping strategies. With the other addict groups, they work to identify triggers for their behaviors and coping/distraction methods to implement when those urges hit. We are trying to do the same thing. Our communication has improved greatly since September, we continue to focus on being completely open and honest with one another. We don't think that we are being dishonest with ourselves. We just aren't willing to throw up our hands and claim defeat against this...not just yet anyway.
I mentioned on my last post that everything isn't 100% perfect. I would say that it's 90%, but there are still a few things that we continue to work on. I trust William's love for me. I trust that he wants to do the right thing, but I don't trust his ability to withstand his urges. So far, he says that he hasn't "fallen off the wagon" and I believe him. But I am also watching him. And he knows it. I still get nervous about "opportunities" and we try to discuss how both of us are going to hande those times.
I also have some problems with the aftermath of our "big-fantasy-indulging" sessions. William is so satiated after those events that his sex drive drops...and stays down for about a week or so. We are still trying to figure out how to deal with this in a way that satisfies both of us. My first instinct is to schedule these "big fantasy indulging" sessions for right before my "monthlies", then I wouldn't care if he wasn't interested in sex for a week, but we've noticed that scheduling the sessions ahead of time isn't good for our relationship either. William tends to get focused on the upcoming event and I feel...second best. So for now, we are not scheduling anything. We talked today about him wearing a nightie to bed a little more often. Originally, he didn't want to do this as he thought that it would reduce the intensity of what he feels, but now we're thinking that reducing it might not be such a bad thing?
There are a few things that William has mentioned that he would be interested in doing with me (he has not pushed) that I am uncomfortable with. One is looking at photos of himself, en femme. (At the beginning of this, he gave me his thumb drive with the photos on it and I have it hidden away.) I think that someday I might, but unfortunately for him, it won't be for "fantasy" indulging. I'm curious what he sees when he looks at them. When I ask, he says that he's not sure. He's never thought when looking at them; he's only felt. He says that he is willing to narrate his thoughts and feelings for me when eventually he does look at them - and agrees that we won't include this as part of a love-making session. I'm not sure when this will happen or how I will feel about it, but I'll let you all know when it does.
And just FYI: for the next few weeks, my posts might be spaced out just as these last few have been. I started a temp job a few weeks ago, so my time is a little busier these days! I'm still reading Jack's blog every chance I get and I read every comment that comes across here. So keep checking in and I'll blog again when I get a chance.