New readers, welcome to Dear Wendy, a relationship advice blog. If you don’t find the info you need in this column, please visit the Dear Wendy archives or the forums (you can even start your own thread), or submit a question for advice.
Your husband cross-dresses because it brings him pleasure, and he keeps it a secret because he’s ashamed and/or because keeping it a secret increases his arousal. Cross-dressing and homosexuality — and transgender identity, for that matter — are NOT the same thing, and a man can be into wearing women’s clothes without being sexually attracted to men and without feeling like he’s a woman in a man’s body. In fact, many male cross-dressers can have perfectly happy and healthy heterosexual relationships with women they love and are attracted to.
It’s possible that the problems you’ve had in your marriage are related to your husband’s secret (or, they may be unrelated), and bringing the issue out in the open and discussing it compassionately could actually bring you closer together. I’d suggest sitting your husband down and telling him what you found. Avoid accusatory language, but, of course, ask him if he’s being faithful to you and if you have any reason to worry about your sexual health. Tell him you love him and want to understand this behavior. If you can reserve judgment and just listen to his explanation with an open heart, hopefully your husband will trust you enough to share his feelings and you will find that this is really nothing more than a kink — and a pretty harmless one at that — and doesn’t have to have a negative effect on your marriage. It could even have a positive effect.
I actually answered a very similar question (privately) from another reader, and she sent me an update saying: “Our relationship has gotten much better since my husband told me about his cross-dressing — even the sex is better. After 20 years, he has nothing to hide anymore, and, thanks to you, I’m fine with it now. He just likes the way it feels on his skin, and I can understand that.”
Here’s hoping you and your marriage have as positive an outcome.
If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at email@example.com.