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Annie's Mailbox®, March 2

Comment

Dear Annie: It's after 1:00 a.m. and I can't sleep for the second straight night. Two days ago, my husband of 15 years told me he's a cross-dresser. Apparently at one of his organization's meetings, he was advised to come out of the closet.

We've had a wonderful marriage with not one serious argument. We get along fabulously, traveling and living a very comfortable life. My grown children from my first marriage love him, and he's been a wonderful stepfather and grandfather.

He dressed up for me and I was appalled. I feel dirty, betrayed and stupid for not having figured this out. He went to a makeup artist and had pictures taken of himself. Who knows if they'll end up on the Internet? What I can't figure out is how in the world these men, with their five o'clock shadows, feel pretty. There was nothing pretty about my husband.

I can't get an appointment with a psychiatrist for a month. My nerves are shot, and I need help in understanding and, at my husband's request, accepting this. He doesn't want our marriage to end. Please give me some help. — Hurting

Dear Hurting: We understand your sense of betrayal, but it's better you know what's going on so you can deal with it. Cross-dressing does not mean your husband is gay. The vast majority of cross-dressers are heterosexual. There are some wives who have learned to accept this aspect of their husband's personality and work out a compromise that allows the marriage to continue, but not all wives are capable of such tolerance.

There are online self-help groups for women in your position. The Society for the Second Self (tri-ess.org) has a section for wives of cross-dressers, and we also recommend you contact CrossDressersWives.com.

Dear Annie: My husband and I have no immediate family nearby, and our son and only child lives across the country. We are healthy, but at an age when we understand our mortality.

We have arrangements in place with a funeral home for our burial.

We are aware that traditional expectations are for a service either at church, the funeral home or graveside. We have decided not to hold any memorial because we prefer privacy during what will be a stressful time, and also because it is a major inconvenience for other relatives to travel the distance.

Should we inform our family members now when all is well? Or should we make our wishes known in the death notice and have the surviving spouse or child follow up with a personal telephone call? — Your Faithful Readers

Dear Faithful Readers: Memorial services are for the survivors — a way to say goodbye to a loved one and pay respects to the family. If people find it too inconvenient to attend, they won't come. But you don't need to have a service nor should you inform people years in advance. You might change your mind. However, please discuss this with your son and allow him to have some input on whether or not to have a service for his remaining parent. It is unfair to assume he will not want one.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Annoyed Friend," who belongs to a coffee club that meets weekly. She thinks one of the women, "Jane," is a freeloader because she has yet to take her turn having the women over. You said she may be embarrassed to have people in her home and suggested "Annoyed" have the next meeting in a coffeehouse.

I joined an upscale book club, but refused to have the members in my house because I am ashamed of the terrible neighborhood where I live. I would have loved to meet at a local coffeehouse had it been offered. Tell "Annoyed" not to think the worst. Instead, she should take the time to find out what's really going on. — Southern Granny

Dear Granny: Many women wrote to say they were ashamed of their homes and that is why they didn't reciprocate.

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2009 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.



Comments

15 Comments | Post Comment
I will never understand the urge that some men apparently have to cross-dress. I think what bothers me is that when the subject appears in these advice columns, it's always aimed at the people around the cross dresser, who are then given tips on "dealing with it." They're also issued the standard assurance that the transvestite usually isn't gay. Curiously absent from the columnist (even when the cross-dresser himself has written in), is any advice on how to get over the desire to keep doing it. For some reason, advice columnists (in general, not just Kathy and Marcy) always accept such behavior as apparently harmless fun, even normal. Funny how it's rarely, if ever, seen as unhealthy, bizarre, or destructive.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Matt
Sun Mar 1, 2009 9:07 PM
As far as I know, I've never met a cross-dresser in person - just the characters on tv playing that part. I think it's rather weird but I really don't care all that much. However, it would bother me if my husband came and told me he was a cross-dresser. It would be a total turn-off. I'd never be able to have sex with him. Yet people seem to think that that would be MY PROBLEM, not his. So I have to agree somewhat with Matt on this point. Why is it that everyone else is wrong if they feel uncomfortable around a cross-dresser? Actually, I don't think I'd feel uncomfortable if it were my neighbor or some guy I worked with. I don't feel uncomfortable around homosexuals either - but I'm not planning or expected to have sex with them. I don't expect people to be anyone other than who they are. So I do understand why columnists are not trying to tell people how to NOT be cross-dressers. I doubt they have an answer to that. So to that end, I do understand why there is advice on how to cope when someone close to you is a cross-dresser or such because you probably can't change who people are deep inside. As long as those "different" people are not trying to hurt anyone, they should be left alone. The bigger issue here though is that this man is not who his wife thought he was. He kept a really big secret from her. He deceived her. That is the crux of the matter. So even if she is able to forgive him, she should not be expected to remain married to him (his being or not being gay has nothing to do with it). So getting some help in understanding her husband's "strange" habit may help her accept him as he is or may just help her to understand what it means to her and help her make a decision about her future. My one bit of advice here is that she not make a hurried decision but should consider everything carefully first.
Comment: #2
Posted by: Pat
Sun Mar 1, 2009 9:55 PM
Two comments: I agree with Pat that a 15 year BIG secret is the problem with this husband's coming out. I don't know when the right time would be, but that's a long time for deceit, and it would trouble me that my husband was that good at keeping something that big from me.

Second: for those that join groups but won't have people over for what they consider good reasons . . .as that is part of being a member, it is something that should be considered before joining. If you absolutely cannot have people over, then you need to be a hostess (which means paying) at a coffee house or restaurant. And if you can't afford that, then you either need to have an honest talk with the group or not join. Cleaning up before company is a pain for everyone, so that's not an excuse. And if you think the group is going to be that critical of your home . . . are you projecting how critical you are or are you in a group of not very nice people?
Comment: #3
Posted by: julia
Mon Mar 2, 2009 2:31 AM
Personally, I could never accept a cross-dressing husband, regardless of how "hetero" he may be. The mere thought just grosses me out. I don't wear jockstraps or boxers, and I believe my husband should stay away from bras and garter belts. No negotiation. I also don't understand why everyone rallies around the cross-dresser.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Jennifer
Mon Mar 2, 2009 5:54 AM
In your column in the Grand Island Independent, you told that there was only drugs--pain killers--to help with Arthritis. This is wrong. If more people would look into herbal medicine they would find glutathione. It is sold under
the name Max GXL and can be found by calling 801-316-6380 or contacting any distributor. You can also get on the internet MaxGXL/151664 and find out exactly what it does and how it works..
Comment: #5
Posted by: Bonnie Lawhorne
Mon Mar 2, 2009 2:05 PM
IM NOT A CROSSER DRESSER BUT I DO ENJOY MY SHEAR ENERGY PANTY HOSE EVERY DAY .THAY DO HELP MY LEGGS AND FEET AT WORK ALL DAY .I THINK MEN SHOULD GET THE SAME RELIF AS WOMEN DO IN THIS ASPECT.I DO NOT WERE DRESS OR ANTHING ELS BUT SOME MEN DO ENJOY DRESSING UP.AS LONG AS THAY ARE NOT HURTNG ANYONE THERE IS NO HARM.I DONT THINK ITS THAT BIG OF A THING.
Comment: #6
Posted by: gary
Mon Mar 2, 2009 2:25 PM
Re: gary--- It isn't really the cross-dressing that's the problem here - at least not entirely. The big thing is the huge deception. And the panty-hose thing in itself would probably not be considered cross-dressing since it's for a purpose. Anyway, this couple had been married 15 years. All that time he was keeping this secret. Something of that nature should have been revealed BEFORE they were married. He took away her right to decide whether she wanted to marry the real him. His excuse might be that he loved her so much and he was afraid of losing her if he told her the truth. But he was dishonest and that is the issue. Would you like to hear that your wife didn't tell you the truth about an important aspect of her life before you married her only to find out 15 years later? What if she were secretly an exotic dancer, had a job which required all her family members have deep background checks, that she spends one day a week at a nudist colony when you thought she was working, or had a chronic illness. Not all those things are necessarily bad but they're secrets that you might feel you should have known about. Don't you think you'd be upset about the secrecy and having your right to make a decision based on the truth denied?
Comment: #7
Posted by: Pat
Mon Mar 2, 2009 3:26 PM
I don't know how to help my son. He says he wants to go into the Navy, but he can't pass the drug test. He has tried very hard to. I live in another state. I don't know what to tell him or how to help him get clean and stay that way. He said if he came to my house to visit for a couple weeks that would be the help he needed. Is he just telling me this ? He has no job or future were he is at now. Do you have any suggestions? Thank you for your help.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Janice Lockard
Mon Mar 2, 2009 3:38 PM
Re: Janice Lockard ----------I have no experience with the drug thing but perhaps someone else here can advise you. I'm just wondering whether your son's being able to stay sober for a couple of weeks in order to pass a drug test is really the answer. I've heard of people who have even gone into a rehab program and then slipping back into the drug thing. So two weeks sober doesn't seem as though it would be enough. I would imagine the Navy doesn't want guys with a drug problem which is why the drug test is given. What does he think is going to happen with his drug habit once he enlists? Does the Navy have a program to help addicts or will he face dishonorable discharge? I'm not sure this is the right avenue for your son. It may be that he really does want to make a change in his life; but perhaps rehab is what he needs now and the Navy later. Is there anyone else out there with some suggestions?
Comment: #9
Posted by: Pat
Mon Mar 2, 2009 5:13 PM
One things for sure, there sure a lot of odd people out there. The way I see it is that he deceived her about his cross dressing. I wonder what else he didn't tell her. I hope she was watching their finances, his internet searches, and his credit card purchases. I personally would leave him. I wouldn't be able to get over it.

Comment: #10
Posted by:
Mon Mar 2, 2009 6:19 PM
I used to belong to a church life group. They all seemed to be wealthy rich people. I didn't invite them to my house because I live in a mobile home in a mobile home court that is terrible run down. We take really good care of our home and yard but the neighbors don't. The people in the church life group all lived in stately homes on the golf course etc. Finally I woke up and decided that church wasn't for me and went to a church with people more like me, nice and not snobby.
Comment: #11
Posted by:
Mon Mar 2, 2009 6:23 PM
Re: Jennifer, Comment #7
Wow Jennifer! You sound quite bitter, even angry. How sad that you'd be so ready to dismiss all crossdressers, everything else be damned. You should examine why it is that it "The mere thought just grosses me out". I assure the reason is that it's what you've been taught throughout your life by your family, friends and society.
"I don't wear jockstraps or boxers, and I believe my husband should stay away from bras and garter belts.". While that's great and all, imagine that, for reasons you nor anyone else could explain or even understand it gave you great pleasure, even peace that you find nowhere else in this life. Would you expect, or want, him to love you any less because of it? Despite everything else he loves about you, anything and everything that makes you, you he'd throw it all away because you wore those jockstraps or boxers. How little and worthless might that make you feel?
And this after confiding in him how wonderful it made you feel. You'd have to wonder if he ever really loved YOU at all!
His only reply to your heartfelt pleas for his love and understanding? "No negotiation".
What a tragedy to dismiss an entire person, without negotiation, over a judgement, hatred, and perhaps even fear that isn't even natural. It's what you've been taught since birth.
Since you're clearly willing to leave your husbands life over this I wonder how others in your life might fare. What if it were your brother? Father? Close friend? Would they too be out of your life if they came out as a crossdresser?
Please consider this possibility. If not them or someone you currently know, it might be a potential husband or treasured friend down the road who you'd risk missing out on, all because of this. Sad. Even tragic.
"I also don't understand why everyone rallies around the cross-dresser". I hope I've explained why, Jennifer. Because we're people too. Sometimes, really great people even. apparently like Hurting's husband of whom she wrote: "We've had a wonderful marriage with not one serious argument. We get along fabulously, traveling and living a very comfortable life. My grown children from my first marriage love him, and he's been a wonderful stepfather and grandfather". But definitely someones son, brother, friend, coworker...

How much better a people, and society we will be when we break this cycle of learned judgement and hate and instead teaching our children to accept and love the crossdressers of this world. It won't happen in my lifetime but I like the direction our society is going. I hope and pray that it will happen. The sooner the better.
Comment: #12
Posted by: Mike
Tue Mar 3, 2009 5:06 AM
After reading most of this ugh comments, I can see why people are afraid to cross dress or tell that they are crossdressing. Maybe he got into the club during the 15 years of their marriage and was afraid to tell her. He didn't decieve her. Why throw away 15 years of a happy marriage for a that? I don't care if I married a cross dresser. I rather catch him crossdressing, than cheating on me or having a secret that will destroy our marriage.
Comment: #13
Posted by: a little advice
Wed Mar 4, 2009 6:11 AM
I am a female crossdresser. For 10 years of my marriage I dressed as a man in secret. No, not just wearing trousers and manly shoes, but I've actually got a high quality false beard and moustache that I affix to my face when I choose to become "Marty". Every so often I grow all of my body hair out and I revel in the scratchy feel of it. It feels so great to go out in public in a tank top and shorts with all my hair on display and my breasts taped down. A few years ago I cut my shoulder length hair extremely short, except for some sideburns that I've been trying to grow, and for the last several months I have started on a muscle building routine that will help me achieve a physique worthy of the "Marty" in me. I have accepted this component of myself.

My problem though, is my husband. When I told him about "Marty" he was not supportive to put it mildly. I even went out and had some photos taken of myself as "Marty" - I was so proud of how masculine I looked in those photos - I even put a pair of thick socks down the front of my pants so that I would feel like a complete man. I had hoped my husband would love "Marty" as much as he says he loves me, or at least try to understand it. I told him it would make me so happy if he was ok with this - that I've been dreaming of the day when he and I can go out for drinks together both dressed as men. He has flat-out refused to do that. He has so far "tolerated" one occasion where I dressed as "Marty" at home. The next morning - I had even already taken off the pretend moustache - well, he didn't want to kiss me - let alone make love to me. I'm not a lebian, I just like to pretend, sometimes, that I am a rugged manly man. What should I to do help my husband accept that I am "Marty" too?

Comment: #14
Posted by: CDW
Thu Mar 5, 2009 10:05 PM
Re: Mike

You are wonderful! I agree wholeheartedly.
Comment: #15
Posted by: Emily
Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:06 PM
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