People who hide habits or parts of their personality from their partner often do so out of a fear of being judged or losing love. Sometimes, if they own up, they do risk ruining their relationships, however being real about who we are can also force us to face the fallacies of our own assumptions.
Take, for instance, the call I received some months ago from a woman who lives in a large country town. Her husband is a shift worker and one afternoon she arrived home unexpectedly to discover him dressed in women’s clothes, wearing a wig and make-up. She was devastated because they have been married for several years and she was totally unaware of his habit.
When she confronted him he told her that he was too scared to tell her for fear of rejection and he thought he might just hide it from her. She could not cope and called me in total despair. I was able to explain to her what cross dressing is about.
Cross dressers are usually heterosexual men who like to dress up in women's clothes. They discover their need to cross-dress during childhood starting out by dressing up in their sisters or their mother's clothes. They soon find out that it is not accepted and are told to stop it. They feel ashamed, become secretive and try to suppress their feelings and their desire to crossdress.
Later in life the issue can cause a lot of distress because often they are not sure how to cope. A lot of questions and worries persist and for each person it is a different story.
There are also many misconceptions about men who cross dress:
1) They have to be gay – they usually are not!
2) They don't like women – they do, most men are married
3) They do it for sexual gratification – Although cross-dressing is a sexual fetish for some, the vast majority of men do not experience any arousal as a result of cross-dressing, for some it is the exploration of feminine self-expression.
4) They always wear women's clothes – not true, most may only dress up occasionally – some men sometimes wear women's underwear under their clothes.
5) They can be cured – there is no cure as it is not an illness but a "state of being".
6) Cross-dressing should not be mixed up with being transsexual or transgender.
Listen: Osher Gunsberg's love advice.
Some men find that cross-dressing makes them feel relaxed and helps them with stress. For both the cross dresser and his family it is not an easy thing to deal with and it is very common to experience a sense of despair to face the reality of the situation.