It was quite frightening when my husband told me he was a cross-dresser. My first thoughts were to run away as far as I could.
It was still a new relationship, and he told me early on to avoid the type of heartache that broke up his first marriage. He was such a wonderful person. I really wanted to get to know him better. I decided to give him a few more chances to buy me dinner and to find out more.
I was much luckier than a lot of women who have been with their male partners for several years and then suddenly find another woman in the relationship; a female version of their partner that they knew nothing about. The most common complaint being: ‘if he lied about that, what other lies has he been telling me all these years?’
When I found out, I was worried that I would be looked at as a failure, once again, because I ended up with another ‘loser’. People would judge me by the man I was with. Many people assume that a cross-dresser must be gay, or that they are on the path to total transformation into a woman. This was not the case with my husband.
Over the next months, I asked about his cross-dressing whenever I felt I was ready to hear it. I’ve learnt that many cross-dressers find the desire early in life, but feel that it is wrong and keep the secret for as long as possible. I was lucky because my husband wasn’t keeping it a secret. He would tell me as much as he was able to hear, but we regularly needed to pause the conversation so I could absorb it all.
My first experience of seeing my partner as a woman was through photographs he had done previously. After we had been together for a while, I had a shower one day and as I emerged from the bathroom, believing there were only the two of us there, I was shocked to see another woman in the room.
I did not recognise her at all. When I did, I just laughed, it was not what I expected at all, I had expected a more unisex-type of clothing, but he liked all the frills, colours and styles that any well-dressed woman would wear.
Over time, Susan (the female side of my partner) became a great friend. I had both, the supportive strong male known as Peter and the caring friendship of Susan. Shopping was another experience altogether.