Sunday, 18 December 2011

Letting her down gently

    A little while ago, I found myself in a tricky situation. I came out to someone in my social circle, and after the usual chat about what it all means, she revealed that her boyfriend used to crossdress. "But he's given it all up now we're together, I'd have left him otherwise".
    Difficult. I know they're soon going to be sharing a flat. And probably like many readers of this blog I know that crossdressing isn't something you can just give up like that. It never goes away. Trying to make it go away nearly killed me and no doubt it has had a similar effect on thousands of others.
    So he's either still doing it in secret, or he's quietly going mad. If he's been secretly dressing he'll probably have a final purge before they move in together, try to give it up for good.
    It ain't going to work, we all know that. He'll try, but it'll go horribly wrong somehow. It doesn't matter how he self-identifies, whether he sees himself as TS, TV, CD, TG or whatever from the alphabet soup of options,   this doesn't go away. At some point in the future he's either going to take it up again, or implode.
    So what could I do? I'd just come out to a friend, and suddenly here I was, the embodiment of everything she fears. Yet I couldn't mislead her, that's not what you do to friends.
    Say "It won't work, you know"? "He's going to assemble a stash of clothing somewhere and keep doing it"? Obviously not. I have to warn her gently that it might happen, that we come in many different varieties, it's not about sexuality and it's not a blame game, but the full-on approach isn't going to help.
    Instead of talking about her and her boyfriend I talked about the relationship my wife and I have. How she's tolerant rather than accepting, and how just like her boyfriend I told my wife about it as far as I understood it early on and tried to keep it under control for so long. I talked about the difference between gender and sexuality, how the community as I have encountered it has had almost nothing to do with admirers or sex in general. I told her about the support we've received, and told her that there is support from within the community for spouses or partners of trans-whatever people too.
    And I offered an ear, either mine or my wife's, should she ever need it.
    I have no idea what will happen. Whether he'll be able to hold it off, whether they'll stay together. But at least she now knows she's not alone, and it's not as far-fetched as she might think.
    Which I hope will be of some help to her, after all, what else are friends for?


  1. Don't know what I'd have done in that situation but I guess whatever happens, you did the right thing. TS, TV or whatever, secrecy hurts everybody eventually, both yourself and those you love. Secrecy is a pressure that comes from the outside anything you could do to relieve that for them both has to help doesn't it?

  2. "Instead of talking about her and her boyfriend I talked about the relationship my wife and I have."

    Yes, I think that was the right way to reply. It makes it non-judgmental and non-confrontational, while leaving the conversation open for your friend to resume it at a later date, if desired.

  3. I liked the way you gave her options, and now she know good open relationships are built of truth, respect and love.

  4. A very delicate situation to find yourself in but you have dealt with it in a tactfully and non-judgemental way. I have to admire the fact that you came out to your friend in the first place. It must have taken you by surprise at her acceptance and also her revelation. I noticed the fact that she was accepting of your condition but when it is on a more personal level, as with her man, it is another matter. I remember once telling a friend who had made the decision not to dress any longer that she was living in a dream world and it would continue at some point in the future. Ten years downline she is now determined to fully transition and is making good progress. We remain friends and I see her fairly frequently. At least your friend will now be armed in the knowledge that her man might eventually resort to his former ways and she can be prepared for it. I hope it works out for them both.

    Shirley Anne xxx

    What a coincidence: The word verification for this comment was heshe !

  5. Oh I was reading this, my immediate thought was to tell her just what you told her. You did the right thing. She may be blindly in love and ignore you, but at least you told her.

    One thing that CD's and TS's have in common is that IT never goes away.

    Calie xxx

  6. Jenny, I admire the way you handled this situation. It would have been easy to let your friend think that her boyfriend really had given up crossdressing. Maybe he even thinks so. Instead, you did the brave and true thing and shared your experience with her.

  7. Jenny, I know that I would have been tempted to say something like "you know, it's not that simple...", but I think that how you handled it was better.

  8. Excellent handling of the situation! I hope for your friend's sake that she takes you up on your invitation for future guidance.

  9. Thanks everyone. I hope I got it right. At least I'm fairly sure I didn't get it too wrong.