Questions Re: A Crossdressing/Transgendered Spouse

I’ll cut to the chase: my husband identifies as CD/TG. I don’t have a problem with the identity issues. He primarily identifies as CD because he doesn’t want to transition at this time, but even if he did, I’d be okay with it. Which is why it’s kind of funny that I’m posting here. . .

. . .lately, the whole thing has come to the forefront. As a result, much of his free time is spent looking at things like breastforms and clothes. Our topics of conversation seem to revolve around makeup, and clothes, and other womanly stuff.

Here’s the problem: this stuff bores me to tears. I’ve never been a girly girl; I think I was eighteen before my wardrobe consisted of anything beyond “jeans and a T-shirt.” I hardly ever wear makeup. I have almost no fashion sense.

I feel really, really bad about this–but, at the same time, I’m also kind of annoyed. At one point, he mentioned that he hoped I could help him out with clothes shopping, and picking out outfits. I’m not a shopper; the only way I’d regularly enjoy shopping would be if it came with a license to kill and a big honkin’ machete. Additionally, my personal style is very specific, and very personal; it’s hard for me to render an opinion on something that I don’t think I’d wear–which, incidentally, is about ninety percent of what he’s looking at.

I hate to admit this, but it’s driving me crazy. And yet, it’s not the gender identity that’s the issue; it’s the same kind of annoyance I get when he decides to wax rhapsodic about his Commodore 128. The annoyance of, “look, I love you, but could we please talk about something I’m interested in/know something about?” I just plain don’t want to talk about most of this girly shit. I glaze over when my non-spouse friends talk about it–except, I don’t live with them. Additionally, I just plain don’t “get” some things; for instance, while I know girls’ underoos are new to him, I’ve been wearing them my entire life. Shopping for them is no big deal; it takes me about three seconds. Same with bras, shaving my legs, wearing pantyhose (though, dammit, he doesn’t kill pairs like I do), and all the other myriad things that I see as a nuisance and he sees as just plain new.

The problem is, I’m afraid that even if I express my feelings as precisely as I can, it’s still going to be perceived as an attack on his gender identity. Taking this steps is making him very happy, and I want to be involved in this part of his life. I want to help him with the parts I can help him with (for instance, jewelry and fragrances), and I want to be there for him while he explores and grows as a person and as a woman. But I’m really, really, really getting sick of hearing about girly shit. It’s just not a common interest. It’s like he’s talking about football or something. All the time. Blah.

Is there any way that I can approach this without coming off as a narrow-minded brat? Also, if anyone has some links to some good support sites, I’d appreciate that, too; I know that, while the SDMB is diverse, it’s not specifically geared towards giving this kind of advice. Thanks!

Does he want your advice/help because he feels safest/has no one else to help him, or is it more of a bonding thing? If it’s a “group activity” thing, just tell him, hey, not my sort of thing. But if he really needs your help: what if you had a daughter that wanted your advice on these sorts of things? I don’t really like dresses and girly stuff either (although probably more than you from the sound of it,) but I’d try my hardest to help if I had a daughter as a single parent despite my XY genes.

But whatever he picks, don’t tell him he looks fat in it :wink:

I’d just like to add that I just realized that maybe there is more to my last sentence than pure jokery: does he want you to help him pick out stuff that you’d like to see him wear, rather than stuff that’d look good on him in general? It might be as hard to convince him you really don’t care as it is for your stereotypical husband to convince his wife he looks good in anything.

My votes from the totally inexperienced with your situation but likes to give advice on the internet anyway peanut gallery.

  1. Don’t expect to “cure” this problem with one discussion.

  2. Do tell him (repeatedly, if neccessary) that girly stuff bores you to tears.

  3. Encourage him to find one or more friends with whom he can explore girly stuff.

  4. Enlist the help of your family, as appropriate. I don’t mean that you have to tell your family what you’ve told us, but if your family knows that you hate girly stuff, and you have dinner together with the family and the husband, encourage the telling of stories in which you bought the first prom dress that fit, or where you wore a pair of sandals until they fell off your feet rather than shop for a new one.

  5. Spend some time with him doing this kind of stuff. It’s important to him, and it may be mixed up with his identity, so it should be important to you–sort of. You know, the issue which made you bring this up to begin with.

6.Ration time spent doing girly stuff appropriately. Maybe bargain with him–I’ll spend fifteen minutes playing with your hair, if you’ll spend fifteen minutes cleaning the fridge (washing dishes, vacuuming, whatever). Something boring or unpleasant enough to help
convey how little interest you have in doing girly stuff, but not so unpleasant that he thinks you are punishing him for wanting to do girly stuff.

It sounds like he doesn’t have any friends to go shopping with, so he’s turning to you as a girl he can trust. If you encouraged him to find some friends he can go out and do girl stuff with, he’d have a hard time saying you were attacking his identity as opposed to seriously just not being interested in shopping. You might be able to find some location based groups online, or if you’ve got open-minded friends see if one of them might be interested in becoming his shopping buddy.

It could also be that, depending on how recently he’s come out, he’s still worried that you don’t approve, and is begging for reassurance at every turn by constantly bringing things up. (It could also be that if he’s new to things, he’s just naturally pretty exuberant- I know I drive my friends nuts when I pick up any new, serious interest.) You are going to have to be able to tell him that you don’t enjoy shopping period, but if he’s still very nervous about what you think, I would try doing some things with him that you don’t mind so much in order to drive home your acceptance. Maybe even offer something like “You know I don’t even like shopping for clothes for myself, but we could go to the mall and find you a lady’s perfume to be your signature scent” or offer to have a girls night in with pink pajamas and sappy movies or um… ok, yeah I’m pretty bad at girly stuff myself, but if you can find something decidedly feminine that you can both have fun with, it would probably go a long way to reassuring him that no, you really do just hate shopping.

This is way harder than listening to my husband drone on about a carburetor. :wink: If you want to help him you may have to put some time in as a shopping pal, even though it’s foreign territory to you.

You might want to tell him how boring this is to you and then set aside, say, one day every week where you’ll help him with it. And ask him if he could shelve the questions until your Girly Stuff Day arrives. Maybe if you can figure out a schedule, it won’t be that horrible. Good luck!

Don’t have much advice to offer; this is a very very tough situation for both of you. I don’t know how old your husband is, but remember: all his life, he was denied the usual, normal “girly stuff” you took for granted and got out of your system. The “kid in a candy shop” syndrome is very normal for new cross-dressers/transgendered people. He’s got what, 20 or 30 years worth of “ooh, look at that skirt!” and “how does my hair look like this?” to go through all at once. He’ll calm down eventually.

Here are some links that your husband may find helpful:

make you point out that your eyes glaze over when susie, bamby, kimmy and jennie talk about this stuff, you might want to open with this info

make sure you

Send him off to Tri Ess.

I almost didn’t say anything, but Eve has convinced me that my thoughts might be on the right track.

It seems that the m-t-f TG’s who are finally getting honest abouit their identity tend to go overboard with the “girly stuff”. Oddly enough, it occurs to me that I know even less about non-TG crossdressers - for all I know, they’re just as bad when finally finding a way/acceptance to indulge their urges.

And I’m sure if I’m wrong on this, the TG’s on the Dope will correct me, but –

Yeah, it’s the “oh boy, I finally get to do this!” problem. Also, I never had to prove I was a girl, it’s been pretty much accepted without question from day one in my case, so mastering the girly stuff has never been of high importance for me. I think for TG’s and CD’s there is a “I have to prove myself” factor. They work hard at being feminine. Which is probably why most of 'em come off as a lot more girly and feminine than I’ve ever been.

I have no idea if pointing out that there’s more to womanhood than the “girly-stuff” will help. It’s not just about nail polish and high heels. There are other ways to be feminine than troweling on make-up.

Huh. Don’t really have anything more than that - it’s not a problem I’ve ever had to deal with in real life.

Sounds to me like your husband hasn’t paid much attention to who YOU are. You’ll have to remind him, delicately and so forth (well, delicate for your standards, you don’t sound like no Miss Violette), that he’s really not asking the right person.

My SIL spent last weekend showing me her latest purchases and while I realize she’s trying to strike up a bond, it took me a serious effort not to start yawning after the third skirt in the same style and similar colors.

Sorry about the double post, I really need to stop doing this.

When I want to express that something annoys me or I disagree with it or whatever, I am very precise about how I put things; like the OP is saying, I want to make it very clear that my problem is with the issue and not the person. In this case you need to lay the walk-on-eggs extra thick.

“Hon, I’m sorry but you just look good to me in both, I realize I’m not the best person to ask.” (how many husbands have said something like this?)
“In my opinion, please note it’s my opinion blahblah…”

Thanks, everyone! I think what Eve said makes the most sense as regards my husband. I mean, he freely admits that he kind of obsesses on one interest at a time; combining that with wanting to make up for nearly 30 years of deprivation has got to be pretty potent. I did explain to him (politely) that I would like to have conversations that don’t revolve around women’s clothing or CD in the near future, and we went shopping together for clothes last night (we both got stuff, which helps!). I

He’s already involved in a local support group; I was actually looking more for something I could participate in. Because even though this focuses on him, I’m a part of his life, so I’m going to be affected, too. To be honest, I think it’s bringing to the forefront some of my own gender issues, which I thought I’d worked out before I Met him.

That being said, I have a wonderful romantic gesture planned for the night, which I think he’ll appreciate. It involves chocolate, flowers, and jewelry :).