Secret phone calls, regular trips to the ‘gym’, and unknown lacy underwear are all telltale signs of an affair, right?
But what if this is jumping to the wrong conclusion?
For this week’s Sex Column, we hear from a woman who thought her husband was cheating after finding suspicious lingerie, but received another explanation after confronting him.
But, before you go, read last week’s dilemma, from a 17-year-old who wants her embarrassing mum to stop coming on to her boyfriend.
I thought my husband was seeing another woman when I found lacy underwear in his car. I was devastated but when I confronted him, the truth was even worse – he’s been wearing these undies himself.
I’ve always thought we were happily married and honestly didn’t suspect a thing. I often work late, or sometimes go out with friends, and my husband says he uses these opportunities to dress up which apparently, he finds relaxing. He says his desire to wear women’s clothes doesn’t go beyond underwear, and that he isn’t trans, but I don’t know what to think.
He said he normally makes a better job of hiding his secret wardrobe, and just forgot he’d left a bag in the boot. I wonder how far things would have gone, had I not found them. Our sex life has always been great, so why does he need to do this kind of thing?
He has promised not to wear this sort of stuff again, but I don’t know whether to believe him.
I know we’re supposed to live in a world where anything goes, but honestly, when you’re married to someone, it really doesn’t. I don’t want my husband to get a kick out of wearing frilly underwear, I can’t help it.
You’re torn between how you think you should feel (accepting) and how you actually feel (horrified). These conflicting feelings are natural but try if you can, to take a step back and look at what’s really happened. Your husband hasn’t cheated, beaten you up or gambled away all your money. What he has done, though, is kept a secret from you, probably because he simply didn’t know how to share it.
‘Cross-dressing’ is more common than you realise; in fact, most of us probably know someone who dresses up in the privacy of their own home. Men who do this are frequently not transgender or gay, but simply heterosexual males who wear women’s clothing for a variety of reasons; perhaps to find escape from the traditional male role, or for sexual reasons. It’s not that big a jump to enjoy the feeling of silky undies on your partner’s body, to liking the feel of them on your own.
Guys who enjoy wearing female clothes often feel ashamed, and yet it’s an activity that is intrinsically harmless. So, while this undie-fetish might feel like the end of the world, it honestly isn’t. Look on it as a form of expression, not something your husband needs to overcome or resist. After all, it’s just a tiny part of who he is.
Don’t make him promise not to wear frilly lingerie again; it will almost certainly be a promise he can’t keep. In the long run, if your marriage is otherwise good, it needn’t fail over this.
If you struggle to adjust, you’ll find many support groups for people in your increasingly common situation. Check out what’s available in your area, as a couple or by yourself. You’ll find you’re far from alone.
Laura is a counsellor and columnist.
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