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25 yr marriage, 2 teenagers and out of the blue he starts painting his toe nails, then wearing make up and when I asked what is going on, he just says he is experimenting with his feminine side, next thing he is wearing women underwear. I freaked out of course, he tries to calm me down assuring me that is just a phase, that he is doing it for fun. At this point I’m just thinking about divorce, my kids are starting to notice and are making snarky comments, and making up excuses for not to be in the same room with their dad, is obvious that all his “phase” is affecting us.

I am a stay at home mom, graduate student and about to reach my 50th birthday, trying to get a job is so hard, what other options I have? I’m feeling lost and of course I can’t talk about this with any of my friends or relatives, sigh, is really affecting me

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Prior to this “phase” had he ever discussed interests like these? Did you ever get any kind of gut read that something like this would be of interest to him? Were you guys still close intimately? Have you ever questioned his sexuality?

 

I’m curious to hear some answers to those questions. That said, I would try to treat this like any other issue that comes up in a relationship that triggers unrest. Rather than “freaking out,” tell him you need to talk with him—a calm, firm, mature, and loving talk in which you let him know that you are confused about this turn of events, as are the kids, and that you need to understand him better.

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Is he wearing the makeup and polish out in public? If not, why does his current 'fetish' upset you so much? Can you articulate why you are so disturbed by it?

 

Was the relationship prior to letting you know of his fetish a good one or were you teetering on resenting him generally?

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OP people don't just out of the blue start exploring their feminine / masculine sides... it's likely that he has had this desire for many years, if not most of his life, and is now ready to be more open about who he is.

 

Exploring our other "side" doesn't automatically mean we become gay, trans, bi, etc... of course it might mean that, but there are so many layers.

 

Personal experience... I went through a phase after my divorce where I thought I might be bi-sexual, turns out it was more about allowing myself to be sexually free after being repressed and shut down for so much of my life. Also turns out that while I find women physically attractive and appreciate the female form, I know in my heart that I am "straight".

 

While I can understand this coming as a shock, don't look at it as him doing something to you... it's not about you at all, nor is it necessarily selfish on his part, something deeper inside him is driving this behavior. If you choose to continue a relationship with him, you may want to educate yourself about LGTBQ and what it means.

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I'd quell any urge to react badly. It just doesn't help you or your family in the long run especially if the kids see mum reacting with spite or anger towards dad. They should love each of you as their parents. Don't let them get caught in this and don't perpetuate any form of spite or anger towards your spouse via your children. Even if you disagree and feel betrayed his actions (he's clearly not behaving in the usual way and this doesn't sound like what you signed up for), don't allow your kids to be collateral. It creates lost love, lost time, resentment over time and a lot of pain. Continue to foster respect, openness and let them know that disrespect in the house is not tolerated.

 

Finish your graduate studies and repair your marriage and any misunderstandings. You may have to accept your husband the way he is and see where this takes the both of you. You do have an opinion that matters and it takes two in a marriage/relationship. However he should be free to be as he needs to be. You are free to do as you please. Do not limit yourself to a partner whom you've outgrown over time and continue your studies and focus on finding a job to support yourself if what you really want is financial freedom. It doesn't sound like this would be such a hit if you had some financial independence - the dependency is skewed here and I'm sensing you feel very helpless. Work on continuing to change that.

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My guess is, he's been doing this for a very long time but just now decided to come out to you about it. Caitlyn Jenner said that she used to sneak into her sister's closet at 6 years of age, and that she (he then) became so amazing at running, as she was running away from herself.

 

This is absolutely not to say that your husband will fully transition a la Caitlyn Jenner, but to point out the ability to keep that side hidden for so long.

 

No judgment here, as people are who they are, but this is most definitely perplexing and distressing to you, as this is turning out to be a very different marriage than you thought it was.

 

I'd seek a therapist for yourself, just someone to talk about all of this. You say you don't want to share this with people you know, which I get, but you need to vent and get advice from someone.

 

You may move through this with him and live a happy, long life, or this may be something you find unappealing and from which you need to move away. Only you can decide this. You do have my empathy, as this would be a very difficult situation for me too.

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Get to therapy...alone. Personally and confidentially. Do not tell him about it or ask that he go at this point. Inform yourself on sexuality variations, fetishes, etc and what it means to you. Friends and family are not the people to talk to about this. A qualified therapist is. If this fetish, phase, behavior, whatever turns you off and effects your marriage and/or is a deal breaker then you need to make some decisions. Have you been thinking of divorce anyway? You sound disgusted by him in general.

At this point I’m just thinking about divorce, my kids are starting to notice and are making snarky comments, and making up excuses for not to be in the same room with their dad, is obvious that all his “phase” is affecting us.
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My guess is, he's been doing this for a very long time but just now decided to come out to you about it. Caitlyn Jenner said that she used to sneak into her sister's closet at 6 years of age, and that she (he then) became so amazing at running, as she was running away from herself.

 

Caitlyn Jenner is Bruce Jenner and is a MAN, a HE!

 

Honestly, what has become of our society where people think they can change, at will, their Gender...

 

This man showing his "Feminine Side" is not normal, and his wife and children SHOULD be upset!

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Huge difference between transvestites and transsexuals, and non-binary. How is your sex life before you found out? Is he still hot for you?

 

Think, is this the worst possible scenario for you? I'm 41, so if my hubs one day decided he needed to wear nail polish, I'd laugh, but wouldn't care. Nail polish and undies don't make you gay. It's a sensation or he's just a cross-dresser. Cross-dressing doesn't equal gay or trans.

 

Now if he's gay, totally another story too.

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Nothing before this topic, he is (was?) very conservative, I have a gay brother which he refused to meet even at our wedding, he said he respected my brother's way of life, but whenever we had a family event, my husband always had something to do and didn't go. So no, we never talked about his sexuality (o any) in any way, he never liked to talk about sexuality issues.

 

Regarding some hints, only once... he asked me to have a mani-pedi with me, which I said ok, nothing wrong about that, my dad used to go with me (he has diabetes so he needs a specialist to clip his toenails) so I didn't see anything wrong about that, he didn't go, and I ended up by myself at the nail salon.

 

I started the conversation about seven months ago, in a very mature way, and I offer my support to be there and listen to what he had to say, he didn't look at me during the entire conversation, he only said that he is experimenting with his feminine side, that was all. He did ask not to tell the kids (teenagers) because he was going to do it, which of course I accepted, he didn't do it, he just asked: "do you mind?" (referring to the nail polish and makeup) which my kids just said they couldn't care less, but they rant the entire time to me about what is going on.

So, is a lot of emotional pressure coming from everyone.

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Ok he's upsetting the apple cart. Again, get to therapy privately to explore how this impacts you and what you can do and how you can manage, whatever you decide to do. In therapy you can also discuss how to approach your kids when they rant about it.

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Yes, he is, natural tones so "no one notices it" and he even got stilettos, which he only wears at the house when we are not around (my kids where checking on the dogs with the nanny-cam and of course they saw him) I didn't know he had those or the dress...

I guess my problem is the constant secrecy and lies to the family because when I ask where is all this going to, he evades the topic.

Our relationship was good, at least I think it was, we were not as active as when we were young and without kids, but active.

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Yes, he got my lipsticks and nail polishes, mine and my kids. I didn't notice before, because my girls do that all the time. It was spring cleaning that I found a travel bag with all our stuff inside his closet.

Months later the travel bag grew with new stuff he has been ordering online or buying when he travels, he travels a lot, like a lot.

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Caitlyn Jenner is Bruce Jenner and is a MAN, a HE!

 

Honestly, what has become of our society where people think they can change, at will, their Gender...

 

This man showing his "Feminine Side" is not normal, and his wife and children SHOULD be upset!

 

Not to get into the discussion of gender fluidity, but it is relevant to the OP's concern, so I will. Caitlynn Jenner didn't change her gender "at will". She started at 6 years old, sneaking into her sister's closet. It's who she always was. She was physically born a man, but always knew she was more comfortable in her femininity.

 

Why I brought up Caitlynn particularly is where it might relate to the OP: Caitlynn has said that "she" is definitely still a man genetically, and she never intends to have male to female surgery. She will always be physically a man, and she is still attracted to other women. She now actually has a girlfriend. But prior to this girlfriend, she said imagine the difficulty in finding a relationship as a man who dresses like a woman, wanting to find a woman who wants a cross-dressing man who now identifies as a female.

 

This part is irrelevant to this conversation, as are all of our personal opinions on this matter, but I'm a "be yourself, no judgment" kind of gal.

 

My point is, OP, do you think you can still maintain a relationship with your man, with the cross-dressing? Does he want to? Again, therapy will help you sort out your own answer.

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Seems like the hardest part is that he refuses to talk about it at all or explain anything. Nobody just wakes up one day and decides to experiment like that. I guess the real question is what this actually is. Is he just cross dressing in private as a sort of fetish? Is he looking to go full drag queen? Is he in total denial about being gay himself? Unfortunately, the extreme rejection of your brother might be a clue here combined with complete refusal to discuss sexuality.

 

The biggest issue is your children being affected. It sounds like, whether he likes it or not, you will have to force an honest conversation about what's what. He cannot continue in quasi silence, quasi denial anymore while expecting his entire family to just stand by. At any rate, it's 2019, not 1920. Whatever, whoever he is, he needs to own it and he owes some honesty to you and his kids about that.

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I tried not to affect me, but he keeps adding new things to the equation, not only the nail polish, or the makeup, now he wears stilettos or a dress when we are not home (the problem/bliss whit nanny-cams).

 

He told me I was selfish for not letting him figure this out, so I'm confused with all this.

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You're not 'selfish", you're confused. Stop spying and make an appt with a therapist.

I tried not to affect me, but he keeps adding new things to the equation, not only the nail polish, or the makeup, now he wears stilettos or a dress when we are not home (the problem/bliss whit nanny-cams).He told me I was selfish for not letting him figure this out, so I'm confused with all this.
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My brother is gay, and I've been by his side since he came out 30 years ago, so yes, I'm educated on that topic.

 

I do understand that exploring doesn't mean transitioning, and that is why I talked about it with him in the first place, I offered my support to understand what is going on inside his mind, to help him, but I am confused. I mean if he never approved of my brother, then why he wants to explore his feminine side?

 

It's contradictory, don't you think so?

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I am quite a cool person, very still and into meditation whenever I need to burst out some curses. So, nope, no spite or anger towards him at all. My kids, on the other hand, are teenagers, they see and shut down, but when he leaves the house on business, they can't stop talking about all the things they saw during the weekend, and doesn't matter how much I repeat they should not judge him, and leave him his space, is not working anymore.

 

It has been seven months since they found out, and I do believe it is starting to affect them.

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I told him I want him to be happy, whatever that means. That is why I offered my support in the first place, talked openly about it, weekly chats on how he feels and if there is something I can help him with to understand what is going on.

 

He shuts off and smiles, continuing whatever he was doing.

 

The only thing he asked me was to go to the supermarket to get new makeup because he didn't want to buy it himself. He said: "I'm not ready to buy it by myself."

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I can't go to therapy without him noticing, he has access to all the credit cards and medical bills at home, so If I go, he would know and will go defensive or ask why I'm doing that.

I need to be financially independent first.

 

Disgust is not what I feel, more like sad and confused. 25 years of marriage are a lot.

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