Living with a Transvestite

From a Guest Blogger: Her experience of living with Fetish and Autogynephilic Transvestism. Its not you, its him.

Living with a Transvestite

It is not until now, in middle age, that I am able to express how the experience of living with a transvestite man has affected me.

I was very young when we met. He was a professional musician and was quite a bit older than me. He struck me as very sophisticated and artistic and I believed he was attracted to me.

We began seeing one another seriously and we fairly quickly progressed to a sexual relationship. I fell in love and was blind to the signs that all was not right, which I can see so plainly now. Like the times when a piece of my underwear would somehow be in bed despite me having undressed before getting in to bed. Or like when some of my things began to go missing.

Sex wasn’t brilliant and he began to insist that I wear underwear in bed, especially the girly, frilly stuff. I was puzzled but not overly disturbed. Still, after he had visited me, items of my clothing would be missing.

A few weeks later he invited me to live with him. Before I answered he said he felt there was something I ought to know. He told me that he was ‘interested’ in women’s underwear. Ok, I thought, what hetero man isn’t? I didn’t realise he meant wearing it.

So I moved in with him, still largely unaware of his proclivities and sexual interests. And his violent responses if he didn’t get what he wanted.

I remember that he wanted me to have a different bedroom from him. He said that it was to do with years of living alone and the inability to sleep with anyone near him. I had my own room and found that I was not allowed into his room unless invited. We still had but it was becoming quite infrequent. I felt it odd that so soon in the relationship his sexual interest in me was waning. It was at this time it became clear to me that he was ‘borrowing’ my clothes. Not just underwear but dresses, coats, scarves…anything really. He was taking these things surreptitiously, slyly returning them the exact way he found them. Almost. I began to set little traps in an attempt to prove what he was up to.

I felt unable to confront him over what was, to me, a huge violation. I felt it was somehow a failing in me, that I wasn’t liberal or open-minded enough. I kept trying to be ok about it but it made be very uncomfortable. I began to realise why our sex life had waned, it was because in reality he would rather masturbate that do anything else.

We skirted around the elephant in the room. We travelled abroad on holidays and he would insist on ‘time alone’, which was code for him dressing up in my clothes and masturbating. I once returned to the hotel room earlier than I had planned and he became extremely angry. The angry outbursts became more frequent as I fought to have what I considered a ‘normal’ relationship. In truth, I was afraid of him.

I realised at some point that I had to leave and waited until his job took him to Europe, packed up my stuff, left a note and found a place of my own. But it would take years before the wounds healed. I was young and beautiful then and yet I felt ugly and undesirable. I felt I had failed because I couldn’t be happy with the arrangement. I felt those things for years, always suspicious of any man who seemed interested in my clothes in anyway. I deliberately wore dowdy things and stopped having any interest in my appearance. I hated fashion magazines because to him they were pornography. I hated shopping for clothes because he loved to do that, getting an erection as he looked for items of clothing that were supposedly for me, but which he would wear.

I think women are put under a lot of pressure to accept relationships like this as being evidence of an open mind. Well, this relationship was a wholly negative experience for me. Even without the violence, I would have felt the self loathing and secret shame.

My advice to anyone in a similar situation would be to listen to your instincts and to put yourself first. Any behaviour that results in you feeling bad about yourself is abusive. If you are not comfortable then get out of the relationship because he will never, ever change.

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No… That’s not the Right Word, Either

I didn’t say the right thing. I could see that. He had been watching me so intently, his mouth curved in a slight smile that I didn’t recognize. His head forward, face down a little, tilted, as if he was presenting his cheekbone to me. Looking, up, almost, at me from the corners of his eyes. His eyes.

It was a very generous gift, I said so. And added, with a smile of pride, enamored, that he had very good boyfriend skills. Imagine me, my smile said, with such a fine catch as you!

It wasn’t the right thing.

I made mental notes, and the next time I touched on how well his mother had reared him, to give such thoughtful and unique gifts. They were just perfect. Because, they were. And he knew it, his eyes glowed as he watched me unwrap.

But, it wasn’t his mother. That wasn’t the right thing. That, very much, was not the right thing, said the involuntary tightening at the corners of his lips. The deadening of his eyes.

On the next occasion, I could tell by the way his eyes roamed over the gifts, almost caressing them, that a great deal of thought had gone into his selections. That he had thought deeply of me, of what I wanted most, when he made his purchases. I complimented his memory and attention to detail. Both very compliment-worthy attributes, but no, not the right things. Not the right words.

As a class, the word is appropriation. Those males, tired of their self-compliance to gender socialization, who decide it must be easier to be a woman. Who decide they can be better women than they were men. They re-define and re-word and re-create and re-claim. They appropriate.

As an individual, the word is inhabitation. He doesn’t want to be like me. He wants to be me. He wants to occupy me, my life, who I am.

Those gifts, they were never for me. They were for him. For his inhabitation of me.

“You Never Really Loved Me”

He’s right. I didn’t. I never really loved him.

I loved someone, though, very deeply. I trusted that someone. I loved someone and I loved being loved by someone. I showered someone with my attention and affection. With my charm, warm looks, intelligent conversation and hot sex. But that wasn’t him, it was someone else.

I tried, though. There was a period of 5-8 weeks when I tried so hard to love him. A period where I knew him and I wanted desperately to love him, because I had once loved someone so much and I did not want to lose that.

But that was someone else.

I knew someone else. I loved someone else. I didn’t love him. I didn’t know him.

And once I knew him, I could never love him.