A. It is not uncommon to hear of letters like that sent simply to stir up trouble. The motives behind it vary. Sometimes it’s someone who would have liked a man or woman’s attention, was rejected and tries to get their own back by ruining their relationship. Sometimes it’s a work colleague who simply wants to spite a rival. There CAN be smoke without fire. Of course it’s possible that the letter is truthful but in the absence of any other evidence or any lessening in the affection between you, I would be inclined to ignore it. If you know the colleague mentioned in the letter you could suggest inviting a group of workmates, including her, for a drink and a snack one evening. Your husband’s reaction to that suggestion could tell you a lot.
Q. I walked in to find my husband of 11 years wearing my clothes, makeup and underwear. I was physically sick. I now feel that all my married life has been a complete sham as he has kept this a secret from me and I feel that I can no longer trust him. He feels like a stranger to me and I can barely look at him. I can't deal with this right now. I'm thinking of divorcing him. Am I being irrational?
You’ve had a shock so your reaction is understandable. And that reaction is precisely why he felt unable to tell you about his cross-dressing. There are many marriages in which a partner’s cross-dressing is accepted and does not affect the relationship. There are other relationships where such acceptance is impossible. A lot depends on whether the cross-dressing remains within the home and a family secret or whether it becomes such a compulsion that the cross-dressing extends into the outside world. Before you can make decisions you need to understand what is happening. I urge you to talk to the Women of the Beaumont Society. They can be contacted by email at WOBSMatters@aol.com
for support and advice or on a helpline. The number is: 01223 441246. Their aim is “to provide a safe space for straight women who see themselves as living in a traditional family structure, but who are struggling to cope with a husband or male partner who occasionally cross-dresses”.
Q. My decree absolute has arrived and even though I thought I had with dealt with my feelings of my ex-husband leaving me for his new partner, every time I look at the letter I just crumble. I don’t know how I am going to be able to move forward from this even though my friends say that I am better off without him. I need a starting point. Where do I start?
A. In a sense, that letter set you free but freedom can be a lonely place at first so your reaction is entirely natural. Sit down and make a list of the things you want to accomplish by Christmas. That list might include improving your health and appearance, getting your financial affairs in order, improving your social life, changing the home around or simply pampering yourself for a while. Don’t list 'near impossibles'. At this point you need some success. Top of the list should be ways in which to get joy out of life so making new friends, while retaining the old ones, needs a high priority. Is there a hobby you'd like to pursue or a club you'd like to join? You are about to open a door to a new life. Enjoy!