When Andrea hired a private investigator to follow her husband she didn’t think she’d find out anything new: the women’s underwear was evidence enough that he was cheating. So when the PI told her she was married to a crossdresser, she didn’t believe him yet it soon became clear to her that it was time for her to leave the marriage. Here’s Andrea:
The private detective had followed my husband to Las Vegas, where he’d gone telling me it was a business trip but he didn’t have any business. When my husband got there, he went to this place called “From Adam to Eve” and it’s like a big store where men can go in and they specialize in artificial breasts with realistic nipples. You get all dressed up and you take these glamor shots, and then he went out, my 6’4” athletic, Catholic husband went out in Las Vegas for the day.
As the PI is telling me this, I’m thinking, “Noo…There’s no way.”
My friend told me to check his office so I’m looking around thinking, “he’s the most boring man in the planet, there’s nothing in here.” Then I see his iPhone sitting on the desk. I pushed Safari and what comes up? “From Adam to Eve” and all these other things like this site where you can buy makeup for crossdressers, a thrift shop, a wig shop, a chatline for people who are bi-curious and I was like “Oh my God.”
My mind was just ping-ponging like a crazy person. I was like “I got to get the hell out of here. I can’t be with this person.” I couldn’t even look at him. I knew he was going to come home in about twenty minutes. My heart was racing.
Things had escalated between us to where I was scared of him and I thought,
“If he knows that I know his secret, I’m not safe. He’s already been physical with me once.”
He came home from church that morning and I just pretended like I didn’t know anything. A few days later I told him I was leaving. I told him where I was going to go and I said for a few days. He wasn’t comfortable with me going and I said,
“I just need some time away. I need to think about some things and I need to relax for a little bit.”
He was very weird about me leaving and we had a couple of arguments about it, but at the end of the day he let me go. Then I was gone for probably a week before I even heard from him. He didn’t even bother to call me and didn’t call the girls, didn’t call on Thanksgiving, wasn’t in contact. Then one day he called and he was at his parents’ house. He said,
“I’m at my parents’ house. They want to know what’s going on, are you coming back or are you not coming back?”
I’m not sure that I even realized it till that moment but I thought,
“I’m not coming back.”
What I said to him though was, “I need to stay down here for a while.”
He said that the girls needed to go back to school and I agreed but said I needed a few more days. Then I called an attorney and I had him served. I didn’t go back, I never did.
I remember sitting in the car with him at one point and I opened the center console and I said “Oh you got this CD?” It was Adam Lambert’s CD and I looked at it and I said,
“No straight man is going to buy this. What was his marketing team thinking of?”
I put it back in the console, but when I looked at him, the look on his face was that deer-in-the-headlights look and it stuck with me but I thought “like I think you’re gay or something? Obviously not, you’re married and have three kids.”
It took me probably ten months before I could say “my husband is a crossdresser” out loud. I couldn’t even bring it up when we went to the court-ordered mediation. When we got to the evaluator’s office for the custody evaluation, I sat down in the office and the woman asked why I left the marriage. She looks right at me and I just burst into tears and she said,
“You’ve never said it out loud have you?” and I said “no.”
At first it was kind of humiliating, and then I realized that’s like being embarrassed because you’ve been abused. There’s not any shame in whatever he’s up to. The fact that he did it behind my back, to me, it’s such a betrayal on the worst level. Who would do that to a person? It’s like my whole marriage was a lie. He knew from the beginning. Here I am going to marriage counseling and I’m reading all these books and I’m tabbing things and asking him to read them and asking him to go to counseling and the whole time it’s like…I feel honestly, like he stole twelve and a half years of my life.
The Divorce Coach Says
Two observations again: Andrea knew she needed to get away, knew she needed time to think. The way she puts it here doesn’t sound like much but that action took her out of her normal environment, shifted the status quo and gave her the perspective she needed to make her decision. I think separations can be very valuable and they can work both ways. Sometimes a separation gives a couple the opportunity to renegotiate their behavior so their marriage can continue. Other times, the physical distance brings clarity that was missing before.
The second observation is Andrea’s learning about her not being able to tell people about her husband because of her embarrassment. It takes so much strength to get to that place. I think it has to do with us being fearful that choosing that person shows poor judgment on our part and that somehow we are responsible for his actions. The truth however is that he, and he alone is responsible for his choice of behavior. This was a message too that Debbie shared when she discovered her husband was a pedophile – she was not the keeper of his secrets. That doesn’t mean you should go plaster it in the headlines of your local paper – you and your children may still live in the community and like it or not, others will be judgmental. What it means though is that it is OK to talk openly about the issues with close, trusted friends and with an issue like, you may want to seek professional help.