I need your help.
I got a comment today from the wife of an autogynephiliac. She has discovered her husband's "secret identity" and wonders how the two of them are going to cope.
Have any of you been through this? And if so: What did you and your wife or partner do to reestablish trust?
Here is the comment from Susanne:
"oh, thank you for this blog!
I am a heterosexual female who has been married to my husband for 7 years. We have 2 young children. Yesterday, I found photos of him...that were world-altering for me. After some research, I believe him to be an autogynephiliac. Looking back, so much is now explained...
While I am the stereotypical heterosexual female, I like to think of myself as fairly open-minded. I think I could incorporate this into my life, but I'm not sure if HE will allow me to incorporate this. In a weird way, I think this bothers him more than it does me.
And I'm totally upset about the secret life that he has been leading - much more so than by what I saw in the photos. I feel like I have just discovered that he has had an affair for 7 years with someone that he knew before we were married - it just happens that that someone is himself.
My first thought is that we need counseling - both marriage and individual - even he admits that he needs to learn to love himself for who he is, but I still need help regaining marital trust. So much easier said than done in rural Iowa...
Anyway, where do we go from here? I desperately want advice."
This is my response:
"I have seen old maps where the cartographer had decorated the white undiscovered areas with magical beasts and dragons. That's probably where the two of you are now.
There are probably not that many advisers, priests, psychologists or psychiatrists that know much about this. Still, if you know someone wise and friendly with an open mind, I would definitely go and ask for some help -- just to have someone to talk to. If you do not know anyone, it would probably make sense to find a psychologist or psychiatrist that specializes in sexology. There must be someone -- even in Iowa! You might have to travel a bit, though.
I must say I admire your way of handling this. Your open mind and your acceptance is probably the very factor that can turn all this into something good.
I totally understand that you feel betrayed, and that regaining trust will take time. He has not been cheating on you, though. "The other woman" is, as you point out, part of himself. And the reason he kept it all secret is not that he doesn't love you. It is probably quite the opposite: He was afraid that he would lose you and his family if you found out.
Your understanding will probably go a long way towards helping him accept himself as who he is. If I am not mistaken, though, the other shame -- the one that comes from him having kept you in the dark -- may stay a little longer.
I am not sure if I can add much more to this. I will take the liberty of quoting your comment in a new blog post and ask the readers for input."
Photo by Bright lights from giantwheel