The Yomiuri Shimbun Dear Troubleshooter:
I’m a woman in my 50s. My husband has a fetish for women’s underwear.
He is quiet and earnest by nature. About eight years ago, however, I happened to see him wearing women’s underwear. I was so upset and found myself screaming in tears. He also seemed to be shocked and embarrassed, so much so that he left home as if fleeing. He came home late that night and said to me, as far as I can remember, “It won’t happen again.”
My husband had a major operation several years later due to illness. I made wholehearted efforts to support him, attending to him not only at the hospital — which goes without saying — but also when he was recuperating at home. I was also very careful about his meals and did whatever I could for him.
Despite this, it has happened once again. This time, however, my husband justified himself by saying such things as, “I did so to get rid of mental stress” and “It’s my hobby.”
I presume my husband has been driven to this out of frustration over the decline in his sexual function, which is a result of taking medication, while at the same time he is no longer on the promotional track at his workplace. He perhaps feels comfortable when he puts on women’s underwear.
My husband says he loves me, and I don’t think he is unfaithful to me. But I don’t understand why he broke his promise. Even though I won’t consider divorcing him, I’ve come to distrust him.
K, Saitama Prefecture
Dear Ms. K:
Your husband has fun wearing women’s underwear. It’s just a hobby, a kind of pastime to get rid of his mental stress. So I don’t think you should make such a fuss about it.
I know you are never going to be happy about this answer. Because you feel so uncomfortable and distressed as his wife, it goes beyond a hobby. If your husband considers even slightly the feelings of someone who loves him so much and has been so devoted to him, he should immediately stop doing this. I suspect he doesn’t fully understand how much you have suffered, but takes this matter lightly, expecting you will eventually tolerate it.
He may have yet to stop doing it, while making various excuses. To cope with this situation, you should do more than just ask him to stop it. You can’t convey your true feelings to him unless you threaten him, I think.
I recommend you tell him you’ll divorce him unless he stops doing it. You don’t have to actually be serious. It’s only a threat, but you should say this seriously with a resolute attitude. I believe it may work.
Soichiro Nomura, psychiatrist