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Real Life

Real life: I thought my hubby was cheating, but he was the other woman

My husband was hiding something and he needed to come clean.

By Courtney GReatrex

Kelly Allen, 37, shares her shock discovery:

Rummaging through the glove compartment of my husband Warren's van, I pulled out everything – an old tissue, some crumpled receipts, and a discarded throat lozenge with fluff on it.
Hardly incriminating.
But then my fingers touched something smooth and small. I grabbed it and wanted to burst into tears.
It was a nude-coloured lipstick I'd never seen before. I only ever wore bright lippy.
I didn't know why I was so surprised and upset. Warren had been acting strangely for months. He'd become quiet and secretive – and wouldn't let his phone out of his sight.
Of course, he was hiding something... it had to be an affair.
We'd been married for a decade and had two children, George, nine, and Molly, eight.
I'd been convinced he was 'the one' since I'd first met him in a pub all those years ago.
He was tall and muscly, with a slight beard – definitely the hunk I'd been waiting for.
We instantly knew we were soul mates, and married the following December.
He'd worn a Gothic top hat and tails, while my dress was emerald green. We hadn't wanted anything boring and traditional. But we matched perfectly.
Now, staring at the lipstick in my fingers, a shudder of fear went through me.
Did he love someone else? Was he going to leave us?
I hated the thought of him cheating on me, but I loved him. What should I do?
Me and Warren - we knew we were soul mates. (Image: Triangle News)
I decided to watch him carefully.
Unaware of my suspicious discovery, Warren carried on going to work as an administrator, singing with his band, and playing with our girls.
In bed, he was just as attentive as ever.
Our 10-year wedding anniversary was coming up and I wanted to celebrate – especially if this was going to be our last one.
"Let's have a party," I suggested to him and he loved the idea.
"We should make it fancy dress," he said, grinning.
I dressed as the receptionist from the film Beetlejuice and looked ridiculous.
But Warren's outfit was more of a shock.
His hair was in bunches, there was glitter in his beard and he was wearing a short skirt and crop top.
"I'm an '80s roller-disco girl," he said with a laugh.
We've always been great together. (Image: Triangle News)
I chuckled and rolled my eyes.
Why did straight guys always jump at the chance to dress as women? But he didn't stop smiling all night.
Something struck me as odd about it. I couldn't quite put my finger on it. As long as he was happy...
But after that he became more secretive. He shaved off his beard, and never wanted to eat.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"Nothing," he said with a shrug.
As Christmas approached, I didn't have time to worry.
Over the holidays, Warren seemed quiet and withdrawn.
Even Mum noticed it when she was over.
"It's not like you two to bicker," she said to me. "You're always so close."
I could tell something was eating away at him. (Image: Triangle News)
"I don't know what's going on," I said, not wanting to burden her with my fears.
On New Year's Eve, Warren suggested we dress up, even though we were staying in.
"Let's make a night of it," he said.
I was grateful he had a new spring in his step.
Mum and I opened a bottle of prosecco and I slipped into a sparkly top, long skirt and heels.
I couldn't help but think maybe seeing me all glammed up would ignite a spark in Warren.
I sipped my drink and Mum played with the kids while we waited for Warren to emerge from getting ready.
He was taking forever!
Finally, the bedroom door opened and I nearly choked on my bubbly.
Warren when George was born. (Image: Triangle News)
He was dressed in a sparkly top and long skirt, almost identical to mine.
In fact, it was mine.
He'd shaved off his beard and had a face full of make-up, too.
"It's not fancy dress," I spluttered. "We weren't meant to be dressing up."
"I know," he quivered. He looked scared and my stomach suddenly twisted, as it dawned on me...
"Do you want to be a woman?" I asked him and he nodded.
It hit me like a thud, but everything made perfect sense now.
The lipstick, the fancy dress and hiding his phone. He wasn't having an affair. Warren was the other woman.
"I didn't know how to tell you," he said. "I thought I'd lose you and the kids."
It all came tumbling out – how he loved me but didn't want to live a lie anymore.
"I'm a woman, Kelly," he said.
My mind was reeling. He was desperately upset, but so was I.
How had I not realised? And why hadn't he trusted me enough to tell me?
"I didn't know how," he said.
I stared at him, overwhelmed.
Me with Zoey. (Image: Triangle News)
"I don't think I can do this," I said, going to bed in utter confusion.
Next day, Warren looked so sad.
"I understand if you want me to go," he said, eyes focused on the floor.
I instinctively reached for his hand.
"It'll be okay," I said. And then I realised – nothing was any different.
Warren wanted to become a woman named Zoey, but he was still my soul mate.
"I still want to be with you," he promised.
I'd never fancied a female before, but Zoey wasn't just a woman – she was the person I'd fallen in love with, had children with and wanted to grow old with.
I still loved that person, despite their gender.
"Let's go shopping for better clothes," I said.
Zoey smiled for the first time in months. She picked out tops, skirts, and accessories.
I looked at her as she held up a scarf, and saw her eyes sparkling. She was the happiest I'd seen her for years.
I couldn't begrudge her that. It would be selfish if I did.
I'd never fancied a female before, but Zoey wasn't just a woman – she was the person I'd fallen in love with, had children with and wanted to grow old with. (Image: Triangle News)
We told my mum.
"Thank God," she sighed. "I thought you were splitting up."
Then we sat the kids down.
"Daddy's now Mummy Zoey and is going to dress just like I do," I explained.
"If that's what makes her happy," Molly smiled.
But days later, I grew upset as the reality of what was happening sank in.
"What's wrong, Mum?" George asked softly. I told him that I missed Daddy.
"He's still there, inside Mummy Zoey," he said, wise beyond his years.
I realised he was right.
Zoey bravely told her boss, who was good about it, and her bandmates didn't think having a female lead singer was a problem.
She still love playing in her band. (Image: Triangle News)
Of course, it wasn't all easy.
People stared and nudged each other when they saw Zoey, who at 6ft 2in (187cm) and sporting bright red locks, stood out wherever she went.
We just got used to ignoring them.
But one night, we were out with the kids having pizza, when I saw a couple laughing about her.
The staff were clearly gossiping about her as well.
I wanted to complain.
"Leave it," Zoey said. "We'll have to get used to it."
Me and Zoey with the kids - we're an even stronger family now. (Image: Triangle News)
And now, it's just made us stronger – we're a team.
Zoey's my partner for life, so we're planning to get married once she's had gender reassignment surgery.
We'll both wear big dresses.
The kids are excited and, more importantly, are part of a happy, loving family.
Zoey's taking hormones now to start transitioning into a woman and will have surgery when the time's right.
Until then, we still have a healthy love life and after the operation, we'll find new ways to be intimate.
I've learnt a lot about love – it's not about gender or names. It's about the person inside.
I loved Warren and now I love Zoey.
Nothing can change that. If she'd been having an affair, it would have destroyed our family, but becoming my wife instead of my husband means we're still a happy family, and that's all that matters.
We still love each other as much now as we always did. (Image: Triangle News)

Zoey tells Take 5:

I was risking everything by telling Kelly the truth. But I couldn't keep it hidden any longer as it was making me depressed.
My wife was shocked but supportive and our relationship is now stronger than ever.
It took a long time to realise I was a woman trapped in a man's body.
I didn't know anything about being trans and thought it was wrong, so didn't want to address it.
Then I met Kelly, fell in love and tried to hide that side of me.
I suffered bouts of depression, but tried to push the feelings aside.
I couldn't confide in anyone, but once I'd dressed up for our anniversary party, something changed in me.
It was my chance to tell Kelly the truth and be the real me.
I'm so lucky she still loves me – and the children have been totally accepting.
I want to have surgery to become a woman and can't wait to look on the outside how I feel on the inside.
It's hard with people staring and pointing – I'm very tall and have red hair, so it's hard to miss me, but I'm not that confident yet.
I still avoid looking anyone in the eye and ignore men who jeer and shout at me.
Luckily, the negative comments are less when we go out as a family, and my kids are very protective.
Once, when people were laughing about me, Molly fired up.
"Why are you being so mean – what has she done to you?" she asked them.
They truly love me however I am.

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