male female man woman symbolsAfter a few decades of marriage, you might think you know someone, but that's not what happened to one man who discovered that his wife of 19 years was actually born a boy. And she'd been hiding it from him for their entire relationship.

When the man, named Jan, and his wife Monica moved to Belgium from Indonesia, where the she was from, immigration authorities thought something was fishy with her paperwork but eventually gave in. Turns out, they were right. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong. And the truth didn't surface for nearly two decades.

Jan told a newspaper that the couple had decided not to have children since he had two from a previous relationship, but Monica had pretended to menstruate for years. "Even during sex, I never noticed anything," he said. WHAT? Gah. What???

Poor Jan, who is now 64, says his life feels torn apart. And it's understandable. Hiding the truth about your gender and genetics from the person you've promised to spend you life with is a serious betrayal. Even beyond genetics, it was part of who Monica was, an important part.

Things were normal until Monica started clubbing and wearing skimpy clothes. Then, rumors surfaced that she wasn't a woman at all -- but rather a "sex-changed man."

Imagine this scene that Jan says went down with Monica.

I pushed her against the wall and said: 'Now I know the truth. Are you a man?' She then announced that she was born as a boy and that she had been operated on. She was now a woman, and so she did not need to tell me about her past as a man. My world collapsed. That evening came to blows. The police came.

The pain of a betrayal like that would be hard to bear. Jan is trying to get his marriage annulled, but after 19 years, it's not like he can just pretend it all never happened. Both he and immigration authorities were scammed by this woman who pretended to be someone she wasn't.

I have respect for anyone who chooses to go through with sex-reassignment surgery. It's your right as a person to live the life you want. But... But I really believe that's information your partner deserves to know. Hiding it is cruel and usual.

Do you think Monica should have told her husband she had been born a boy?

 

Image via phunkstarr/Flickr