Get out the hankies. This is a moving story.
A California man says he realized he was gay more than 20 years into his marriage, then he realized he was a she.
It’s the kind of thing many think would tear a husband and wife apart, but not David and Cat Kaufman. But the end of the Kaufmans’ love story has an unusual ending. More than 20 years later, David Kaufman became Dani Kaufman.
“We were each other’s best friend,” Cat said.
It’s a love story with a normal beginning.
“We were a good match for each other,” said Dani Kaufman.
They fell in love, got married and had a kid.
“We just got along really well,” Cat said.
But the end of the Kaufman’s love story has an unusual ending. More than 20 years later, David Kaufman became Dani Kaufman.
When Cat looks at Dani, “Inside she’s the same person that I married, and just the outside has changed.”
Cat says she didn’t see any signs at all that David could be gay.
And if you’re wondering if Cat was really OK with her husband’s confession, she had a secret of her own.
That secret began a few years ago.
But Dani’s goes back for as long as she can remember, she says she’s always struggled with being born a boy.
“When I was 5 years old I just wanted to be a girl so badly,” Dani said.
In between attempts to end his life that began at 13, Dani ignored that haunting, nagging feeling, and did what everyone around him expected.
“I got married twice,” Dani said.
He got married and had two kids. After his divorce, he met Cat.
“It never occurred to me that it would be anything but forever,” Cat said.
The couple moved from Michigan to California, where David worked as a radiologist.
More than two decades after living a happy life together, things changed.
“I realized it was going to be the end of what we had,” Cat said.
Four years ago, Dani says he finally fully realized his attraction to men. While David, a husband and father, struggled with the idea of what to do next, he had no idea his wife had a secret of her own.
“I just said, ‘You know, I need to tell you something,” Cat said.
“I could tell she was really nervous,” Dani said.
“I need to tell you that I’ve been thinking that I would like to date women,” Cat said.
Yes, Cat told her husband she’d recently realized she was a lesbian.
“And I remember saying, “Oh my god, get out of town! I just figured out I’m gay!” Dani said.
“It was pretty shocking for both of us,” Cat said.
So after more than 20 years of marriage, husband and wife sat across from each other, knowing it was the beginning of their end, but a new beginning for each of them.
“It was excitement and relief,” Cat said.
Then last year, Dani realized she wasn’t gay, she was just born in the wrong body.
“No, I don’t just want to be female. I really am female,” Dani recalled.
She says she felt like a woman trapped in a man’s body.
When asked how she’d respond to people who might not understand this, Dani said, “I’m sorry if you don’t understand it but this is who I am.”
Dani began the transformation more than a year ago, and she says she’s finally able to be herself after more than 50 years of pretending to be someone she wasn’t.
“It felt so good to be me. It felt so good to be a woman, to be Danielle. This is incredibly cool,” she said.
The couple now lives separately just a few minutes from each other.
Dani wrote a book about his struggles called Untying The Knot: A Husband And Wife’s Story Of Coming Out Together.