I was married – then a sudden realization tore my life apart at 35 | The Sun

LAUREN Burgess had the "dream" life – husband, house, successful career.

But she left it all behind when she realized she was gay at 35 – to live out of a suitcase.

Now 37, it was chronic stress, depression, and breaking out in hives which led Lauren to therapy – where she realized she was a lesbian.

She had previously "experimented" with women in her college years but thought it was "just a bit of fun".

In February 2021, she took the plunge and left her husband, Matt, 40, after four years of marriage to travel America in a van with her dog, Ted, a Goldendoodle.  

Lauren, a business coach, from Joshua Tree, California, says: “I was living a life that I was told would make me happy.

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“I had the dream husband, house, dog and career but I started to realise something wasn’t right.

“I saw people on social media talking openly about their sexuality and something started to twig.

“I wanted to travel and work, and my husband wasn’t so keen.

“I went traveling in my van for a couple of weeks and it all clicked – I realised I was gay.

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"I had experimented with women in college but didn't think anything of it. It was just a bit of fun back then.

“Telling Matt was really hard but he was supportive. Now I’m living my dream life traveling the world.”

Lauren had thought she was genuinely happy until she came down with chronic hives in April 2018.

“I would go to bed every night grateful and content,” she says.

“I had a home and a job I was passionate about, but I worked very long hours which caused me to come in hives.

“I was in and out of hospital until my therapist told me I needed to drop something to get better.”

When Covid hit in March 2020, Lauren found herself becoming depressed.

“I could hardly get out of bed,” she says. “Matt and I started having marriage therapy and we discussed traveling.

“But all of a sudden he changed his mind and had the confidence to tell me that it wasn’t what he wanted.”

Lauren decided that it was something she still wanted to pursue, and she bought a van on Craigslist.

“I went on the trip for a couple of weeks, and it was amazing,” she says.

“I’d been seeing a lot of people of social media taking about their sexuality and I began to realise that I might be bisexual.

“But on the trip it all clicked and I realized I was definitely gay.

“It all made sense. I knew I had to go back to my husband and talk about getting a divorce.”

On the trip it all clicked and I realized I was definitely gay. It all made sense. I knew I had to go back to my husband and talk about getting a divorce

Lauren separated from Matt in February 2021.

She then took her belongings and went traveling along the West Coast of America.

“It was so hard, but he was supportive and understanding,” she says.

“It felt very selfish, and I had a lot to grieve. I had my dog Ted with me, and he took up the whole bed.”

Lauren bought a house in California in January 2022 and started letting it out during weekends.

In June this year, she took a further plunge and left for Europe, with Ted remaining home with Matt.

“It’s been amazing to explore Europe,” she says. "I’ve been to loads of cities like Copenhagen, Amsterdam and now I am in Lisbon.

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“Matt is an amazing person and I still have a lot of care there for him.

“It’s been really hard, but I had to follow my dreams. I thought I was living the life of my dreams before, but now I really am.”

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