real life

"The $150,000 item I bought the week before I left my husband."

The breakdown of my marriage had been a long time coming, but my decision to finally leave came upon me quickly. I read a horrible text that my husband sent one night, and it was the last straw for me. I had to leave the man who didn’t care if he had a family to come home to, or not.

But, much like Katie Holmes leaving Tom Cruise, I had to take my husband by surprise.

We were both lawyers, and he’d been divorced twice before – so we knew what was going to happen. Unfortunately, I was only 25 when we married, and I hadn’t thought to get a pre-nuptial agreement. I may have just graduated from law school, but that didn’t mean I knew enough about life to prepare for all possible outcomes – such as the man I married morphing into someone I barely recognised and couldn’t wait to divorce.

But fast forward through seven years of marriage, I was older and wiser. And so I made a plan.

I decided I would need to leave with a sizeable asset, rather than fighting for money for years after. And it had to be something I could easily get my hands on without his approval. Because when I did finally leave, I knew my husband would lawyer-up and make things as difficult as possible for me.

He’d made our marriage a nightmare, so why would the divorce be any different?

Our marriage had become so devoid of any kindness, completely lacking in even basic civility. I remember standing in front of him one night, holding back the tears, imploring him:

“Don’t you think we’ve become strangers? We’re like flatmates sharing a house.”

I was trying to reach inside and find the man I had fallen in love with ten years ago, but he just wasn’t there. In response to my question, in answer to my tears, he silently shrugged his shoulders, and continued to stare at the television.

I felt like I was hitting my head my head against a wall.

Mia Freedman chats with the founder of Rize Up, Nicolle Edwards, about how she is helping women flee domestic violence…


We’d been trying to conceive again via IVF – as our first born had been. It wasn’t working, and thank God for that. But it gave me an idea. One morning, I suggested we needed a bigger car.

“I can barely fit anything into the sedan,” I casually said one morning.

“I’m going out today to look for something bigger.”

My husband put his coffee down on the bench and stood up.

ADVERTISEMENT

“See you tomorrow,” was his response, as he walked out the door. He would be out at drinks that night, and, of course, would go straight to the spare room whatever time he came home, because, you know, what happened overnight between me and our son was none of his concern.

He didn’t even glance at us as he left, and that made me all the more determined to buy the biggest car we could afford. I put on some lipstick, did up the dainty straps on my high heels, dropped my son off at childcare, and prepared to spend some cash.

I headed straight for the Mercedes Benz dealership. We’d been lucky enough to always have lovely cars, so we ‘had a guy’ at the centre, whom we’d bought, by that point, four cars from. He was surprised as I walked in that morning, because we’d only just bought a car for my husband a few months prior.

I also had another reason for seeking him out – he made me feel good about myself. He was an attractive, young, unattached, luxury vehicle salesman. I was a thirty-something young mum whose husband wouldn’t even look at her, let alone touch her.

At that time, we hadn’t had sex for 18 months. I was dying. So, yes: I was the true definition of a desperate housewife.

“Hi honey,” I said to my friend, kissing him on both cheeks. “I’ve decided I need something with more seats.”

Naturally, he was excited. He made me a coffee, and showed me the SUV range, which started at about $80,000. That was a lot of money, but it wasn’t enough.

I asked my friend to show me something with more options. I wanted the mag wheels, the sunroof, the sat nav – all of which weren’t standard back then. He was a little surprised by that, but even more surprised that I wasn’t looking for a bargain.

I didn’t haggle. I didn’t negotiate. I didn’t want a deal.

I wanted to spend $150,000. In cash.

Yes, I knew the car would lose some value as soon as I took it home. But it was the fastest and simplest way I could ‘use’ a large sum of cash, without arousing my husband’s immediate suspicion.

And also, I deserved that car. I had earned that car. I signed the contract on my AMG ML63 that morning, and ensured the car was in my name.

One week later, I took delivery of that car, loaded it with my and my son’s clothes, and left my husband.

He never asked for any of it – me, his son, or the car – back.

If you or anyone you care about is experiencing crisis, depression or suicidal thoughts, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

For anyone experiencing domestic violence or abuse, please seek professional help and contact 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732. If you are in immediate danger, call 000.

00:00 / ???