I always knew he wasn’t the perfect husband. There was too much lying for that.
But I never could have imagined the person he would become, and the way he would kick his own family and kids to the kerb, as if we are no more important than a piece of dirt.
After 27 years of marriage, I never could’ve imagined I would have to end my marriage after my husband’s messages to his sex workers accidentally ended up on my daughter’s phone.
Nearly three decades of marriage, two teenage daughters, and this is how it ended: My daughter running to me as I sat in the living room of our home, her phone in hand, her face bracing for the worst. I knew what they were straight away.
“Hi girls, I saw your pics, I love them. Do you want me to buy you a drink? I’ll buy you a drink. I am waiting at the bar.”
There were directions to the house, inferences of nights together. My husband’s messages to sex workers had landed on my 14-year-old’s phone, and I decided enough was enough. My marriage was over and I was leaving him. Little did I know this would be the easiest part of the next seven months. I left him in March this year, and my life hasn’t been the same since.
My husband wasn’t always the cheating narcissist he is today.
When we married, he didn’t want children and it took me 10 years to twist his arm and convince him it was a good idea. Up until we had kids, he was pretty good. When we had kids, he started to lie and cheat and lie and cheat.
He was always very controlling after that. If ever I said, ‘Why is this happening?’ Or, ‘This looks unusual?’ he would go mental. At one point, he sent me to a psychologist saying I had mental problems. But that’s what narcissists do, I guess. They make you feel crazy and then they tell you you’re the only one for them.
The first sign I realised something really wasn’t right was a year or so ago, when my daughter was going through a teenage phase and met a bad kind of guy. I found some software that showed all the messages that were deleted off someone’s phone. I told him about it, and joked that I should put it on his phone too.
The next morning, he went out to get the paper and came back and said he lost his phone. He even made me drive to the shops to look for it. But it wasn’t lost, I would later find out. He had just hidden it.
After I found the messages on my daughter’s phone from the sex workers and told him I was leaving, that’s when it started to get really bad.
He cut my phone off, and he put my phone number in the quarantine section of the phone company, meaning I had to change my number. He came to my house, told me he wasn’t supporting me anymore and told the kids to get out, because he wanted it sold right away. We had nowhere to go so we stayed.
Listen: Should I warn this woman about her cheating partner? (Post continues…)
And then? Well then the money stopped.
I am now living day-to-day on a credit line, inflating our mortgage but with no other way to survive. The mortgage hasn’t been paid in seven months. I am eating into the equity of our house. Even if we sold the house, the money will go straight into a trust in his name. My daughters and I will have to live in my car because we have nowhere else to go.
My husband earns $100,000 a month, in a business I have a 50 per cent share in, and I am about to find myself down in Centrelink pleading for money.
My now 15-year-old is in counselling, she has depression. My 17-year-old has gone off the rails a bit and she has depression as well. Neither of them want a bar of him, they have asked him to do the right the thing.
The worst part is, I can’t keep them shielded from this. They’re old enough to see what he’s doing. They can see what his putting me through and they can see how he is treating them.
And while his daughters struggle, he is off to Bali, Italy and Greece spending all of our money. Oh, and he is a “Sugar Daddy”, too. We found him on the website. If he wants to run off and be surrounded by young girls, then OK. But what hurts the most, is to go to Centrelink when he earns so much damn money, and most of it is mine.
What I wish people understood, out of all of this, is that our system is broken. You might wonder why I don’t take him to court. But that’s the thing, I have.
We went to court, I spent nearly $20,000 going to court one day. Over $6000 was spent on a barrister’s half-day of work. The judge had 38 cases in front of him, and I had a roof over my head. I wasn’t a priority, and I was seen last. Of everything, my husband was given a court order to give me my phone number back.
There was a court order dated to the 6th of the June, and that still hasn’t happened.
My lawyer told me it will take two-and-half years to go to trial. It could take another year for a judgement. It's a very long time in your life and a lot can change.
Think of it this way: he can run the business into the ground in that time, take all his clients with him, move to a new address and re-name the business. My lawyer said to me, if we could get a court hearing in a month, it would be OK. He still has this business and we would win. But now, because our system is broken, he will get away with doing this to me.
I remember coming home from the court date devastated. That night I contemplated taking my own life because I just couldn't cope. I have no idea how he sleeps at night. I have no voice in this. I feel like climbing the mountain and singing out and saying this is not fair.
More than anything, I feel guilt that my kids are going through this. I feel immense guilt - if I just stayed and closed my eyes to all the cheating, I wouldn't be putting my kids through this.
I want women in my position to seek legal advice. I want people to know how broken the system is. I want the government to fix their own system, because financial abuse is crippling. I want for men to think of their children before going down this path.
I want a voice. Because right now, I feel naked with nothing.