‘I discovered my husband’s secret’
MY ENTIRE divorce came as a shock to me.
My accountant husband Craig* and I were happy enough, I thought.
We weren't setting the world on fire, but we'd had a couple of children and were focused on our careers. We each had our own friends and hobbies, and we got along well at home. Things were chugging along okay.
Then, one afternoon, just after we'd arrived home from a family beach holiday, Craig said he needed space. "Space to do what?", I wondered, but he said he was going to stay with his parents for a week or two while he sorted himself out.
It wasn't me, he said, it was him.
But I believed him.
Craig told me he was depressed, and had been struggling since the traumatic birth of our youngest daughter. He'd nearly lost both me and our baby three years ago during a 36-hour birth ordeal, and he thought he may have post-traumatic stress disorder.
I tried to be understanding, and I gave Craig the space he requested. We spoke each day on the phone when he called to say goodnight to our girls - and every day he reassured me that he loved me and this was just temporary while he sorted himself out.
Then I got the phone call that would change my life.
About a month later, Craig asked me to come along to a session with the psychologist that he'd been seeing. He thought it might be useful for us both, he told me.
It took about two minutes of the session for me to understand what was going on. Craig wanted to end our marriage, and didn't have the guts to do it on his own. He brought me to his counsellor's office to dump me.
Everything after that was swift. Craig wanted to spend the rest of that counselling hour talking about custody of our daughters and division of assets. I felt totally blindsided and absolutely stunned.
I wasn't ready to talk about life admin - I came into this office thinking I was supporting my husband until he returned to our family home.
I told Craig I wasn't ready to talk yet and left the session, drove to my sister's house and cried at her kitchen table all afternoon.
From that day, Craig pressured me to divide our assets and file for divorce. I received letter after letter from his lawyer, and he emailed me constantly wanting to sell our family home and car so we could divvy up our assets.
All the while, Craig lived with his parents, and left our girls living with me. He visited them once or twice a week - while never making eye contact with me - but that was it.
I took a few months to even be able to think about our assets, but once I got over the shock and spoke to a lawyer, I focused on what I needed to do, and started going through our finances.
That's when I discovered something truly horrifying. It was then, going through our bank records, that I discovered something was truly awry. With Craig's bookkeeping experience, I'd always trusted him to take care of our finances. He always led me to believe he was doing super complicated stuff that I, as a layperson, couldn't possibly understand.
But as I went through our bank records, I discovered money was disappearing from our joint accounts into a number of other personal accounts under his name. I followed trails until I found Craig had been siphoning money for the past year.
That means he knew he was planning on leaving for that long without giving any indication there was a problem.
Then I also discovered we had two maxed-out credit cards and a personal loan in both our names with debts racked up to the value of $80,000.
The truth, when I uncovered it, was staggering
It took weeks of phone calls, emails and hounding for me to finally inspect the records of those accounts, where I discovered Craig had been sending money to a woman in Russia for the past three years - starting just months after I nearly lost my life giving birth to our daughter.
Craig doesn't know that I know all of this. I'm keeping it to myself until we sit down with our lawyers to divide up our assets for good. I figure the element of surprise will see him well and truly on the back foot. Craig has never been able to have an upfront and honest conversation with me, so the fact that I know his filthy little secret will rattle him for sure.
For now, Craig still lives with his parents. I don't know what he's told his Russian lady friend about his circumstances, or what his future plans are. All I know is I'll be ensuring my girls and I are well looked after in our divorce settlement.
And I'll never hand over control of my finances to any man again.
* Names have been changed to protect identity
This article originally appeared on whimn.com.au and is republished with permission.