The Untold Story

A wise person told me that people will form their own opinions when given little information about a topic. After deciding to open up about a very difficult time in my life and then receiving public harassment, it became evident that there is a lot of conjecture about what happened. It was likely naive of me to assume that people understand that there are two sides to every story and that the truth lies somewhere in between. I’ve been living with judgement from people that I have always been kind to and it always leaves me wishing that they knew the full story. People may not care about hearing my side and may prefer to stick to their biased opinions of me, but I think that closure can be achieved once all of the information is made available.

Before I begin, I will state that my intent here is not to gain back old friends, create drama or rub salt in any wounds, but rather to share my perspectives and my personal truth about a widespread story.

Our long-term relationship has always been rocky. We were not able to effectively work out our problems, so we would break up and then let time and distance do the solving for us. The good times were wonderful, but it was clear that we had grown into different people that were holding onto the past. In the summer of 2012 we had broken up for the 4th time and I booked a flight to Australia to fulfill a life long dream of riding horses in the outback. Although we had just started to re-kindle our relationship before I left, we were still broken up. I had been in Australia for one month when he called to ask if I would be his girlfriend again. I said no, but welcomed him to join me on my adventure. He accepted my invitation and, 8 weeks later, landed in Australia with an engagement ring. When he proposed to me two months later I was in complete shock. I had my doubts about agreeing to marriage due to our rocky history, but I had naive hope that maybe this next step in our relationship would solve our problems. Wrong. As the wedding date drew closer it was evident that we were not ready for that level of commitment and the pressures of the approaching wedding were only making things worse. We made the mistake of pretending that everything was fine in front of our friends and family. We were so busy with keeping up appearances and keeping what went on behind closed doors a secret. Every frequent fight would result in me taking off my ring and stating that we could not get married, but my words any never held any merit.  Shortly before the wedding I wrote him a serious letter begging him to let us call off the wedding so that we could work on our relationship, but due to the financial investment of the wedding guests, he wouldn’t call it off. I wish that I had just packed my bags and ran away then because I knew that I was getting myself into a situation that I shouldn’t be in. But the fear of losing everything I had ever known and loved and the blind faith that everything would work itself out got me down the aisle.

Shortly after, I started reading books on marriage and my reservations about us became solidified. We had settled for a love based on comfort and history, not on compatibility. We wanted different things out of life and our beliefs and values, which shape our perspectives, were completely different. Furthermore, we didn’t fully accept or understand each other. This led to resentment and then eventually to verbal and emotional abuse – from both of us. Life is too short to be that miserable. The books that I read all had one message in common, the sooner you act the better. I easily could have let our toxic relationship limp along but eventually there would be children involved in our inevitable demise, and I refused to let that happen. Deciding that I wanted a divorce was the most difficult decision that I’ve ever had to make. We had built a great life together, but we each deserved to live a fulfilled life, and we were unable to provide that for each other. I knew that it was going to be difficult, but for the sake of our respective long-term happiness, it was necessary.

On November 19th, 2016, I told him that I wanted a divorce. I had a separation agreement drafted and I was going to move out. I wanted us to make a public announcement together, so that people would hear it from us and then respect our privacy. He told me that he wasn’t going to give me a divorce. After weeks of pleading with him to see that a divorce really was the best option for us in the long run, he still refused. I should have just left and served him the papers, but he wanted me to stay and I wanted him to understand that it was for the betterment of his own life that I not be a part of it anymore. Finally, I asked him what it was going to take for him to let me go. He responded that he would never let me go, not while he still loved me. The only way that he could ever let me go was if he hated me, and the only way he could hate me was if I slept with someone else. I will always regret the decision that, at the time, I felt forced to make. But I knew that there was nothing that would have stopped him from pursuing me again had I not made him hate me. From the outside looking in, anyone could have seen that there were a multitude of different routes that I could have taken, but from the inside looking out, I felt that it was my only option left. The stress, anxiety, and fear clouded my judgement and regrettably, I sacrificed my dignity, self respect and reputation so that he could, for once and for all, be free of me and live the life that he truly deserved. I, on the other hand, would have to carry the burden of my decisions around with me for the rest of my life. Even if no one else understands, I know that I did it because I had to. Contrary to popular belief, we were separated and not happily married at the time. I hated every minute of doing what I did to get where we both are today, but I know, and many people in our respective lives agree, that we are both better off without each other.

The silver lining is that I’ve learned a lot from going through emotional hell. It takes bravery to be open and honest with people and living with a lie on your conscience eats away at your soul. As hard as it can be to be honest with others, it can be even harder to be honest with yourself. I was so caught up in being who other people wanted me to be that I completely lost myself in a life that I didn’t even want. It took three years to finally get to courage to stand up for what I wanted, and I will always regret the bridges that I burned in order to get there. Fortunately, I have been given opportunities to make peace with the people that I have wronged, and for that I am grateful.

To conclude, I would like to say thank you to everyone who helped both he and I  get through a difficult period in life. In recent months, we have been able to find peace and closure with each other and it makes me incredibly happy to see him succeeding in all areas of his life. He’s got his lovely home, a successful career, a loving family, great friends, and the opportunity to meet his soulmate and raise a beautiful family of his own. To those of you who used to be my friends, thank you for your past friendship. I have great memories of us and I do miss you. And to those of you who judge me, thank you for giving me the opportunity to exercise understanding and forgiveness.

Sincerely,

Ashley

“Good people sometimes make bad decisions. They mess up and let others down, but that doesn’t make them bad people. We all make mistakes”.