I'm Ashley, I'm 27 years old and I'm divorced. I am about 2 years out from making this decision, the hardest and best decision I've ever made. When I first was going through it I was very open about it since I shared a large community of people on social media that loved my "love story" so for it to change it was only fair I opened up. When I say opened up I use that modestly because although I said I was divorced I never really said why. I still get messages from people to this day about what this process was like and how and why I made this decision. I am finally at a place where I am very happy and couldn't be more proud of who I am and I'm ready to share my truth. When I was younger I fell in love with someone I didn't want to live a day without. The beginning was so good, I mean ridiculously good, constant surprises, vacations together, so much love and attention. Love-bombing at it's absolute finest. Within a month we were already talking about marriage. I truly thought this was my forever person. Within a year we were engaged. During this first year, I fell more and more in love, everything was great or so I thought. Then deployment came (he was serving 6 months overseas in the Marine Corps), this proved to be one of the hardest things we would have to go through. Only a month into it he mysteriously lost his phone so that cut our communication in half and we barely had any, to begin with because of the time zone difference. Things were just so tough but I was trying so hard to hang in there. Most of the times we were able to talk was when he was getting in from a night of drinking, I had no idea what was going on over there, I was constantly worrying about if he was safe or okay, at times he would just disappear for days and I wouldn't hear from him. Red Flag number 1. But I chalked it up to just the other factors of him being deployed, which really wasn't the case. This deployment was spent drinking all hours of the night for him. I remember one night so vividly him calling me telling me he got beat up because he was "stepping in to help out his friend in a fight" He was drunk, his face was bleeding and there I was a million miles away feeling helpless. Knowing what I know now I'm sure he was the instigator of the whole thing. So after deployment came the reunion. I remember wanting to fly down to have that moment you see in all the videos of deployment reunions on social media but I couldn't afford it at the time. I was a full-time student, working enough to pay my bills and get by. So I decided to wait for him to come back to his home town where I was for his leave. During that week I was so close to calling off the engagement, I was so frustrated from the deployment and what transpired but he pleaded with me to keep at it since he wasn't deployed anymore, so that's what I did. Between this point in the story and the end of our marriage was just A LOT. I would be here writing this for a while if I went over every detail but basically there was another episode of love-bombing and the desire to get married right away and not wait like we were planning on so that way I could move in with him so we didn't have to do long distance anymore. I think I broke my mom's heart when I told her I would be moving to wherever the Marine's took us for the next 4 years.
When we got married I lost my health insurance and at the time worked in an industry that didn't provide it either for us so I really depended on having that with the military. (Note to self: never depend on ANYTHING except yourself.) Approx. two weeks after we got married I was surprised to hear he didn't want to re-enlist. So......okay what now? I'm not moving? I have no health insurance in a few months? What are you going to do for work? How will we afford to live? All these thoughts raced in my head. I quickly found a new job with health insurance that I could put him on as well, it was a job I hated but it got us health insurance so I did what I needed to. I quickly found out after our marriage that he was in debt...a lot of debt. I started to use money we had saved to eventually live together to help pay some of it down. I started getting notices from the jewelry store where we bought my engagement ring that they were going to repossess it if payments weren't made. So I started paying for my own engagement ring. Anyways, I think you are getting the point of the financial burdens that were going on here. He moved in with my parents until we could get on our feet when he got out. I begged and pleaded with him to go to school or learn a trade or just anything or try to find a job that would allow us to afford an apartment..it never worked. The drinking only got worse when he got back. I cannot tell you how many fun things that were ruined because I was spending my time watching out for him or quite honestly afraid of him. I knew one of these times he was going to get violent with me because I watched him do it his own mother before. I offered for us to go to AA together, I said I would never drink again we were in this together, I wanted to help so bad. I asked for us to go to marriage counseling, all of these offers were denied. I can't say 100% everything was his fault, I contributed too by arguing about money, drinking and faithfulness, I damn near lost my mind sometimes. At this point I was extremely depressed, I hated myself and what I had become. I couldn't believe I was in the situation but I literally could not leave, everyone told me to leave and I still couldn't after all this. I was so scared and didn't even know who I was or what my purpose was anymore. I started to hear about people receiving nude images from him on Snapchat. To my knowledge, he didn't have a Snapchat anymore. YIKES. I just started hearing more and more, He was cheating on me with many girls, I found out more and more after we got divorced, Cheating over social media, cheating in car wash parking lots, you name it. During the same time I found out about all this he also got wasted and starting fighting with my mom and friends and I was just done, My parents gave so much to him, SO MUCH. My friends were nothing but kind to him. I was disgusted that I was with someone like this. I finally worked up the courage one day to walk into a lawyer's office and sign the papers. I didn't tell anyone except for my parents, I had finally made the decision on my own, no one made me. At that point I had kicked him out of my parent's house so he didn't even know, I later told him to pick up all his stuff and he would be getting the papers in the mail. That was it, it was over. I quickly found a therapist that could help me with all this. The best way I can explain to someone about going through a break up with a relationship or divorce is that it's like someone you were so close with died. The future I had been building and envisioning died too.
I had to completely rebuild myself and my life. Luckily my therapist helped with that, I saw him for about 6 months and he truly changed my perspective on divorce. When I first told him I was embarrassed... I'm not anymore I'm proud. I survived something that I thought at times may kill me. I wouldn't be half the woman I am today if it wasn't for everything I just told you. I spent the last two years becoming the best version I could ever be. I have so much strength, appreciation for the good in life, and self-love I could've ever hoped for. I know the exact type of person I want to spend the rest of my life with now, and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to find that, I owe a huge thank you to my parents, family, and friends for picking me up when I was down. The amount of love and support I got through all of this is something I'm so blessed to have. I love each and every one of you so much, If you are reading this and you are going through some of the same things please reach out, you are not alone and you can get out. I promise the grass is greener on the other side. If I can do it, you can too.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story.