7.10.2012

The Part I Left Out...

Hi, I'm Ashley. I wholeheartedly believe that a soundtrack can make or break a movie.  I am a die hard suns fan.  I am a social media addict.  I think women are amazing and love to share how they inspire me.  I love fashion although I am most comfortable in a t-shirt, worn in jeans and flip flops. I am a sucker for a good rom-com. I'm a little obsessed with my awesome siblings.  I live for bright colors and things that sparkle.  I love to dance and travel (not usually at the same time, so I don't know why I combined them in one sentence).  I think using parenthesis is like telling you a secret.  I dream big.

These are all things I have mentioned before, but there is a part of me that I have been hesitant to share.  For one, I read every day about the beautiful love stories of my fellow bloggers.  I see their perfect marriages grow stronger with each pixel.  I envy their sheer perfection. I am hesitant to share because of the people that know me personally that read my blog and also the people that don't know me at all.  I waiver because its not always easy for me to put all the emotions into words.  But somehow, today, for whatever reason, I have to tell it.  This little tidbit will forever define me in a way nothing else ever has, but will in no way determine my future.  This single adjective has forever changed me, but in more ways than one made me more myself. Strap on your seat belts kids, this might get a little bumpy.

I got divorced when I was 24. 

I know all the things you are considering right now, because they are the same thoughts everyone has when I say those words. 
"Did she rush into marriage?"
"You were too young to get married!"
"Was s/he a cheater?"
"I bet s/he didn't value marriage the way I do" 
"Does she hate men now?"
"Who got the ring?"
"That will never happen to us."
"Is this going to be some rant about not getting married to young or that men are evil spawns of Satan?"

The truth is, I met a boy my freshman year in college.  I fell in love with him and gave him everything I could give.  2.5 years later about a month into our senior year, he broke my heart by saying, "I'm just not in love with you anymore."  He couldn't give me much more of an explanation.  Ever the hopeless romantic, I was not convinced.  I gave it time.  I made it seem like I was doing fine.  I only cried on my tear-stained futon and in the shadows of friends dorm rooms.  Within a month, he was begging me back.  He said letting me go was the biggest mistake he had ever made and he wanted to spend the rest of his life making it up to me.  I was no fool.  I had seen all the movies and read all  the fairytales.  Ever love story needs a little challenge, and this was ours.  This was my love story.  I took him back and we were stronger than ever. 

Fast forward.  A year after graduating from college, (and if you are doing your math you know that is a little over 4 years into our relationship) I found myself in a room filled with red roses in front of a man down on one knee.  Of course I said yes.  Planning turned into execution and in 6 months time, I was his Mrs.  My life was exactly the way I had planned.  Soon we were house hunting for a place big enough to start a family.

Just a few days after our one year anniversary (and about two and a half years after our breakup).  Words I never expected to feel the pain from again hit me like a ton of bricks. "I'm not in love with you anymore".  What?  Were we not living in the same world?  I thought everything was on track. We were closing on a house.  I hosted dinner parties. I bought aprons and table linens.  What?  Ashton, am I getting punked?

For the first few hours, I approached the news with surprising calm.  I said we would work through it.  I said we could get the spark back (but it still hadn't set in that his world wasn't shining like mine). Slowly the gravity of his words and what he really meant from them began to set in.  I spent three days in bed.  Nothing could have pulled me out from under the weight of those words.  There were more tears than I can venture to count.  I threw a framed wedding photo.  I begged.  I pleaded.  I melted into a puddle on the floor.  I lost myself is pure sadness.

We separated just before Christmas, a holiday season that is hard to remember now even though it was only a few years ago.  Couples therapy was useless.  He had made up his mind and nothing I or a therapist could say was going to change it.  Three months later, we filed for divorce.  I was alone. I was lost somewhere in the shell of a person I no longer knew.  I had gotten so use to playing the role of wife. I didn't know how to just be me.  It hasn't been an easy road back.  I have realized lately, that there are other women out there that are going through the same things, and I share my story not for sympathy, but to let them know, you are not alone.

In the end, I don't think I rushed into marriage.  I was ready.  I can't speak for him though. 

I don't think age matters when both people believe in marriage in the same way and understand it is something you have to work at to make strong.  I can't say we ever talked about what marriage really ment to us as a couple.  I assumed we both were committed to forever. I will say I was too young to deal with being divorced.  I had no one to relate to and I felt horribly alone. I was the only one who was divorced in what felt like a sea of women planning thier weddings.

I never cheated.  Again, I can't speak for him, but I try to believe he is a better person than that. 

I didn't believe in divorce and I am fairly ashamed to say I judged those that settled for divorce instead of fought for their marriage.  I don't feel I settled.  I fought with everything I had left.  It wasn't enough. 

I don't hate men or love.  I love love, and I especially love the man in my life and the plans we have for the future.  

I sold the ring. It lost any value it ever had to me.

And sincerely, with all my heart, down to the depths of my soul, I hope it doesn't ever happen to you. 

But, if it does, I can say this.  You will learn the power of your own strength and perseverance.  You will hurt like you have never hurt before.  You will find out who your true friends are. You will find out if you are being true to yourself.  You will learn to trust your gut.  You will learn to forgive both him (eventually) and hopefully yourself too.  You will make some mistakes and not always handle things with grace. You will love again, no matter how unlikely that seems.  You will eventually count yourself lucky to have the chance to fall in love all over again. 

I had a really hard time finding anyone who really understood what I was going through.  Divorce is definitely one of those things, that you can't relate to unless you have gone through it.  It is like your worst break up, times a million. with a side of financial mess and social agony... squared.  But if there is anyone out there that is just looking for someone to "get it",  I am always willing to listen. 

I don't know why I was finally ready to share all of that, but if you made it this far, thank you for sticking with me.  (If you are new here, I am usually more fun than this... promise.  See here and here and especially here!)

You can unbuckle your seat belts now.  My ride isn't over, but I am fairly certain that I can handle any bumps that might come along in my future.

21 comments:

Neely said...

Oh girl its not the same in any means but Chad and I have have broken up a bunch in our 3 years together. One of those times came 2 hours before engagement ring shopping when he called and said "I cant." I stayed in bed for a month and cried and cried. We are together now but who knows if we will be in thef uture. I know its not the same at all but I can understand the hurt of words. Please please dont hesitate to ever come to me if you want to talk. I think you are fantastic and I just love your blog. You have a wonderful future ahead of you! Dont ever feel ashamed for being divorced!!! :)

Molly said...

This was beautifully written. Thank you so much for your honesty and for sharing.

Danielle said...

I think it is great that you shared this. I'm sorry that you had to go through that. I can only imagine, but I've had some close friends in similar situations. I'm so glad you've found someone that you're happy and compatible with! At the end of the day everything you can do is everything you can do!

Beautiful post.

Elissa said...

i am sorry that you went through divorce but am glad you were able to share your story today, and hopefully it will help others in the same boat. It certainly seems like it has shown you your strength and has not tainted your heart.


-Elissa

Elissa said...

i am sorry that you went through divorce but am glad you were able to share your story today, and hopefully it will help others in the same boat. It certainly seems like it has shown you your strength and has not tainted your heart.


-Elissa

Katie said...

I just recently started reading your blog and have never commented before, but I just wanted to thank you for being so brave and sharing your story. I'm sure it will be helpful to so many women and help give strength to others. Thanks for writing!

KB @ kiss, laugh, and dream said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I can say that I was definitely one of those people that looked down on those that got divorced young, but you've made me realize that's wrong. Thank you. I'm glad you've found love again and I really hope you find your happy ending. :)

Sammantha said...

I am so in awe of you and this post - you are so amazing for posting this, and being open and honest about something many people aren't. Thank you for this. I am so excited to get to know you more - you seem like such an awesome woman!

www.dysfunctionaleverafter.com

Louisa said...

This is a beautiful piece of writing, and so wonderful that you chose to share it. I'm glad that even though you went through something so hard, you managed to move on and find happiness again. That takes a lot of strength. I'm new to this blog and will definitely be coming back :)

Kristin said...

Beautifully written, Ashley. Your blog title definitely has new meaning now. I love that you're looking towards the future and all that God has waiting for you. We never know exactly why we go through things like these, but it seems as though you're a stronger, better person for having been through this experience. Thanks again for sharing your heart <3

-Kristin

http://fancyfreelife.blogspot.com

Nilda said...

This was beautiful. It took a lot of strength to write this and I'm glad you shared. I found you through the blog hop and I think you are a great writer. I will definitely be following you.

Melissa Enault said...

Thanks for linking up at the GFC Blog Hop today!!

Steph And Laura said...

Awww this is a bittersweet post:/ We both sponsored Bonnie this month so I'm coming over from her!
Glad to hear you are happy and looking forward to getting to know you through your blog!
New follower!
Laura @ abrunetteduet.com

Monica said...

Thanks for sharing such an honest and genuine post. It's not easy for anyone to go through a divorce, especially a young person, but don't let anyone judge you for it.

I have a couple good friends that also got divorced young and were quite in love and thought that it would work out. For whatever reasons, it didn't and they have moved on. I myself almost got married at 24 and know in my heart that we would have been divorced right now if we had. I was just about to graduate law school and after dating for 4 years, he had gotten me a ring. It seemed like the normal course of where our relationship was supposed to go, but thankfully I realized I was "out of love" for him before we actually tied the knot (and before he got the chance to propose). It still was one of the most painful times of my life and I felt horrible and alone but I knew in my heart it was the right decision. And even then, I felt very judged because he was a good guy and everyone expected us to get married and didn't understand why I broke up with him. He is now happily married with a baby and I just recently got married myself, so it all works out in the end.

Again, no one can judge you unless they have been through it themselves. I'm so glad you found strength and are in love with someone new. It's cliche, but what doesn't kill us does make us stronger! Kudos to you for sharing your story!!

Young Georgia Love said...

you are so incredibly strong for posting this. i love you and i wish you the best of luck.
-Jessie

Jessie said...

Thanks for sharing this very personal story with your readers. You know life is funny but I truly believe things happen the way they are suppose to to bring you where you're suppose to be at a certain age.

Jeni&Kendel said...

What a great post - so comforting to know that you're strong enough to share the not so perfect moments of your life with us as well!

Part of the reason I nominated for you for a little award over on the blog - I see you've done one similar, but still, you were too awesome to pass up!

http://twoshadesoflovely.blogspot.com/2012/07/what-honor-liebster-award.html

Your Doctor's Wife said...

Hi!
New follower from Blog Working Wednesdays!
I married at barely 21 and spent over 10 years in a horrible marriage with a man who not the husband he should've been. I got it right the second time around. I think as time passes you will look back and thank your lucky stars that you were free at 24. You're smarter now and I'm sure you've learned from the experience.
I look forward to getting to know you better!

Kari said...

Thanks for sharing your story. There really is no blue print for how relationships/life! should work...your resilience and honesty now will continue to heal you...
xoxo

ty said...

This story makes me love you even bigger. Big big big.

Andie @ Starts with Cupcakes said...

Hi Ashley, I've stumbled across your blog from the Fun Facts of Whitney post over on I Wore Yoga Pants to Work..
And now, I'm sitting at my desk at work with tears in my eyes. Tears of sadness and also of understanding - I went through a similar situation 2 years ago at 25 years old. And the loneliness I felt at a time when my friends were getting engaged or married themselves was unimaginable. Thank you for sharing your story. I know I get stronger everyday, but I also worry about people's perceptions of me; and I can never figure out a way to break the news without sounding overly emotional or on the other end of the scale - flippant and elusive.
Think I'll stick around for a while and get to know you a little better!
Andie xx
p.s. wow - longest comment EVER! Sorry!