April 4, 2014

Single

A few days after Emmett’s funeral, I had a doctor’s appointment. I sat in the office waiting for someone to come in and speak with me. As the door opened, I was expecting to see my usual nurse, but instead, in walked a woman I had never seen before. She looked so casual and calm and asked, “What is it that you are here for today?” 

“Well,” I said. “I would like to have my IUD removed.” She glanced quickly through my chart. “It looks like you just barely had it put in . . . like a week ago. Is there a reason you don’t like it?” 

I took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. “Well, actually, a few days after I came in here to have it put in, my husband died . . . so . . . I just will not be needing it.” 

She glanced up from my chart, and asked “Then what are you going to be using?”

I looked into her eyes with an inquisitive glare. “Um . . . well, I am not going to be using anything.”

This conversation must have been a new one for this poor nurse. “I am just worried that you might not want to take it out,” she said. “Have you thought about keeping it in as your form of birth control? Should we discuss the other forms of protection we offer here before you make your decision?”

Again, I tried to make my point clear. “Well . . . like I said, my husband passed away, and I am no longer in need of birth control, so that is why I am here . . . to take OUT my IUD.”

The baffled look on her face made it clear she was doubtful of what I had just said. “Are you ready to get pregnant already . . . looks like you just had a baby about two months ago?”

This time she had to understand. “So . . . I am a single mother now, my baby is not quite two months old. I have four other children all under the age of six . . . I am no longer married . . . and I will not be having sex, because I am . . . not married . . . I . . . am . . .  I am single.” 

As the words slipped out of my lips, I got a pit in my stomach. Single. I was now a single woman, a place I never thought I would be again. I had not even considered my recent step into widowhood as a catapult throwing me back into the realms of single life. Just seven years earlier, I had pictured my wedding day as the moment I overcame the obstacle of being a single woman, but here I was again . . . and this time, the odds of ending another period of being single were even less in my favor.  

Sitting in that doctor’s office, and fighting the nurse about birth control, was an eye-opener for me. I had some work to do. The morals I held as a single adult before my marriage to Emmett were still just as important to me now, as they were back then. I was a single woman again, but this time . . . I was dragging behind me five beautiful additions. 

As I drove home from my appointment, I pictured walking into a singles’ ward at church carrying Tytus in his car seat on one arm, Kaleeya on my hip, and my other three children waddling behind me. I chuckled to myself as I pictured all the eyes that would turn their gaze toward me . . . not as an inappropriate “check-out” . . . but to watch my circus entering the building. Yes, a singles’ ward sounded like it would be a lot of entertainment . . . but it probably wasn’t the crowd I was looking for. I might have become a single woman again, but the single life I once knew was far from where I was now. 

One night, a few weeks later, I got a crazy idea that I should go looking around in Emmett’s e-mail account. It seemed like it would be a nice break from going through his box of crap in the garage. Since receiving his e-mail and password for Facebook, I figured it would be easy to get into his g-mail account and see what it contained.  

My heart was racing. I felt like I was a high school girl again . . . driving by a cute boy’s house. I slowly typed in the username and password. It worked!  I looked around me to make sure no one was watching, as if I were doing something sneaky. The list of recent e-mails pulled up. Many of them were messages he had received on his Facebook account after his death. Some of them I had read, and others were new. 

I kept scrolling down . . . searching for any juicy e-mails from the days before he died. I just knew the e-mails I was searching for had to have some new information for me. I kept scrolling, and scanning the names from whom the e-mails were sent. 

KANDI! And there it was. The first of any saved e-mails I had seen from Kandi. I opened it. It was a picture of her, in what looked like her daughter's high school prom dress. That wasn’t what I was looking for. I wanted the meat of the case. I wanted to see hate mail from Rob and love letters from Kandi. I craved to see the ugly facts with my own eyes, so my heart could shut the book that was permanently waiting on its shelf to be read. I needed real closure.  

I kept scrolling. His account was strewn with singles’ websites. Singles? Dating? It hadn’t crossed my mind that there could have been more women than her. I had secretly hoped her spell was the only thing that had made his eye wander. 

That night, I came to know even more about the man I had loved, who was now gone. He didn’t have just one stupid affair with a woman he thought could help him progress in his career. No, he had been out searching for more women! 

This time, my detective work did not bring me the peace for which I was hoping. It stirred up new emotions within me. 

Single life . . . was that really the path he was seeking?  

I was sitting alone at a computer . . .  still trying to do the impossible—save a marriage that no longer existed. And while Emmett had had all that I still craved . . . he was looking for something else. Something less! It didn’t make sense to me. What part of this lonely life of being single did he find so appealing? 

Before I met Emmett, I had a lot of experience with being single. It was a title I can’t say I would ever search for again. I had some great times as a single adult, but there was nothing about it that appealed to me as an alternative to the safety I felt in being committed in marriage. 

Now, I found myself forced back into the single life, which before my marriage, I had spent so much time . . . trying to “overcome.” 

In my young single years, I can remember many dates I had with lots of different types of men. A few times, I even thought I had found “the one.” The minute I felt like “I could see myself with this guy,” I would plan out our life in my mind. I threw my heart in before the guy even asked for it. 

I would put so much thought into the idea of being with him, that I no longer held the power over my own happiness. I would sit by my phone . . . and its silence would shatter my night . . .  or my month, for that matter. At that time, my ultimate feeling of self-worth could come from a phone call . . . or could be destroyed by the lack thereof. 

In the end, a few of “the one”s never did call again. It wouldn’t just break my heart, it would cause me to doubt myself and my worth. I spent many weekends in a state of depression because of the lack of a promised call. Why? In that moment, when my feelings of self-worth were at an all-time low, I truly believed I had lost my chance at love. If that boy didn’t call back after the first date, somehow I was no longer beautiful or lovable. Somehow, I would never be enough.  

Then with the ones who did call back. . . I would find reasons why they weren’t good enough for me, and I would push them away. Sometimes it would be as stupid as hating the shoes he wore, or that I couldn’t stand the fact that his mother still did his laundry for him. I didn’t like the fact that he spent more time on his hair than I did, or that he was too quiet . . . or too loud. The list of stupid reasons for which I would push guys away was longer than the number of first dates who never called again. 

Unfortunately, between those two types of dating experiences, I found myself allowing my view of myself to come from my experiences with men. I didn’t have enough self-worth to keep myself from allowing the missed phone calls, or the stupid shoes, from determining if I was happy or not. I believed my happiness was based on the perfection others found in me. I needed them to tell me I was worth their time, before I allowed myself to be worth my own time. 

Some of us, as singles, spend our days walking around looking for Mr. Right. Instead of becoming “right” ourselves, we look for him on the outside and hope he can generate a belief of our worth, which we can’t seem to find in ourselves. Until Emmett came into my life, I walked around secretly hoping I was on the right sidewalk at school to lead me to my Mr. Perfect. Every morning, I got ready just in case I ran into him. I went to the grocery store to buy healthy foods so I would be perfect for him. I went to the gym so I would have the type of body he was looking for. Most of my decisions were not made for me, but for the imaginary dream boy for whom I was searching. 

And when I found him, it WAS perfect. He believed in me, he told me I was special, and he adored everything I did. My worth was safe, and my fears of rejection seemed to be in the past. 

The night Emmett died, it was much more than just automatically getting thrown back into singlehood. Once again, I had to face all those fears that Emmett had calmed. I didn’t want to be single. I didn’t know how to find worth in myself because I had used him as my gauge if ever I wondered if I was a good person, a good mom, or a good wife. And up until about three months before he died . . . it had worked! He believed in me. He encouraged me, and he lifted my feelings of self-worth higher and higher. 

Being single again was daunting. Sitting at that computer reading notes from a singles’ website changed something inside of me. He had been searching for others to fill the void in his view of his worth. That was crazy to me, especially as his wife who had done my very best to let him know of his worth. And yet, hadn’t I been searching and waiting for him to fill the void I had within myself? Wasn’t that just as crazy? Did he really need other women to give him his sense of worth? Did I really need a husband to let me know that I was a wonderful person?

Now was my chance to search, but not for another single person to tell me that I was enough. It was my turn to search for myself. Who was Ashlee? What does Ashlee want, and who is Ashlee supposed to become? Questions raged inside me, helping me look past the loneliness of singlehood and fueling the desire to know who I really was. Being married could not be what defined who Ashlee was anymore. I had to remember—for the first time in my life—who God had sent me to earth to be, and who I really was.

It wasn't Emmett that had made me great. It was ME. His words, though they were encouraging, were not what I needed anymore. He was gone. I was single, and I wanted to become okay with the single life that had come back upon me. I vowed to myself that I would never again let another person determine my happiness. I knew I had a long road ahead of me. I knew that one day, I would have to do the things I had done in my past as a single person. It didn’t have to be scary, it didn’t have to be lonely . . . because this time around, I wasn’t going to look for anyone to tell me something I didn’t already know on my own. 

Being single offered a new view for me. I didn’t need to let my happiness be determined by a phone call or a date. I was going to be happy being single. I figured it would be years before I decided to head down the road of commitment again, but until that time, I was going to make the most of my life. In the past, my desire for marriage had always driven my choices. Where to live and who to be was driven by the hope of finding “the one.” Even a walk to school could become an imagined heavenly intervention for me to find Mr. Right. Don’t get me wrong, I know Heavenly Father helps our paths cross with those who can bring us joy, but constantly seeking it, is not a way to live. What I wish I had known then as a young single adult, which I know now, is to just live. Find happiness in yourself and not in a phone call that does or does not come. Happiness is inside of you. It’s not a gift that comes in the form of another person. Yes they can increase the happiness we have, but it cannot be another person that creates it.

Search for the man who is compatible with you, as you are right now. Search for a girl who can sacrifice and forgive and work hard. Find a partner who can complete you. Quit waiting for an imaginary perfect being, because even if you find him or her, what will he or she see in you? I know we want what we want, but we must seek what the Lord wants for us. He knows the qualities that will bring you lasting happiness . . . and they aren’t usually measured by the world’s standards. Find the standard that the Lord has set.

Your future doesn’t have to hold riches for it to be wonderful. You might be blessed with an amazing person who adores and cherishes you, who is merely just “an apple picker.” Happiness is not promised, it is achieved through hard work. If that apple picker puts God above him or herself, and can sacrifice and encourage and be kind, then those are the things that will really matter in the end. 

Looks can be shattered in a moment. Cars will crash, houses can burn, diseases can cripple, and bullets can fire. Money can be spent, investments can go bad, and cars can be taken away. What really matters is what is inside a person.  Look deeper than the surface.

They may not be the star basketball player your mom always told you to find; they may not have ever been invited to step onto a runway . . . but these imperfect single people who are right where you are . . . maybe all they need is for you to let them in. Maybe then, you will see how amazing they are. 

It is true, you have to be attracted to a person. What attractions are holding you back from meeting the right one? What standards have you set for the person you seek that will never be realized? If you are a single adult, now is your time to put both feet in. Be you . . . maybe that won’t be enough for everyone . . . but let it be enough for yourself. 

Until you realize that the true kind of love will only come when you are true to yourself, you will push them away.  Be you, and if they walk away, at least it is you they are leaving and not a pretend person you were trying to be. If they let you go when you are yourself, at least they leave you standing. If it is the other person holding you up, you will fall. Standing tall as yourself is a lot easier than being crushed into a million pieces and gluing the broken bits back together. 

You may find that even after you have found yourself, people still leave. That’s okay, because if they don’t see you now, they never will. Before you commit to your dream spouse, become the person you always dreamed you would be. But if you have found someone who truly sees you, even when you can’t see yourself . . . it’s okay to let him in too. He might see the part of you you’re trying to hide, and still not walk away. 

What if we get rejected? What if we aren’t enough? I can promise you, that at some point in our lives, we will all face rejection. Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow, but someday you might not measure up for someone you care about. So what? Who cares? You are still the same person you started as. It doesn’t mean you turn on yourself as well.

Rejection, and suffering losses don’t just come to those of us who have been married. A loss can be as simple as that phone call that never comes. Rejection can be interpreted as being anytime our desires are not met. Feelings of serious loss, betrayal, and confusion can cloud your mind. The stages of grief can come from the loss of a love you once thought was going to be yours, even if it was just one date. As single adults—single, divorced, or widowed—there are many lonely nights and many depressing days. We cannot let them define who we think we are. Those nights when you feel you are suffering alone, seek peace from a God who is always there. He knows you are suffering alone, let Him join you and remind you of the worth He sees in you. 

Spend less time worrying about your checklist for others and more time figuring out what qualities on the list you want to develop. So he doesn’t ever call you back, or friend you on Facebook? What matters is that you are true to the ‘you’ God made you to be. It would be easy to pretend to be someone you are not, but in the end, you will forget who you really are. Be you, and let it be enough. It is only you that can find the mission you were sent to this earth to fulfill.

Single life before Emmett, was just a search for the “one” to help me progress. Once he was gone and I realized I must still find a way to move forward, my eyes became open to a new view of being a single adult. I was not the little girl who was searching for reassurance; I was an adult searching for myself. I knew being single would be a different experience this time around, but I was determined to just have faith. I couldn’t wait around for someone to hold me up. All I had was myself, my family, and God. I was a single mom who was not going to fall. I had to stand.

Being single can suck. Love can be hard. But love for yourself and for another is what life is all about. Don’t let anyone break you. Don’t let another person determine if you smile. That phone call wasn’t meant to be. Let it go. Cling to the things you can control, and let the others go. Ready or not, love might come your way, but you must remember who you are. 

Being single is not a punishment or a sentence. It is a time in our lives when we get to put our needs first. It is a time to reflect upon the person we want to be; and a chance for us to realize that who we are is enough for Him. 

We hear stories about rejection and loss, and it almost furthers our cause to just remain single forever. Mine is one of those stories. Emmett’s choices and Rob’s anger put me in a state of raw rejection and serious loss: the loss of a life I loved, the loss of the life I thought I had, the loss of the love I had shared so deeply, and the loss of any sign of true commitment. A perfect storm for a recipe of a life of forever being single. . . Right? 

Before March 11, 2011, if you were to tell me that I would have to tread through a pain so immeasurable . . . I would have run away. I had heard simple version of stories like mine, and sworn that there was no way I would still be breathing. I didn’t know I could do hard things . . . until they were done.  

As I stand today, I can see that even through that hell storms . . . I am still the same person I was before, but with even more strength and belief in myself. 

You might get rejected, you might even lose at love . . . but what do you really have to lose, if you don’t have it right now? 

 I lost everything in love, but here I am. Yes, it still hurts sometimes. It still brings me to my knees every single day. I still cry, I still have doubts . . . but I am still me. If changing my past meant not having my five children and the relationship I’ve developed with my Heavenly Father as He sent Angels to lift me up, I wouldn’t change anything. My past embodies the fears of all the singles who are afraid of commitment. Don’t let your fears of losing, stop you from loving. The love that surrounds me today is stronger than any I have ever known, even though the losses I have endured have hurt more deeply than any I could have imagined. 

Set standards for yourself, and don’t waver. Set expectations for your future lover, but don’t get so set on who they are supposed to be . . . that you cannot see them. If you are too busy staring at your list, you will miss seeing the qualities that are uniquely theirs. Strive to be the best you, and hope for the best them . . . and then when you find each other, and you both seem to fall short . . . Let God fill in the gaps. He believes in marriage. He believes in love. He cries when we do; and He hurts when we hurt.  Marriage is hard; love can hurt . . . but so can being alone. 


Maybe you have never had a second date in your life. So what if you have never had the passionate embrace of a first kiss? Maybe your dream boy has always been in your view, but has never asked you out. Maybe your perfect girl has been your best friend all along, but you have been too busy watching all the other girls who walk by her. Where ever you are, if you are not in a serious relationship . . . you are single. You may feel alone, but you are not. There are so many of us who have sat home alone, single, wishing for a life that we righteously desired. Don’t give up on love . . . but even more importantly . . . please don’t give up on yourself. God believes in marriage, and he created love . . . but he also created us. Even if you have never loved, or never do . . . he believes in you.



62 comments:

BS said...

Ashlee,

I've been reading your blog for probably a month or so. I needed this entry tonight. Just over 2 months ago, I was very nearly engaged to a man I gave my whole heart to. He came forward and confessed his addiction to pornography and I was shattered. We have since broken up but still remain in contact hoping that as we heal we will be able to find our way back to each other. Over the course of the last 2 months, I have spent many lonely nights crying and wishing I could have everything back. Your entry was exactly what I needed tonight. THANK YOU. THank you for your hope and faith and learning how to stand. I have so much hope in my ex that we can work things out in time. But I also need to learn to be happy and recover from my co-dependency before I can be in a relationship with him, or anyone else for that matter. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

Anonymous said...

Ashlee,
Thank you for this post! I so needed this today. When I saw the title, "Single" in the Instagram post I just knew that I needed to hear your words. I'm so grateful for your uplifting encouragement, not just in this post, but in every single one. Thank you for your wisdom! You're changing lives with Christ's light!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE this and needed it today. Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love your posts. I loved when you said you didn't know you could do something this hard until it was done. I feel the exact same way. I had premie twins three years ago. They both ended up passing away shortly after birth from the pre-mature birth complications. People always tell me they don't know how I handled the death of my sons, and I tell them I handled it because I didn't have a choice. If I had known before hand this would happen, I would have run away too like you said. But we survive and make it through it because we don't have another choice. And then a few years down the road, we can look back and realize that we survived something so hard and unimaginable. Thank you for sharing your testimony!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Ashlee! I needed this, too. I am single. So many of my married friends say they are jealous of my life, but I don't think they remember how lonely it can be. Your perspective was one of compassion and understanding and brought things to my mind that I haven't thought of before.

I was praying to hear something I needed this weekend (LDS General Conference) but I think Heavenly Father may have answered some of my prayers through you tonight. Thank you.

Ashlee said...

Ashlee loved this post.. This needs to be read by so many single adults especially girls! Such fabulous advice for all!! Thank you thank you!

Photos By Rachael said...

I don't know what made me get on FB and see one of my friend's had liked your post and bring me to clicking on it, but I'm glad I did. Just another one of those lonely nights you don't think will ever end. Your post made twenty minutes settle a little better and helped me realize how much work I have to do on myself. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

These words are probably the most powerful words I have ever read about being single! Thank you so much!!

Anonymous said...

Ever heard of forgiveness? Your ex might say "don't judge me because i sin differently than you do"

Hailey said...

This post was amazing and beautifully written and I am sending it to some of my single friends! I was single when I turned 25 and decided then that I could be happy and have a great life even if I never got married. Once I made that decision and was okay with myself as a single person I met my husband. Today I am happily married and I know that learning to love myself as a single person has been a huge part of having a successful marriage now. The Lord will tell us we are enough if we go to Him. You are an amazing person Ashlee! Your wisdom shared on your blog has really blessed my life.

DanielandTawny said...

You have an amazing talent to express yourself through words. Thanks for sharing with us all. One of my fav parts was:
Looks can be shattered in a moment. Cars will crash, houses can burn, diseases can cripple, and bullets can fire. Money can be spent, investments can go bad, and cars can be taken away. What really matters is what is inside a person. Look deeper than the surface.

DanielandTawny said...

You have an amazing talent to express yourself through words. Thanks for sharing with us all. One of my fav parts was:
Looks can be shattered in a moment. Cars will crash, houses can burn, diseases can cripple, and bullets can fire. Money can be spent, investments can go bad, and cars can be taken away. What really matters is what is inside a person. Look deeper than the surface.

Anonymous said...

You are beautiful in all ways and such an inspiration to so many who doubt themselves. I lost my husband in another way as he suffered an illness that took his life. It is easy to sit alone and wish for companionship but I have learned many things from this experience. Keep writing and teaching us through your powerful testimony. I truly admire your courage and look forward to reading your next post. May you be blessed to have more that you did have with Emmett and see in yourself what it others can see in you. You are truly God's daughter and a wonderful example to many people.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed your post! I may not be single but I do rely on my husband for most of my happiness. And I have been struggling with him being gone for work, long periods at a time, where I get deppressed. I very much understand missing him is completely normal but I know I can still be happy while he is gone. I must learn it us okay to stand on my own and focus on myself and the joys around me, while we are apart or together. I may not be in the same situation as you were but your words have woke me. Thank You.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this comment - I am married and in a similar situation where because of a demanding school schedule, I don't get much time with my husband either... It's time to make changes in myself - I am ready to be TRULY happy!! :)

Anonymous said...

you did he right thing . Run and never look back. An addict can only love their addiction and those images and habits will never leave him. It will be a lifelong battle for him to overcome those impulses- I'm not saying it can't be done- but it's very rare and not likely. Whatever he told you was the tip of the iceberg- it's worse than he said, more frequent, more gritty. It's hard as the girlfriend- but soul crushing as the wife. Don't feel guilty for wanting him to yourself- for being hurt that he's living a double life. No matter how sorry you feel for him or how much you love him-- I promise you after you are married and have children and HE'S STILL STRUGGLING to quit and break free of porn, you will feel even more sorry for yourself and kids that he traded your lives for cheap empty meaningless paper dolls. Try raising a son to be clean when their father is never worthy. Try raising a daughter to have good self esteem with a man who objectifies girls as her example. It's a never ending all consuming life of bein the porn patrol. Of betrayal. Lies. And ultimately bein alone with a lot of baggage, scars, and messed up kids to boot. RUN.

Kate Jensen said...

Thank you! My sister forwarded me this link and I'm so grateful. I'm almost 35 and single and some of these words felt like they were ripped straight from my heart. I've been working on this exact principle over the last 6 months and truly trying to live a life that makes me happy and and defines who I am, spending time with the people I love most and being who God wants me to be and become. Trying not to focus on being single (always being open to finding someone) and making that define who I am. Thank you for your strength and for opening your heart, I too have the faith that God is with us and with him we WILL make it through our trials and be happy!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with the user above. My husband is addicted to porn. He's been in the lds addiction program + additional S.A program and still it's a huge struggle. We have 3.5 kid and I do wish I knew before we were married I would not have married him. I know in the vows it's says in sickness and in health, but the struggle it been plus the broken self esteem.... is a nightmare. I love my kids, but I cannot say the same about my husband. I wish I knew and I would have run far away. I feel as if I have thrown my life away and any future happiness for either of us is a struggle. He struggles a t jobs, I have to work full time and I make more money. All he has are excuses . I get blamed because we have internet...though I have parental control and passwords that are changed, he watches very close or wait til I make a mistake and will get on when no one (or at least when I'm) not around. We had a Wii for the kids, also with parental control but he calls and gets the password reset, so its put up where he can't find it. We have uverse which he broke through once and watched a bunch of porn on MY account that was pay per view and I had to call the company and now it's triple password protected. I get yelled at saying it's my fault I have a cell phone or a computer and HE spends hrs breaking the passwords. I don't want to live like this. We've talked divorce, but we can't afford it and with the kids small we try for them. But honestly... I'm done. This has broken our marriage. He has had phone sex conversations. Charged to MY phone account. We live in seperate rooms. It's easy to forgive the first, maybe second time. But the 100th...no. you get bitter. You question yourself, your life and the last 11 yrs of marriage. If and most likely when we do get divorced, I'm not interested in being married again. I would rather be the crazy cat lady with 4 kids who lives down the road.

Deanna said...

Ashlee,
Thank you so much for this post. For ALL of your posts. I have been following for a few weeks now. I have read every post and I cry every time because my heart is so touched. You are a very brave, courageous, kind, and special woman. We have shared some things in common. I walked a fiery path at a young age as well. I want to share my story with you, but it would be such a long post! Suffice it to say that I struggled through turbulent teen years, adopting out my first (and only) child, pain and rejection, difficult relationships, divorce and, finally, suicide of my "boyfriend" of three years, where I was the one who found his body. That was when I finally broke, at age 25. That was when the grief was so incredible that inhaling and exhaling caused physical pain. And that was when I turned to my Savior, not for the first time, but for the first time where I KNEW I wasn't turning back. I asked Him to help me, because I couldn't get through this alone. He came immediately. It has been over 14 years since that day, and I am still healing. And I am still single. I have been active in the church since that moment, and learning to love myself as I am. I am working on not feeling rejected by men who don't call, and dates that don't happen, but I still take many things personally. The Lord is always there, though. Thankfully, I know He loves me, and I am enough for Him, and for myself.
Anyway, thank you so much for your posts. You are amazing and I am inspired and lifted by all that you share.

Anonymous said...

Pornography is the root cause of most affairs, most intimacy issues, and contributes to 56% of ALL divorces. Love yourself enough to walk away while you can not also be destroyed. I'm also 7 years into a marriage with a porn addict and he has destroyed my heart. We have 3 kids under 5 and I am doing everything I can to keep my family together. It's bitter and difficult at even the best of times. There is no peace. Don't join our club. I'd give anything to get out of this hell.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post Ashlee. God has touched many lives through your words!!

Anonymous said...

Growing up I always thought a husband would complete me as my no one taught me to love myself and be comfortable with myself before I thought of getting married. Finally, in my 30s, I am comfortable with me now. I have boys and that is a lesson I will be teaching them is to love thyself and feel comfortable in who they are before they ever get married.

Anonymous said...

Run and never look back. Heavenly Father does not want this for any of his daughters. Do not ever let your guard down. Run ...... until you have been married you do not know what it is like so ask every married woman you know and when they say Run you need to trust them and listen.

Trys Bell said...

@Anonymous (the most recent anonymous) I have no idea what you mean by "Run and never look back. Heavenly Father does not want this for any of his daughters. Do not ever let your guard down. Run ...... until you have been married you do not know what it is like so ask every married woman you know and when they say Run you need to trust them and listen."

What does this even mean? What do you mean????

Anonymous said...

I would like to suggest a book: "He restoreth my soul" by Donald L. Hilton Jr., MD.
I got mine from the missionaries at the 12 step meetings.
I knew of my husband's addiction before we were married. He has not practiced his addiction for a long time.
There is hope. Step 2 Come to believe that the power of God can restore you to complete spiritual health.
If you would like a schedule of meeting times and locations, ask your Bishop.

Anonymous said...

Best wishes and may the Savior be your guide as you work out the Atonement as it applies to your life.

Anonymous said...

I believe she was addressing the girl above (the very first comment) who was hurting over her boyfriends admission to a problem with pornography and their recwnt breakup. A few Anons piped in that they were married to addicts and were counseling her to run and never look back. I would echo their warnings and add my own voice to their counsel: nothing but intense counseling, iron clad boundaries, and complete access removal will ever help an addict recover. A two month breakup or some time apart will not get him under control. If he's had struggles in the past and is currently struggling- of course he will ALWAYS struggle. He may have periods of sobriety but he will always be preoccupied with acting out. Life is tough without starting out dragging along a partner that selfishly hurts those who live him. Just my two cents from someone who's living the nightmare...

Anonymous said...

I found your blog and was struck by the similarity of our lives. I know what it's like to live a nightmare which while different, also resulted in my former husband's betrayal and death. I found myself very abruptly a single mother of four young children...trying to swallow the enormity of a situation that was the result of another's actions. My self esteem also was completely shattered and I realized that as you say...anything can be taken away at anytime; anything that is EXCEPT your relationship with God and the knowledge that you are his daughter. When I truly FINALLY believed what I'd been singing as a child, reciting as a young woman, and taught as an adult, I realized that peace and love from God and understanding who I was gave me a confidence and serenity that has transcended whatever situations I have had to deal with. You are not alone in experience or EVER. I applaud you for having the courage to write your stories and struggles. I have been told numerous times to write mine and hopefully will some day. Hugs to you and your beautiful family and thank you!

Anonymous said...

I love Ashlee's blog and thinks she has wonderful insights that only come by walking down a very difficult path. That being said, I was not prepared for the anonymous comments from the wives of porn addicts. My first feeling was a rush of anger because of the over-generalization of the addict. When you over generalize the addict, you avert attention from the real problem. Our spouses are not the problem--they HAVE a problem. It is an addiction to the chemicals released into the brain. It physically alters our young men and husbands. It steals their ability to abstain and enslaves them. Two weeks into dating my husband, he confessed to me that he had been addicted since he was 10. I can say with all honesty that I love him more today than I ever have. He is strong, loving, kind, honorable, and the best father. He is able to hold down a job--and is very skilled at what he does. He volunteers to help others when he can. He still struggles. He is on lds probation, but we are both working together to ensure that we will be sealed in the temple soon. I am here to help him. I cannot be his Savior. There is so much talk of hurt, pain, and "hell" in being married to an addict. However the Atonement was not merely for the sinner, but for the downtrodden. If we are burdened by such pain, we are not properly accessing the Savior's Atonement. And that is OUR problem. My happiness is not dependent on my husband's sobriety. And his slip-ups are NO indication of my failures/successes as his wife/lover. My husband hates his addiction. He has lost years to it. He has lost his self-esteem after facing failure to overcome it time after time. I have seen him brought to his knees by his own actions. His bravery astounds me. I look up to him because I cannot even begin to grasp the faith he has to exercise on a daily basis just to maintain sobriety. I love him with all that I am. I adore him. I'm sorry for the other wives who had to discover this secret in other ways. My heart aches for the love they once had. But I also ache for their husbands caught in the torrent of their addictions--just as the Savior aches for them. But please, my story is not your story. The advice you gave to the first commenter was a terrible generalization and by no means represents the love, happiness, and laughter that exists in my home. My choices were not a mistake. My life is not a mistake. My husband is not your husband. We all are different. I choose to marry a good man, who loves God and tries daily to be a better man. That's the reality of my life. And I'm here to testify that our choices make all the difference. We can choose to be happy or choose sorrow. We can choose to help or hurt. I know that God can work miracles in the hearts of men and I know that he can heal broken marriages. I've seen it. I can not deny it. We can choose, even when it seems our agency is completely controlled by the Adversary, whose side we really want to be on. And if we rely on Him, He will not fail us.

Anonymous said...

In agreeing with the others run to the arms of a man that doesnt struggle.... into the arms of a man who will be faced with struggle. Porn is a drug, going back to your ex whom you know his struggles with gives you the upper hand. Aan can overcome his addictions if he so chooses. Its all about choice, it doesnt mean he loves you or your children less. He struggles. And he came to you before marraige so he wants to change. How payient r u willing to be

Anonymous said...

Everyone here has walked a hard road. If you are reading Ashlee's blog it's probably because you can relate to her loss and pain in some way. Whether you've lost a husband through death, infidelity, pornography, or other means-- this should be a safe place to band together and freely express those feelings. Kudos to Ashlee and all the anonymous girls on here who are brave enough to talk about their pain and not stay isolated in secrecy or shame. We all need to have each others backs and not criticize choices, feelings, or where someone is at on their own personal journey. Everyone here is fighting a hard battle. Lets not make it harder by denying them a voice.

Anonymous said...

To the sweet gal who has learned her boyfriend has an addiction: I read your comment, as well as all the comments to it. My husband also has an addiction. I did not know about it until we had been married nearly 7 years and 2.5 children later. I knew something was very wrong, but didn't know what. When I finally figured it all out, we sought help for his addiction and began an addiction recovery program. When we started the class, we were joined by 40 other couples (mostly LDS). By the very end of the long 19 month program, only 5 couples remained. Of the 5 couples that remained, one is in the middle of a divorce, one will be divorcing soon and another is on the edge of divorce. In short, only 2 couples made it out of the program somewhat successfully. I don't tell you these numbers to scare you off, and I realize it is a small representation, but it is what it is. This is how damaging even a recovering addict can be to a family. On the flipside of that, I am lucky to be one of the 2 couples. My husband is a good man! Together we have brought 4 beautiful children into the world, to whom he is a wonderful dad. He owns a successful business and every day he is fighting his addiction. Some days are great, and some days are bad. I love my husband. But the road we have gone through has been difficult and heartbreakingly hard. Yes, of course their is forgiveness, and the above commenter about leaning on the atonement couldn't be more right, but the heartache is sometimes nearly unbearable and, at times, feels like it can never be healed. This trial has taught me more about forgiveness and the atonement than anything else in my life ever has, and for that I am very grateful. I will not tell you to run. I will not tell you to forgive and embrace. I will only tell you, to search, ponder, pray and fast. An addiction is a gruesomely terrible thing, but the person who has an addiction is not. My husband has an addiction, he is not his addiction. Your boyfriend has an addiction, he is not his addiction.

I would only want to say a few more things from my experience. There is never enough filters, never enough monitors. If someone wants to really look at something to get their 'fix', they will find it, no matter how many protections you have put in place--and this world makes it easier to get that fix every day. I will tell you one thing: ONLY an addict can change. The addict can ONLY get better, when the ADDICT decides that he/she wants to get better, and turns to Christ and usually some extensive therapy. And, the addiction will always be there. It will not go away after a few months of sobriety, a few years or even decades. It will always be there. I say this to you only as a warning, so that you can really think about what you may be getting into. I sure wish someone had told me that before I had married my husband. That being said, although I didn't know my husband had an addiction when we married, the Lord did. And I asked the Lord if I should marry him and I felt good about it. That tells me the Lord knew I would go through this, and He knew I could do it. That simple truth has given me comfort on the darkest of days.

God be with all of us and our heartache. Ashlee, thank you for boldly sharing your story. This is such a taboo subject, yet it is so prominent. Thank you for bringing it out of obscurity.

Charity said...

As a survivor of pornography in my temple marriage I say, there is hope. I wish I could be a voice of hope to women everywhere who struggle. I knew of his struggle before we married, but didn't truly understand it until a few years later... And then a few years from that, with two little boys to raise, I am learning what it means to love him, perfectly. Please, please get your hands on the Inner Gold system. It helps the addict understand the why and how of addiction. Wives, please accept your husband in his weaknesses. Allow him to come to you if he has a slip up. Accept that there will be moments of weakness. Make a plan with him if he is going to be alone. Ask him how his mental day is. Ask him daily. But do with love. Let me wrap my arms around you sweet sisters and give you all hugs.... This is hard stuff. Just know that it's possible to overcome if both are willing to work.

Hope said...

Charity thank you for your comment I agree. I want to too offer my peace of hope in our Savior's true healing power of the atonement. My husband too has experienced the battles of pornagraphy addiction and the advice Charity has offered is exactly what has got us through. Turning to Christ and striving daily to fight for our covenants we made with our Heavenly Father each and every day has brought us out of this with more compassion more love more understanding not only towards each other but to all those around us. Believe In his atoning sacrifice with a broken heart and a contrite spirit as your foundation. It is given to us freely we just have to use it. My heart too aches for my sisters and the brothers that are struggling right now with the hardships pornography addiction brings. It's a constant evil satan will use to entice our mortal state especially in our weakest hour. Your loved ones suffering from this can not over come it alone. They will need your love your support your belief in who they can become as the savior sees their potential. Most of all they will need the Savior. There is hope. Make a plan when your husband, ask ways you can help him especially when you both can expect a time they will be alone. Even years down the road from recovery we still have a plan in place. When he is alone we make a plan. We talk often about it . The savior loves us he doesn't want us to fail. He believes in us. I could feel that love for my husband he had even when I felt I could not and knew the savior believed in him so I wanted to too. I knew this was important that my husband knew this which I think helped him. No I was not perfect at showing him this always. At times I was angry frustrated tired and so hurt. We quickly learned though if we wanted to get through this it was going to take us as a team. I decided to stop thinking so much about how much I was hurt and think about how or what I could do to help him through this most importantly always striving to exercise that same love my savior has for him. Unknowingly this was key for me in my own healing. Let him know you are there to help them through this. They need this more then ever, your support your love especially when understandably it's hard to give it but know you can ask for the savior's help to know how to love them as the savior loves him. I started to include this in my daily prayer to ask to help me love others as thou lovest them. The savior, being beaten humiliated and hung on the cross giving of himself the ultimate sacrifice exemplifying the pure love of Christ for the very ones that put him there still pleaded with his father " forgive then father for they know not what they do."
If any one of you dear brothers or sisters would like my husband or I to share some further advice on how we are fighting the ugly power of pornography we are here if we can help in anyway. My husband wanted to include a word of advice for the dear sister whose ex fiancé came forward in his addiction. This shows he trusts you. It's a wonderful thing in a partnership. Although the battles of pornography are real but not impossible to defeat. It is however something you have a choice to decide if it's something you are willing and prepared to battle beside him with. If you are not there is absolutely nothing wrong with this decision if you decide to move on. Ultimately if you are close to the savior and know your fiancé well enough and consider his strengths and potential and listen to the direction the spirit is guiding you, you will know the right thing to do. I already admire you for taking the step to step back and both heal with the hope that his struggles with pornography do not define him and the person he is or could become.

My Name is JACY said...

To all those reading/commenting who are affected by the pornography/sexual addiction of a loved one, I invite you to please check out a new nonprofit organization that helps the women overcome her "betrayal trauma" specifically.

www.togethernessproject.org

Thank yo so much for sharing and for being a light to so many, Ashlee.

XOXO

Anonymous said...

Dear "hope"- do you think the easiest time for men to be "good" is while they are preparing for a temple marriage? My fiance has this problem and I know he has to stay clean until we get married but I am SCARED about after- like when we have kids and I suddenly have less time for him and our physical relationship is a little different. Any advice? I don't want to mess up, I know I am making a decision that affects generations, not just me

Anonymous said...

I'm not "hope" but I have advice. Your fiance needs to get into a 12 step recovery program (like SA or the LDS addiction recovery program) and really REALLY throw himself into it. My husband stopped acting out and went on a mission, then fell back into it when he got home. He cleaned up and we were married in the temple, then he fell back into it. Ten years of marriage and four kids later it all blew up in his face and mine, too. His story is all too common. I've met so SO many women whose husbands lived the same story. Convince your fiance he has a real problem (it's an addiction, he can't just wish it away) now and he has to get himself the proper tools before you marry. A 12 step program will give him these tools and help him find more. Don't think him staying sober before taking you to the temple will be enough. If he doesn't learn now how to overcome his addiction, instead of just not acting on it, he has a 100% chance of falling into it again and again and again and again.

Anonymous said...

My heart aches for so many of these women, yet I know their pain. My husband is also addicted to porn. Along with this addiction is his addiction to sexting, and not with me. I thought things were better, we went three years with no occurrences. And then, bam, angry boyfriend contacts me on my sons 8th birthday as I'm walking out the door to his party that my husband is talking dirty to his girl. In that moment I looked at my unsuspecting husband and the sadness that came over me wasn't for me, it was for him. The only time anger overcomes me is when I let fear chase me from the presence of the Holy Ghost. When he does this, it's not about me and it's not about the other women, it's about his illness. And I believe in the power of the atonement, I believe that Christ can change hearts, because he changed mine. We are commanded to forgive everyone but that doesn't mean we eliminate consequences. My husband attends 12 step programs, we don't have internet in our home and I ask him every day. He also meets with the bishop bi weekly. I wish we had taken these steps earlier. Yes, there are moments when feelings of betrayal overcome me, when fear of impending rejection takes over my thoughts, but no matter the pain I know because the Holy Ghost has testified to me that I am doing the right thing. I love my husband and so does our Savior, he died for his sins as well as mine. And with the high rate of porn addiction these days I may find myself the mother of a porn addict and you all might as well. Please pray, everyone needs hope.

Anonymous said...

Ashlee,

I just want to stop and thank you for sharing your struggle and recovery. Your strength inspires me so much! My ex-husband was addicted to sex and porn since 10 or 11. I didn't know until 2 weeks after we were married. Every 2 months or less I would catch him watching, chatting, sexting, having naked video chats, engaging in phone sex, and even having physical affairs. He would tell me I was crazy, he'd blame me for everything (like many of your readers, it seems, from reading above comments). We were sealed, but it never felt like it. He was belligerent and defiant. When he realized he'd hurt me, he'd be sweet and affectionate, but that was short-lived. Without the addiction, we could've continued an amazing relationship. I admire the men who struggle with this addiction and fight to make themselves clean, who fight to gain their freedom again. I wish mine had. I also admire the women who give these men a chance and support. It's hard! I tried to be that woman, I wanted to be that woman! I wanted him to try. It's taken me a long time to realize that it's his fault he didn't try.

In a lot of ways, I see my story as a lot like yours, except nobody died. The man I was supposed to spend eternity with is still here, but he's chosen to be dead inside. I see my struggle being a lot like yours. After three years of this, he eventually started having a long affair and left us (me and our then 6 month-old daughter) for the woman/women (I don't know how many there were at the time). He screamed at me at any chance he got, he was secretive and very distant. He told me I was crazy when I would try to get him to tell me what was wrong. Sometimes I'd get him to be a real person and look me in the eyes, he'd cry and tell me he didn't know what to do. But then that other person would show up again and start screaming. I've cried so many tears reading your posts. Tears for me and tears for you. I can't tell you how much your strength helps me! I've been angry for a long time, and you have been helping me, even though you didn't know it! Your personal thoughts and struggles have mirrored mine almost exactly. Even some of your actions have been the same. I can imagine it's not easy to write about the worst things in your life. I've considered doing it, but I'm not strong enough yet. I'm feeling healthier than I have in years, though. Don't you wish there was a way to push pause on our lives so we could gather ourselves together before continuing on? I think the hardest thing at this point is being strong enough to keep living life while dealing with all of this, being single again (this particular post really hits home right now!) and being a mom and going to school and trying to provide for us all at once!

Anonymous said...


A comment to BS: porn addiction is a hard thing to deal with. REALLY HARD. But it's hard for him, too. I'll echo what some of the commenters have said. IF he's willing to work on it, to learn how to manage this addiction instead of letting it manage him, then he can still be a good husband and father. IF he's not, then he won't. What I see is a man who couldn't hide the ugly truth from the woman he loves. If he felt the need to confess it to you, he already knows it's a problem, and it's amazing that he was able to find the strength to be open about it with you. Find out what he's doing to work on it. His actions show his intentions. If he's going to groups, visiting with his priesthood leaders, and is getting as much help as he can, you're more likely to be okay. You need strength, too. There are groups for the spouses of addicts that the Church provides, too. There are a lot of misconceptions about porn addiction. Do research, learn about it. It's a real, recognized addiction! It messes with the behavior and physiology of the brain, just like any chemical drug. A lot of people think they can just stop. Most can't! It takes time and work, and they have to keep their guard up for the rest of their lives! BUT IT CAN BE DONE AND THEY CAN BE HAPPY!!!

Jenny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenny said...

Hey Ashlee I just wanted to thank you for your strength and courage in your calling to uplift those around you through your own challenges trials of dark darkness, your perseverance and ultimately your faith in your savior! You are a light of Christ. You have been able to hold on to finding that light within and beauty through it all. You bravery tells all your great love you have for the simple truths of the gospel and the love and desire you have to follow the Savior whose plan is a plan of happiness. People can look to you and see how you have conducted your life and know of such happiness that the Savior plan does have to offer regardless of the whirlwinds that beat upon us! What a wonderful mission you are on!
Sorry for the extra deletes I had little anxious three year old fingers next to me before I could finish typing lol!

Hope said...

I would like to echo the post that point out that ultimately the only person that is responsible for their actions and choice and the diligence to overcome an addiction and change is that person. Some great advice our Bishop offered to me personally first thing upfront was that he wanted to make sure that my husband's addiction to pornography was in no way a reflection of me, as Ashlee puts it well that "you" are always enough. YOu are more than enough and always will be! It will not depend on how little or how much you support him, it will not depend how much or how little you provide for him physically and/or emotional. YOU are not responsible for this addiction nor his actions. It will weigh heavily and unjustly on you if you feel you could have done something different. Yes we have the power to be an influence on those around us, but ultimately the responsibility lies with the person themselves. To say your fiancé is on his "best behavior" now to prepare for a temple marriage, isn't necessarily that simple. I believe the more help he can get now the better and ultimately you are right, just because he may diligently avoid pornography now does not mean he will not struggle with it later. In fact it is something we were counseled as well upfront that although my husband had taken every step instructed to overcome the addiction to pornography, we were warned the temptation and struggles of the addiction will not necessarily go away. Think of it as a person who is an alcoholic and may be currently "sober". They will always struggle with alcoholism and it's important for them to exercise abstinence, avoiding not only bars, but streets they may be on. Does that make sense? One slip can send them spiraling steps backwards into the beginning steps of their recovery. Right now I'd imagine Satan is working his hardest with your fiancé right now. The last thing he wants is for him to succeed. Unfortunately he will also continue to be there even after, always waiting for an opportunity. Whether that be pornography or another temptation. His goal is to take us all down with him in his misery. But we know we have more power to over come temptation then Satan has to tempt us. The main advice I can give is to encourage him lovingly to make sure he understands, if he doesn't already, that he will always have a fight against the evil power against pornography, and can NEVER let his guard down.....

Hope said...

.........Your bishop may recommend different programs, steps, literature, and other helpful council. If he hasn't yet seen his bishop this will be the first step. My husband tried to do it on his own the first time, as he believed he could overcome it himself. It was a painful lesson for us both. After slipping over and over thankfully he was willing enough to humble himself and have the courage to acknowledge he needed help with overcoming his addiction. We also were blessed with a very understanding and loving Bishop who cried with us in our pain. My husband was also willing to do whatever it took to change. He more than anyone did not want nothing more to do with the evil. He fights to this day. Satan is always ready to pray on our weaknesses. Cling to your covenants. Pray. Read and study His word. Daily. These are tools that are primary but sometimes the most difficult to be consistent, but they are powerful tools to protect ourselves. I do not know the extent of your fiancés addiction so I do not want to offer advice what program he needs, as one shoe may not fit all. As you both prepare to marry in the Temple, continue to seek the council of His spirit. Someone commented above that although she unknowingly married someone who has had an addiction to pornography, she felt it was right to marry him, and did not regret that she did. The Lord saw who he was, and not his addiction. She is happy and so am I with our decision to marry our husbands. It doesn't mean it isn't something we know was and is a challenge. My husband is too a wonderful man. He is absolutely my better half! He inspires me to be a better person every day. He did not let his addiction to pornography define him. I am not saying you should walk blindly and just have hope that everything will turn out. All I know is regardless of any advice anyone can offer, the Savior's spirit is ultimately the only way you both will know what is right for both of you. If you think your fiancé would like to talk to my husband, we are in now way expert but he says he would be more than happy to offer any advice of his experience if it would help. You can message him: neuttx49@gmail.com We have great hopes for both of you!

Benjamin House (Anonymous) said...

As a recovering addict of porn I can say that I have much respect for your boyfriend in telling you prior to building a forever commitment. He did the right thing. I would say that nearly 90% of men have seen or viewed porn at some point in their lives. Some fall prey easily to it and justify it to drown out their own insecurities. Whatever the selfish excuse the ladies above are correct, he must seek true and honest help through addiction recovery classes, counseling, 100% honesty with you regarding the depths of his addiction, psychiatric help including medicines if necessary and he must continue on with his recovery even after he thinks he has conquered...he hasn't. It is a struggle but unlike the women above, I know it can be overcome...I am living it. Pray for him, be kind to him but know that you do NOT need to settle for anything or anyone! Follow your intuition...a woman's intuition is often right...but not all of the time. :) http://benjaminhouse4.blogspot.com/?m=1

Benjamin House (Anonymous) said...

I'm so sorry for what you are going through. You will know what you need to say/do for your own peace of mind and sanity. You are important and deserve to live free of fear. He must accept that. He must take the steps to change and stay on course...he must be honest with you completely. Don't settle for pain on the wrong side.

Anonymous said...

I would love it if you had a guest post from a woman who confronted her husband on his pornography use. I know my husband is doing it and hiding it. He admitted to me years ago that his dad introduced him to pornography but insists he is no longer doing it. His actions and behavior and body language and way he treats me tells a whole new story. One I am not stupid about. His denials are endless and I am a crazy psychopath for believing he would ever do that. I have talked to our Bishop. He is a good man. He is working with me but how does one get someone to admit that they have a problem? I am not a woman who believes in leaving to make a point. My life is hell. Our children's lives are hell. At the end of the day, I still believe in marriage and the eternal nature of it. I know my savior died on the cross for ALL of us, even him. How do I talk to someone and let them know I believe in them and their ability to overcome pornography when they won't even admit it themselves. I am at the end of my rope.

Anonymous said...

My husband finally had it pointed out by our bishop that what he was doing was wrong. He knew it was wrong, but didn't realize to the extent until he was told up front by someone other than I. Especially since it was my "fault" that we had internet. Because of that meeting he went into the lds program and even went into additional S.A meetings. Unfortunately he still has issues, though not as much as before, but he usually doesn't make it pass the 3 mth sober part. We have a lot of kids and most non lds friends ( the couple I confided in) don't get why I haven't divorced him. We are sealed and are trying to work through things. But we were married for about 6 or 7 yrs before he started any of the meetings and his past behavior and things that were said and things that occurred are very hard to forgive and forget. It's sometimes an everyday struggle to try and be happy. Though usually right when things are doing really good, is when the crap hits the fan and then it really hurts you the most.

Emily M said...

Ashlee:
Thank you so much for this post!! I have been following your blog for a couple months now and have loved every post. This one, however, came just when I needed it in my life. I read it on Monday during my lunch break and thought "This is great advice for me!" I am turning 30 this year and still navigating my way through the world of a YSA. It wasn't until later that night that I realized just how much your words would mean to me. I was situation with a newer relationship where the words of your post helped bring me a little bit of comfort. Thank you for sharing your life with me and helping to be an instrument in the Lord's hands to bless me life when I needed it.

BeansThings said...

Beautiful. Thank you.

Corrie Larsen said...

Thank you for this post. It was perfect for me. I am a young 20-year old who has battled feelings of loneliness time and time again, especially at this stage. I thank you so so much for this post and for the encouragement it gave me. You are an inspiration to me. I don't know you, but I love you with all of my heart. Thank you for being willing to share your story and your experiences! You are amazing- such an example of a faithful disciple of our Savior. I appreciate your testimony- for it has strengthened me! All my love and admiration, always and forever <3 ~Corrie

Anonymous said...

I have read many of the posts on here. I am a single father, and I am a worthy member of the church and not addicted to porn. For those girls, who found out that their fiance/boyfriends are addicted to porn, I would mirror the statements from others, make really sure that your are ready to deal with the addiction; it can be all consuming. Make sure to speak with your priesthood leaders, your parents and pray to your God. The world has men who are worthy, without the addiction, that can take you to the temple for an eternal marriage. May God bless you with your decision!

Anonymous to all but Him said...

Thank you so much for your blog and your incredible insights. Along with others, I have been amazed when your feelings and thoughts mirrored those I have experienced over the years of being married (in the temple) to someone with a pornography problem. I was clueless for many years, but KNEW that something was wrong. He would never admit anything to me, but I always felt unloved, unworthy, and rejected. Anytime I wanted to talk about our marital issues, he would blame me, tell me I was crazy and must be terrribly depressed if I was not happy in our marriage, because everything was fine. We even went to marital counseling for 2 years, and he never admitted his problem. Everything was always my problem. When I finally found out, everything finally made perfect sense. I knew I wasn't crazy or depressed all the time. The puzzle pieces finally came together. But he forbid me from telling anyone, especially our bishop. He has abstained for several years but it is still a source of anxiety for me. The scars are still there, and they run deep. It's not so much the feelings of betrayal, but the many years of feeling unloved and unwanted. I have built a wall around my heart to keep out the pain, and I try every day to chip away at it so we can have a healthy marriage. To the first post, I would tell this young woman that if her boyfriend is willing to turn to her and trust her with his weakness, that is the first step in wanting to overcome it. It must have taken a great deal of courage for him to take that leap of faith. A pornography addiction is not a dealbreaker, if it is out in the open and both spouses are willing to work together to overcome it. I would have much rather have known about it for all those years -- it would not have damaged me personally so much if I had known all along that our issues were not all mine. Now, after 20+ years of marriage, to our friends and ward members we look like the perfect family (we always have) and we are trying so hard to make things better. I realize that ironically, now it is I who has the bigger problem, as I struggle to forgive, accept, overcome hurt, and to trust, as we continue to raise our family. That is why I so appreciate these posts on turning to Christ, overcoming darkness, filling our lives with light. Many days I am good -- but sometimes Satan works his way into my heart, and that affects my marraige more than my husband's past actions. Thank you for providing so much inspiration. May God continue to bless you, and all of us who walk this path of broken dreams.

David Powell said...

Thanks for your inspiration. Proverbs 31:10-31

Janna said...

Wow, Ashlee... you have so much God-given wisdom! I am so sorry for the pain that you've been through, but it's amazing to see how God has brought beauty from those ashes. I have never been married but I have dealt with a lot of the issues you wrote about... in terms of self-worth and how we look for other people to define it for us, in how they relate to us... instead of just being ourselves and being happy with that. And if someone else comes along and loves us as we are, then we know it is for real and that the relationship isn't built upon unstable ground.

And I haven't been through a tragedy just like yours, but murder has touched my life as well. Different circumstances, of course, but still devastating and very unexpected. One of my best friends I grew up with was murdered, along with his fiance, almost 10 years ago. They were devout born-again Christians and lived out their faith in beautiful ways and someone killed them, for reasons we still don't know. Their case is still unsolved. As heartbreaking as that has been, God has really brought some beautiful things from that tragedy that has helped us to see how powerfully He can transform lives through painful situations. Many people have come to know the Lord through this story! I think this verse is a perfect example of what God has done:

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." (Genesis 50:20)

While I know that God did not orchestrate the murder of my friend and his fiance, He did allow it to happen because He knew their hearts and He knew that people's eternities would be forever saved because of their story! That is remarkable to me! That taught me that God views death much differently than we do... and we have much to look forward to in heaven.

God bless you and your family Ashlee! I am so happy you found happiness again with a wonderful man. You are an inspiration and your faith in Christ shines brightly.

Anonymous said...

Ashlee,
I am so inspired by your blog! The post SINGLE really touched me. I have felt so many of these same feelings, and it was so uplifting to be reassured that we are never alone. Thank you and may our loving Heavenly Father continue to bless you, you are truly an inspiration!

Anonymous said...

Thank you everyone for your comments about your husband's or loved ones with pornography addiction. I think this is affecting more people than we realize at different times of our lives. My husband does really well for periods of time then relapses. Each and every time he does I want to run away from the pain and heartache. I want to divorce him. I feel sick of the roller coaster of emotions. Pride seeps in and I think I don't need this man. I am independent, deserve better, have a good job to provide for my children, can find someone without this awful plaguing addiction. Why would I want to stay with someone that I possibly won't be eternally sealed to? After the last relapse I wanted to be done. My husband begged me to talk to the bishop. I have a testimony that they are a mouthpiece of God. He told me comforting words that give me hope. He told me that as long as my husband doesn't give up and keeps trying we can still be am eternal family through the GRACE of God. My husband hates his addiction and I can see by his actions he wants to change. Because he is a kind man that loves his family I know he is worth suffering for. I know there is hope. Elder Oaks talked about marriage being between you, your husband, and God. As long as two of you are hanging in there at one time it can work out. The children are the first victims of divorce. I want to be there for my children even if they see me cry. This trial has taught me to lean on the Lord and keep a life of my own. I rely on my hobbies and close friends to get me through my darkest days, but I know there is hope out there. Half of my close friends are dealing with the same trial. For those of you wanting to give up on marriage know you aren't alone, support groups help, and time DOES heal. The grass isn't always greener on the other side.

Samantha said...

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ashlee! I have really enjoyed reading your blog these past few months. Thanks for taking the time to right your story. It has helped me and obviously many others.
I would like to add my experience to the comments others have shared about pornography addiction. I have been married for 14 years and my husband has struggled with this throughout our entire marriage. He first told me of his addiction just after we got engaged. At the time, I didn't fully understand what I was getting myself into and I have asked myself more than once over the years, if I could go back in time, would I have done things differently? The answer is "NO!" Just as other people here have said, I needed this struggle in my life just as much as my husband has. It continues to teach me about forgiveness, love, compassion and charity. I know my husband did not choose this road for himself. The thing that saddens me the most about pornography addiction is that it's so misunderstood. If the addict is willing to change, he can and he will, but it will take a LONG time. What he needs is love and for people not to give up on him. I know this is what my husband needs. It's hard because there are many times when I feel alone and betrayed. There are times when I wonder why I am not good enough. However, when I pray and seek comfort from the Holy Ghost, I am reminded that Christ suffered for me and He loves me and because of Him I am enough. I am reminded of how much He loves my husband and how much my husband needs me to love him. If I had not had this trial in my life, I would not be the person I am today. Pornography addiction does not have to be a deal breaker. It can actually make your relationship stronger as the two of you learn to forgive and trust one another, sometimes over and over again. This is what I have seen in my marriage and even though it might not make sense to others, I am so thankful for this trial!

Anonymous said...

Hi Ashley, I've really enjoyed reading your blog--you are such an inspiration! I'm not sure if someone has ever mentioned this to you, but there is a twelve-step recovery program for people who have been affected by the sexual behavior of someone else. The program can really be beneficial for anyone as it helps with healing, forgiveness, overcoming weaknesses, letting go of resentment, and is a great support group! It may be something to look into. Here is a link to the S-Anon website checklist where you can answer some questions to see if the recovery program would be helpful for you! www.sanon.org/sanonchecklist.html

Anonymous said...

How I feel about my husband of 11 years too. So glad he was open about it when we were dating and am so proud of all the work he has done and continues to do. He is an amazing husband and father

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