Woman waits for cheating husband to 'figure it out'
You would expect Ashley to have been destroyed to discover her husband, Josh, was having an affair.
The American mum was upset and even heartbroken at times.
But the thing that saved her - the one tiny truth that helped keep the devastation at bay - was Josh wanting to work things out.
That is, until one day Josh never came home from work.
"Josh finally called me back and in the most uncomfortable, emotionless voice said, 'Ashley, we have to be done'," she first wrote onLove What Matters.
"'What?'… I was shocked and hoping he didn't mean what I thought he meant.
"He said it again. I cry yelled, 'What? Why?!'"
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'MY PERSON WAS DONE WITH ME'
It was like the floor had been pulled out from underneath Ashley, her hands desperately scrambling through the air searching for safety.
But instead, she just kept falling as Josh numbly explained he was leaving her for the other woman.
Then he said he was turning off his phone and didn't want to be contacted.
"I was devastated! I cried all night," Ashley said.
"My heart was broken and my body felt the radiation of that pain coming from my soul.
"Half of me had been ripped away. My person was done with me."
'JOSH WAS A MESS INSIDE'
But as heartbroken as Ashley was, something told her not to give up.
"Josh had broken our vows but I hadn't. I would wait it out," she said.
"Marriage is a promise to stick with it even when it's not working, even when people fail terribly.
"I got a text from Josh two or three weeks after he left. It said, 'Is there still hope for us?'
"I told him there absolutely was hope for us! Then, nothing … for a while.
"He couldn't figure out what was true and what was not. He was a mess inside."
'CAN I COME HOME?'
As the months stretched by, Ashley waited patiently while Josh sorted out his inner demons.
They started meeting in restaurants and parks - so Josh could see the kids.
"They were pretty awkward meetings at first," Ashley said.
"But every time we'd meet, I would notice Josh's heart getting a little softer.
"One day, we were at a fast-food joint, letting the kids play while Josh and I talked.
"'Can I come home?' he asked. I was so happy, but I knew he needed more time."
'EVERYTHING CHANGED IN A DAY'
Instead, Josh started visiting his family at home, arriving for the first time with flowers and Ashley's favourite coffee in hand.
Slowly it began to feel normal again and eventually he moved back in for good.
"When he finally moved back in, things felt more comfortable," Ashley said.
"We had all begun to spend so much time together that it became a very obvious next step … and we were ready.
"Ready to put in the work every day and night for the rest of our lives.
"Everything didn't change in a day, but it also did."
'TODAY, WE'RE CLOSER THAN WE'VE EVER BEEN'
Together, Ashley and Josh started couples counselling, hoping to understand why their marriage had broken in the first place.
"We've both learned a ton about what was going on in Josh's heart during that season and even how childhood experiences affected him," Ashley said.
"Today, we're closer than we've ever been.
"My husband's heart has joy and my heart is at peace.
"Our family is loving every minute together.
"We tear up periodically in thankfulness that we're together … as a couple and as a family."
You can follow Ashley on Instagram, Facebook and her website.
This article originally appeared on Kidspot and was reproduced with permission