In this episode, I interview special guest Ashlee Boyson.
Ashlee Boyson is the author of the blog and book series titled “The Moments We Stand,” in which she shares her family’s journey of healing after the infidelity and murder of her husband Emmett in 2011, just months after giving birth to their fifth baby.
Ashlee has been given the unique experience of sharing Emmett’s story on Dateline, Dr. Phil, American Monster, Investigation Discovery, True Crime Daily, and several other murder mystery investigation documentaries.
After feeling alone for many years and fighting to find her voice through the pain, Ashlee now proudly stands as an advocate for victims and families impacted by loss, grief, widowhood, murder, and infidelity. In an effort to help others not feel alone, she has grown to love sharing her story to help shine light on a path for others still stuck in the dark … a place she knows all too well.
Ashlee is the founder of A Reason to Stand -— a nonprofit focused on healing and empowering survivors. She is preparing to launch a series of online courses in May 2022. With a degree from Utah State University in family, child, and human development, Ashlee loves teaching moms about baby sleep and has a passion for all things parenting. She loves helping parents navigate their role in their children’s own healing journey after trauma and loss.
Ashlee is remarried to Scott Boyson and they have recently added two more kids to their full house, totaling 7 kids ages 17, 17, 15, 13, 11, 3 and 1.
Ashlee believes that each day is a gift and feels grateful for the grace and hope she has found in her story. She speaks out to share truth of the light she knows shines within all of us.
Hey, everybody. Welcome to the podcast. Today, I have an amazing guest for
you that I’ve been so excited to have on. I know you will love her and
learn so much from her. Her name is Ashlee Boyson. Some of you may have
heard of her from The Moments We Stand. I remember following her way back
several years ago and watching her journey a really, really difficult time
to where she is now. I want her to tell you all about herself. I know that
you will learn so much.
Hello, and welcome to the Heal from Infidelity Podcast for courageous women
learn not only to heal from their spouse’s betrayal, but to become the
boldest, truest, most decisive and confident versions of themselves ever.
If you know there’s more for you than the life you’re currently living, but
don’t quite know how to get there, you are in the right place. Stick around
to learn how to create a life that will knock your own socks off. Is it
possible? It is and I’m here to show you how. I’m your host, Andrea Giles.
Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
I want to go ahead and get started. Ashlee has quite a story. She has quite
a story and she has swam in some pretty deep waters. I want you, first of
all Ashlee, to share with my audience, what happened to you? The thing that
happened that rocked your world and got you started on the path towards The
Moments We Stand. Go ahead.
Well, okay. In 2011, I gave birth to my fifth baby. I had twins that were
in kindergarten, a four year old, an almost two year old, and then this
brand new baby. I started feeling like I was crazy. You know that feeling?
I just like kept racking my brain, searching high and low for an answer to
what the heck was happening, because it felt so tangible. But, I never had
any evidence of it in my hands, but it was just something was different. My
husband had just started working as an attorney and started his own
practice. He was doing a bunch of things. He just had his hat and all sorts
of whatever, hand in a million places. But, he started working with this
woman and that’s when everything started to feel uneasy, I guess.
Anyways, long story short, on March 11th, 2011, I had spent the entire week
searching for those answers that I knew I would find if I looked hard
enough, because I knew something was wrong. That day I woke up determined,
this is my day. We are going to figure it out. Whatever it is, we’re going
to work together and we’re going to fix it. That night he left in a bit of
an angry state and my baby started crying. For hours, I bounced this little
baby, just praying so hard that I got my answer. I even got to the point
where I was like, I don’t care if he wrecks his brand new truck. I need him
to need me. I need him to see me. I need him to see all the blessings we
have and remember this life that we’ve built, so I don’t keep living it by
At about midnight, I’d fallen asleep and I got a pounding knock on my door
and I was almost excited. Okay, I’ve been praying this one answer. I’m
going to go to the door. They’re going to be like, “This is what happened.
Here he is. He needs you.” That was the scenario that played in my mind as
I walked to the door and I opened it to these three strangers, just not
really looking me in the eyes and they asked me to come in and sit down.
They sat on my black couch with my five babies sleeping in my house and
they gave me a million answers that night. My husband was having an affair
with the paralegal that worked for his law office. They’d been having an
affair for some time. Her husband had come found them at Walgreens where
they had met up and headed out in Emmett’s car, but pulled back up and the
husband was waiting there.
My husband had been shot two times, once in the forehead and once in the
heart and died in this other woman’s arms. All these answers of everything
that was going wrong, which I knew something was wrong. I had no idea to
the extent of the answers I would receive that night. But, it was one of
those surreal moments that still, when I talk about it, even doesn’t even
feel real. It was just the fog and the darkness of anything in this world
that possibly could be, felt like it was just caving in on me.
Oh, my goodness. I already knew your story from reading about you on your
blog and Instagram and things like that, but hearing it from your own mouth
is pretty woo. It’s just hard to even wrap my head around how intense that
must have been for you. How intense and how everything, I’m sure felt
completely turned on its head. My question for you, lots of questions for
you. But, one question for you is I hear often from my clients and I also
felt the same, that it was just so, so dark that it felt hard to even think
about life being good again. How? How can it possibly be good again? That’s
one question for you. Tell me about your experience with that.
I feel like my moment of finding out was so complex, but I feel like first,
I went to the wife who had felt like she’s crazy and had this wave of
relief that I wasn’t flipping nuts.
That was my first reaction and that made it even more complex that he was
gone and he was not coming back. But the first moment, when you find out
that your husband’s been having affair and you have felt crazy, or he’s
told you that you’re crazy for however long it’s been going on, the emotion
of relief is so intense, because you legit start to think that you’re the
crazy one. When you’re constantly looking around and going, “What am I
missing?” That would be the first thing. For a while, I wouldn’t even admit
that because after that it was like, “But he’s gone and I loved him and we
had built this life together.” But, that original feeling that happened for
me. And I’ve heard a lot of women with infidelity, when they find out just
that being okay that you were relieved, I guess.
Because afterward you start going, “Well, how am I relieved? Because this
hurts and now we’re stuck with this mess and we have to decide all these
things.” But, I think a good part of my healing was realizing that all of
the emotions that I was feeling were perfectly normal and okay, because a
lot of times the darkness is the shame that we give ourselves on how we’re
The darkness is the shame of what we think other people are going to be
saying about us, or thinking about us, or what people at church are going
to do. All the outside things that are coming in on you is what’s really
the darkness. It’s not necessarily what happened to you, because it
happens. It happens all the time and it really has nothing to do with you.
But, in that moment you don’t realize that it has nothing to do with you
because you’re so stuck on, “Well, what could I have done? Could I have
lost the weight faster? You just start racking your brain on how, because
women, that’s what we do, right? We just fix crap.
That’s where I got stuck a lot in my shame and worrying about what
everybody else was going to think. The darkness wouldn’t leave, because I
just held onto it like it was my lifeline, because it felt like that’s all
Oh, that’s so good. I so appreciate your clarity around that, because
something that I teach my clients is a difference between pain and
suffering. There’s going to be pain, period, around the loss of something
that we thought that was, that is not. The thing, the life that we thought
was, the way we thought things were, that is now not. There’s going to be
some feelings around that, particularly grief, some hurt, things like that.
But, I think as to your point where we bring in unnecessary suffering is
where we start to wonder what people are thinking and what might they think
of me and what do people think I should do, and how could I be so blind?
All of those questions, right?
I also think though that you make a good point in the relief, to know I
wasn’t crazy. I was tracking something. I didn’t know what it was, but I
was correct. To be in that moment to go, “I knew it. I was onto it. I just
didn’t know exactly what it was.” I think that’s really important.
I think that’s important.
Tell me what happened next. I know there was a lawsuit, not a lawsuit.
A trial, that’s the word. Yeah, a trial and lots of public things that
happened. Tell us more about what was next for you.
Oh, for me, what was next is just constantly feeling ashamed. I spent a lot
of time getting ready at unnecessary levels, being so afraid that if
somebody saw me in public and I just looked like the hot mess that I felt
like I was, that it would be like, “Oh, no wonder why you cheated on her,
look at her.” I remember having a hard time eating. I was just shaky all
the time and I couldn’t calm anything down. Everything was so keyed up. It
was like a constant state of fight or flight. My kids were scared about the
man that killed him and if he was coming for me and it was just chaos, is
what it would be a good word for it.
Yeah. I would say what was next for me was just years of chaos. I did get
remarried and it was not a healthy marriage and tried to find my worth in,
I think for a long time I found my worth in my spouse. It was like, I made
food for you and I do this for the children, because I love you. To have
that taken away, I think was really hard for me. To let go of being the
wife, which turned into me getting married, probably very prematurely and
finding someone who duplicated the same scenario. But, this time left me
with this option that I thought was taken from me. I thought I would always
stay and fight and I thought I would never ever give up. Then God led me
down a different path and then I went through a divorce and got to know
that I was worth more and I didn’t have to find my worth in a person,
because I already had it in myself.
Ah, you should say that again.
I found out that I was worth more, because I didn’t have to find my worth
in another person. I could find it in myself.
Yep, yep. So beautiful and so profound. Thank you. Do you think, as you
look back, so that was 2011. As you look back, how did you … Okay, one of
the things that I read online that you wrote is the question of why wasn’t
I enough? I hear that all the time and I felt that way too. Why was I not
enough? It’s a painful question, isn’t it? Why? Why?
Oh, it is haunting.
Yes. My question for you about that, it’s a question that you will never be
able to ask. It’s a question you will never get an answer to in this life
and it’s not true. You know I know that it’s not true that you always were
enough, right? But, there are things, there are discussions you will never
be able to have. Ashlee and I were chatting a little bit before, about we
both have in common that both of our first spouses have passed away. For
me, it was as a reminder to my listeners, we got divorced and then seven
months later, he died in a car accident. There are things that I will never
be able to say or ask him as well, but it is a different circumstance. For
you, how did you move past that? Not being able to go and say, “Hey, what
happened?” How did you move past that and let it, and release it?
I had to change a lot of definitions, which took a lot of time. But, the
definition of forgiveness, where for me, it was always like, “Okay, you say
you’re sorry. I’m good. We move on. We’re best friends. We hold hands on
the playground. Everything’s fine.” Learning it in a new way this time. I
have three people who are never going to say they’re sorry, and just
constantly longing for that is where I got stuck in that question of why
wasn’t I enough? I wasn’t even enough for the freaking gun. The man with
the gun knew who I was. He had a letter to me on his seat. Why wasn’t I
enough for him? Then this other woman, she worked for us. She saw me. She
met the baby. She brought me presents. All of the things that rack your
brain on why does nobody see me? Am I invisible?
When you’re driving in your car and everybody just keeps cutting you off,
those kind of moments. I just had to learn to really disconnect myself from
other people and connect myself more to something greater, something that
actually can give me that core strength and the core truth of who I am.
Because if we’re looking for it in other people, like if we’re just begging
other people all the time to show us that we’re enough, most of the time
they’re going to fail.
Because even if they do it in their own way, we’re not going to be able to
accept it because if our definition of love or being enough has this
certain box that we want them to check, it might not ever happen. Really I
think for me, it was just finding my own worth and knowing that God saw me
the way that I was created and knowing that I could love myself from the
inside. Not from the outside and changing things and being what everybody
else wanted me to be, but just truly figure out who I am. One of the things
that I feel like I was blessed with one day was, I was given just this
glimpse of asking the right question. Because those why questions, why am I
not enough? Why does nobody see me? Why, why, why?
It’s almost like the trap of the fog because we’re constantly reaching out
and going, “Come on guys. Why? Why can’t you be this for me?” But, I
started asking, how? How am I enough? How am I going to be enough for
myself? How am I going to be comfortable enough in my own skin to use this
gift of love that I am really good at? I did it without any expectations. I
really just love people. How can I use that gift again without worrying
about how to trust? Because, if we constantly wait and ask why can’t I
trust, we’re never going to.
I love that. You’ve made that shift from waiting to have an answer, to
taking action and moving forward from that place of how can I use what I
already got? This is who I am. I’m already loving and all of those things.
How can I use this to help others and to help yourself, right?
Is that what ultimately helped you really move forward?
Yes, and in a way that I didn’t even realize. One day I felt inspired to
start a blog and I’m like, “I’m never going to share this story.” This was
the story we shove under the biggest rug we can find, so we can move
forward. But, what I didn’t know is just shoving it down, shoving any
emotion down, doesn’t actually help you get through it.
Picture like on finding Nemo, I watch that a lot with my two year old. When
he is like, “No, we have to go around this dark valley.” And Dory’s like,
“But we got to, but I really feel like we’re supposed to swim through it.”
It’s how emotions are. Until you really swim through them, until you just
face them and acknowledge them, that’s something I didn’t know that held me
back for so long. Until I acknowledge the story, until I embrace it and
just say, “This is our life. This is our story and it’s beautiful, because
all of the little glimmers of light that got us through to keep living felt
impossible, but here we are.”
Yeah. Yes. Do you feel like starting your blog helped you create a space
for you to really look at it and really like, this is what happened. This
is what happened and I’m putting it down on paper and tell me about that.
Yeah, starting my blog when I felt like God was like, “This is what you’re
doing. It’s not really an option.” At first I was like, “Oh, you know what?
You want to know the story? You want me to write it out? Okay.” It was
just, I thought it was going to be this just ranting about these three
people who had collided and exploded and ruined our life. I started writing
and I just, I was going and going and going. At that time, I didn’t even
think to do it in a word doc. I just was writing straight onto the blog and
my computer was like whoop. After a couple hours of just writing, totally
died and they’re supposed to auto save, right?I get back on, log in and it
is gone. Not one word is there.
I seriously can almost hear Heavenly Father laughing and he was like, “Do
you want to try that again? This time, I want you to look at it and
remember the light.” This story was so hard. The story that every one of
your listeners have lived is so hard. But, the grace wasn’t that you lived
the perfect story that you thought you were going to live. Ever since you
were 16, you had it all planned out. That’s not what grace was for you.
Today, I want you to look at grace and go, “What happened to get me through
this? What light happened each time you thought that you were so stuck in
the dark, that you were never going to see the light again, remember that.”
Then I was like, okay. That’s where the healing came.
Is God saying, “Yes, we could sit in this dark story for the rest of your
life. Go for it. You know what, if that’s what you want to do, but you’re
not kidding anywhere. Let’s try it again. Let’s start over. Let’s clean it
all out, get it out. It’s real. Those emotions are real.”
The pain was real, but let’s try it again from a different angle, and that
was the gift that was given. I had no idea anyone was ever going to read
it. I thought my mom and my sisters would pity read it for me. But, when it
became something bigger and he just kept saying, “Just keep going.” I was
like, “All right, well, I don’t want to at all. I don’t want to stand on
stages. I don’t want to write about the pain and the vulnerability of my
life.” But, I don’t know. Sometimes when God asks you to do stuff, even
though you know he’s crazy, you just listen.
I love it. Yes. You have blessed the lives of so many people and also, as
you’re saying, you have found that to be an instrument of your own healing
to do that work.
I have a question for you. Something I hear a lot from people and I
remember very clearly feeling this way, is this question, what was real?
What was even real? Looking at the different things where you thought you
were good, right? Where you thought that you were happy and memories and
nice things they did and things like that. Did you experience that?
So much. So much. I think that was one of the darkest parts for me. If I
didn’t know about this, what else was going on? When he was at law school
and I was just sitting at home raising these babies by myself for the most
part, so he could be where he needed to be, what else was happening? It was
one of those webs that I would get in sometimes at night and just try to
search for the answers to. I mean, did he even ever love me or was this
just all of fake? Was this whole life a fake? Then I would look at his
children in the eyes and see how amazing they were and their goodness. I
got to the point where I was like, “It really doesn’t matter.” Because
whatever we had, I loved him. I adored him and I was going to be there
through the thick and thin. These children are evidence of something great.
And even if that was just little glimmers of greatness, he gave me the best
gift and I got to keep the best parts of him.
Yeah. Yep. I love that. Thank you. What I wanted to ask you is about
closure. We hear closure talked about like, “I just need closure. I just
need to talk to them to make sure that,” whatever. Say what I want to say,
things like that. It’s something that you did not get. How did you give
Oh, that’s a great question. I remember that feeling like, “Well, how come
everybody else gets to slap him across the face, kick him somewhere?” All
the things that you want to do when you find out about the affair part and
I felt ripped off for a long time. I just, I need to hear it from him. I
didn’t love you, like why he was choosing all these things. It really just
became something that it took time to just let go of that need for him to
come and fix it again. One of those times where you’re reaching out and
needing someone else to give you all the reasons why you’re going to be
okay, or tell you all the things that you should have changed, so you can
do it different. Different things happened. I had a dream one time that he
came to me and had written me all these letters. It was mountains of
letters. In my dream, he just was right there. And he is like, “They’re all
from me. It’s everything I wish I would’ve done, everything I should have
said.” I spent the whole night reading these letters.
I’ve been given little gifts like that, that were really powerful for me.
It was different than what I expected it would be in that kind of a
situation. But, yeah.
Wow, that’s amazing. Okay. You did make a choice though. You made a choice
to give yourself closure, rather than waiting for something outside of you
to happen. You decided what you were going to make it mean. You decided
that it was enough and that you were going to move forward.
I always told my kids when things would come up and one time my son was
like, “Well, my dad just died.” He was freaking out on everybody, kicking
people. I was like, “Okay, I’m making this decision right now. This is not
going to be the excuse of why we’re just going to let our lives be ruined.
It’s not going to be the excuse for why we’re going to be unkind, or
disrespectful, or change anything that we’ve ever done. We’re going to use
this to be better.” I tried to lead by example. I mean, some days you get
in that victimhood and you’re like, “This is not fair.”
Days like birthdays and Christmas and things that come up that it just, I
mean, life is not fair. Sometimes, of course, your human nature. But for
the most part, I decided, really close to the beginning of the journey,
that this was not going to be our excuse for why we didn’t succeed and
become even better, everywhere.
I love it. That’s so powerful. How old were your kids, did you say? How old
was the oldest at the time?
The oldest were about to turn six a month later.
Okay, okay. All right.
Now, you have a whole bunch of teenagers at your house?
I do. They’re about to turn 17 and then 15, 13, 11. Then I have a two year
old and a one year old.
Okay. Wow, I love it. That’s awesome. Okay, so I want to know, what have
you learned about yourself in this process? I want to know, what have you
learned about yourself that maybe you would not have learned otherwise?
Oh, one thing I learned about myself is let’s see. I’ve tried to turn
anxiety of the fear of what could happen in life, into an appreciation of
making each day count and making each moment with my kids count. Instead of
having it be just, “They could die tonight.” Have it be, “I just want to
love them right here where they are. I want to know them. I want them to
know me.” I’ve learned that’s one of my gifts is to turn the hard into
positive. I’ve learned a lot about my spiritual gifts that I would’ve never
known. The ways I connect to Heavenly Father and the ways that I find
strength. What else have I learned? I’ve learned that I want to be
obedient. I want to do the right thing, even when the right thing hasn’t
I’ve learned that I want to share a message of hope. I used to think I
started all this, so I could just save one woman from that night where her
husband was shot. Where I could just save one family from feeling the pain
that we had lived for so long. But, then I realized there’s so much more to
life than just avoiding the bad stuff, avoiding bad choices and not taking
a gun when you should use your words and all those things that … We’re
here to find our purpose. We’re here to find out who we really are and what
strengths we have to offer and make a difference.
Yep, yeah. I say often on my podcast that infidelity can be a crisis
turning point that becomes a springboard to a you that you can’t even
imagine. Showing you what you’re made of, and I certainly see that you have
taken your challenges and used them as a springboard and helping so many
people, so many people do the same.
You’re welcome. We touched on this a little bit, but I want you to go into
a little more detail about how you learned to value yourself. What was that
process like for you? How did you do it? How did you learn to value
yourself after feeling so devalued, like you just weren’t enough? How did
you learn to do that? What steps did you take?
I told you I had a lot of dreams, but one dream in particular, it was this
little gift of watching my life. I was walking on this beach and I was
watching my life on this movie screen. It just kept going through every
scene and I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is awful. This is the worst movie.
Even if it was a dateline or somebody, it was worse.” I just watched it and
it got to the end and my life was over. I was like, “Okay, that sucked.
That was the worst.” I literally, in that moment, just like the dream with
Emmett, the savior was standing right next to me. He was like, “I want you
to look up there again, and this time I want you to watch for the light. I
want you to watch for your angels and I want you to see the times where you
I watched it all again. In the moments where that girl up on the screen was
on the floor bawling her face off, he would hand me this megaphone and he
said, “Tell her truth that she’s forgetting.” I’d scream to myself,
“Remember you’re enough?” All the things that-
Oh, my gosh.
… she was wallowing in and the darkness that was all around her. I was
watching her instead of fade away, he was like, “Give her light. She needs
light. She needs truth.” After that dream, I realized we have the strength
to change the story. We don’t have the strength to change the surroundings,
or what we’ve been through, but we have a choice. We get to live and wallow
in it, or we just get to move forward and keep looking for the light. At
the end of it that time, I was like, “That was the best.” It was the same
story. Nothing changed in the story, except knowing that I wasn’t alone and
knowing that I was enough and telling myself all of those things.
A lot of times I’ll stop like, “Okay, what am I really frustrated about?
What am I really scared about?” A lot of times it’s a fear or some
irrational thought, or a panic from the past, a trigger. But, just getting
down to the real emotion, getting out the emotion and then filling it with
truth. Who are you really, girl? You’re an amazing, powerful, strong woman
who’s gotten through a lot and you’re going to get through this.
Oh, that’s so amazing. I love thinking of you holding that megaphone,
shouting at yourself, “Okay, you can do it.” But, I also see you doing that
for thousands of women. You are over there holding that megaphone for them
and reminding them who they are and to get back up, right? Keep going.
Keep going, get back up. That’s so powerful. One question I have is shortly
after you found everything out, something I see a lot is first of all,
trust is broken between husband and wife in infidelity, right? But for so
many of us, there’s a broken trust with ourselves. How did I not know? How
did I, how? All those questions, right? Did you feel a broken trust with
yourself, or was your trust reinforced?
I definitely had times where I was like, “How can I even trust my
instincts?” Then I remember, I knew something was wrong. I knew something
was wrong. I knew that something was going on. It really, it was again, all
just a mind game. Turning around the script and going, “You know what? I do
have the ability to love and maybe he didn’t have the ability to love me
back, but that’s not because I didn’t give my all.”
Just keep validating the things that you did do, right, and focusing on the
good and the things that you want to repeat in life. The thing that I
wanted to repeat was loving and trusting and letting go of the problems
that he was facing and not carrying them for him. Just keep handing them
back, like picture them in a backpack. All this crap that he just heaped on
your shoulders, he or she, just heaped on your shoulders and said, “Okay,
you’re not enough. I don’t love you,” or whatever they’re telling you.
They’re trying to get you to carry it for them, because they’re trying to
hide whatever insecurity or struggle they were having by heaping it onto
you, like it was your fault. You weren’t crazy. They literally were trying
to do that most of the time in these stories that this happens.
So, just closing your eyes and imagine just handing it back. You can hand
it back to your creator, whoever you believe in your higher power. You can
hand it back to the person who tried to give it to you. I literally
visualize that. Even now, if stuff starts to come up and I get that
feeling, or my kids are going to be graduating next year and I start going,
“That’s not fair. He’s not going to be here.”
There’s always going to be those triggers on that’s not fair, because it’s
not fair. It’s not fair. If someone promised you that they were going to be
true to you and take care of you and they didn’t, that’s not fair. But, it
wasn’t your fault and it was their issue. Just keep handing their issues
back to them. Even if they’re coming to you still like, “Oh, the kids don’t
treat me right because of you,” just keep handing it back. “Oh no, I’m
going to just be right here doing my thing.”
Not taking anything on for anybody else because I got enough to carry for
Yep, thank you very much. Yes, it’s true. I remember something that I
really struggled with was I had felt like I followed the rules. I played by
the rules. I was a really good girl and good woman that tried hard. That
tried hard to be good, to be loving, to be the kind of woman that I wanted
to be and that I thought that God expected me to be. I sometimes felt a
little bit tricked, like I got duped. I thought that if I did these things,
that it would look this way and it does not look anything like that, right?
Did you ever feel that way?
Absolutely. Something that helps me with that is learning about, because a
lot of times the people having an affair, have narcissistic tendencies and
learning about that and going like, “It didn’t matter. He actually liked
that I was just the kind girl who was so giving and I’ll do anything for
you, and I want to be here for you.” They love that. Learning about ways
you can protect yourself was really helpful for me too. Having boundaries,
watching for the signs. When they’re not treating the woman at the
restaurant right because she didn’t have steak and they wanted steak. All
those little things that you can watch for and go, “You know what? I want
someone who’s kind to everybody, who treats everybody. Who’s kind to their
mother, who talks kindly about,” and just really watching. That was helpful
for me to understand that some people really do pray on kindness. They
really do pray. That was one of your gifts that they tried to use against
Yep. Yep, like an easy target, right?
Yeah. Okay, thank you. Tell us what your life is like now?
Oh, my gosh. My life is awesome. I have three in high school and a daughter
in junior high and a son in elementary and two babies at home. My life is a
different kind of chaos, but it’s a super amazing chaos. We are so busy and
there’s not many nights where it’s just like we’ve got nothing going on.
But, I find so much joy in every little stage. I’m really loving watching
teenagers with babies, because they just are on the floor and it brings
them back to earth. They’re outside playing on the swings and it’s keeping
them young a little bit.
Right now, I’m working on a series of online courses. I just finished a
widow course that launches next week.
I’m just working on things from home, so I don’t miss anything here, which
has been really cool. I do travel a little bit and speak. About once a
month or so I’ll take a speaking engagement and I’m working on a few books
and I’m working on a children’s series. I’m busy in a whole bunch of
different ways that are all just awesome. My husband is literally a saint
who I have never adored anything more, and it’s my third husband. I need
you guys to look at that and go, “There is hope after.” There’s no set
story on what joy is going to be in our lives.
I never would’ve thought I would have more than one husband. I never
would’ve thought that, like I just wanted a simple … I was even going to
be happy just living on a farm, having the same husband, the same life,
every day the same. But, there was a different plan for me, but it’s
beautiful. It’s been a series of hard and we still go through hard and
sometimes things come up. My daughter had a eating disorder last year and
had to leave for three months and go to a facility. There’s hard things
always, but there’s also amazing things that are happening every single
So amazing. So powerful. I want to ask you about your children. Your
children have been through a lot, your teenagers.
How are they doing? I ask, let me preface this with telling you that a lot
of my people listening have so much fear and worry about their kids and I’m
sure you did too and I know I did, really worried about them and how they
would fare and what their life would be like having dealt with some serious
trauma pretty young.
Tell me what they’re like now? How has the trials that they’ve been through
affected them and served them to make them who they are today?
One thing I notice about most kids who go through trauma young, they’re
grownups in these little bodies, which it’s hard sometimes not to get
wrapped up in like, that’s not fair.
They don’t just get to be kids. They don’t just get to go to the park and
play and not worry and have anxiety. They don’t get all the freedoms that
you thought that you’d be able to give your children. Another part that
it’s just like, it’s not fair. This shouldn’t have been their story. When I
created these children, I never wanted … I brought them here to give them
the best life possible. That’s really what my focus has been. I could tell
you a million things I’ve done wrong, but I really, I like to focus on the
things that you can do right. A few things that I’ve done right is focus on
the positive of their dad, which has been really hard and sometimes I had
to fake it.
But, when they’d come and say, “Hey, this kid at school said this and this
and this truth about his story.” I would say, “Absolutely, that is true. I
can talk to you about that anytime you’d like. I will give you any
information you want. And also, let me tell you a story about right after
he died, somebody said that a few weeks before he died, he was at the gym
and he handed him some money for his son’s birthday,” and some good things.
Because I always wanted them to never, I always wanted them to never, that
sounds bad, to look back and go, “If my dad was a piece of crap, then what
does that make me, because 50% of me is him?”
That’s one thing my mom gave me. When my parents divorced, she always would
bring back the positive and sometimes I was so annoyed. I just want to be
mad at him, let me be mad at him. I do let them be mad and frustrated and
sad and hurt and scared and all the things, because I want them to be aware
of their emotions. But, I also want them to know the good that he was,
because I want them to know that they’re good.
I love that.
I think that’s been really powerful. My kids talk about that all the time.
At the time, I really didn’t realize how powerful that was going to be. It
was just something that I know my mom gave me that. Anyway, what are some
other things that we did right? I remember times where it was like, “Well,
that’s not fair. They don’t have their dad. That’s not fair.” Even after my
divorce, this other man should have been and wasn’t their dad. I got to the
point where I realized that I could give them everything they deserved. I
could be everything that they need. I could be a listening ear. I could be
supportive. I could give them boundaries, because kids feel safe with
boundaries. I can give them consequences when things go wrong, so they felt
safe with those boundaries. I can be that.
It was like a few years ago we had a bus driver that was awful and driving
crazy and getting in fights. I tried to get rid of him and tried to work
with the bus system. Nobody seemed to care. One day I was like, “I know how
to drive. I’m really good at driving. I’m just going to drive them. Yes,
I’m going to spend four trips every day to different schools. But, I know
that they’re safe.” We have the power to be everything our kids need, or
else we wouldn’t be in this situation, right?
I think God’s saying, “Hey, you got this, because you are what they need.
If you want them to have something, then be it.”
It’s, I don’t know. I think he’s trying to tell us how powerful we are and
how important we are and what a role we can be when the other person that
“should be” doing certain things for them are not, we still can.
What I’m hearing from you is when things arise, like the bus example, I
think that’s a great example. You did what you could to try to go get it,
get the bus driver changed. Then when that didn’t work, you’re like, “I’ll
do it myself.” Right?
Yep. Yeah, exactly.
I’ll bet you can make a whole list of all the things that you’ve done that
with of, “I guess I’m just doing it myself.” I love that, because it’s a
reminder that sometimes we feel victimized. Sometimes we feel stuck, like
I’m just in this crappy situation and there’s nothing I could do about it,
or my kid is in this situation there’s nothing I could do. I think that
there’s always things that we can do to elevate us out of the situation.
There are circumstances, obviously, that we cannot change, right?
But, I think that a lot of the day to day things that come up that we feel
so trapped in, not even not day to day, the big things too, right? We can
still use our own power and our own strength to change what we can, right?
I love that.
This is a thought that goes along with that. When, or if you do remarry,
putting that expectation that new spouse is going to come and be what the
other spouse should have been, those kind of things, can get really foggy
and really the expectation might make them never feel like they’re good
enough because they’re never going to be that other person, or what the
other person used to be. And again, knowing that anything a stepparent
brings to your children that’s positive, is a bonus. You’re still capable
of giving them all they need. If someone else isn’t doing it, you can still
Oh, that’s so good. My listeners can’t see me right now, but I’m sitting
here grinning because I can look at the first years of my marriage. I got
remarried almost six years ago and can see how I put some pressure on him.
I wanted him to be the dad that my kids didn’t have and all of this. Over
time, what has helped tremendously is dropping that. And you know what
else? Dropping the expectation for me, that I had to be this spectacular
everything to these kids. Their mom died of cancer and had to be
everything. When I could just chalk it up to how amazing that we all get to
be here and love each other and things got a whole lot easier at that
Yeah, so thank you for that. Thank you. Tell me Ashlee, what you are most
The thing I’m most proud of is that despite all odds and evidence against
it, I fought to find my worth and I believe it. I don’t have to have it
from anybody else. When I get hate online, I can just laugh and be like,
“Oh man, that poor person must be going through something so hard if
they’re taking this much energy and time to try to put me down.” Just
taking away the energy of expecting everybody to support my confidence and
just knowing that I’m where I’m supposed to be and I’m who I’m supposed to
be and I don’t have to apologize. I don’t have to shrink and I don’t have
to puff up, because I don’t need to explain anything to anyone. I’m just
here being me and trying to make a difference and bring some light to the
I love that so much and I think that my own personal opinion about that, is
I think that’s one of the most important lessons that we are here to learn,
is how to love ourselves as we are. Sometimes it takes some hard things for
us to reach inside and dig to the depths, to where we decide that we are
enough. It really, I think you’d agree with me, it’s a decision to say,
“What if I’m wrong about me? What if all those things that I tell myself
are just plain wrong? What if I am enough,” and then nurturing that. It is
a decision and it sounds like you took that decision and have run with it
and nurtured it to where you said you just don’t even question it. That’s
amazing. I love that.
That’s not to say that there isn’t moments where I feel like the darkness
of the world just tries to creep in.
Yeah, I don’t think there’s ever going to be a place even when we’re 90,
that it just skins up on trying to make us feel dark and heavy and lonely
and stupid. That’s not to say that those things don’t try to come, but I
never stop fighting.
That’s what we got to do. We just have to keep saying no to those fears and
those beliefs and saying yes to what our truth is and who we are at our
Yep. Yep. It sounds like you have practiced this so much that if there
might be a time where you start feeling discouraged or whatever, that you
know how to speak to yourself, to get yourself back to a place of belief
and really centered back into your value and your worth. Does that sound
Totally. Yes. Yep.
Perfect. We’re going to wrap this up here, but I want to ask you, if you
have anything that you’d like to say to my listeners?
Oh, I want to say million things.
Say it all.
Say whatever you want.
I like to just picture myself on that couch, finding out, first of all, it
wasn’t about you. Second of all, this isn’t the end. This is just one
chapter closing and a new one starts tomorrow, if you’re ready. A new one
starts tomorrow and you get to decide what it looks like. You can look at
this as a clean slate, a new beginning of becoming the person that you were
always meant to become, and just a mountain that you had to go over to get
there. This wasn’t an end and it wasn’t, and it never is going to be the
Trying to become the person you were before this traumatic thing that
happened to you, is a downhill, just slope. So, start looking up, start
thinking up about yourself, about your life and about your story. Start
writing what’s next and asking how you’re going to get there. It feels like
a cliff right now, but pretty soon you’re going to figure out that you’re
going to be able to climb down, or build a bridge. But, there’s a way to
get to the other side and that is going to take light and it’s going to
take strength, but you’re going to get there.
Thank you, so powerful. Thank you so much. Well, I know that my listeners
will be very appreciative of this. I imagine it will be an episode that
they go back and listen to again and again, to hear your conviction and
your story and all of your wisdom that you’ve shared in this episode. Thank
you so much for being here.
You’re welcome. Thank you.
Absolutely. Can you tell my listeners where they can find you to learn more
Yes. Themomentswestand.com. I actually, it’s just getting redone, because
I’m doing these courses. It used to be just my blog, which on the website,
you can still link to the original blog. It’s pretty much my journal for
months and years. Then areasontostand.org is a nonprofit that we were doing
events for a long time until COVID, and someday we’ll start again, when I’m
in a little less crazy time of my life. Then on Facebook and Instagram,
just the moments we stand and I will be doing an infidelity course,
eventually. It’s one of the next ones on my list and it’s different than
working with a counselor or something. It’s just going to be more choosing
options beyond stuck.
I would love to have any of you join me there in the next few months when
Wonderful. I’m sure they’ll come find you and watch for that. Keep an eye
Thank you so much.
Yep. Okay, well thank you so much for being here and I know that you will
help so many people and I appreciate it so much.
Thank you for listening to the Heal from Infidelity Podcast. If you would
like to be kept in the know about upcoming free classes, new podcast
episodes, and other ways of working with me, go subscribe to my weekly
email. You can subscribe at andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. Again,
it’s andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. I will see you next time.