first, thank you so much to the panelists today for being so vulnerable and sharing your stories. it was by far the most emotional panel we've had this semester. i'm just an emotional person anyway and can't help but cry when other people cry so yah i was holding back tears.
second, i am really glad that ashley shared her story today because i connected with it on a personal level. because my relationship with my boyfriend/fiancé was never physically abusive, i had never considered myself to have been in an abusive relationship or a survivor of one. i came to college and gained new friends and started having these life experiences without him (because he had stayed home until he was to leave for marine bootcamp) and he began to try and isolate me from everyone i knew. he made me delete all of the guys numbers i had in my phone even if i had literally known them since elementary school and he would tell me not to hang out with my friends and that they were bad influences on me. he was smart though he knew there was a limit when it came to my family and isolating me from them before i would have thought "hey this is not right". i was nineteen when we got engaged and my deal was that we can get engaged so he could put a ring on it but i could not marry him until i graduated college because my parents are paying for my school (thanks mom and dad) and i knew they would not after i got married because i would not be their financial responsibility anymore. at first he was like okay as long as i can give you a ring so other people know that you are mine, but as the months went on he got impatient and he started trying to get me to move to North Carolina where he was stationed then he start playing with my emotions like he can't go on without me, he's so lost without me there, he has no one there, and eventually he told me that he had mild depression and that he just couldn't take the distance anymore. thinking that was going to make me change my mind but it didn't. I've now been out of the relationship for a year and hearing everyones stories and comments about just the littlest behaviors made me thing about memories i have with him. and it has given me just the reassurance i needed to know that i didn't make a mistake leaving him, i should never take him back, and i do deserve someone better.