Not an easy split. Despite the ever-optimistic David Norton's hope that he and wife Ashley Doherty would stay together in part 1 of Married at First Sight's season 3 finale on February 23, she opted for a divorce, and David tells Us Weekly exclusively that things have gotten "ugly" between them since the season aired.
David, 29, and Ashley, 30, had the toughest time connecting of any of the three couples. The pair particularly struggled when Ashley learned that David had reached out to another woman on social media, although David continues to maintain that he was doing so only to learn more about Ashley from the woman. Ultimately, Ashley cited David asking out the other person as the key reason why she wanted to divorce.
"Hearing [Ashley choose to divorce] really just brought me down to earth," David tells Us. "I clearly had my head in the clouds, and at that moment, I realized how far away we actually were from being a married couple, outside of a piece of paper that says that we are married."
David says he was bothered when Ashley claimed in the finale that there were four or five reasons she didn't want to stay with David, but when pressed to list them, she could only come up with his social-media message to the woman.
"Hearing that almost woke me up right then and there, and I was just so disappointed in Ashley," he says. "She clearly never tried because she didn't even try to look deep enough to find a reason why it couldn't work, other than what her initial reaction was."
David says he doesn't have any regrets about how he acted during his marriage, but he wishes that he and Ashley could have remained civil since splitting. He says that she initially told him that she didn't want to speak to him, but they ended up resuming conversation as the show started airing, agreeing that they would try to make the divorce as amicable as possible.
Things quickly changed when some viewers wrote hurtful comments about Ashley on social media, and she did not appreciate it when David attempted to defend her. David tells Us that things then "got ugly." Plus, he says her family and friends took a "negative stance" against him and believed that Ashley received an unflattering edit from the show's producers.
"I can tell you right now that that was more than a fair edit of our relationship," he says. "That must have bothered them that I contradicted them [in the media about the edit] because from there, the negativity got so much worse from her camp, and I haven’t spoken to her since. Really sad to see how negative this has gotten. I thought she and her family would have had a little bit more respect for our marriage and what we went through together."
David says he has "no desire to reconnect romantically with Ashley," but hopes "one day she finds whatever it is that she is looking for in a partner." He adds that it was "very difficult" for him to go on dates while the show was airing but that he is now ready to find his right match.
"I've only just recently gotten back into the dating game, and I'm still just waiting for someone that I feel that 'x factor' with," he says. "I'm still looking for that and still very optimistic that I will find that one day."
Married at First Sight, produced by Kinetic Content, airs on FYI on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. EST.
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