In Her Words: Tahiti Huetter

6 years ago by

Photos Mark Kushimi

Through Garance and the Atelier, I have had the honor of getting to know a few pretty incredible Hawaiians (remember Jen?) Today we’re so happy to introduce you to Tahiti – who is as beautiful as her name suggest, inside and out. Tahiti is telling her story of hardship and heartbreak, but more importantly, of strength, resilience, and self-love – in her own words.


Tahiti Huetter, Creative Consultant

“Everything happens for a reason.” Ugh, eyeroll. This would be the response from friends and family for the next 6 months after my breakup. The breakup. From my very first boyfriend, my very first “I am so madly in love with you, I want to spend the rest of my life with you, we are going to get married” boyfriend. My soulmate, the father to our adopted pup, my best friend. Or so I thought.

When I fell in love I never envisioned it ending with a New York City eviction notice, twenty-thousand dollars worth of debt, moving back to my home-state (Hawaii), and months of insomnia.

It wasn’t supposed to end, we had made plans to get married, sometime in 2018, he had been designing my engagement ring. We had planned out this perfect life together and were set to move to LA when my NYC apartment lease was up. We met on that one infamous dating app, he was incredibly charming, kind, smart and we shared all of the same interests. My dreams mirrored his. Everything I loved, he enthusiastically loved and supported as well. He took me back home to meet his parents and introduced me to his world so quickly. We had sweet nicknames for eachother, I would wake up to the most loving texts each day. I was hooked. So was he. This was “it” I thought. I met the one.

A year together went by fast, during that time he moved in and encouraged me to leave a job I was really unhappy at. He told me he would take care of us, me and Luna (the dog we adopted together). He would pay the rent, take care of all the bills – I would contribute with whatever I had. I stopped working and as an eventual result, faded into a depression, which was confusing. I had this amazing boyfriend, an apartment, and a dog. I shouldn’t have been feeling this way. I had it all, except a job – which is what I eventually began to blame my depression on. The depression continued and I began to get so anxious that I couldn’t even walk Luna because I didn’t want to be outside. I became paranoid and avoided the subway. A lot of people don’t know this but I became reclusive – I considered killing myself. I had gone dark. I had no money, but he had a bit – supposedly. I was struggling to understand why at the same time of being in a really loving and caring relationship I was just as depressed. He comforted me and allowed me to stay home, do nothing, eat whatever. I gained 50 pounds, he didn’t care, he said I was perfect at any size. He just kept supporting me, I had no idea it was a form of control.

An opportunity for a two month long consulting job came up in Hawaii and I took it, I really wanted to get out of NYC. It would be tough to be away from him and Luna for so long, but I also knew it would be a healthy break from the city. Being back at home in my bikini was such a stark contrast from the layers of winter coats in NYC. I was ashamed of how much weight I had gained and knew I had to make a change, so I started to see a trainer and go to spin class. The consulting job was forcing me to be out more, socialize, be creative. My depression started to lift.

I knew I had an amazing, supportive man waiting for me back in New York. I was beginning to feel better. Until I got an unexpected call from my landlord in New York telling me I was being evicted. I was shocked and panicked as I was 5,000 miles away from my boyfriend and all of our belongings.

I flew back to New York the next day and spent the weekend with him collecting rent receipts, going to the courthouse, negotiating with the landlord’s lawyer to move out and put our belongings in storage. But something wasn’t adding up. My boyfriend assured me we had just gotten stuck with one of those Brooklyn landlords who wanted our rent controlled apartment back. A combination of naivety, ignorance, and total trust in my boyfriend temporarily allowed this to be a good enough answer to what was happening. I went back to Hawaii to finish up my contract and he went back to Maine to his parent’s house, we would wait til my job was over and move to LA like we had originally planned. This was only a hiccup, not the end.

But with some distance between us I started to piece together the truth. He hadn’t been paying the rent like he told me. The eviction happened so quickly that I just wanted to handle everything and move on, so I paid off the back-rent, eviction fees, and temporary storage. I later found out that he bailed on his previous apartment and left his roommate with six months of unpaid rent and utilities. Oh, and my engagement ring? The jeweler I had put him touch with had never heard of him. I also discovered he had been on that dating app again, messaging girls and using our dog and the photos I took of him as Tinder girl-bait. “Who the fuck is this person?” I asked myself.

Now it was all surfacing – everything had been a lie. I had been living with a sociopath. I was crushed – what had happened to my sweet, ultra-caring, attentive and un-naturally patient man? He left me confused, heartbroken and, on top of it all, in debt. I emailed him and asked him to please just pay me back the money he owed (stole?) for the apartment, telling him that we were done. He never responded. He blocked me. He began a smear campaign to friends and colleagues. His parents wouldn’t even answer my emails or texts. He had our dog, I would never see Luna again. I lost my appetite and didn’t sleep for weeks, and when I did I would have nightmares of him.

The distance prompted a period of reflection. I played back our relationship and noticed certain signs that I had overlooked. He was overwhelmingly sweet to me. When we first met, his mom was battling breast cancer, so he was emotional and blamed any of his strange habits on the fear of losing her. I loved this man, why would I think differently? The usual signs of a sociopath (harmless lies, making up stories, showing a lot of affection) were in my eyes, a result of his mother’s illness – not necessarily his own. None of my friends or family anticipated this happening. I realized I had let him get away with a lot more than I perhaps would have if his mom hadn’t been ill or if I hadn’t fallen into my depression. I hated myself for not looking at the signs earlier.

My only option was to stay in Hawaii. I threw myself into work and started getting job inquiries almost daily. I would workout everyday. It became my obsession. I launched an action plan to recover – much like drug rehab, but for the heart. I started seeing a real therapist. I began to lose weight, I stopped looking at his social media. I started sleeping through the night. I started to find my everything happens for a reason moment.

Healing from this breakup was like grieving a loss. It took time but eventually I moved forward and stopped hating him. I began to forgive him. This person had never loved me, he was pretending to be someone he thought I needed him to be. I felt pathetic for falling victim to it. I shouldn’t have given him the responsibility to mail in the rent or handle my apartment, it should have been my obligation. Eventually I forgave myself. I was going to have to accept that I was given this lesson, the only thing that was going to help was time.

That time passed and I started to notice change. Big change. Profound, life-altering change. Thank god, I was finally able to see some sort of beautiful blessing. I stopped worrying about things that were out of my control, and my anxiety nearly disappeared. I began to have more patience and understanding for others. I stopped jumping to conclusions and I started to ask more questions. In a year I became more authentic, softer, grounded, motivated. I bounced back into life with excitement and optimism, something I hadn’t felt in years. Each day I consciously chose to heal rather than fall into the easy path of being his victim.

The choice paid off. I lost weight, 30 pounds (and still going). I became a cycling instructor. I landed dozens of contracts. I paid off all of the debt he left me with. I traveled. I started dating again. I really began to shine. I got my life back, a better version of it than before he came along. “Everything happens for a reason.” It was now my mantra. Ahhh, sigh of relief. This relationship had ended without closure, he had left me in the dark with so many questions. Questions I would never have answers to. From which I learned acceptance. Sorry, but some things just fucking happen. I learned gratitude. I had so much in my life to be grateful for. I learned that I was courageous. I could accomplish great things. I learned to use my intuition. I now follow my gut more than ever. He had taken so much during the break up that I never saw how much he gave me in return, until now. He gave me the reminder that even when left in the dark, I would continue to glow on my own.


Add yours
  • This is a wonderful and important addition to the website. Thanks to all involved!

  • God… Thank you for this beautiful article, and confession. It is very inspiring to see how a woman can get back on her feet after being betrayed, because betrayal always makes you feel so stupid, when you’ve just been manipulated. I myself also just broke up with a boyfriend who pretended to love me but didn’t, and that kind of story really helps me believing that I will grow from this bad episode, cause “everything happens for a reason”. Wish you the best in your journey Tahiti !

  • Yeah, amazing, thank you so much !!!

  • Thank you July! I was worried about sharing such a personal story, but reading all of these comments have been worth it! It’s such a reminder that we although all of our journeys are different, our experiences are what connect us. You will grow from this. Much luck to you! xx

  • Thank you July for the kind words!! It’s incredible how many people have responded with a similar story or are able to relate. It’s amazing how our experiences connect us, even the bad ones. Much luck to you, it will get better. I know this. xx

  • this is incredibly powerful. thank you thank you for sharing and best of luck <3

  • A beautiful piece. Thank you so much for sharing. It gave me hope for my own dark situation….that I can grow strong out of it! Thank you <3

  • You are brave and beautiful. Thank you for sharing with complete honesty and vulnerability.

  • I am so proud of you, Tahiti!! Your story will give strength and courage to others. Mahalo for sharing. <3

  • You are absolutely amazing. Thank you for sharing, you’ve given everyone that reads this a bit of your power. xo

  • I love this article. It shows how easy it is to fall for a guy. Red flags are always more obvious after the fact, but it only takes one heart-wrenching breakup to make us oh so much wiser. What a great forever lesson and thankfully you did not marry him.
    How our relationships would change if we could only love ourselves as we love these men, and create healthy boundaries which take our own needs into consideration.
    Thank you for sharing your story!!!

  • I SO agree with your statement – we tend to give give give all that we have and not leave anything for our self. Good point, thank you for commenting. xx

  • Thank you so much for sharing – what a painful story but oh my – what a woman of absolute grace you are! I adore you very much. The way you turned yourself around it a privilege to read about.

  • Thank you for sharing your story.

    My question is what if everything does not happen for a reason? What if things just happen?

  • Tahiti Huetter October, 16 2017, 6:09

    For me, I believe all of our experiences and relationships are lessons, they are direct reflections of who we are and where we are going. I like to put my troubling times in perspective, “there is something to be learned from this” – it helps me know there is light at the end. That there is something good to come out of it. It is easier to move forward, at least for me. xx

  • Your words are powerful and your spirit even more so. Thank you for sharing.

  • I so recognise symptoms of the dark….my daughter is still struggling towards the light. Thank you Tahiti, you are brave to share and have earned my eternal respect and admiration.

  • Tahiti Huetter October, 16 2017, 6:10

    Thank you Sanja for your beautiful comment, it means the world to me. Writing about this experience and seeing the reaction and comments like yours have made bearing the pain worth it. I hope your daughter finds the light she deserves. xx

  • Très beau témoignage, émouvant et plein d’espoir! J’espère que le récit de Tahiti mettra du baume au coeur de toutes celles et ceux qui souffrent. La vie est plus forte que tout! Merci Tahiti, et je te souhaite le meilleur pour l’avenir!

  • Wow! I totally feel you. I’ve been there myself. The feeling of betrayal was so profound. But I came out of it stronger, with a more optimistic eye to life. Thank you for sharing, it makes us all, who have experienced such an unfortunate relationship, feel less alone. X

  • Tahiti Huetter October, 16 2017, 6:13

    Amazing (and heartbreaking all over again) to see how many women have faced the same heartbreak. Comforting to know we are not alone, which is why as females it’s so important to support each other. Thank you for your comment. xx

  • louise darbonne October, 14 2017, 7:35 / Reply

    well done for sharing your story/experience…not easy, I’m sure, but you have recovered and as a result have become who you are now……

  • Jorge Alexandre Teixeira October, 14 2017, 8:25 / Reply

    A True cautionary tale, ladies out there ! As for these pussy-ass-bitch guys of the word …’im no saint, far from perfect but…what goes around comes around, you know what i mean?
    Boa Sorte , Tahiti !

  • Tahiti–what a wonderful gift you have given by sharing your experiences. Thank you!

  • Hello there.

    You are a very brave person. Thank God you’re out of that relationship. Remember, God doesn’t close one door without getting ready to open another with bigger and greater things. God bless you and continue to shine.

  • Tahiti Huetter October, 19 2017, 5:22

    Thank you Susana!

  • The demon of depression and anxiety will kill you if you let it . I have suffered most of my life with these feelings and understand totally . What us suffers have to do is , seek help, fight and don’t let our illness cloud our judgement! I take medication, I work everyday on being grateful , mental illness is real and fighting it is a constant challenge! Brava yo you for fighting back !!
    Dress The Part

  • Tahiti Huetter October, 19 2017, 5:23

    Keep up the fight Jandrew, there is always light to be found. <3

  • Frédérique Chartrand October, 14 2017, 4:32 / Reply

    C’est vraiment cool de partager ce genre d’histoire ici. Vous devriez faire cela plus souvent ! Comme une thérapie de groupe ! Quelle belle femme cette Tahiti.

  • I am a very long time reader and have never commented before, but this profile was so compelling that I had to…thank you very much for sharing that difficult story…I, too, had a relationship with someone who was not remotely what I thought they were and it took me a long time to find out and see it…I am still unpacking it and working through the emotional fallout…and I also moved away from NYC, after 20 years…not necessarily to be away from him, but it was a good side effect…thank you for being an honest and positive example…and thank you Atelier Doré for sharing her profile

  • Tahiti Huetter October, 19 2017, 5:25

    Thank you Laura for your comment, healing from a relationship like that isn’t easy. I hope you found the healing you deserve. xx

  • Caroline October, 15 2017, 2:13 / Reply

    Merveilleuse histoire. Effectivement il y a toujours un événement ( souvent malheureux) qui vous fait sortir de votre trajectoire et vous fait réaliser qu’une autre étape de votre vie commence bel et bien et seulement si vous dites adieu à une vie ou des habitudes ou des amis, des amours.
    Par contre en 1 an, tout récupérer : contrats (?) à la pelle, argent, santé psychologique. Ça je n ‘y crois pas. C’ est dommage cette fin inutilement trop positive.

  • Merci pour cette fabuleuse histoire inspirante, je ne commente jamais les articles mais celui là m’a poussé à le faire de par sa force, sa sincérité et son emotion! Bravo !

  • Pascaline October, 15 2017, 7:53 / Reply

    Beautiful piece. So powerful and meaningful. Hoping to read more articles like this one on the blog and wishing the best to Tahiti. Thanks for sharing.

  • Wow, what a powerful story. Thank you for blessing us with your story. You are a warrior.

  • NatalieD October, 15 2017, 8:32 / Reply

    Oh, that`s hard story. Happily you found dirty trick on time. As well as you proved strong courage to stand up and go on. I am sure, life will open another door, it`s always like this. There are people that find happiness sooner, but the rest of us can look forward to something grand what is just waiting us! Yeaaa :-) I wish you the best, Tahiti!

  • Tahiti Huetter October, 19 2017, 5:26

    This experience left me so much less worried about finding a partner, I realize now I can create whatever life I desire for myself… I think that was such a huge blessing. Thanks for your comment dear. xx

  • TAHITI I LOVE U. Wow – I’m going through something similar (the man he truly is is just not the man he pretended to be) and though I feel bamboozled, devastated, ashamed, angry, my ego is more than a lil bruised and I’m a little bit anxious, this article is helping me so much. It makes me feel optimistic, resilient and hopeful. I feel inspired. I love tales of resilience after love doozies, so THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing! I will fall asleep tonight with hope in my heart and re read this when I have dumb ruminating thoughts about my duplicitous lying ex fiance moving on before me (and remember Tahiti’s grace and resilience and general badassery) and remember that painful breakups lead to self love mastery. What a parting gift xxxx

  • Tahiti Huetter October, 19 2017, 5:28

    WOWWWW !!!! Ali, what a comment. Thank you so much for your kind words. Been overwhelmed with the response… Love is one hell of a ride, and teaches us a lot. Wish you nothing but happiness <3

  • C’est une belle démarche que de partager ce genre d’histoires ici ! En plus, c’est le genre de récits dont nous avons tous besoin (plus que les contes de fées ;)) pour avancer dans la vie et trouver la motivation pour nous battre. En plus, ça rassure car Tahiti n’est sûrement pas la seule à s’être retrouvée dans une telle situation. Bravo Tahiti pour ton courage et merci à l’équipe pour cette belle initiative :)


  • You are precious and brave. Thank you for telling your story. In my life I’m just now gaining an appreciation for authentic vulnerability, which is what you display by sharing this story. Good for you for taking your life back!

  • Anotherone October, 15 2017, 10:33 / Reply

    Thank you for sharing this, Tahiti. It’s like reading about my own breakup earlier this year, almost exactly. I struggled months to understand what happened, and am just not starting to shake it off, date again, and not hate myself for falling for someone so insincere, who, like your situation, used all the tragedy in his life to silence my doubts. You are definitely not alone. You are open, and that’s why this happened. I still think it’s better to be open and risk- than the opposite. Mahalo and Godspeed. Time will heal us all, i am sure.

  • Tahiti Huetter October, 19 2017, 5:32

    OPEN! Ack, what a concept right?

    I am sorry you went through a similar relationship, coming out the other end isn’t easy. I could beat myself up for days picking apart everything – if I continued to play detective and unmasked all of his BS, I probably wouldn’t have moved on so quickly. Sometimes we have to let go of “knowing it all” – sometimes we have to just protect our heart and move forward . I hope you find the healing you deserve. xx

  • Honey girl!
    Thanks for sharing your vulnerability in such an eloquent and open platform. It is so helpful to hear we are not alone in our burdens OR our successes and we are supported by so many. Love you Tahiti!

  • Mamavalveeta03 October, 15 2017, 12:22 / Reply

    Tahiti, your honesty and open, authentic heart are truly inspiring. While I would never tell someone else “everything happens for a reason,” I have told myself that a million times! It’s usually after the fact that we can see clearly. Blessings to you and may you have strength on your journey!

  • Tahiti Huetter October, 19 2017, 5:33

    Funny how this becomes the only response to a breakup or horrible situation. It’s like the easy way out of comforting someone. I try not to use it for others anymore. Thank you for your comment. xx

  • I also have to comment! Thank you Altelier Dore for going in this direction with your site. This is what women need right now, what the world needs — to acknowledge our dark and light. Especially with social media and advertisements (is social media becoming more like advertisements that broadcast a version of our lives?) it’s so easy for me to think everyone else “has it together”. The struggle is real, just like the highs are real. And it takes a village. Clearly, isolating ourselves and telling ourselves we should be okay is part of the modern day challenge. The brave sharing of stories like this help us overcome that challenge. Thank you, Tahiti. You are a beautiful human.

  • Tahiti Huetter October, 19 2017, 5:30

    I can’t tell you how many people reached out and said “I had no idea this happened, I thought you lived such a perfect life.”

    Allowing ourselves to be more vulnerable in the world means allowing us to connect deeper with others, I am carrying that lesson with me now. Makes the world feel a little warmer . Thank you for your comment.

  • Kaleo Schneider October, 15 2017, 10:50 / Reply

    I am the mother of this amazing lady and reading this reminded me of how our whole family was taken by this man. I too saw small signs but his demeanor really calmed and left us all assured he was who he was saying he was. Life is one big lesson from day to day, some days good and some days not so much. I love you Tahiti :) MOM

  • Sandrine Teupoorautoa BALTZER October, 17 2017, 6:17 / Reply

    Sometimes this little voice in your head… mine tells me read this piece like read it now.
    Ok this is also my story, the perfect guy, shared-dreams, constant support, the cutest dog, the most instagrammable life and…my depression, agoraphobia, panic attacks and extreme anxiety.
    A long time to heal, to understand, to bounce back to forgive and to be thankful even to him… yes everything do happens for a reason.
    Thank you so much Tahiti for sharing your story and I wish the beautiful soul you are all the best !
    The universe is quite facetious because Tahiti is my island home and I went there to recover…so again maururu maitai ! ( and sorry if my french’s girl written english is not so good)

  • Tahiti Huetter October, 19 2017, 5:35

    Wow, thank you Sandrine for your comment. I am so sorry to hear you went through a similar experience – it’s been incredible seeing how many of us have faced similar times.

    I was in Tahiti in February, such a beautiful place. Maururu for reaching out, it means a lot. xx

From the Archives

This or That
  • This or That
  • Holiday Gifting
  • Happy Holidays!
  • #AtelierDoreDoes
  • How To...
atelier dore this or that summer sandals chunky sandals vs. delicate sandals

This or That / Sandal Edition

This or That: American or Française?

This or That: American or Française?

atelier dore this or that lingerie lace or cotton sex month

This or That / Lingerie Edition

This or That / Blush vs. Bronzer

This or That / Blush vs. Bronzer

This or That: The Beanie

This or That: The Beanie

This or That: Nails

This or That: Nails

This or That

This or That

This Or That

This Or That

Silja Danielsen Photo

This Or That: Low Knot or Top Knot