So it seems like I am being misunderstood.
Repeatedly people keep mentioning something like “you can avoid/simply pick conversation options with Ashley or Liara…” There are no conversation options in ME2 that will remove the ME1 romance.
I assume these people are talking about replaying ME1 and choosing specific conversation options, which I and others are looking to avoid, as mentioned above.
Moreover, I was looking for confirmation that the process I described worked (or didn't), rather than guessing or suggestion, although I thankful to thoes that are trying to help. I am going to post a list of what I am doing and report back later if it seemed to work (though I’m guessing we need to wait for ME3 to really know).
There is the process, and I’ll report later and post on youtube if it works (I have yet to see an “ Ashley lived and WAS NOT romantically involved with Male Shep.” video.
1) Downloaded Gibbed’s Mass Effect Save Game Editor.
2) Backed up the ME2 profile/saves I planned to edit.
3) Opened the save I planned to edit (in my case, this save was a genuine playthrough in which I beat ME2 already)
4) Under the tabs Plot/Mass Effect 1/Flags I UNCHECKED three boxes, [Player]Romanced someone, [Player]Romanced Ashley, and [Citadel]The Fan intimidated Him (not necessary for romance, but a known bug).
Jack and Miranda Fight (all outcomes, follow ups)
Also, liara and kaidan were naturally unchecked and Rescue Ashely was checked.
5) Under the tabs Plot/Mass Effect 1/ Values, move all three romance progress to 3 or less (I used 2 for all, since 3 is an unconfirmed value.
6= sex and 4 is what Ashley gets if you romanced her but she dies, also unconfirmed). It is worth noting that I was as nice to Kaidan as possible as a Male Shep and his value is 3.
6) Save the file.
7) Run Mass Effect and select New Game
8) Choose to import a ME 2 character
9) Choose the save that you edited.