Making A Very Long Story Merely Long

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A66 long story

It became a pattern: on the Thursday nights he came over, she was weak and would let him into her bed. They talked for hours about his past relationships, his love for his wife. As if trying to convince himself of something, or to muster up the will to leave her bed. But he didn’t. And again there was no contact.

Very early one morning she found herself pressed back to back with him. Having already spent three nights in bed with him with no body contact she wasn’t exactly sure how that had happened. Suddenly he sighed and turned over. She felt him move closer and rest his arms against her back. A few minutes later he moved in and she moved back and it seemed the most natural thing in the world to spoon with him, his strong arms encircling her.

‘This feels so right,’ she thought to herself. It was like something had finally clicked into place. After about ten minutes or so he whispered “Are you awake?”

“Yes.”

“I don’t think there’s really any chance we’re falling back to sleep.”

“Probably not.”

They lay there for a few moments with him just holding her, stroking her curly hair and her arms.

“You’ve liked me for a while now, haven’t you?” he whispered in her ear.

“If I’m giving an honest answer, are we really having this conversation?”

“We don’t have to.”

“No, it’s time to talk.” Her eyes narrowed and she bristled. “Liked me for a while now” indeed. It was so egotistical it made her want to say something to wound his ego but she bit back the urge. She was too curious to see where this was going.

“When I moved here, yes, I thought you were good looking and a nice guy, but you’re married so it really didn’t matter. Off limits, taken. It wasn’t until the fall that things started to change for me.”

“Yeah, I got a real clue the night we all went out for your birthday. At one point you looked at me and I thought ‘she’s either really pissed off at me or wants to fuck me sideways.’”

Having gotten well and truly shitfaced that night, she couldn’t really recall giving him “fuck me” eyes. But who knows.

“I wish I can take things further with you, for you, but when I married we made a pact that we wouldn’t cheat on each other.”

She balked. “Shouldn’t no cheating go without saying? If a couple plans on having an open marriage, that’s their prerogative but that’s not what you and L have as far as I know. She’s openly possessive of you. What exactly do you think this is?”

“It’s not like we’re having sex. We’re just two good friends enjoying each other’s company and sharing physical affection with one another.”

“But if L knew?”

“Yeah, she would probably be really hurt if she found out about this. But it’s just innocent touch. You know, I think if she were more confident and secure in our relationship, she wouldn’t mind me cuddling with you. It’s not like I’m going to leave her. I love her and can’t imagine being without her.”

It was at that point she decided to wall her heart off. No sense in getting too emotionally invested. She knew she would only get hurt if she allowed herself to toe the line of falling in love with a man she could never keep.

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  • Man, life is tricky. And complicated.

    It is up to the individual to think critically on a daily basis and make the choices that feel ethically correct to us. The lines that are drawn by Jewish ritual law (e.g. not touching members of the opposite sex and not being alone in a room together) can often seem extreme. That said, there is wisdom to the gedarim (boundaries / hard lines) that traditional Judaism and Jewish ritual law uphold. If you know that having sex with someone or making out with someone violates an ethical boundary (whether because of cheating or other reasons), it will be much harder to stop that progression if you allow yourself to snuggle with that person or be alone in a room with them.

    I am not critical of you or your story. I appreciate you sharing both. And I understand that it can be fun to indulge passion – even ill fated passion – from time to time. But my understanding is that though life is full of temptation, most people’s sense of will power and self control are not strong enough to consistently resist that temptation. So whether the boundaries come from you, your friend, religion or elsewhere, there’s something to be said for the drawing of hard lines prior to the start of any ethically-ambiguous encounter.

  • Anon

    I appreciate everything you’ve had to say. But, it’s easy to come from a place of higher moral ground when you’ve never been faced with this kind of situation. (Unless you actually have, resisted the temptation, and kudos to you for being able to draw the line better than I did). Up until I was faced with this, I always came from the perspective that I would never, could never be capable of something like this.

    I would never try to justify my actions. I know they were wrong. It’s something I’m going to have to live with the rest of my life.

    • I hear you. And I don’t mean to come from a place of “higher moral ground”. Life is tricky and sucky, and it’s hard to ever totally put yourself into someone else’s shoes.

      That said, I have indeed been in a situation of mutual attraction where I could have exercised the power of seduction to take what I wanted at the expense of another. But I chose not to. I implemented safeguard measures to emotionally and physically distance myself from my friend out of tremendous respect for his relationship and to maintain propriety. Doing so may suck in the short term, but I have consistently put my regard for friends, their emotional wellbeing, and the health of their relationships well before my own short term needs and desires. I know, however, that my behavior in such situations is the exception rather than the norm in our society.

      If my original comment/musing came off as at all judgmental, it’s probably just because I’ve been “L”from your story and it’s a crappy place to be. But this isn’t about me. I’m really not here to criticize you or self-laud. Life is about comparing yourself against the best “you” that you can be, not measuring yourself against what others may or may not have done in your shoes.

      It sounds like you’ve beat yourself up enough over this. Maybe it’s time to extend yourself some compassion and forgive yourself for what happened?

      • Anon

        It’s really hard not to compare. Knowing I’m part of the norm rather than the exception feels pretty shitty.

        • We all do crappy things at some point in life – even “the exceptions”. No one is perfect. IMO, we are just as much our mistakes as we are how we own up to them and make up for them. It’s part of being human. Regarding the actions in your story, given that you “know they were wrong” (your words, not mine), it sounds like you wouldn’t make the same choice going forward. That’s huge. Life is a growth process.

          My commentary may not make a practical difference to you, but again I say that I hope you extend yourself some self-compassion and view this tricky scenario as one of life many growth opportunities. Sending my love.

  • vashti

    i really don’t think what this person did is so bad

  • Banana

    It’s so hard not being judgmental reading this. It’s nicely written but the topic disturbs me. I can side with either participant… :/

    • vashti

      she’s not the married one, he is. he took a vow, she didn’t