Making A Very Long Story Merely Long

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A66 long story

“Why are you here doing this with me when you know it would hurt L? You know yourself what it feels like to be betrayed like this. And don’t give me your idealistic ‘everyone should be able to love everyone’ bullshit. Something like that can only work when all parties involved know about it and agree to it.”

“L and I have reached what I like to call a comfortable rut. She doesn’t seem too eager to change things right now. This is something new and foreign to me so it’s exciting. You make me feel alive again. And I really do believe people should be as physically affectionate with one another as they want. Wanting to be with you doesn’t affect my commitment to L. I love her and would never leave her.”

Of course, she thought, if he really loved L he would have refused to stay in her bed the very first night she offered.

“I could also be in complete denial and wanting to justify my actions,” he added.

“There is a part of me that feels wrong about all of this. I don’t want to hurt L. And I tell myself ‘this time, I’ll tell him he needs to sleep on the floor or find another place to stay.’ But then Thursday night once again rolls around, and all I want is to have you in my bed with me.”

“Yeah, I was surprised you invited me into your bed at all, let alone allowed the spooning to start.”

There was a pregnant silence in the dark of her bedroom.

“I hope you don’t get offended, but it seems you don’t get much physical affection. I find that really sad. I don’t know how you could go so long without it. I know I would go crazy myself,” he said tentatively.

She couldn’t be insulted–he was correct. She was completely starved for physical touch. From anyone. Even girlfriends. For some reason, she wasn’t physically affectionate with anyone in this new place. Mostly it felt like the wrong setting. Back in the dorms it was always easy to cuddle, to give and receive massages. There was more hugging, and constant puppy piles on those hilariously tiny beds. She didn’t have that, living by herself. And at work wasn’t really the proper location. She’d become kind of closed off.

She told him all of these things and added “When it comes to male affection it really isn’t that hard for me. With so little experience, I don’t really miss what I never had. I certainly yearn for it, and may at times feel like I’m going out of my mind, but mostly I just deal.” And she spoke about her uncle molesting her when she was four. The few experiences of intimacy with boyfriends she’d had up until that point always made her initially feel sick to her stomach, the way she used to feel around her uncle. It was something she had to push down and ignore. The instinct to ignore the feeling always turned around and bit her in the ass, resulting in panic attacks and broken relationships.

“Then why are you here with me?”

“With you I feel so safe. I have yet to feel like pushing you away. It feels like intimacy therapy.”

“It makes me feel good doing this for you.”

 

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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