Pillow Talk: A Bedtime Confessional For Two
I was lying on my back in the dark on my side of our bed; one hand behind my head and the other on my chest. Jill was lying on her side with her back toward me. We had just retired at our usual time; eleven pm.
"Jill?" I said softly.
"When did you decide to have an affair?" I asked quietly.
I felt more than heard her stiffen with a quick intake of breath. "What are you talking about?" she finally asked.
"I'm just curious ... I know you've been seeing someone ... I've known for a month now. I was just curious when you made the decision."
"What the hell are you talking about? Are you crazy?" She hadn't turned toward me and was doing her best to imitate an irritated attitude.
"You aren't a very good actress, Jill. I knew something had happened almost from the first day and I was hoping it wasn't what it turned out to be. I was hoping you hadn't been unfaithful." I said sadly.
"Are you accusing me of infidelity? How could you?" She was now becoming much more vocal and had at least turned her head toward me.
"No point in denying it, Jill. I checked your purse one day when you were out in the garden and I found the condoms."
There was a long silence and I could see her shoulders begin to shake as she started to sob.
"Oh God, David, I'm so ashamed. I'm so sorry. It doesn't mean anything. I love you; you know I do."
There was a long silence as I waited for her to continue.
"Are you going to divorce me?" she asked through her sobs.
"I guess that depends. Do you love him?"
"No ... god no! I love you. I don't want anyone but you." she cried.
I wanted her to talk to me. I wanted her to tell me when and how it had happened.
"David, I'm so sorry. I would never hurt you deliberately. I don't know what I was thinking."
"I know Jill. But it did hurt. It hurt me very deeply and I'm still having trouble getting past it."
The silence between us grew but I was determined to let her tell me what had happened and that meant being patient.
"Was I right about when it started?" I finally asked.
"Yes ... yes. About a month ago. How did you know?"
"Jill, I've known you for over twenty five years. I know your every signal. I just didn't think it would happen to us." I said
I could hear her renewed sobbing and I was once again forced to wait and be patient.
"I met him at the Crisis Centre. He was there looking after his sister. I can't remember how it started, but he was very attracted to me. He told me how beautiful I was and how he admired my work there. I saw him there every week with his sister and one day, he asked me to go with him for coffee. It all seemed so innocent and I ... I didn't think that ... I didn't know it would be the way it turned out."
"Is he younger?"
"Twenty five, I think."
"God, that's over twenty years younger than us. You must have made quite an impression on him." I said.
"I was flattered. I didn't think any man would be interested in an older woman like me."
"That's crazy. You are beautiful. I can understand why he would be attracted to you. You should look at yourself in the mirror more often." I stated emphatically.
There was another long silence.
"Jill ... when you had sex with him ... was it different?"
"What do you mean?"
"Is he bigger... you know ... does he last longer ... can he do it more times?"
"Oh, please David. Don't! I can't! Don't do this to me ... please!"
"Talk to me, Jill. I need to understand. I want to understand ... why it happened!" I pleaded.
And yet another moment of silence.
"He was ... thicker. That's all. It felt different. He's young. He could last longer than I could." she confessed haltingly.
"Was it better?"
"No ...just different. We did ... different things."
"Did you have oral sex?"
"Yes." she replied quietly after another pause.
"Did you give him oral sex?"
"Yes." she answered haltingly.
"Did he come in your mouth?"
"Please, David ... don't make me."
"It's alright, Jill. Just tell me the truth. Did he come in your mouth?"
Another long silence. "Sometimes."
"Did you swallow it?" I persisted.
"Oh god, stop it. Yes, I ... I swallowed it. There! Are you satisfied now?" She was getting frustrated with the endless questions.
"I'm just trying to understand how he could convince you to do things you would never let me do." I explained in a quiet, even voice.
"It was different. I told you. It wasn't the same as what we had."
"Did you do it 'doggie style'?" I continued.
"Yes." she said quietly.
"Did you have anal sex?"
"No ... not really." She had given up resisting the questions and was now answering in a flat, monotone voice.
"Does that mean he used his fingers there?"
"Is there anything else he did with you that I didn't mention?" I asked quietly.
Another long silence ensued as I digested what she had told me. In our twenty five years of marriage, she had pretty much restricted our lovemaking to conventional, plain vanilla sex. She had tried oral sex a couple of times and claimed it made her ill. We had tried 'doggie style' several times but she made it plain it wasn't something she enjoyed and eventually I quit trying. She wouldn't even consider anal sex or having anything near that area. But now, in the space of a month, she had succumbed to all these pleasures with her youthful lover that she had denied me. I didn't know whether to be angry or curious. I chose the latter path.
"Why, Jill? You wouldn't consider doing those things with me and yet you gave yourself willingly to him. Why?"
"I don't know. I was trying to please him I guess. I was afraid I might lose him if I denied him." she moaned.
"Yes, I think I can understand that." I offered. "Are you going to keep seeing him?"
"No! I can't! Not now." She began sobbing again. "It's over. I made a mistake. I'm not going to make it worse."
I lay on my back listening to her soft sobbing and irregular breathing. After a few minutes, I began again.
"There's something you should know, Jill." I said quietly.
"I had an affair too."
"Oh no, David. I can't believe it. How could you?"
"I was angry with you, Jill. I was hurt and I was angry. There was a young woman I knew who had made it clear that she wanted to be with me. I had resisted her until I found out about you and then I stopped resisting. I had sex with her several times." I had delivered my confession in a quiet tone.
"Oh David. What are we going to do? Is it all over for us?" she wailed. I knew my revelation had shocked her and probably hurt her as much as she had hurt me.
"I hope not, Jill. But I guess that's up to us. We can get a divorce and go our separate ways and lose everything we had in the past twenty five years or we can try and put our marriage back together again. Either way, it won't be easy." I said sorrowfully.
"Was she very young?" Jill asked after a long silence.
"No, about thirty I think. I guess that's pretty young for us though, isn't it."
"Did you do those things you asked me about?" she asked carefully.
"Yes. She enjoyed oral sex; both giving and receiving. She was quite aggressive. We had sex in many places in her apartment and many different ways. It was very exciting. I learned a lot from her." I said matter-of-factly.
"Are you still seeing her?" Jill asked.
"No. I ended it a few days ago when I knew I had to talk to you about ... about ...your friend. It wasn't anything but sex for the sake of sex and I guess some payback for what you did. It's over and she understands."
I could hear her sobbing again and I knew she was feeling pain from my admission.
"Jill, I think I know why this happened." I said quietly. "I think we got too comfortable with our lives and we just let things drift. Our sex life was in decline and we just let it happen. We didn't talk to each other as much. I had my job and was settled in that and you had your volunteer work and you were happy with that. Our kids are grown and have families of their own. We just let things happen to us. I could almost see it coming, but I didn't do anything about it."
"I know what you mean." Jill said in a sad, soft voice. "I think that's why it happened too. I was just floating along and the first time someone came along to rock that boat, I went for it. I needed some excitement and adventure. It was dangerous; I knew it was dangerous, but that was part of the allure. That and a handsome young guy who wanted me." she concluded, her voice falling off.
"He was the smart one. He saw how beautiful you are. I just took it for granted you knew how I felt about you. I forgot to tell you." I admitted.
"Do you think we can pick up the pieces, David?"
"I hope so, Jill. I want to. I don't want to lose you, but we won't be able to forget this time in our lives. It will be with us forever and we can't know how it will affect us. In a perfect world, I want another twenty five years with you as my lover. I want another chance to prove you don't need anyone else. I want you to be sure you know how much I love you." Now it was my turn for tears.
"Oh David, I want that too. We've both made a horrible mistake. But it's not too late to repair it ... is it?" she pleaded.
"All we can do is try. If we both want it, we have a better chance. I know I want it to work for us."
"Then let's try again. Let's start on the next twenty five years tomorrow morning." Julie said hopefully.
We held each other and many more tears were shed that night. I don't know when we drifted off to sleep, but it was late the following morning when we finally woke.
We tried very hard over the next months to put this bad period behind us. Our sex life was rejuvenated by our recognition that we needed to offer each other more satisfaction and we both enjoyed the changes in our private hours together. In some ways we became closer to each other as we each understood we had to be more aware of the other and respond more to them. I think we surprised ourselves with how much we learned about each other; even after twenty five years.
I'm more confident now that we'll be OK. Jill knows what she did was wrong and impulsive and I know that I probably contributed to her straying by benign neglect. It's a common theme among couples who have been married a long time. They forget what attracted them to each other and lose contact with their love. I wasn't going to let that happen again.