Battle of True Grits



In the War for Intimacy, not every action is a full-scale battle. Sometimes there are little insurgent actions. Sometimes these spark bigger things and sometimes they don’t.

This morning, it did.

As Arwyn was taking her shower, I considered my choices:

a.)Try to join her.

b.)Go in an shave while ogling her naked body. I’d rather see her naked than some honey on the internet or in a magazine.

c.) Get myself off. That’s the route of least resistance.

d.)Try something else. Something taking more effort and thought.

I chose ‘d.’ Since it was a cold morning, I decided on making grits for breakfast. I don’t like them all that much, but Arwyn does. So, I made them while she finished her shower and got the boys ready for the bus. She came in and thanked me with a kiss.

I took my shower while she put the boys on the bus. I dressed and Arwyn came in. She sat on the bed and we made some small talk. And then I don’t know what came over me, but I pounced.

We kissed and generally sort of made out, far exceeding my normal 2 minute wish. This is good. She was on her back and I was crouching on all fours over her, kissing and hugging. She complained that it was starting to hurt her back. At some point in this early hugging/kissing fest I whispered in her ear, “I love you.”

No response. So I initiated more hugging and kissing. Then I gave her a small backrub. She asked if I wanted to go to the kitchen to eat breakfast together, since we don’t do that very often. I told her we do this a whole lot less often.

This little make-out session turned into a bit of a comedic struggle with me trying to touch her more intimately and her pushing my hands away. God forbid I touch her breasts or get a hand between her legs.

Maybe you should have enjoyed what you were getting instead of being such a greedy bastard! That’s the trouble with you HL shits, is that it is never enough for you people!

On one hand, this is true. On the other, I have been starving for a very long time. How much control is expected from a starving person? It seems like running a soup kitchen for the homeless with a sign in front requiring a jacket and a tie. Okay, I got fired up and inflamed with passion. Yes, she got real uncomfortable in a real hurry with my more intimate touches. She did tolerate some touching and squeezing around her breasts but this was not a prolonged thing. It was not going to be, because I had to go to work.

There was a moment when she looked like she was thinking about taking off her pants. Don’t ask me how I know, as it has been so long, but I just had that feeling. I got up off the bed, and said I had to get going. Then went towards the kitchen locked into a spooning embrace. I kissed her neck, and said in her ear again, “I love you.”

Love’s greatest desire is finding a love that will answer.

For the second time in fifteen minutes, there was no answer. I don’t say it with the idea of getting one, but I do notice when there is no answer. In fact, I have not gotten an answer for a very long time. That bothers me.

I am thankful and okay with the intimacy that we did have and shared for those 30 minutes. They were precious to me. It was okay that there was not any real sex involved. In fact, maybe I preferred it that way. It occurs to me that Arwyn might have been using sex in the past to avoid other sorts of intimacies, such as fondling, touching, stroking and deep kissing. In the early days, a good shagging kept me pretty happy and off her back about other sexual practices. And about other intimacies.

Today is my 96th sexless day. I have made some choices that have contributed to this condition. But it is still an involuntary condition. I have done and tried a myriad of interventions to try to turn this situation around. From what I can see, Arwyn has done little or nothing except impede, avoid and dodge my attempts at making this marriage better.

So then I find a new penpal friend and a few of you get a little bent out of shape. Have I truly emotionally checked out of my marriage? Does it look to you like I have stopped trying and have given up?? I’m wondering how many people claiming that I have checked out would have survived 10 years of this. I also wonder how many inflicted this sort of treatment on a partner that eventually did emotionally check out.

The Not So NormalPretty Peanut story comes to mind as a case in point. Normal did check out, after Peanut seemingly abandoned him. I did upbraid Normal for the way he went about pulling out, but neither of these people are victims. Normal has not put in the time or effort to fix things, either. I have. How much is enough? I do not know. But I am sticking with it.

Cleopatra represents another person in my support network. Exciting, new, attractive and all of that, in addition to being very smart.

Have you told Arwyn about her?

What are you, nuts?! No, I have not told Arwyn about Cleo. Sure, it would probably bother her. However I’m also convinced that she really would rather not know. This is related to a question Cleo asked me in email which I’m still trying to find a real answer.

“Do you think she is simply hoping that you WILL cheat so that she can get out of the marriage without having to deal with the guilt?”

It is a possibility. I could be. I have posted the question to Arwyn but haven’t gotten an answer beyond what transpired this morning. I’m not sure how to interpret an answer like that. It is the sort of thing I’ll bring up in a more face-to-face manner if/when the opportunity comes around. This is not the sort of thing I would bring up over dinner with the kids, at church or if I have even the faintest hope for having sex that night. An honest answer to that question precedes any other types of disclosure, in my opinion.

Things are moving. Things are happening. But I am not sure of where they are going or what they mean.


22 Responses to Battle of True Grits

  1. Square1 says:

    It’s not getting bent out of shape Digger, more a matter of concerned friends who do not want to see you underestimate the lure of temptation. You are a starving man. That will cloud your judgement. You are hearing from people who are outside of the situation and can therefor be objective, and others still who have been down the road you are considering travelling down.

  2. Satan says:

    It sounds as though you think of yourself as a victim, Digger, and almost that you are entitled, or that no one should really blame you, for stepping outside your marriage for . . whatever.

    And your loyal readers aren’t bent out of shape. They are just looking for that hill . . remember? The one you were going to die on?

  3. Cinnamon says:

    If you really didn’t feel any guilt whatsoever, if you really think that “Cleo” is just positive, supportive help for you to stay IN your marriage, you woudn’t have kept her a secret, from Arwyn, or from your readers. And she would not have contacted you privately, never leaving any comments where others can read them. She may be supportive, positive help for YOU, in deciding to leave. But she is not support for the marriage.

    However, I, for one, apologise.

    When you ended the previous post with “Feel free to discuss.” I mistoook it as an invitation for your readers to give you honest feedback.

    Apparently you only wanted ooohs, and ahhs of delight, other females cooing over you and wishing they were the lucky “keyholder” and a chorus of “All Hail Cleo, Queen of Our Hearts!”. And to all back you up with lots of support for your first step towards leaving your marriage. Just because you’ve been taking it, in little shuffles for a while now, secretly, doesn’t change what it is.

    Fair enough, this is your blog, after all. Next time, perhaps instead of “Feel FREE to discuss” you could end with “I would really like some positive feedback here, so if you can’t say something really happy for me, don’t say anything at all.” So as to avoid the mistake that apparently several of us made in leaving comments to the last post.

  4. Dewdrop says:

    I have to agree with all the previous commenters – even though my comment to your previous post, Digger, seemed to be a lucky you sort of one, I really did think shortly after posting it that perhaps it could be dangerous ground you are treading on with this Cleo lady. I just didn’t post my total thoughts on it at the time (really don’t know why!). I’ve been in the same place (yes even though I’m not HL!) with ‘penpal/email’ stuff, several years ago. It can get very deep and dangerous and believe me, from my experience, I would keep your distance, if you know what I mean with Cleo. Although it feels good at the time – to quote a Skunk Anansi song “just because it feels good, doesn’t make it right”. At the end of the day, it’s YOUR life and my opinion is peanuts.

    From a LL person (me hehe) – you are going the RIGHT way to getting more intimacy by doing stuff like the grits. It will be VERY slow and arduous to you but seriously, little extra caring things mean a lot (just my opinion as a LL person in my marriage) and would make me more inclined to give back something to my partner. It softens the heart, softens the hard thoughts about sex. Wish I was more flippin’ articulate …arrgh.

    Afterthough – I just wondered – maybe I should be the one you ask questions to? I dunno. Am I the only bloomin’ LL married person here who speaks my empty mind?

  5. Square1 says:

    For cripes sakes… why do I always find myself in agreemen with Satan here? I’m telling you it’s just not right. Som Christian I’ve turned out to be! :0P

  6. C-Marie says:

    You have endless support, Digger but the fact remains that even YOU are human and vulnerable, just as your readers are.

    This Cleo thing may only be an emotional ship you’re riding on – make sure it stays that way for the sake of fighting the good fight. Noone can crucify you for feeding off the positive energy you may receive from her. I sure don’t.

    It’s the same emotional rescue I get when my commentors give me positive feedback and many compliments. A little of that goes a long way, especially when you aren’t able to get it from the place you’re suppose to get it from.
    I don’t see it hurting a dman thing.

  7. DH says:

    Damn Digs…you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

    You know I’m on your side here. I think the fact that she’s not returning the “I Love You” statements is a pretty big deal.

    To me, it seems obvious that Arwyn has checked out of the marriage…at least emotionally. Personally, I think it’s a miracle that you haven’t checked out physically.

    And strange as it may sound, I think there are rare instances where physical (or emotional) affairs can help a marriage.

    I remember my affair from many years ago. Because of that emotional and physical connection I had with the other woman, it freed me up to be a much happier, less resentful person at home and for those few months, we had less conflicts at home than we’d had before or since.

    I’m sure I’ll get chastised for this as well…but what the hell…I’m used to it.

  8. FTN says:

    I know I’m beating a dead horse here, but have you really really gone after the counselling idea with Arwyn? I think it would be a huge step, and I would recommend going to any lengths to make it happen. TELL her you both need to go, find a way to get childcare, borrow money if you have to and try it.

    I’m not saying counseling can fix everything, but getting the two of you to communicate honestly with an outside expert and observer could be a huge help. If she absolutely refuses to go, tell her you are going yourself, no matter what.

    Just my own “unsolicited advice” to you.

  9. Dusty says:

    Dewdrop — yes, you are often “the only bloomin’ LL married person here who speaks my empty mind”. I’m a bloomin’ LL married person, too, and have commented on some of Digger’s posts, but sometimes feel uncomfortable speaking up for the LL side (clearly the minority here). Plus, I’m not a blogger, but am just fascinated by Digger’s story, as it is frequently similar to my own (but from the other side).

    Digger — for what it’s worth, I think you and your wife made some progress today. No, it wasn’t sex, but it was intimacy. Isn’t that really what you crave anyway? Don’t you just want to feel *close* to your wife again? No need to push it by trying to grope various body parts when you *know* it makes her uncomfortable.

    Savor what intimacy she *can* handle. Maybe she’d be willing to hug and kiss more often then. I know it’s tough at 96 days, but try not to turn every kiss into a groping session, because you’ll get fewer and fewer kisses if you do. Make the most of plain old hugging and kissing. It’s surely a step in the right direction for both of you.


  10. Anonymous says:

    I apologize if I missed it in your previous posts, but there is a feeling that Arwyn might be in a rather deep and prolonged depression that needs to be addressed professionally. Needless to say that it is a serious medical condition that requires a complex approach and many resources.

    “Do you think she is simply hoping that you WILL cheat so that she can get out of the marriage without having to deal with the guilt?” – it is hard to imagine a mother of 2 kids with health problems to think that way. I hope it is not what she really want/need.

  11. So Gone says:

    I think Arwyn has left the marriage – she doesn’t make you dinner with her and the kids, she is somewhat repulsed by your touch and doesn’t tell you she loves you back – which is the worst of them all. Forget the lack of sex, forget the lack of intimacy, there is a lack of a marriage here. Sorry to be harsh, but let’s be honest, you two don’t even really qualify as roommates, a roommate would fix you a meal when they were making one.

  12. I agree with most of the above.

    There is a limited pool of emotional energy inside most of us. Building a new relationship is a lot of work, and so is fixing an old one. If you’re starting to move some of that energy to building a new relationship, then you’re taking it away from efforts to fix the old one.

    I’ve always been of the mind that if you’re going to leave a relationship, you should be walking *away* from it, not running *to* a new one.

    You list the things you’ve done. But honestly, you still haven’t done the big ones. You haven’t gotten counselling for yourself or as a couple. It doesn’t sound like you’ve been up front with her about your thoughts, either. Your letter was very moving – you need to actually give it to her, or say it in person, rather than leaving it around hoping she’ll read it. You said that in your recent long talks, sex and intimacy hardly came up – why is that?

    You seem to be laying the groundwork right now to build the case that your eventual affair will be excusable.

  13. shanelle says:

    To me it isn’t even the issue of if you are justified to leave the relationship or not. I would love to see someone that does it with integrity and honesty. If you are unhappy and miserable – tell your wife outright instead of waging war and giving yourself more excuses. The phrase fish or cut bait comes to mind.

  14. ArtfulDodger says:

    Digger, your story has inspired me to start my own personal blog, we share so many things in common and I completely sympathize with you. I just seem to be a little further down the road than you at this point. My particular wait happend to be 13 years, in which time I was loyal, forgiving, a good father, supportive and understanding. I still am, but I couldn’t wait any longer and found someone to share my other side with, someone that only wanted that side from me. Every stuation is different, but I’d take the no response from I love you very seriously. As bad as things sometimes got with us, we never stopped saying that to each other.

  15. I have absolutely no advice for you Digger — I’m too weirded out that your Cleopatra arrived for you at roughly the same time as my no-pseudonym-yet new email companion arrived for me… and that though we live across the country from each other now, I grew up in metro-Atlanta (I know Stone Mtn all too well)… and that we both blog about sex and marriage. Seriously, what are the odds?

    As I said before, I have no advice about your marriage. But as someone also ‘electronically involved’, someone hanging from a cliff with tigers above and tigers below, I’d suggest you take it slow and ‘taste the berries to savor their sweetness.’

    Maybe you’ll get that reference. What’re the odds? Good luck.

  16. Mia says:

    I agree with a lot of the comments, particularly the ones that say Arwen has checked out of this marriage. You gave her TWO opportunities to say “I love you” and she didn’t even give you the much hated “thanks!” She doesn’t act like a willing participant in this marriage – she acts like she has to be there because of some sort of obligation. Something really has to be said. I know you love her very much, but it’s apparent that she doesn’t love you even half that. The Cleo thing… be VERY careful. Your feelings for her are going to bounce back into your marriage and you’re probably going to think that the situation is alot better than it is. I’m not sure what your plan is – stay married with no chance of divorce, waiting for arwen to divorce you, stay together and have a mistress, whatever – but I think you need to sit down and figure it out before you make any hasty decisions based on your lack of sex.

  17. I will apologize if I came across as if I was bent out of shape. I am with the others in that we are just concerned.

    I think that Arwyn has checked out. If she can’t say “i love you” then she’s gone. I never stopped saying it, and still haven’t after all that we have gone through. If she can’t say it, then maybe she is the one that is checked out. Maybe she is the one that is ready to move on.

    I don’t think that either of you are in the place to work on this anymore. You have both started to move away from each other and your gap is too big to bridge.

    You might have tried, so maybe it’s time to try something else. Something she’ll notice.

    I can’t imagine going 10 years the way you have. I commend you for doing that for your family. But if it’s truly that bad and you are truly that unhappy, then DO something about it.

    I agree with one of the comments…if Cleo was just a positive person in your life right now, a friend, you would be able to share that with Arwyn. You would at least be able to tell her you were friends. I at least got that….I just didn’t know the rest of the story. Don’t lie or hide it. Be honest with Arwyn and yourself.

  18. ~Sie says:

    She doesn’t say I love you (too). She doesn’t want you to touch her. She doesn’t do nice things for you. Sorry to say that I think this is a woman who is checked out of her marriage. Been there, done that. I give you tons of credit for hanging in there and trying and not slipping into adultery.

  19. Rosie says:

    I’ve not commented before. But I read part of the old blog and parts of this one. Hey, it’s your life. You think ALOT; You’ve tried ALOT of things. Do whatever YOU feel is right for you at this point in time. You are a person, you deserve to be good to YOU.

  20. Not disagreeing with Rosie, here, in that yes, you are a person who needs to be good to yourself.

    But if you decide that what you need to be good to yourself is a relationship with someone else, then to be good to Arwen, as one last gesture to the woman who you once had something with, and who is the mother of your children, *she* deserves the honesty of you being up front about that.

    I’m not one to advocate divorce because ‘the bloom is off the rose,” and I have advocated staying together for the kids in some cases. But those cases would be cases where there is still some love, affection, and friendship, and I think those cases preclude going outside the marriage, *UNLESS* it is done openly and with the consent of both partners.

  21. Rob says:

    Digger, I sent you a private email with my thoughts on your situation – just so you know.

  22. Digger Jones says:

    I gotcha, Rob. Thanks!


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