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I’m having coffee with Ashley tonight.

That’s such a strange thing to say.  “I’m having coffee with Ashley tonight.”  A perfectly unremarkable statement, carrying with it some weighty implications, as though it were an event that required planning, that having coffee with her should somehow be out of the ordinary.  It’s normal for married couples to have coffee together.  I see it all the time on television (and we all know anything on television must be normal).  But it becomes weird when you’ve been estranged from your spouse for over a week.

I haven’t seen her in ten days now, not since June 8, when we had our argument.  We’ve barely been in communication since then.  Presumably, she realized that I wasn’t just going to come home with nothing resolved, so there were a few days with no communication whatsoever.  Then today, I got an e-mail from her, asking if I wanted to have coffee at our favorite cafe.  I hem-hawed about it for a while, before finally texting her my assent.

So, after ten days of separation, I’m meeting Ashley tonight, to have coffee and catch up, and, I assume, to discuss the state of our marriage, why I left, and what it means for our future.  It’s not like we haven’t had this conversation a dozen times before.  We’re not breaking new ground here.  But, given the circumstances leading up to our meeting tonight, I have no idea how this is going to go.

…you know, I say that.  But it’s not entirely true.

I know that I’ll arrive fifteen minutes early, because that’s what I do.  I know I’ll be done with my first cup of coffee, likely with a shot of Bailey’s in it, by the time she shows up, perfectly punctual, as always.  I know she’ll look beautiful in her summer attire.  When I see her, my heart will skip a beat, my throat will catch, my stomach will turn in knots, the same as always when I see her the first time after any extended period apart.  And I know, despite how happy I will be to see her, I won’t hug her, or shake her hand, or anything, because I’m stubborn.  I’ll stand up while she sits, because that’s what a gentleman does, and I’ll ask how her day was.  She’ll tell me some brief anecdote about the day’s events, then ask me the same, and I’ll do the same.

By the time her first, my second, coffee arrives, we’ll have run out of pleasantries.  We will be silent for a little while.  I’ll ask her why she wanted to have coffee.  She’ll say she missed me, that she wanted to talk.  I’ll tell her there’s nothing to be said that hasn’t been said before.  She’ll agree, and her voice will catch, and she’ll try not to cry.  She will tell me she loves me, that she wants to be there for me sexually, but she doesn’t know how to change herself.  I will tell her that I love her too, that not a single day goes by that I don’t thank God for bringing her into my life, but unrequited physical intimacy is sufficient to destroy any relationship.  She’ll tell me she knows this, but she just can’t bring herself to be physically intimate as often as I’d like.  So I’ll ask her what she wants to do about this, the same problem we’ve had for years now, because something has to be done, because even though I thank God for her every day, there is also not a day that I don’t feel some level of resentment toward her for refusing to be intimate with me.

And this is where the future becomes cloudy.  It’s unlikely that she’s going to tell me that a permanent separation is in order, but given the state of things, I doesn’t strike me as totally impossible, either.  It’s just really improbable, because we still love each other as much as we ever have.  Ashley feels like she’s not enough for me (and let’s call it like it is–she isn’t), which scares and upsets her, but she won’t do enough to amend the situation.  However, that’s not enough to drive her away from me.  She wants me for the rest of her life, as she so often reminds me, in the most romantic, if still asexual, manner possible.

That means, if things go badly tonight, it will most likely be my doing.  And for all our problems, and despite my indiscretions, I’m not ready to say goodbye.  Being away from her always reminds me just how much I need her.  I acknowledge it frequently, but it’s her absence in my daily life that makes the need more palpable.  When we’re together, I crave her physical touch.  When we’re apart, I just crave her.

Anyhow.  This was intended as more of an update, and instead evolved into some kind of inner monologue about the state of my marriage.  My apologies.  Also, please forgive my absence in the past couple of weeks.  I just… haven’t felt up to responding to emails, comments, etc., which I hope is understandable.  I’ll be back soon, hopefully with something more positive to report.




  1. Bi – I just spent 15 minutes writing a comment I deleted. I want you to know I was here, but I have nothing productive to say.


  2. Good luck, buddy…

  3. I’m reading this kind of late so I’m guessing you’ve had your meeting, but I do hope things work out how they should for you both.

  4. I’ll be the supreme idiot that chimes in. I have nothing “helpful.” Just sharing the curiosity of someone else’s thoughts on your personal life. Feel free to delete this comment unread or to laugh with abandon.

    I thought you might find my thought process diverting….

    You seem to be a planner and I think what you are saying is “how can I spin this to get what I want?”


    1. You know you won’t get what you want.
    2. You know that Ashley won’t bend. She has no groundwork.

    So I think what you are saying, is that your choices are:

    1. To make it through the meeting without screwing up your future or
    2. To screw up your future.

    I guess what you are also saying is do you give in and go home or stay in the hotel?


    1. Stay in hotel and not see your love
    2. Live at home and see your love

    Either way you won’t be having sex with her and you will likely be having sex with someone else.

    Conclusion: living at home is cheaper.

    The next item would be: how do you go home, yet still have the control?

    You get control by taking control. So take control at the beginning.

    This, is my fantastical dialogue, skipping the small talk, taking control of the encounter and putting her off balance. So: tell her first thing that you are coming home and there will be changes. Though you don’t know what they are (lie). That you spent your time trying to understand her point of view. That you are so commited to the marriage that you have considered outlandish things to make this work and entertained ideas that are uncomfortable to you both (no details!). Staying together is the most important thing and you will do anything to make that happen.

    This is laying groundwork for upfront sex with other women. That you love her so much that you are willing to have sex with other women, no matter how repugnant it is to you. That you love her so much, you will do this for *her*.

    Now that last paragraph is a bunch of B.S., but doesn’t it actually have a grain of truth? Isn’t this what you have done, only Ashley wasn’t aware? Because you *can* easily divorce her and be in a sexually healthy relationship. You’ve chosen not to because you love her *that* much.

    Ok, you can stop laughing anytime now…anytime…anytime…now would be good….

  5. Sorry, I’m reading your blog posts backwards – probably not a good thing to do!
    I’m sure you’ve had your meeting already and it probably went the way you thought it would..
    Would she/you consider seeing a sex therapist together?
    That sort of thing would probably turn me right off – but it might get to the root of the problem – or marriage counsellor. I’m sure they deal with similar situations every day…

  6. When ever I tried to anticipate how a potentially contentious conversation would go with my spouse, I never, ever got it right. The reality was not as severe as the script my mind concocted. That and I never really can predict just which illogical twist my spouse would take first. Hope your talk with Ashley last night went spectacularly counter to your script. Maybe she’ll budge.

  7. That was beautiful. I hope all goes well for you two.

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