Boundaries Crossed Cannot Be Uncrossed

Twenty years of marriage. That’s a long time.

We recently went through something I’d hoped we’d never face.

But, boundaries were crossed.

And once those boundaries are crossed, they cannot be uncrossed. You can’t un-ring a bell. Just like that sleeping bag you bought that will NEVER again fit in the tiny little bag it came in; you can’t go back. Things will be different from now on.

This may be uncomfortable for some of you to read. Heck, it’s uncomfortable for me to write.

Some of you may have experienced this very thing in your own marriage. I hope your relationship is stronger for having gone through it.

You may have guessed what comes next. I’m just gonna say it – gonna put it out there – here goes…

I used Clint’s toothbrush.

Ugh. It’s been a couple of weeks and I can hardly talk about it even now.

I’ll start from the beginning…

The girls and I had come home from an overnight trip to a town about three hours away. I unpacked. And my toothbrush was not there. Gone. Disappeared. Vanished.

I replayed in my mind packing up at my friend’s house and couldn’t for the life of me figure out where my toothbrush might be.

“No problem”, I thought, “I’ll grab one of the extras I keep under the sink in the bathroom.”

No extras!

Where were my extras?

Then, I remembered the last “extra” that I gave away to a friend who was visiting.

Oh no.

And I wasn’t going to town for three days!

That night and the next morning, I brushed my teeth with toothpaste on my finger. Not the same as a toothbrush, but it did the trick.

By the time bedtime rolled around on the second night, I needed more than a finger brushing. I glanced at Clint’s toothbrush.

Ashley! What are you thinking? That’s not an option! You’re stronger than that!” (That’s me talking to myself in my head)

I tried a Q-Tip.

Don’t do that. It’s gross.

The following morning, I found myself standing in the bathroom sans toothbrush. Again, my eyes wandered to Clint’s toothbrush.

What if I just used it this once? Do I tell him? Do I not tell him? Wait! Has he used my toothbrush and not told me?” No, he wouldn’t. Hmmm, I didn’t think I wanted to know the answer to that one.

I quieted the voices in my head. I finger brushed. I rinsed with water. I gargled with mouthwash.

You know what? None of those things are the same as brushing your teeth with a toothbrush.

Not. Even. Close.

Night three. There I was, standing in front of the sink, staring at my reflection in the mirror.

Don’t do it. Don’t do it.

I was going to town in the morning. I just had two brushings left. I could make it.

And then, in a moment of weakness, life changed forever.

I snatched Clint’s toothbrush up, squeezed out a generous amount of toothpaste, and brushed away.

My teeth were clean! Glory Hallelujah!

That feeling was washed away as quickly as the toothpaste on my teeth. Guilt washed over me, “What have I done?”

I walked out of the bathroom with my head hanging low. I had to come clean. Well, my conscious at least, my teeth were now sparkling.

I looked at Clint and barely above a whisper I said, ”I used your toothbrush.”

I braced for what was to come. Would things ever be the same? Had I betrayed his trust? I didn’t even ask – I just did it.

You know what he said?

“That’s gross.”

And he went back to reading.

That’s it?

“Aren’t you disgusted? Repulsed? Don’t you feel like we’ve crossed a line that cannot be undone?”

“Just get me a new one when you get yours tomorrow.”

Oh, you better believe I will buddy. I’m tossing that old toothbrush as soon as I walk in the door with the replacement. I don’t want that memory to be staring at me each time I wash my face or brush my teeth.

So, we’ve survived. I like to think our marriage is stronger because of this. We now have a bond over dental hygiene.

I just have one nagging concern that won’t go away.

He wasn’t repulsed. He wasn’t disgusted. He didn’t feel like I had betrayed the sanctity of marriage.

Which leaves me with only one conclusion as to why.

I think he has definitely used my toothbrush before.

But, I’m not going to ask.

Because I really, really, REALLY, don’t want to know.

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2 Responses to “Boundaries Crossed Cannot Be Uncrossed

  • Love this! So funny. Oh, the boundaries….

    • Ashley Weaver
      7 months ago

      Such is marriage, right Mary? And let me just say…when Clint read this, he looked at me, smiled, and asked, “Are you sure you don’t want to know?” (Gulp)

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