This Regret of Mine

Taking stock of my life to date is an odd experience. How did I ever manage to get this far? I’m on the threshold of half a century of living but with very little idea beyond chronological aging of how I got here.

We have always had major difficulties in our intimate life despite nearly two decades having passed in our lives together. My gentle man is often at a loss as to how to help matters and this serves only to heighten my sense of total inadequacy in this most personal aspect of our relationship.

There are times when my body seems unable to distinguish between what lies in my memory and the reality of what is happening now. Between danger and safety. It is so tangled up and confusing that I don’t know how to describe it really. Other than to say that because of this there are times when I feel unable to endure being touched at all.

Sometimes this happens when my gentle man is “well under way”. This is the most difficult part of all for me. Whilst I enjoy the closeness of the initial stages and build up towards intimacy, I do not enjoy the sensations of the act itself, the movement inside of me. My body sends out distress signals that I sometimes find impossible to ignore. I do try to though. There are occasions when these signals are of sufficient magnitude to bring things to a halt and other times not. I have neither the will nor the courage to be more graphic but I’m sure you get the gist.

We are both aware that most of the problems stem from within me and from the past. And yet I can’t help feeling that on those occasions when he decides not to respond to my distress by stopping he is in some ways reinforcing the violation perpetrated by the monster man from so long ago.

I know that it’s not fair on either of us that this shadow hangs over us still. And I know that it is grossly unfair to characterise my loving gentle man as in any way similar to the one who did the damage all those years ago.

I suggested that we get some help. As it turns out though, I am not the only intensely private person in this relationship. In many ways I was relieved because in this as in so many areas of my life, I lack courage.

So we have soldiered on through the years. We talk about it now and then, but not much. When we broach the subject the conversation is usually short as this is not something either of us finds easy to discuss. Despite this, over time things have improved somewhat to the extent that we both find some enjoyment these days. At least sometimes. We are mostly happy.

I come now to a period in my life that I find difficult to comprehend even in retrospect. I've always assumed that I am by nature a faithful person. Hardly surprising really given what I’ve just relayed. Even so, I believe strongly in commitment and the value of a promise given and kept.

And yet I have been unfaithful. There are all sorts of things I could say about this but none of them are more relevant than my deep contrition and confusion over the way I behaved. I found I was capable of acting in a way I never dreamt possible.

I will not describe how this came about other than to say that I'd never experienced anything like the level of desire I felt in those moments with her. I won't deny it. In some ways I think this was partly due to the unreality of the situation. Drinking has that effect.

It was just so incredibly freeing to be close without being burdened by the anticipation of sensations I‘ve learned to dread. Having said that, this was two short lived episodes.

So … a few hours of delight weighed against nearly two decades of loving faithfulness. Which justifies nothing. I know that. It is impossible in the real world to undo what has been done.

Would I undo it though? Yes I would. In an instant.

It’s simple. I did the wrong thing, there is no doubt in my mind about that. I broke trust with my gentle man. I thought I was incapable of doing that. I acknowledge that I learnt something about myself even so. I'd long ago reconciled myself to the idea that I mightn't have the capacity to feel such intense physical desire at all.

But the cost has been higher than I could have imagined. Nearly two years have passed and still I’m trying to find a way past it. To tell my gentle man is not an option. Not only would it cause untold hurt but I think with our history it might break our relationship beyond repair.

Anyway, why should he suffer for my mistake? So if I can't or won't disclose this then I continue to break trust on one level in order to preserve it on another. This is my deepest regret of all.


  1. I'm no psychiatrist, but I think part of your intimacy issue is because of the guilt you're obviously still carrying, plus how it has affected your relationship in non-sexual ways.

    I understand deeply private issues are uncomfortable for people to discuss (some more than others), but there are unresolved feelings in both of you that will only fester inside if you don't get them out into the open.

    I get the feeling he is in denial because, at the bottom of it all, he loves you and does not thing he can reconcile that with his anger. I'm sure you sense, or at least suspect, his anger buried deep inside, and I think that's the root of your fear.

    But we can't deny our needs, no matter what we may think to the contrary, and that is what led you to find relief/release/satisfation, and you chose somewhere where that fear didn't exist.

    This satisfaction was only temporary though, and it still wasn't everything you needed, which is why it didn't last.

    My advice (for what it's worth) is for you both to get professional help, regardless of how difficult the idea may be to you both.

    (Remember: Nothing worthwhile ever comes easy!)

    Or, at the very least, have a long, knock-down, drag-out, heart-to-heart talk and see if you both can express your feelings and desires to the other (not always easy, which is why I recommend including a professional), to put this issue away for good (be at peace with it), and finally move ahead with your lives together.

    The first step is the hardest. I wish you both luck.

    P.S. To offer a little comic relief here, I just have to share the 'WORD VERIFICATION' word that popped up: jokin

    (I think Serendipity dropped that down just to remind us that life isn't always a downer!)

  2. Dear Jos,
    I must tell you again - how brave you are to open up your heart and share with your blogging family! You have had so much pain in your (still) young life.... and there are so many deep layers of buried emotions.... and, they are all connected.

    I do think counseling or you and your husband would be helpful. But, this is something you must do at your own pace and time. The fact that you have opened up to us is so HUGE....a giant, positive step...and I hope that now, after you have written this, you are feeling a little better about YOU.

    I am so proud of you! I am proud to call you a friend.... and I will be here with you, to listen always.

    Sending you a HUGE, LOVING HUG and Courage to continue on this journey!!!!


    ♥ Robin ♥

  3. Jos, You are so very brave to write about this here. I too have a monster man in my past, I know what you are going through. I have successfully put it behind me, but as we know somethings linger in the body. I agree with you not to tell your partner. Perhaps the thing with the woman did not feel like cheating because it was a woman and not another man? I can also understand how that could have happened, one finally feeling passion, who could have resisted that, not many.
    You will find your way dear Jos, You ARE finding your way. Love. Hugs. xoxo

  4. I wish you could stop beating yourself up over this. Contrition and remorse have had their say and your choices are made, your lesson learned. Forgive me for throwing religion in here, but God considers all sin on an equal level. Yours misstep does not carry any more weight that the rest of ours. What point is continued self flagellation? What does it serve and how? I feel it just eats at whatever goodness could grow in it's place. You allow this. I wish you wouldn't. Forgiving ourselves is the hard part, but you are stronger than you think.

    Love you Citrus

  5. jos, sometimes the need to be cracked open--to feel passion, to reconnect with your sacred self, becomes essential, even when we don't understand. i think the real question here is not betrayal and not cheating and not anything else you punish yourself for. to me, and i know this only to well, it is about how to heal yourself and your man. the truth is usually a relief; if you think there will be more pain than help in sharing your 'secret' with him, then i hope your own truth leads you to understand that this did not happen because you were bad or selfish or self indulgent. this happened because it had to. that passion perhaps can and will be expressed in different ways from now on, but it has to be expressed. suppression doesn't work. your experience is part of your journey to being yourself and no one else.

    in my own circumstance, i carry deep sadness and regret but i stop at shame and blame. i've had to work at it, but whatever got cracked open in me needed to feel the light of day.

    with love

    p.s. hold on to wine and words: a gem

  6. I love that you took the time to comment. But more I find the compassion and understanding of your comments quite astonishing and in some ways overwhelming.

    There is nothing new under the sun. We relate tales of ourselves because of a need to be understood ... and then stand back in amazement when we are.

    Thank you seems such a small thing to say. Even so, thank you.

    KJ, I will think a lot about what you've said in particular. Perhaps because I'm not sure I've understood well enough. xx Jos

  7. Dear Jos, I'm overawed. At your courage, your unflinching honesty, your wisdom, your writing itself. Thinking of you and your gentle man. Fiend xxx