More ponderings

What is real and what unreal. How do you tell the difference. How do you trust what your heart is telling you if your head is yelling a different message entirely. And what if a large part of your heart wants to believe what your head is telling you anyway? Because it's easier. Simpler.

But is it truthful?

Can a heart be in two minds?

To put these questions seems like an academic exercise and yet the answers have much bearing on my current state of mind. I am feeling increasingly unsettled in my life just now. Unhappy and I'm trying to work out why ... but in typical fashion I am doing so whilst trying to maintain the status quo at home which feels deceitful in the most fundamental way.

And yet if I don't know what I truly want then how can I do otherwise.

It's like I keep creeping towards the edge of this enormous chasm knowing that I may have to find my way across but without the faintest idea what lies either within it or beyond it. Which seems totally ridiculous really. Even to me.

Why don't I just shut these thoughts down and concentrate on what's at hand. Living my life in much the same was as ever before. With Trev none the wiser and mostly unscathed by the vagaries of my heart.

I could do that.

Even sitting down and discussing our present "difficulties" over the weekend resulted in the most horrendous scenes. Screaming at me "What do you want? What do I want? Christ alive can't we just get on with it without all this carry on about feelings and all that shit?" Slam dunk. Back to the books. Silence. Simmering silence followed by an absense of some two weeks now. Time to re-group.

I can hardly imagine what would occur if I were to ponder aloud as I am able to do here though. I think it would be fair to say that it's not something to be entered into lightly. So I don't.

I feel the need to explore these feelings but I'm not sure how to do so without causing harm or deceit. Squaring the circle ... is life ever easy? It's as easy as you want to make it. I know the sense in that point of view.

My heart is telling me that the reason I can't suppress these other feelings is because they are real. Valid. That even though they started from events that happened in a state of unreality they have solidified over time rather than vapourised as they should have done with a more distant perspective. That if they weren't real I wouldn't keep returning to them, turning them over in my mind as if hoping to find a new way to diminish them. Put the lid back on this Pandora's box.

My head is telling me that experiences gone through whilst in the fug of drinking are unreal and therefore attaching the weight of reality to them is an exercise in self-delusion. That my own inexperience is at the root of why I am still ... over two years on ... giving this a weight it really should never have had. I think this may well be true but how can I be sure? Inexperience is self-limiting in it's effect.

One way to test this hypothesis is to repeat the experience but with a clear head. Which I can't do so even thinking about it is pointless.

Why can't I?

There are so many reasons. Even putting aside the question of right and wrong ... of re-crossing the boundary of loving faithfulness within marriage (which I'm not for one second going to attempt to justify) am I the kind of person that can use another without having regard for them?

No, I don't believe I am.

But doesn't that pre-suppose that the other has much the same set of core values as I do? How likely is that? How relevant is that? To go against my own core values pre-supposes that I think it's worth it to find out something I probably already know. And that is that life is not simple. That decisions are an active choice of cutting off one possibility in favour of another.

Funny thing is I thought I'd already settled this decision some while ago. Shut off from one possibility in favour of the other. My heart refuses to let my mind have it's way on this. It demands it's right of appeal.


  1. Can I speak for myself here, Jos, and perhaps somehow it might help? I went through something like this. I could tell you entirely but I've just erased much of it. Not because of shame. I've made decisions which went against my core values (that I soon learned weren't quite what I had thought they were, not in ideal but in construction altogether) but the biggest issues of importance are 1) nothing gets resolved unless you are willing to let go of the status quo 2) this is never about another man and always about you. between my heart and my head, the banter died out after some time and it was in time that i earned some clarity. but i am still suspicious of my motivations and my decisions some two years later. i try to be quiet around them. i try to let themselves be seen. but even with suspicion, i think i understand myself the better for it. it is as though there is one of us, one being, and there are two other bickering animals that live inside. one of the mind, the other of the heart. they're all connected to one another, comprising the whole, but they've all their own interests. it's not a wonder it's confusing.

    i had no fear, jos. i had no fear of right or wrong. i had fear only of the status quo because i realized that somehow inside of it i was drowning. i trusted that truth would show. it has. and if not entirely, it will over time. i also, very early on, recognized regret was never an option, that regret is a foolish construct. and so i was resolute. i had empathy too but as i was in my marriage i was doing no one any good, not hollow.

    anyhow, i've said too much and not enough. if you care to, you can always write me if you'd like. it's a hard place to be and sometimes it's just good to know you aren't alone and that it is not, inspite of it feeling so, and it does, i know it does, it is not the end of the world. everyone survives. so much of this is about choice. we've more self power than we know.

    much love and understanding

  2. oh erin, what a friend to jos you are. what you have written and shared is incredible and insightful and damn damn true. i second everything.

    jos, clarity is especially hard when the other person cannot or will not hear, and/or deminishes attempts to speak honestly. you have to go it alone when that happens, and i think that is where you are right now. i know this: no decision like this is unilateral. one person may be active and the other passive, but two people contribute to where they find themselves. and what is good for you will ultimately be good for the other, because living the most authentic life you can is not up for compromise.

    maybe a first step of separate space will help you know what you feel. i was scared but so relieved when i faced that i might need to stand alone and go from there.

    i hope the friends who surround you in your in person life are half as good as the blog friends you have developed and earned here. write me too anytime. or ask me to call. so many of us understand almost perfectly because we've been there.


  3. 'with Trev none the wiser and mostly unscathed by the vagaries of my heart.'

    jos, i had to come back and tell you that you are 100% wrong about this. your heart is anything but vulgar. it is simply wanting to love and be loved, starting with your most precious self. that is where it HAS to start.

    and, as you know from science, a chaotic heart is a healthy heart. it's accepting the chaos without guilt or blame--that is all it wants....

    love again,

  4. Been there, done that, don't have the t-shirt though:)

    I left my husband, went back, things didn't get better and then a friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer and died very quickly, in three months. She was only a few years older than me. I went home and thought, do I really want to spend the rest of my life with this man? What if I were to die in two years, is this how I want to spend it? And the answer was no. It was terrifying because I have an awful time telling people what I want, what I need and I have rather porous boundaries, both of which I'm working on.

    There are no easy answers. Even now, I've just started a job that I thought would make me happy and although the job is okay, it has not made me happy. I have to give up that belief, that externals will make me happy, like a job, friends, a man. This is about me, how do I find my own happiness? How do I find my own peace? And I'm learning that it's okay to fuck up, again and again, because I'm human. I learn, ever so slowly, but I do learn.

    I don't think you have to repeat the experience to understand it better though. I think alcohol reveals more of the true person, releases our inhibitions and we do as we please. And as for trusting your own self, it's scary but you can do it because deep down, you already know.

    Take care.

  5. Jos,

    All wonderful advice here. I keep saying this like a broken record: YOU do KNOW what you want. It is only fear that stops you. It is hard to hear your real true voice when there is a lot of noise in your head. Get away, get quiet and listen.
    And here is a thought, perhaps the drink just made it easier to do what you really wanted and dulled the fear a bit, that does not mean that what you wanted was not real.
    I love you.

  6. You are all right of course. Again I have to stand back incredulous at you wonderful women ... all of you willingly taking time and showing such care. I've done nothing to earn it and I'm very aware of that fact. Your words re-assure me that there is much to think about here ... that this is not "something of nothing" which thought is partly what has stopped me in my tracks for so long now. Well that and being a total wuss.

    I am glad to have some breathing space over the next couple of weeks to think on further. I'm quite sure I shall come back and re-read your words over the next little while. And yes, I might well call upon your kind offers of someone to talk this through with. Offers that I appreciate more than you can ever know. xx Jos

  7. I'm a bit late today - but you have already received some wonderful and real advice. I know that everyone here means what they said and that we all open our hearts to offer any help you might want.....sometimes just listening is tremendously helpful. (

    You may really NOT KNOW what you really are at a definite crossroads - and both paths look a bit daunting... this time apart WILL be helpful though. Time is the key...letting go, feeling almost-flat, devoid of excess emotion may be a way of clearing your mind and allowing what you want (or at least what you want to try) to be revealed.

    Love to you brave Jos!!!!

    ♥ Robin ♥

  8. My dear Jos,

    We can hide from anything and anyone in this world except from ourselves. What seems like a cliché is at times the most confusing and painful truth. Is it what you want or it is what you need? The wants can be replaced with other wants. The need cannot be satisfied with anything else except the specific need fulfilled.

    After 18 years of marriage I looked at me and who I was instead of who I "truly was". The status quo went out the window and my divorce cost me everything I had earned, my homes - two of them - made my attorneys wealthy and I had to start from ground zero. But I found the hand I truly needed to keep on going: mine.

    Vows of never marrying again went out the window when I met my husband. We have been married for 12 years. We don't have a perfect marriage, but we have a good marriage. We are faithful and loyal and above all, we are friends. There hasn't been a set of rules for compulsive behaviour, we just respect each other's limitations and abilities and try to remember that we both chose to be here. Not for worse. Just because.

    This is going to sound trite, but a good friend of my Father's wrote perhaps the truth of his heart when he wrote: "A single event can awaken within us a stranger totally unknown to us. To live is to be slowly born." I hope you find the way to you, to affirm your rebirth and celebrate your courage to give yourself the chance to be the Jos who has been awakened and waiting to become.

  9. I love this post, for i see how far you have come over time, the journey to here. I was going to post ages ago but left it. I think you sound more organised in your thoughts, further along your path, than you have been up till now. As if the decision may end up making itself known to you at some point down the track.

  10. I try to live by my gut instincts these days and the fact that life truly is subject to times though, I follow what I think I want instead of what I know is best for me hence, what I really do want.