Risks ... why is it always about risks?

This weekend my gentle man and I are going to have a talk. The kind where we are both adult and have some decisions to make about ... crikey well about everything really. Things have never been quite this bad I guess . Or more accurately, we've never been in a place where we both acknowledge this fact.

Two weeks ago Trevor told me that he thought "everything" was falling apart. My initial response was not helpful. I said "Jeezusssss, you only just noticed?" ... or words to that effect. I'm not proud of my reaction. It's characteristic of what happens when I feel suddenly and unexpectedly under threat when already feeling up to my eyeballs stress-wise. I snap out an attacking phrase instead of pausing for thought.

After months and months of hardly talking about anything at all, here at last was an opening. I wasted that chance. But having said what he did, he couldn't unsay it. Sometimes that works to our advantage don't you find?

He didn't want to talk about it at that point and to be honest neither did I. I was shaken by him finally coming out with something I guess we've both been feeling for quite some time now. Not only that but he'd been drinking quite a bit so things said from that point on would not necessarily reflect the truth of his feelings.

Drinking magnifies the bad stuff and can often end up escalating small grievances into major meltdowns. Something about drinking frees the inner drama queen in us all I guess.

Why don't we talk more? Sometimes I think it's that we feel secure enough that we don't need to so much. A complacency sets in. I could prevaricate as an olympic sport, really I could.

We get scared. Both of us. Mostly the reason we don't talk is because of this. I used to think that it was solely my fear and that I was projecting it onto Trev. Years on I can see that really we are both quite child-like in the emotional sphere. It comforts me in some ways that I am not alone in this.

It's seems strange because in so many ways I trust Trev, and yet in some fundamental way I don't feel safe with him. This is not because of any failing on his part and I know this.

Neither wants to be the one to hurt the other and yet we are neither of us happy.

What to do.

Talk, that's what we have to do.

We put it off for a couple of weeks as he was on the cusp of a trip away. He's home later on today and then will be away again for the next couple of weeks. We have two days together this weekend before his next trip. Once this trip is out of the way he will be home again for the foreseeable future.

Sometimes we have to do the things we are most scared of. For me it is breaking out from this self-imposed protective shell of mine to tell the truth. In order to do that I have to find out what the truth is. This itself scares me.

I am scared of saying the wrong thing. Of causing needless damage and hurt by being careless ... saying things when I'm not entirely sure of my own feelings. Saying things is hard because it's irretrievable. It's a risk.

And there's this. Sometimes I only say things in response to what's said to me. In this way I abdicate my responsibility to be an equal partner in our relationship. I find it hard to put myself and my needs equal to his.

I find it hard to recognise what my own needs are for that matter.

I know at the root of this is a feeling of un-deservedness. And I know that recognising this is only the start point for addressing it. Another process to be gotten under way at some point.

I'm scared of discovering the source of my unhappiness. The nature of it. What if I can do something about it? You see, I can live with this unhappiness ... I'm used to it. I've had a lot of practice. It's safe in a funny sort of way. The status quo. But change, even change for the better is more than a little unsettling.

What if I have to go through a phase of enormous upheaval .... possibly causing deep hurt to someone I love more than I can describe. And what if it doesn't work? Is it worth the risk I wonder.

How many times have we started to break these barriers down only to revert to silence again when it gets too hard? How many false dawns do we endure before concluding that the effort is more than we can bear.

Maybe he's right. That it is all falling apart. That we have spent all these years simply building a house of cards. All facade and no substance. No weight. No depth or ballast to keep us stable. Happy.

Can we build something more sustainable? Does he want to? Do I? If not, what then?

Sometimes we build things up too much. We carry a weight of expectation that far exceeds anything that can be achieved by simply talking.

But we have to anyway.


  1. Jos, i don't know what to say. it's a difficult place but one thing is sure, change will need to happen. soften yourself to this in some way. often this is the hardest point, isn't it? we think we want change and yet we cleave to what we know. know that you are a beautiful and strong person with bounds of resources and tomorrow is possible. and perhaps an agreement to focus on change and converstaion for growth while leaving hurting one another aside. the outcome might be hard, but it is the intention that is the most hurtful. intend to help one another through whatever the change might be.

    oh, not having any idea what to say i'm talking in circles. i guess i want to say that if you believe in something (both of you working for a healthier way of living) then it will work. and i send my love.


  2. jos, falling apart can open space that needs to be open. sometimes the pieces will not fit together again, but sometimes they will.

    when my partner and i made the decision to 'separate' for a month, it was so totally terrifying for both of us. we did not contact or rely on eachother during that month: we met only one night a week and that felt like an awkward date, but one without all our bagggage. it was really helpful. today, neither is the same person we were but we are now more ourselves. we are together but more separate and i have come to know and appreciate myself more lovingly. i found some strength i had relied on others for, probably for all of my life.

    you are courageous and your words will be the right words. there is no need to second guess.

    like erin, i feel like i'm talking in circles too. what i really am trying to say is whatever has come out within you is sacred and it cannot and should not be told to go back inside. two good people will apart and together do their best.

    love always

  3. Dear Jos, I have been feeling this for some time now. Even though I have not known you for long and we have never met or talked, I feel very close to you and I love you. I can feel it when you are not happy and when something is wrong, though you never say in your emails. This I know for sure, you KNOW how you feel about this situation and you KNOW what to do and I beleive you will find the courage to do it as you are one of the bravest people I know. Yes, BRAVE!
    Sometimes we have to hurt people, but it ends up being for your and their best, we just can't see it for the pain, but after the pain we can see more clearly. Perhaps do what Kj and Jb did, take a break from one another which it appears you will do while Trevor is on his trip. I wish you all the luck with this situation.
    Thank you for your sweet birthday email.
    I love you.
    Love and a zillion hugs,
    Annie xoxo

  4. You've been inside my head:)

    What you wrote is pretty much who I felt/feel. Except you love your husband. My love died a long time ago, it got drowned in wine and beaten up with words until it just up and died.

    There is a very good book called "Broken Open" by Elizabeth Lesser that I found helpful. Otherwise I got nothing. I'm still trying to figure out my own life and feelings.

    I don't know you Jos but wish well, no matter what happens.

  5. dear jos, i was going to say much of what the other peeps have said. and also, there are half ways in all this as well. when i was in the relationship with the artist, we lived together and it was so unhealthy and messy that it couldn't just be ended. i asked him to move out and we carried on in a relationship both living in london for a while, then i moved to the south coast and we carried on at weekends, then he formed a relationship with someone else which finally ended it as far as i was concerned. it was almost as though we were weaning ourselves off each other.

    the other thing is, if you make a change and it doesn't work you can perhaps change back. it might not be the same but it might give you both a chance to try out new ways of being for size.

    you are dearly loved by so many people and you are so wise. it will all be ok in the end, one way or another. much love and hugs.

  6. Well Citrus, we have wound up at exactly the same spot. Hard as hell. Agreed. I have just finished a book. I cried through most of it, seeing point after point after point where thing turned south and suddenly...the why. I think there is hope. The book made me feel that way. But only if I start from a place of complete honesty. I'm pretty sure I need to be alone for awhile, to figure me out first. Then, perhaps healing can begin. I must try one more time. But it can't be the try of before...me just trying to suck it up and be obediently dutiful. No. Complete honesty. It scares the shit out of me. I don't want to hurt anyone either, but I am hurting...all the time. So...here goes nothing. I think it will be next week for me. Gearing up and sending you hugs, courage, and clear heart for your conversation. I really would recommend the book though. It's relatively short.


  7. Dear Jos, you KNOW I have been there...18 months ago - plus with the added stress of losing my job at the same time. What words of advice can I give? Just to TALK IT OUT. Communication is paramount.... and then, if you decide to part for a bit. you can see what happens. It is NOT EASY.... but you are far stronger than I was when this happened to me - and hey - look - I am still here! And....talking (slowly) to my Ex again. We are now very different people than we were then....but it seems to be morphing into something better than before.

    Love, always,

    ♥ Robin ♥

  8. I am always astonished at how kind people are here in blogland. It never ceases to amaze me that we have such a capacity to reach out to help one another by sharing strength and wisdom.
    Much of this is to do with my own confusion which I need to work through. If I am not clear then how can I expect him (or I) to understand?.

    It is not unusual to feel weary at the outset, but it is rather dis-spiriting all the same.

    I appreciate your words more than I can say. Thank you so much. Really. xx Jos