Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Head vs Heart

My love life has been characterised by a distinct inability to listen to what my head’s telling me. I’m a follow your heart kind of girl, the last of the romantics and no matter how hard I try and listen to the little voice in my head, it gets drowned out by the twanging of my heartstrings.

Take for instance my very first relationship at the tender age of 16. I had a fairly unpleasant boyfriend who manipulated me in the only way a 17 year old with low self esteem could. He told me that I was ugly and that everyone in his year was laughing at him for going out with me and no one could understand what he saw in me, along with other similar pleasantries. My head suspected that something wasn’t quite right and told me to "Get out immediately" but my tender little heart, experiencing love for the first time and witnessing my parent’s marriage break down, told me that this was my one and only chance and I needed to stick in there.

You think I would have realised at that point in time that my heart doesn’t know anything.

But I continued to be led around by it and a merry dance indeed it has led me. From relationship to relationship – throwing itself in headfirst while the little voice has stood in the background shaking its head slowly and going “What are you doing you moron, listen to me!”

The little voice told me that Dave* wasn’t quite right for me. He was just a little bit too quiet and serious and all in favour of the easy life. I was dramatic and, quite frankly, a little bit crazy but my heart told me that I must have got it right this time, I was, after all, the incredibly knowledgable age of 21 when I knew everything there was to know. But I ignored the voice, even when Dave told me that he wasn’t looking to settle down any time soon and wanted to go off travelling and explore the world, and I hung on, until my heart realised that it wasn’t getting what it was needing back and led me to someone else.

The heart continued to pound, no matter how many knocks it got, and it never beat faster than the time when I was going out with The One. Perfectly matched, I’d already known him for years, and everything was going swimmingly until the heart decided that I should absolutely definitely tell him that I thought he was The One. The little voice said “Nooooooooooooo what are you doing?!” but the heart was confident this wouldn’t backfire.

Except it kind of did backfire. The trouble was that although The One was, you know, The One. He wasn’t The One At That Moment. He was in a strange old place, not behaving at all like the person I fell in love in with. And the little voice told me that I should leave but the heart refused to let him go. It knew, it absolutely knew that this was the one. And it held on and it held on because it knew that it was strong enough to fix everything that was wrong with him and that if it just stayed in there, he would realise that it knew best.

Until one day it could take no more and it had to go. It was stretched to breaking point and ready to crack in two and it realised that it wasn’t enough. Sometimes love isn’t enough. And for probably the only time in my life, the little voice and the heart said as one, “Time to let go”.

But the heart never really let go. It understood that it wasn’t enough at the moment but that it might be in the future and it still remained certain that it belonged to The One and no one else.

But over time this got lost and occasionally the heart would flare up and say “Hey, wait I love The One, not this other person” and the little voice would say “Oh no you don’t. Don’t start with this again, that’s only going to lead you down a rocky road. Please listen to me, you have to bury that love deep inside and don’t even think about it”

And the heart said a very sheepish “Ok” and seeing as it had been so wrong about so many other relationships it guessed the little voice was probably right.

But soon it was back to its old tricks...

I ignored the little voice when it told me that Steve* wasn’t right for me. Why in my right mind would a slovenly glutton like me be a perfect match for the ultimate gym machine? And when the little voice told me that something wasn’t quite right about this ‘friend’ of his I knew I should have listened to it. But the heart believed the lies and believed he loved it back right up until out of the blue he decided he didn’t love it anymore.

And then a few weeks later I met The Boyfriend.

And the heart said “YES! Finally a nice boy who would never ever hurt me and will look after me and make sure I don’t get broken.”

But the voice?

It said “It’s too soon. You have to wait and give the heart time to mend, it’s not quite itself, it’s still in extreme need of repair”

And the heart replied “NONSENSE. I. Am. Fine. Too soon, too schmoon. Shut up little voice.”

And then 22 months later, the heart had some kind of volcanic explosion and remembered that it loved The One and that things were different now, he was out of the strange old place and back to the person it had fallen for in the first place.

Except I’m older now (did I tell you it was just my birthday? Yes?) and I can’t let the heart have its own way again. It’s been wrong so many times. It’s the Weakest Link. It’s Britain’s Biggest Loser. If we were picking teams for netball, my heart would be the one wearing a patch over one eye who couldn't catch if its life depended on it.

So I turn to the little voice for some help and for the first time ever it’s decided to shut its trap. Or it’s talking so quietly that I can’t hear it. Or I don’t really like what it’s saying so I’m not really listening to it.

So until I can decipher what the little voice is saying I’m in the worst position imaginable – this close to everything I dreamed of and this close away from smashing it all to pieces in favour of, once again, going with the heart.

Although sometimes I don’t even think the heart knows what it wants. And sometimes I think it's a sneaky little devil and pretends to be the little voice to try and trick me.

Any of my other organs fancy helping me out here? Liver? Got anything to say? Pancreas? Fancy pitching in? Kidneys? Fancy a break from all the filtering?

(It’s always better to make a little joke than face reality I find)

*The names have been changed. Just never know. Also I like the DRAMA of changing people's names.


mooncalf said...

It has been my experience that sometimes the heart makes us think we're running towards something when actually we're running away from something else. Because the heart is a chicken that doesn't like to deal with difficult things.

Seems like you and The Boyfriend have had family stuff to deal with recently and no doubt you have an exciting life that doesn't make it onto the blog. It might be worth just wondering for a minute or two if you've got something to fix at home or just a big step to take with TB before chucking it all away for the thrill of a change...

or I could mind my own business of course :)

Simone said...

I think by nature we always want what we can't have and then when we get it we don't necessarily want it anymore! Take your time (which I know is difficult for a Aries)and don't rush into anything. Good luck! x

Nicola said...

Lately it has sounded like you two have had a lot to go through. It's always confusing and if things have changed it can take a while to work out what's going on and whether you're able to establish a new rhythm.

I think you should talk it through. It's not easy to say out loud that you have doubts to the person you love, but if you're honest and open he may be able to help you work it out more than you think.

Good luck! I hope you find out what it is that you want - in your heart and in your head - soon.

Good luck, I hope you find out what it is that you want soon!

sallyrose45 said...


(helpful, aren't I?)


Heather said...

This is one of the times that I wish I was good at giving advice.
Think carefully. Definitely talk to your boyfriend. Don't be hasty.
Told you I was crap.

Kelly said...

Don't rush sweetie! You sound very much like me! I nearly married someone very wrong for me (he was not a bad person just didn't treat me how I wanted!)
Very soon after, I met my boyfriend and I finally understood what everyone was talking about xxx
Sometimes taking that risk is so worth it only you can know this!
Be careful taking a risk with someone who has let you down already though xxx

J said...

I'm hopeless with problems of the heart. Plus, it's hard to offer relationship advice when you don't know the people involved. So I'll keep my big nose out of your business, but really hope that you won't do anything hasty, you'll think about the pro's and con's of any decision you may make, and maybe think about the advice you'd give to your friend in the same position.
Good luck - I don't envy your predicament, but I'm certain both your heart and your head will agree on the best course of action in the end.

Kat said...

Ahhh.....we are of like minds and hearts. I have the same disease, only I am many years older dear girl. Only you can figure out what is best for you and sometimes you never figure out what is best and you have to wing it hoping that you made the right choice. I hardly ever make the right choice but then again I am stuck in limbo as you are with The One. I have been in limbo for over 10 years now, a whole state away. It's not an easy road, that's a definite. I wish all the best of luck and if you find the secret...PLEASE let me know...I would love to start living again instead of existing. xoxo

TKW said...

Happy Belated Birthday!

I can feel your confusion resonating through this post. ((hugs)) I wish I had some answers for you.

You did make me laugh when you asked your pancreas and liver if they had any suggestions. said...

Oh my goodness! I go away for a week and I seem to have missed half your life! Happy birthday for when it was, I really do feel sad I missed it! As for the romance side of things... I sound so similar to you, and sadly It doesn't really get better with age, but with me it has extended to all the people in my life.. one mistake after another, ha ha! A joke yes, but you will know that there is always tragedy hanginging on to the leg of that humour! ;) Sorry I have missed so much this week! suzie. xxx

Taz said...

Oh I wish I had sound advice for you hon but even as old as I am I can't organise my own head/heart battles ((((hugs))))
Now where is that bluddy crystal ball shop that we all need?

The Curious Cat said...

Gosh...okay first...Happy Birthday! Sorry! Days have passed and I missed it! Did you have a good one? I hope you were spoilt rotten?! urgh. urgh. URGH. It is such a frickin pain. It really is. I don't know what to do with it anymore. I really don't. It never goes smoothly...your head always gives advice, you try to listen to it, sometimes you actually do think you are listening to it and then you realise that the heart has been influencing it. I'm being told right now to have time out to mend. But mend smend - what happens if you meet a guy like Mr Moorish who is fun and makes you laugh? It can't hurt to laugh and have fun can it? Well...maybe it can! You can get swept along... It is so hard to always be on your guard and then to also just want to give in and get swept along.

I don't know what to say about your situation right now but I think if The One is the one....then it just isn't the right time for you right now either. You are with someone else and the grass does always look greener when you have been with the status quo for a while. The One can wait til you figure things out and people always say you should never start a relationship with someone else unless there is something broken with the one you're already in and you are breaking up for that reason not for the other person. Recipe for disaster I hear...

Gesh not very helpful advice eh? Proceed with caution is all I say... Argh! I don't know why I'm giving advice....I'm rubbish at all this anyway.... at it is 7am in the morning and I just got up and my brain isn't functioning... made me want to write my own blog entry on this love shit myself now...once I have my thoughts in place a bit

jane said...

I'm quite rubbish at all this kind of advice too, but I wanted to chip in and say not to be too hasty and to give yourself time and space in which to think.
It's always so complicated and hard to know whether you want what you want because you actually *want it*, or whether you just *want* to want it, if you see what I mean. I guess what sort of struck me from your post was the fact that you talked about being so close to what you'd always wanted... not to say that this isn't the case with your boyfriend, but you have to be sure you want the person as well as the relationship as a general life-state / entity.
I wonder why The One suddenly popped back up into your head...there is probably a reason and it might be worth thinking about why.
Talking to your boyfriend is a good idea but I think only once you are sure what you want to say. there is nothing worse, or more difficult, than trying to start a Conversation and then realising you don't actually know what you want the other person to hear. Not just that it's a bit hard to articulate, but that you really, really, really don't know what to say. Think as long as you need, and take some time and space.

Trish said...

Did you just have a birthday? So did I. And that is why I think maybe we have some similarities. Take your post today for instance. Oh my goodness...I so so so know what you are talking about. I think we all have our 'paths' to follow so of course, no one here will have the right advice necessarily just for you. But talking about things is great and helps you to 'vocalize' what is spinning in your head. I am a real practical person despite the 'dreamy writer' side of me. So, when I was devastated at a young age by a major heartbreak, I went out into the world of dating with the idea I would not ever fall in love. And I did not...for many years. But I did hook up with my husband (of nearly 30 years now...gosh that makes me sound old) and he too was traveling a very parallel path in life as I. So no major belly flops of heart beats or anything, just a calm, cool practical and solid relationship was formed. Oh, not that there wasn't or isn't any deep love....I am not saying that. But I am saying that compared to those youthful days...I am grateful for risking everything with someone like him. I married him after ONLY three months of meeting him. Now, I would 'kill' my son if he did that..grin. And I am not suggesting this is anything that anyone should do. But what I guess I want to say is, that sometimes heart and head ARE two different things. For me, I followed my head. My heart was still stuck on a childish fling which took me years before I realized to 'let go'....and that that person was NOT what I still dreamed he was. Am I making any sense? Anyway....I think that love is ever evolving and fantasy love does happen...but not always as in the movies for sure. And not always for everyone in the same way. Listen to your heart and your head (inner voice)....both are trying to get you to reason it out.

Diane said...

Forget "The One" if he was 2 timing you before. However you have to learn to completely get over previous relationships better. I have experience - including a failed marriage when I listened to my heart and not to everyone who was pointing out the (bleeding) obvious!! I find you have to go through (in order)1. Extreme hurt - pain that feels like you are dying. 2. Extreme hate - when you dig and find out what they have been doing to you 3. Indifference - when you can pass them on the street and they are just another face in the crowd. This "place" that people are in - is just a place of convenience. Its not real.
You have to ask yourself if you are in love with "The Boyfriend" though. Its not easy, its not a many splendid thing - its harder work than any job, but if its the real thing - its worth it. By the way, I don't actually regret my 1st marriage. I learned a heck of a lot from it, and I wouldnt have what I have got today if I had not done it. And marriage no 2 has hit the rocks (spectacularly on one occasion) but we are still afloat and happy and in love.
Listen to ANY nagging doubts. xxxxxxxxx said...


Everyone I know who has had a relationship with someone who cheated once, has found they were cheated on again and again. I think, in my experience, doubts often are little ways of letting us know something isn't right. But, when ending a relationship it is much better (for the long term) to be single for a while before entering a new relationship. If there's someone out there who is really right for you, they'll still be really right for you 6 months later! :)

Flitterbee said...

Sometimes I wonder if The Person and The One are one and the same person...

...are they?