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'What's this?' he spits out as I place his meal in front of him.

I sigh, inwardly, struggling not to let my irritation show. I know he's probably had a bad day at work again. According to him, the entire company, apart from him, is made up of dimwits, idiots and dumb blonde bimbos. It makes you wonder how they turn such a huge profit - surely it can't all be down to him and his budgets?

"Spaghetti Bolognese."

"I can see it's Spaghetti Bolognese for Christ's sake! But you've had the entire fucking day off work, couldn't you come up with something a little more inspired than this? I mean what the hell have you been doing with yourself all day? The place is a mess, you are a mess and this bloody meal is a mess."

I open my mouth to speak but he interrupts me.

"I suppose you've been sitting at that bloody computer writing again." His voice is dripping with sarcasm. "After all that's far more productive than doing anything to make your husband comfortable. And would it kill you to put on some decent clothes and do something with your hair rather than pulling it back off your face and scrunching it into a band? I don't know why I bother to come home, I might as well just go to the pub with my mates."

"No, I haven't been writing today." I keep my tone even, but I admit that's more because I know he wants to fight, and I don't intend to give him the satisfaction.

"Oh, you've finally realised what a waste of time it is?" he snaps, "About bloody time too. Writing is a competitive field, and you need to be really good to make a go of it. So what did you find to spend the day doing? Read some trashy novels? Go sit in a coffee shop?"

"No," my voice is icy. "This morning I spent washing, drying, pressing and folding seventeen sets of filthy Rugby gear. After the excitement of that, I needed to calm down a bit, so I prepared myself some lunch. I considered spending the afternoon making wild passionate love to a stranger, but as every bloke I've met since I arrived in New Zealand has been exactly like you I decided it wouldn't be worth the effort, so I painted the bathroom instead, it was much more fun."

Damn! And I meant not to fight.

"Good choice," he snarled back, "saved yourself from the pain of rejection. Why would anyone want you when the country is full of fucking sheep?"

"I'm sure I don't know," I retort, "A sheep is probably satisfied with 4 minutes grunting and puffing, and if they aren't at least they can't answer back."

He slams the chair back from the table and stalks away.

A year ago, I'd have gone to him, told him I was sorry, maybe wept a bit, or he would have come and held me, and we would have ended up making up, probably in bed. We would have clung to each other, and made promises to be kinder, more understanding. Promises we were destined to break.

Not any more though. Now, I will leave him to fume, and he will do his fuming somewhere away from me, in the house or out of it - which is immaterial. These days our paths cross, but they don't run on the same lines any longer.

I still remember when we were blissfully in love, and how it felt, but that has gone, another piece of trash, lost somewhere amongst the junk we have accrued, and the baggage from all the rows. I don't know if he changed, or if I did, or if it was just the change of scenery and when we moved here from England that threw different aspects of our personalities into focus. Whatever it was, the people who were so much in love don't exist any more, and the people we have become aren't in love. Hell, we barely even like one another. We pretend, sometimes, reluctant to admit failure, but we are fighting a losing battle. We can't go back to being who we were, even if either one of us was prepared to try.

I think that he will leave me soon, and for good. I know there is someone else - one of the women I call friends took great delight in telling me. In many ways, I want him to. We aren't happy, and I can't believe we ever will be, now. But....

But I'm terrified. I'm half a world away from home, and I don't know anyone he hasn't introduced me to, other than the people at work. I can't afford to go back to England, even if I wasn't too proud to crawl back and confess to my family that they were right. And I'm scared that what he has told me so often is true. That it is me that has changed, let myself go, become unattractive and unlovable. That if , when, he leaves me alone, I will be alone forever, and I don't want to be. Perhaps it's weak of me, but I need someone to be there for me, someone to be there for. I don't know if I can hack it on my own. Better the devil you know they say.

The door slams and the car roars from outside. I wonder for the thousandth time if tonight will be the night he just doesn't come home.

And I realise, suddenly, sadly, that I don't really care. Being alone might not be better than this, but can it really be worse?

I don't mean this as commentary on the writeup at all. What I want to say is that if you choose to live your life by this maxim, then I can almost gaurantee that you will be miserable. Why? Because out of your fear of the unknown you will cling desperately to things that cause you pain!

Think about this. Why on earth would a person continue a pattern of behaviour that makes them miserable? You can feel and see this pain in the way they act, how they carry themselves, how they interact with others. They know they are miserable. Why? Why do they continue down this path?

"It's better the Devil you know," they reason.

I strongly disagree. If you learn nothing else in your life you must learn to embrace the devil you don't know!. This "devil" is more often than not the harbinger of great joy, personal power and happiness.

Fear of the unknown, rejection, being alone must be overcome.

Gain some perspective - visit a cemetary. Consider how much life you have left to live. When it's you lying there under six feet of earth do you really want to look back on a life without joy, happiness or freedom?

So in response to one cliche I offer another: "A life lived in fear is a life half lived".

You must not fear this "Devil".

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