Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Slow Dancing with My Ex-Wife

Ma'ikwe and I agreed to restart our intimate partnership Aug 24. While I'm very happy to have this chance, our re-entry is downright meditative.

Now 10 days into the current incarnation of our relationship, we've had three dates where we hung out and cuddled some. We've been together at Twin Oaks since Friday (first for their Communities Conference and then for the FIC fall organizational meetings) and most days we've eaten a meal at the same table. 

Every now and then we'll be together and she'll hold my hand or lean against me (which is precious), but there are days we don't touch at all. Ma'ikwe is reacclimating to me as partner at her own pace, and I get to practice patience.

We're basically working on her timetable and, at least for now, that means all ahead slow. Ma'ikwe and I will be together for another week before she returns to Missouri (while I remain on the East Coast for the remainder of the month). While I originally thought that her accepting my offer to try again meant that we'd be sleeping together, it hasn't meant that so far.

Given that I've never before attempted what I'm doing right now (trying to start over again with my wife) I don't have a road map to follow. Maybe going slowly is exactly right.

While I miss having more regular time with Ma'ikwe, the limited amount we've had has lead me to treat those occasions with heightened consciousness. Of late, intimacy has come to mean paying close attention, being minimally reactive, and taking pleasure in Ma'ikwe's emerging smiles. It's about enjoying what's possible, being available, and not pushing for something else. It's about presence.

It's also an exercise in letting go of expectations. While Ma'ikwe has agreed to hold my hand into this uncertain future—at least for the coming months, as we explore the fields of our new intimacy—I have little idea where the ground is. My main work right now is breathing through the anxiety of leaving familiar territory and entering terra incognita. I am learning to cope with my fear of falling; my fear of being lost; my fear of becoming entangled in the bared wire that marks the boundaries of pastures I've been asked to not enter. I am confronting my fear of being unwanted and decoupling Ma'ikwe's not reaching for me as proof of her disinterest. 

It's a lot of breathing, self care, and listening for the soft, deep resonance of our dance on uncertain terrain.

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