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Coming & Going

By Kenda-Ruth Stumpf

The Visit

You hold my hand.
My fingers soft
in your curled palm,
I feel your touch
and yet wonder:
Are you real?

Tentative,
I move my thumb closer
to test your flesh
and stroke the side
of your hand--
light enough to
avoid notice.


Touch-n-Goes & Reconnection

In the beginning--0-24 months after bomb Drop--a reconnection attempt will almost always be a touch-n-go, but later in the crisis the same actions may be reconnection. Confusing? My point is that often reconnection may appear like a touch-n-go; the difference is that reconnection lasts and progresses, whereas a touch-n-go is briefer and more superficial. A reconnection may or may not be intentional, but a touch-n-go is likely without intention and without awareness of the cycling and mixed messages.

Touch-n-go and reconnection are not either/or concepts; they are two ends of the same spectrum--each contains pieces of the other. Consider touch-n-goes as seeds of and for reconnection; as the midlife crisis progresses, touch-n-goes may move ever-gradually toward reconnection. They will change over time, becoming increasingly more positive, less superficial and longer.

Keep your expectation at zero when it seems your MLCer is beginning to reconnect. Why, now that she is changing shouldn't you have greater expectations? No. Where is your MLCer on the connection spectrum--closer to the touch-n-go or to the reconnection end? Reconnection traits within contact and communication do not indicate a desire to return, or more importantly they do not indicate a readiness even if the desire is present.

Even at greater reconnection in Rebirth, the new person is not yet fully born. While you are getting to know and accept them, they are also getting to know and accept themselves. They are uncertain and need to feel safe in their uncertainty. Pressure, which they feel through sensed expectation, will force them to run back into the crisis where they can hide. This uncertain phase--like everything in MLC--is long-lasting, perhaps a year at the short-end of the norm.

Touch-n-Go
MLCers do not reconnect in Separation or Liminality, during those phases the connections are Touch-n-Goes; valid reconnection will not begin until they are out of Liminality and near the end of Rebirth. Your MLCer may physically move home and begin reconnection attempts, but he will not have the skills and Self knowledge until he is at least this far through the crisis.

MLCers touch-n-go because they are insecure and not ready to fully let-go of their former life with you. You are familiar, safe and secure. They reach back to you to make sure you are still there--like a child looking to mom as he sits on the bus for his first day of school. Touch-n-Goes are about testing, information fishing, putting out feelers and reassurance. The MLCer feels guilty and ashamed for causing you pain. Will you accept him, be kind and friendly even though he was not that way to you? They are testing both your forgiveness and acceptance and the integration of the two. Accepting the process of the crisis is different than accepting a person as they are now with their history of mistreatment. Remember how in the beginning people told you that the person you knew as your spouse was no longer the person you knew--that person was either dead, no longer existed, on a vacation, abducted by aliens...? That continues to be true. The Monster that was your MLCer is gradually crumbling and the person he will become is not that Monster. Will you be able to love, accept and forgive that new person knowing what the Monster did?

I'm Kenda-Ruth and I believe in marriage.
Are you tired of hearing...
  • Once a cheater always a cheater?
  • You're better off without him?
  • She doesn't deserve you?
  • I guess it just wasn't meant to last?
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