Let us first establish that because an MLCer is reconnecting does not mean the marriage is reconciling or that it will; reconnection is a precursor to reconciliation. As the MLCer progresses along the touch-n-go--reconnection spectrum, tests of your Acceptance become more important. Reconnection is a function of the readiness of both of you. As he progresses you are also progressing, learning to live the Unconditionals and Pave the Way
You may notice changes from touch-n-goes to reconnection gradually if you have had regular contact with your MLCer throughout the crisis and they may feel more sudden or abrupt if your contact has been minimal. You may be wary because this years' reconnection may feel like last years' touch-n-go, but there are differences.
I seem to exist again; just tiny things, most could be construed as just plain politeness rather than anything more.
- We're talking, meeting occasionally for coffee, starting to do some things as a family.
- We were driving separately to someplace and he noticed that I had decided to follow him as I wasn't sure of the route, and he drove in a way so that following was easy.
- When in the house, he stayed to keep me company while I cooked rather than sitting in the living room watching TV with the kids.
- He saw scratches on my car and went out with the colour restorer to see what the situation was. Not long ago he would either not have noticed, or said something derisory.
- He noticed my haircut.
- He asked a little about my work.
- He has been opening up about how he feels--work things mostly.
In contrast, consider touch-n-go attributes and actions.
- Teasing or flirting, but without genuine concern or empathy.
- Stealing glances at you when he thinks you aren't paying attention.
- Expressing concern or worry without actively seeking to do something about it. Ex. Telling you there are scratches on your car and showing concern they could rust, but doing nothing.
- Comments about you dating--fishing for information sometimes followed by a thinly veiled jealous reaction.
Reasons you may think contact is a touch-n-go rather than reconnection.
- We've been here before.
- He isn't making a particular effort to be in touch.
- Everything else seems to take precedence over me.
- Though it's nicer than how it has been, he still seems to see his life as completely separate.
- He seemed completely comfortable with the separate existences.
In many ways our interactions were very easy. That leaves me feeling confused.
They are easy, but they go nowhere and it is this discrepancy that leads to your confusion. This is a focus on the lack of commitment and superficiality within some of the behaviours, instead focus on how the behaviours are less superficial than they were previously, consider the quality of your communications. Reconnection or not, you are not going to be the center of your MLCer's universe. Of course you have been here before; reconnection begins as a Touch without the Go following so soon after.
Reconnection may feel [like]...
- friendly acquaintances.
- casual friendship.
- too buddy-buddy (like pals).
- easy interactions.
- disconnected--not like a partnership or relationship.
- there is still physical distance, distance of affection.
If you are disappointed, you may be confusing reconnection with rebuilding which is an official agreement between both partners to restore the marital relationship. Your MLCer is willing and perhaps wanting to spend time with you, but there is no commitment...yet. If your MLCer is dating, it is likely casual or peripheral, often it is not the original alienator and may be for the purpose of companionship rather than the fireworks they may have sought in Replay. If it is the original alienator, the relationship may be lingering as friends with benefits or there are other changed dynamics--emotional blackmail may be keeping the relationship in a feeling-trapped state.
By being friendly am I showing him that his single lifestyle is okay, or am I Paving the Way? Are we going to end up in an amicable relationship as exes?
Reconnection is a return to LBS confusion. Okay, you may have not left confusion, but it is a return to the mass confusion of early MLC when there may have been greater spewing and cycling. The most confusing and chaotic places in the crisis are near the tunnel openings at each end because the light from the tunnel openings is visible. You do not get to decide how he will react or interpret your friendly responses. Some MLCers will cake-eat for awhile when you Pave the Way. But Standing is not only about consistency, but also the ability to flex and flow. Paving the Way is not about being buddies, but about appropriate treatment of people. Grace, Agape and Forgiveness are universal Unconditionals; they do not apply only to your MLCer. As you Stand and learn through this crisis, you are building a better sense of balance and can lean one way or the other on the tightrope.
Am I planting seeds or being manipulative? Trying to tell someone your truth is a barrier to listening.
This is the type of thinking that can cause analysis paralysis. Trying to tell someone your truth goes in both directions. You are going to get caught in circular arguments; if you accept the process are you manifesting it? If you are a good listener, does that mean you are not good at sharing your feelings--being listened to? It is important to be both. Listen and share--and there is a time for each. In early MLC the LBS needs to be more of a listener; as the situation approaches reconnection this approaches greater balance with sharing. Since you have now become accustomed to being the listener you fear that sharing will scare away your MLCer. This is valid; start slowly, too much sharing risks that you will push and he will feel pressured. Let him direct or at least initiate the conversations. When he begins to pull away, it is time to stop--for that session.
How do you get to the next level without pushing? Or do you?
No, you get to the next level by not pushing. What you are doing when you participate in discussions--which he has been initiating--is encouraging.
When they return, be sensitive toward their feelings of not being worthy as they will consider running away at the slightest infractions. If you want to rebuild your marriage, it is imperative that you accept their fears and reassure them; do not encourage them to leave. Boundaries are important and I am not saying that you should put up with additional abuse, but include boundaries within a framework of love, forgiveness and acceptance. Returns are rocky and there will be arguments and indiscretions along the way. Determine ahead of time what crosses the boundaries and discuss this with your MLCer before you are living together again. Also determine consequences, not all boundary breeches are the same.
How are Touch-n-Goes and Reconnection related to Awakening?
An Awakening begins a transition of changes in behavior. It may or may not trigger a Touch-n-Go and it will precede Reconnection. There may be an increase in emotionality, possibly visible tears which are not present in stand-alone Touch-n-Goes.