Next month, in June, He and I will mark the passage of nine years that we have been together. Prior to that, ours was a relationship that evolved at a distance, online, on the phone, and within the context of occasional brief visits as we traveled across the continent to be together. Ours was a relationship that developed precisely as we have frequently and seriously advised others to approach the business of forming an intense intimate bond: go slowly; learn about one another; become friends first...
I am a staunch advocate for getting to know someone before leaping into relationship with them. I don't leap into interpersonal connections quickly -- not friendships and not romances. I tend to be reticent and slow to warm up to people I don't know well. I thought we'd done that; thought I'd done that; congratulated myself on doing a much better job of forming this mid-life relationship than I did with the marriage that I entered into in my youth.
A year ago, I would have insisted to anyone who might have asked, that He and I knew each other well, and that we had formed a relationship based on a deep and solid understanding of who we were as individuals and as a couple. I thought I knew Him, and I believe He felt the same way about me. We were so sure. Probably, we were naive. Almost certainly, we were each caught up in our own personal brand of arrogance. We were all wrapped around each other in our own private co-dependent dance.
Then, we lost control -- well, the illusion of control that we had so carefully constructed dissolved, and the whole elaborate construct collapsed in a heap. We were plunged into chaos, confusion, and crisis. Some small bit of that, carefully edited, and sanitized to make it just a bit more presentable, appeared here -- enough for readers to comprehend the broad outlines of what befell us; enough that we were made able to talk fairly directly about what was happening -- what has happened -- what is our continuing reality. It has been a wild and confusing time. We've struggled, and raged, and cried, and resisted, and made the most tentative of steps toward health and healing. It has been hard -- terribly hard, but we have had the great good fortune to have come through the worst of it (I hope), and still have one another. Each day, I marvel that we did not lose each other in the tempest that swept us away from our moorings.
We are actively engaged in learning about each other -- and we are both cautiously risking self-disclosure. I know that I am listening more carefully than I did before; working hard to hear beyond the words; aware of my own emotional responses and the ease with which I get swept away from the conversation by those waves of feeling. I have discovered how often I don't get the nuances of what He means because I'm listening to my ow inner chatter -- and I am working to find a different set of skills. I am also getting better at being authentically who I am with Him -- telling Him the truth about what my own feelings and needs are; even when that feels like a scary or risky thing to do. What a whirl!
We are each wary of trying to mold or shape or control the other; and we are aware of how futile it is to try and control life. Boy, did we learn that lesson! So, our control-based dynamic seems a little like an artifact from our former life -- remembered with some fondness, but neither of us are clear, at this moment, how that might play out in the life we now share; how it can become a healthy source of joy and energy in the love that we are finding with each other. I sometimes notice that I am uncertain, unsure, and uneasy. That isn't necessarily a BAD thing, but it is the closest I've been able to get to a description of my inner reality. I am trying hard not to get stuck looking backwards, and I am determined not to get caught up in some sort of "what if" game regarding the future. I am watching my reactions and responses, reminding myself to be patient with this new thing that is growing between us, and mostly finding that I am enjoying the moments we are given together each day. It feels fragile and tentative, but it also feels good and sweet and wonderful. I am grateful for the chance to live this with Him.
Communicating with each other has come to be our daily exercise with one another. I don't think that we had become complacent before our world fell apart, but I think that the patterns and addictions that we'd allowed to take over our lives made us forget the communication skills learned over a lifetime. In the end, we barely talked; we never really listened; and we sure as hell couldn't find a way to communicate with each other. Now we are all about sharpening the skills that allow us to accurately read each other, defuse arguments and, when necessary, repair wounded feelings. It is exciting and intimate work.
That's what we are up to here. Most nights, I come and sit and stare at this blog, and wonder what to say. Night after night, I eventually give it up and go to bed, unable to find the words to describe what is; what is becoming. It is clear to me that we will probably never again be the pair we were before all of this recent struggle. Something new is aborning here. I don't know what that will be. I think we will still spank. I know we will still love. I am sure that we will hold each other close through His impending shoulder replacement surgery. What develops beyond that, through the months of recovery in the warm, slow days of the summer -- that remains to be seen. It should be an interesting time.