When I was new to tango, I was single. I was in a new job, and for three years I was a perfectly happy single man. This was the longest period that I was not in a relationship in my whole life. Tango was enough--at least for a time. It was a good time to get to know myself. Social dance filled a void.
As a therapist, I have been fascinated by social interactions in tango, my own and others'. Let's say that I was distracted a bit from this mysterious phenomenon, I will call the "tango-is-enough phenomenon."
The Sexless Marriage
A while back, I was astounded with a story from a confidante that she was having an extra-marital affair before starting tango. But tango was enough, she said. She stopped seeing her lover. Her sexless marriage drove her to seek out what she was missing, but the extramarital affair, she found, was not as fulfilling as tango. Tango was enough. She didn't have time for something that suddenly felt shallow.
Then I heard the story again! And again! But then I thought about it. Why am I astounded when that was my experience too that tango is enough?
Mystery versus the Myth of Passion
I realize that for those who understand the social interaction in a tango community, these stories will not seem that unusual. All I am suggesting here is that the tango-is-enough phenomenon is unfortunately overpowered by stories of tango passion and gossip-worthy scandals. Something is very precious about this phenomenon of tango being better than an affair. You know, people meet each other in bowling clubs, or book clubs, at work, or whatever. Then the love affair/marriage might follow. But do other activities you know of stop extra-marital affairs?* There is a mystery here. Something is strange at the quantum biophysics level. :-)
Lock-Down to Think About Things
During this pandemic, as we go into flu season, we have a chance to realize more about the mystery of life and what is important to us. What brings us to be grateful? Pandemic or not, many of the elements of the beauty of life are requesting our intention and attention. The many facets of tango are still there--connections with others, listening to music, dancing ecstatically alone, learning more about the music and orchestras, and most of all being in the zone, mindful in all things.
I suggest staying in the present, full of joy. Tango is not just a dance but the way to understand that life is meant to be a mystery, lived in the present, and that the mystery of happiness is enough, joy is enough, life is enough. Tango is merely a sweet signpost along the way to keep us on this path.
*Even though tango just indeed may be enough, my suggestion to the sex-deprived spouses (sometimes both having affairs) is that they seek marital counseling, specifically a sex therapist.
Photo credit: Need a ring? https://www.damiani.com/us/en/