Do You Hear Me Now? Communication in Relationship

Hi Julie

Congratulations on a wonderful new site – I’m really enjoying it and learning a lot.

I’m writing to ask for any insights you may have into my relationship with my husband, Mr A. We have been together for almost ten years, living together for most of that time. We got married almost three years ago. We love each other dearly and for the most part live together very happily. In many ways we share a similar approach to life – we enjoy each other’s company and learn a lot from each other, we’re both veggies who try to live responsibly, we adore animals especially our two cats and dog and we are very committed to each other. He is always incredibly supportive of me and what I want to do and achieve on a personal level. He does concrete things for me to help me get what I want, for example encouraging me to buy a laptop, setting up my private study for me, and making sure funds are available for me to study writing and astrology and other things I’m interested in. He expresses his love for me often, and frequently praises me and shows he appreciates me.

Our major problems are Communication and Decision Making. I feel that, when we are upset, it is almost impossible for me to speak in a way that he understands. Also, I tend to avoid bringing problems to him: 1) my own personal problems because he usually makes me feel worse, not better (“I don’t understand why you’re so upset”, offering advice instead of comfort etc – although, interestingly, I brought a problem to him last night and his response was much improved – perhaps he is taking on board what I’m telling him?) and 2) because I have a fear of speaking out and conflict and because nothing ever seems to get resolved anyway. Our conflicts end in long silences, sulking and avoiding each other for long periods – basically, putting each other through hell but each of us unable or unwilling to back down. Recognising my problems with saying ‘Sorry’, I reverted almost the other way for a while there – ending up feeling resentful that I was the one who would by default apologise and try to resolve things.

Also, it’s not uncommon for us to start discussing some sort of world issue (sustainability, or race relations, or something like that) and end up absolutely furious with each other, wrangling for hours with tears and recriminations and long silences and both if us saying ‘I don’t think you’re understanding my point’. What’s even crazier is that our viewpoints on these issues are so similar that we should really be agreeing, not arguing.

At these times I feel like a fish throwing myself against a rock. And I mean I physically feel it – battered, breathless, hopeless.

Mr A is aware that we have a communication problem but we seem powerless to come up with a way to deal with it. When things got really bad a couple of years ago, I went to counselling by myself, because he refuses to go. This has helped me, but I can’t do it all myself and feel frustrated and let down because he seems happy to just let it all slide by – to live in the illusion of happiness until the next big blowout.

And, partially because we have so much difficulty talking to each other about things that are important, we have troubles making big decisions – like what we want to do with our lives and our money. The getting married, buying a house decisions just sort of happened, in a way – they were relatively easy, I think because they were things that we wanted that were also socially acceptable. But we talk about wanting to travel, to live overseas, to start our own business, to buy a different house, even to go on a big holiday or renovate – but we never actually take any action on these things. I feel locked up inside, like these are pipe dreams that will never happen because we are too afraid to get down to the nuts and bolts of life, and we are too cautious to commit to life changes.

I read your post the other day about clinginess – and I think I often do look to Mr A for reassurance that should ideally come from within, and also play the ‘poor me’ card, expecting sympathy and comfort – which Mr A is *not* the person to provide! I can see that this comes from my natal Saturn in Leo, in the 2nd – issues around self-worth and recognition. Mr A’s Saturn is in Cancer in the 3rd – and, thinking about it, he does think of himself being limited in terms of learning and communication – of not being smart or quick enough, of not having the right words. Also he has issues with his brother – who is the PhD-great-career-overachieving sibling – and his mother, who is super-clingy, passive-aggressive, undermining and domineering.

I think because we both have Aquarian moons our emotional needs are similar – although his is in the 10th (conjunct Venus) and mine is in the 9th (conjunct Mars). Mr A is a Capricorn sun he has Aries rising – and I do see the war of this Saturnian and Martian energy in him. My natal Venus is in Aries in the 11th (conjunct Chiron and the South Node)– which makes me think that it is his lunar-martian-uranian energies that attracted me to Mr A in the first place – but at the same time makes me wonder if it is ‘the real thing’ or an illusion. I do feel we have some sort of ‘past life’ knowing of or relationship with each other – but am never sure if I’m just kidding myself about that. I note also that I have Uranus (in Scorpio) in the 5th.

His Mars is in Sagittarius in the 9th house – and my Neptune is in Sag, in the 6th. As for the aspects… well, I think it’s more than time to ask for your opinion, as you can see I tend to get myself in something of a confusion about it all!! Sorry for long rant with, no doubt, lots of unnecessary detail and off-the-mark astrological speculation :|

Many thanks and bright blessings, Ms D

Hello Ms D,

Thank you, Ms D–I’m glad you’re enjoying the site!

I wrote an answer to you for the site and lost the answer through an electrical glitch. Whenever that happens, I think it’s the Universe telling me I need to take a different approach, so first I’m going to talk about communication in general, then I’ll talk about the astrology particular to you and Mr A–so, you’ll get my opinions, and be able to reach your own conclusions–you see, I think I was too bossy in my initial answer 🙂 

I truly think that we are communicating perfectly with everyone we contact all the time; that means that real misunderstanding is rare, and quickly dealt with. If we accept this idea, we see that confusion and difficulties communicating in personal relationships are simply ways of dealing with things we don’t want to see, say, or acknowledge. These are not necessarily negative, but more often consist of things we are loathe to admit; when it’s our partner we don’t want to be open with, our reluctance to share our true feelings or intentions may be based on our fear that our partner will feel that we have mislead them, somehow, or on a fear that they may not love us quite the same way if they see the ‘real me.’

We may have spoken expansively of world travel, for instance, and like the way our mate is energized by the idea of having his or her dream fulfilled, so we may be quite reluctant to admit that we are really a homebody, and want to go no further than our chair by the hearth. We love our mate, and don’t want to disappoint them, so we continue to speak of that sparkling fictional future, yet we go along as we always have, and soon our partner notices that we’re not making a move to pack our bags, and they begin to feel cheated, in a sense–and the ‘false advertising,’ that brought them so many pleasant afternoons of speculation starts to become a negative, rather than one partner’s attempt to please the other. Maintaining the fiction that we are at any moment heading to the airport strains the credulity of one partner and the credibility of the other. Too, we may not want to tell our partner our true desires because we are afraid they would see us differently; if we admit that roaming the world would make us feel insecure, or uncomfortable, or just plain be not as fun as staying home and painting or conducting business or fishing, which are our real passions, ones that now we daren’t admit, we fear we would be risking the love, or perhaps the respect, of our partner. And all this only happens if we’ve presented one or more false fronts to our mate, with the seed usually planted very early in the relationship as we try to put our ‘best foot forward’ and in the process present ourselves in a way that’s not quite true to who we are.

The same is true of communicating our goals and dreams; if we’re not moving toward them, then it’s likely that our intent is something else entirely, though for whatever reason (the approval we receive, the way we think it makes us look to others or to ourselves) we continue saying that we want to be or do something. If we can’t even pinpoint our dreams, then there’s a lot of suppression or disguising of our wants (on both sides of the equation, for a couple). When we cannot state our goals, or state goals not true to our Soul Purpose, for the future in a relationship, then we are, in essence, making the pretense (not pretending, but donning a kind of mask) that we don’t know what we might want–or perhaps we fear to admit it to our partner–and yet, we are creating a ‘something’ each and every day–and if we say, “I really want ‘x'” but we continue to live ‘y’ then we must admit that there is either something about ‘y’ that we find more appealing than ‘x,’ or that by living ‘y’ we maintain some semblance of control, as ‘x’ represents in our own minds too much of the partner’s will or want, and not enough of our own (and if we simply say, ‘I don’t know what I want,’ then we are effectively doing the same thing, getting to continue to live ‘y’ without having to claim responsibility for it by saying, ‘This is what I want.’)

So your description of your dilemma seems to show behaviors that are keyed both to protecting the existing relationship (which says you love each other) and to protecting the Self (especially Mr A) by just not being as open as you (Ms D) require to feel that you’re on the same life page. In looking at the cross-chart astrology, I was struck by how really good this relationship is, and this made me think that all that’s really needed is for each of you to get brave and be really honest about what is wanted. It may take some doing away with certain of the courtship harmonies which may have made you feel aligned in a bigger, real-world orientation to social, political, and environmental subjects (not that you aren’t both serious about these, but they just may not be the enthusiastic focus presented on first meeting, when we are seeking to look a certain way, especially socially concerned or active, perhaps, in this new person’s eyes). We may talk a lot about our cultural or social consciousness but it’s a rare individual who must carry a broad social archetype at the personal level–that’s why The Activist or The Artist or The Reformer, for three examples, rarely have much of a personal life; or if they do, it’s a shambles, because they are carrying that ‘Big Concept’ and we’re not meant to, when engaged one-on-one. These big social archetypes may draw us together initially because both parties are aligned with this energy, but they don’t really serve as any real relationship glue (and if they seem to, the individuals are usually actually married to the archetype, and will split if one or the other suddenly demands personal interaction).

Some of the excellent positives for you two include: your Sun/Mercury in Pisces conjunct his Juno=you are at a Soul depth seen by him as his ideal partner, and this is reinforced by your Venus trine his Mars, an excellent combo–his ideal of himself as a man and your ideal Self as a woman get along well, sharing an element. Your Aries Venus conj. his ASC= this is an aspect of delight in the other person; you each see a sunny, loving Being in the other. On the down side, we see your Moon/ Mars combo in the same in the same sign as his Moon/ Venus/ Mercury combo= though this can make for some lovely light harmonies in conversation and expression between you, as you point out, the same Moon breeds the same emotional needs, and this can make you feel understood, but more often compounds the weaknesses of the Moon’s sign, in this case probably the difficulty Aquarius has with confusing the mind with the feelings–‘I think I feel’ is often their motto. And, with Mercury involved with the Moon and Gemini on the 3rd, Mr A may be hyper-sensitive in communication matters anyway–probably not easy for others to see right off, with that Aries ASC, ruler Mars in the 9th in Sag, he may come across as assertive with an underlying hard-as-nails quality, appearing to be afraid of nothing–not someone others think they must tiptoe around, and yet maybe they should–he’s always paying close close attention, and taking notes.

His Saturn in the 3rd suggests to me that he may withhold words and thoughts when he feels threatened, or at least pushed, and yours in your 2nd says that holding your ground may be a matter of Self-worth–and that’s a combination made for a scrap. What’s more, your Saturn is conj Pallas in Leo, giving you a warrior’s spirit and a skill at insisting on your reality as the one that should prevail (it feels very practical to you), and it’s tied to the validity of the identity and the ego–this is an incredibly strong and persistent and skillful combination, one that makes you more formidable than perhaps you’re aware. His Saturn is conjunct his Earth in Cancer, and right away we see that his reality is very much about where he is, what surrounds him, and he’s very insistent on having a nurturing environment–though from the outside what he requires for nurture may not be apparent. Strong Saturn connections cross-chart indicate long-term involvement, which we’ve already seen to some extent–nobody’s abandoning ship here, unless one or both receive a heavy transit and take it badly.

The two of you don’t have insurmountable problems, but you do have ones that will take conscious attention, especially to some assumptions about the Self, relationships, and how things should work–both of you must be willing to be much more flexible and open, to do what it takes to end the impasse. There is only one aspect that really concerned me seriously as to its negative expression, but it also might be the key to working out your communication issues: your Ceres conj his Pluto. This is the goddess of nature meeting the god of the Underworld, face-to-face, and of course, the reason they meet is that they negotiate for the presence of Ceres’ daughter in Hades for six months every year. Though Persephone/ Proserpina is a grown woman, her mother takes it upon herself to make what is basically a marital agreement for her daughter; and Pluto, who holds all the power of destruction, must deal with the goddess who literally controls the flow of the life force through the earth. This pairing can mean that, if he perceives you as being too controlling, especially in a way that seems to him maternal (and that might be very Aquarian, appealing to him through the intellect, or through urging him to do what the group does) he may respond very darkly and destructively, actively ‘shooting himself in the foot’ if it means he’ll feel he’s retaining his power–in other words, he will forget all other priorities if he feels his most basic sense of power in life threatened. And for Ceres, she must be very careful to discern what is her province, and what belongs to others.

I hope this in some way helps. I wish you the very best,

Julie

And PS–no, I don’t think you’re clingy!

One thought on “Do You Hear Me Now? Communication in Relationship

  1. Ms D March 16, 2009 / 12:00 am

    Thank you Julie! In many ways this is a stunningly unexpected response to my question. And, after months/years of treading the same thought patterns and coming to the same conclusions (or non-conclusions), I can’t tell you how pleased I am.

    I truly have never thought of communication in that way before – that whatever we are saying is right for the moment, that we are communicating perfectly, and that any difficulties are merely ways of coping. What a radical rethink for me! It’s actually a relief, coming from a ‘problem’ oriented viewpoint (‘we must solve this’) as I am.

    I know that there is much in your response that I will need to think about, and come to understand, over a period of time. But as I read (and reread) there were so many sparkling moments. I’m deeply happy that you could see so much to support the wonderful luck I feel in knowing and having Mr A, and to allay the fears and doubts that I indulge in at times. And at the same time that you acknowledge and see an explanation for the difficulties that we do have – and a path forward.

    A brief summary of just a few of the sparkling moments: that there is a reason why, on a soul level, Mr A sees me as his ideal partner – because, all too often, my own self-doubt finds me questioning my own worthiness for receiving a love like that, rather than trusting and enjoying it. The delight we feel in each other – it’s amazing that you can see it 🙂

    My warrior woman and surety of the truth of what I am saying (it does feel all so practical to me!) – this feels so real. And makes much more sense than the insistence on my own helplessness which I so often cultivate.

    Mr A *is* hypersensitive regarding the communications of others – you are right there, he is note-taking all the time. And he does withhold words when he is threatened. Often he’ll just turn and walk away, or shut the door. And I never really understood why. As I said, I’ve got a lot more thinking to do – and you can be sure i’ll be doing it – I think I feel etc ;

    But the fact that we love each other and have so much potential together – that is pure, pure magic. It’s like a weight lifted. I know we have the staying power and werewithall and tools to work through any incidental difficulties – because now I can trust that they *are* incedental, not deal-breaking.

    Thank you.

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