With the Summer of Looking Inward and Venus retrograde now over, it’s time to put into practice all we learned about ourselves and our relationships – what we bring or don’t bring to them, what we’re getting or not getting, and how to see the difference.

This has been a very difficult summer. And this Venus retrograde has been the most challenging in memory. Several of my clients who were in seemingly perfect relationships got hit out of nowhere. Both people involved had long-term intentions then, without warning, WHAM! It’s over, I’m not in love with you anymore (or I’m in love with someone else), goodbye! A lot of karma was forced to the surface in relationships over the past months that created a wake-up call not everybody wanted. It became very clear who was doing the “looking-inward” work and who was not.

Growth is not something we can avoid, no matter how hard some try. And growth within self AND in relationships at the same time – as is required now – is incredibly difficult. It’s like we’re all doing double-duty in a Master Class.

We are the first generation of concept change in this Piscean-Aquarian Age shift. After 2,000 years of Piscean roles – man is the leader, woman is the caretaker – we are facing major upheaval in adjusting to the new Aquarian roles of equality. That radically affects our relationships. We can’t spend 2,000 years in one mindset and expect to “get over it” in one lifetime.

There are many people alive now who were taught the Piscean roles in relationships and still expect it to be that way. However, the population is filling up with those who bring the new Aquarian concepts into relationships but they still have a Piscean tinge. That means the roles of men and women in relationships, and what’s expected in them, are drastically different now than they were 50 years ago. But many have yet to see the difference clearly. And many more are fighting to stop any change from happening at all.

While most men still want to be the leaders in everything, including relationships, there is a great desire to not take that burden on anymore. Yet they are taught – actively and passively – that that is their role. Men are doing that double-duty on redefining themselves within and in relationships while their partners and the world may still want them in the traditional role.

Most women are really tired of care-taking their men and are ready to step into their own power. But the remnants of the Piscean concepts also draw them to men who are traditional – strong, successful, the provider and protector. Yet that kind of man may not have learned how to deal with a strong woman so a power struggle within self and each other is the result.

The biggest issue men are facing in this shift is that they have not had to be emotionally mature for 2,000 years. That was the woman’s job. While they were working and providing and protecting, women were responsible for the relationship. And suddenly they have no choice but to face emotional responsibility and maturity RIGHT NOW!

This creates a lot of pressure for the boys in men-suits who handle business well but have yet to learn how to develop mature emotions. With the overall view still of men as the leaders, that means any criticism of them, or notice of the lack of what they are emotionally presenting, is seen as an attack on them and their rightness. They then put a wall up to allow them to stand in their traditional role and it stops them from dealing with their emotional growth.

Underneath the day-to-day, men are having a much harder time coping with their emotional growth than women are having being independent. Both are just dealing with the new paradigm without a primer to tell them how to do it.

So try some of these tips to help you get through this transition:

Take into account that the person you’re involved with is going to spend time working on self while still in the relationship. When that time comes – and it can be moments every day or saved up for weeks or months at a time – your partner is not “looking-inward” because of you. Chances are the work isn’t even on a conscious level. If you take their introspection as a snub or a statement of lack of involvement in the relationship, you can end up blaming your partner for not giving you what you want instead of seeing it as his/her personal growth.

And the same goes for you. When you are drawn to deal with those self-lessons, your partner may not recognize it. And you may not recognize it consciously enough to explain it. That can lead to misunderstandings and hurt feelings which can easily be avoided with acceptance and understanding.

You and your partner are mirrors for each other to see what’s out of balance, but the reflection itself does not cause a change. The change is up to the individual to see what is reflected and then to learn and adapt within.

Know the difference between what you need to fulfill for yourself and what your partner can fulfill for you. They are not the same thing. A major problem in relationships is wanting your partner to take care of issues that only you can heal.

When something is lacking in a relationship, honestly look deep within first instead of automatically blaming your partner.

Accept and be grateful for “what is” in your relationship rather than “what isn’t”. Concentrating and being frustrated with “what isn’t”, “what should be” or “what could be”, puts pressure on self and your partner and stops you seeing what can be done within self to fix it.

Be aware when you tend to “fill in the rest” with your partner. This happens in newer relationships as you’re just getting to know each other. Certain requisites like sensitivity, sense of humor, financial success may add up. But many then assume if three big items on the list of what they want in a partner are met, the rest of the list is there, too. Assumptions lead to expectations instead of seeing, again, “what is”.

Everyone is an individual and on their own path. That means if you expect your partner to think or see things the way you do, there will be problems. Both of you are right in every situation. It takes work to figure out how to compromise without accusation.

Avoid assuming your partner “knows” what you need or want. Women traditionally feel that when they hint at something, their partner gets it. They don’t, no matter how clear you think the hint is. If you need or want something, tell your partner outright even if it means you find out he/she can’t give it. Better to know the truth than live in fantasy.

Speak to your partner the way you would like to be spoken to. It’s safe to stay in “I” statements (“I feel”, “I need”) rather than lead with “you” (“you did”, “you didn’t”). Most people automatically put up blocks when confronted with a sentence starting with “you” as it usually means there’s some kind of accusation following it. Anything else you want to say after the “you” can’t get through so your message is lost. Stick with “I”.

The key is always to have compassion and patience. If you can get out of your own wants and needs and desires for a moment to look at any situation in your relationship with compassion and patience – for self and your partner – all the work you did on self over the summer will automatically come into play.

with love and gratitude…

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