March 2010 © by Fabienne Lopez
In one of Gary Larsen’s most memorable “Far Side” cartoons, a man scolds his dog: “Okay Ginger, I’ve had it! Stay out of the garbage! Understand, Ginger? Stay out of the garbage!” In the next frame the dog’s understanding reads, “Blah blah blah Ginger, blah blah blah blah blah blah! Ginger blah blah!”
In relationships, I am Ginger.
I feel like my relationships have been trying to tell me something and I only hear blah, blah, blah, blah.
I suck at relationships!
Over the years, I’ve asked myself:
Why do I find myself over and over in the same situation?
Why do I always attract losers … Fill the blanks …?
I never realized when I met him, he was crazy… Fill the blanks …?
He does not understand me!
He is the one! I’ll finally be happy now!
With Saturn in Libra until October 2012, we all have plenty of opportunities this year to visit, revisit, scrutinize, understand, dissect and do a general spring-cleaning of our relationships.
Thank god! Oh no!
While I can’t say I greet this spring-cleaning opportunity with joy in my heart – more like trepidation — I am using this transit to gain clarity, create change, and bring a little peace to my heart. Before I go more into my story, and perhaps yours too, let’s dive into a bit more about this transit.
In astrology, Saturn exerts the most influence and power in Libra. In Liz Greene book, Saturn A New look at an Old Devil, Saturn is regarded as the planet of pain, delays, disappointment, depression, fears, restriction and discipline.
(Do you hear the scolding and finger wagging in your face? I do!)
Saturn makes us work for our wisdom: Through hard work, frustration (you work to improve your relationships with no immediate results), delays (you see the reward on the horizon but it is slightly out of reach), set-backs (you got the reward and you go right back to the unhealthy pattern and self-denial (you have to do the work before you get the rewards). In the end, our reward is wisdom, self-discipline, and a clearer understanding of what it is that we seek in a relationship.
The last time Saturn was in Libra in the 1980s, I didn’t even hear the scolding. I had my nose in the garbage. I wanted a relationship because everyone else around me had one. Why not me? I was in college, and having a boyfriend was supposedly part of the campus experience. I picked a foreign exchange student, one that was guaranteed to be inaccessible. Mostly for two reasons: one, he was not interested in me, and secondly, at the end of the year, he would go back to his country and break up with me. I would then be able to spin the wheels of the patterns I wrote about at the start of this article.
And that’s what happened and kept happening over and over during the next decades (I am a slow learner). Within minutes of meeting a man, I was convinced I had met my true love. At the second date, I was already planning the wedding, especially if, after reading Linda Goodman’s Love Signs, I discovered we were compatible. By the third date, I had our entire life mapped out with the 2.5 kids, the cat and white picket fence.
Now 30 years later, after having gone through this scenario multiple times, I get a chance to listen to the man in the cartoon, understand him, and have a more serious look at the health of my relationships. The blah, blah, blah is turning into words I can actually understand.
What have I learned from my first Saturn in Libra transit when I was 18 to this one? I will tell you.
In a relationship it’s never about the other person. It’s actually about you, more precisely, it’s about your share of personal responsibility in the relationship and how strong your boundaries (a very saturnine word) are.
One of the reasons I kept repeating those unhealthy patterns in my relationships was because I lacked boundaries. You know, that line that divides my business from his business, my emotions and needs from his. I confused my reality with his and his with mine, what he was responsible for (everything), what I was responsible for (pointing out what was wrong.)
Specifically, I was more interested in venting what I did not like about him, what he did to me, what he was supposed to do than in learning what I valued, what I cherished, what I admired and what I wanted. My goal was more in pleasing my partner than asserting myself and meeting my needs and goals. I was always crossing the boundary lines by putting aside my own interests and hobbies in order to do what my partner wanted. I valued his opinions and feelings more than my own. I needed to be “needed” in order to have a relationship.
This caring and giving left me depleted, angry, resentful, and generally unhappy with my relationships. I blamed my partner for my unhappiness, feelings of isolation, rejection, and disappointment. After all, I was behaving the way I thought society and my own family upbringing expected of me. I was doing nothing wrong, I thought.
That’s not how I see it now.
I am becoming more and more aware of the inner tension, huge differences existing between my inner needs and the learned ideal of what a mate should be. This is the first lesson. There are other lessons that Saturn in Libra is teaching me.
It’s not my job to take care of my partner. I sincerely believed it was. That’s how I was raised. The unwritten contract was that “I take care of you and you return the favor by taking care of me.”
Guess what? It doesn’t happen that way. And if it does, you end up in an unhealthy relationship. Saturn is showing me the flaws in that type of arrangement – the ways I manipulated others with guilt so that they would take care of me. Believe me, it is a very hard conditioning to break “because good people are selfless and I want to be a good person,” I tell myself.
I’m using a lot of my energy right now being conscious of this pattern and choosing to modify this habit. But I am learning. CoDA (Co-Dependents Anonymous) meetings has been a useful tool in moments of crisis.
I have the right to say, “NO!”
In a simple, direct straightforward manner. I no longer need to resort to:
“No, but,” — “I don’t want to do this but I will do it anyway to please you…Fill the blanks.”
“Maybe,” — “What I am really saying is no, but I am not saying directly in order to avoid offending, hurting, disappointing you…Fill the blanks”
“Yes,” – “Agreeing to something but I will make you pay later on because I am resentful that I agreed to something I do not want to do.
What a concept! The word no was not in my vocabulary. The first time I said no to a request from a person I loved I got so anxious and guilty. I was waiting for the sky to fall. Yes, we did argue but nothing bad happened. Amazing lesson for me.
I need to take care of myself. I did not know about self-care. I knew about survival strategies, controlling explosive situations and taking care of others. Nothing about creating the life I wanted. My motto now is “Do not make others a priority if you are an option for them”.
What lessons can you learn with Saturn in Libra? Let’s take this time until October 2012 to develop the functional and healthy relationships we really want.
Note: This article is featured in Saturn in Libra and Relationships, published on Sasstrology as part of the 2010 International Astrology Day Blogathon. The purpose of this web-based event is to create a permanent library of articles about how to deal with the stresses of the Cardinal T-Square of Pluto, Saturn and Uranus. The main page for the Blogathon collections is at The Cardinal T-Square of 2010: Saturn, Uranus, Pluto.
Photos: Credits to Flickr Creative Commons