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  • Writer's pictureAnderson

Love (Sex) & Literature #4

Recently I’ve been feeling like I’m having the same conversation with everyone all throughout the day. Not as in I talk about the same thing from point A to C with every new person I speak with – rather, over the course of the day, I’m talking about something from point A to Z, and each person takes a little chunk of the conversation before moving on. It’s like there is an Other that speaks to me through everyone else and I am connecting with them too, exploring and teaching and learning in a back-and-forth that feels exquisitely enmeshed in the collective consciousness. I chose this question for this week because it feels so similar to the things I’ve been speaking about all week, namely power, fear, and avoidances. I know someone out there needs to hear my answer.

I also know it’s been a while since I’ve spoken to you. I would apologize, but I’m not sorry. It takes a lot of living to accrue the wisdom and experience I bring to you all here. Sleepless nights, whirlwind days, sweat and tears and synchronicities – all of it in a soup as thick as the Styx. Plus, I bring a treat: the Gemini Guru is expanding into new mediums. If you haven’t already seen, I have answered a question in depth on Youtube, and will continue to do so semi-regularly. While we wait for the next installment, because I love y’all so much, this week we’ll be going over two questions. Enjoy.

“how to deal with unrequited love, especially with someone who doesn't like the same gender as you?”

Believe it or not, this is about you and your power, not them.

One could argue there is no control over the feelings we have towards other people. I don’t like to argue, but I’d disagree with this phantom opinion. Firstly on the basis of my belief that every relationship is a mirror of the Self; what bothers you reminds me of myself, what I like about you parallels what I want to encourage within me, etc, etc. So if you have deep feelings for someone, there is a reason for it, even if it’s unconscious.

Ponder what you love about this person. You said unrequited love, so I’m assuming the attachment is more than physical. Are they caring towards you and others? Fun-loving and exciting? Great conversationalist? You might not want to hear it, but you can find these qualities elsewhere. Beware getting bogged down by a worldview of scarcity. There are billions of people out there, statistically there is no way you will never find someone that ticks more of your boxes than this individual.

I believe there is something about this person’s unavailability that keeps you so invested in them. You could probably tell their sexuality didn’t align with yours from the early days. And yet! We are here. Unconsciously, there was something of their incompatibility with you that you appreciated, something of it which excited you. This is a bit sad for me to parse out because it means you must not have a very high appreciation for yourself. Deep inside, you don’t believe you deserve to have your thirst quenched. You’re familiar with the feeling of being attached to someone who does not want you as you want them. It’s clearly not pleasant for you, but it’s comfortable. Implying that you have a deep wound in there still festering.

You love something about the impossible chase. “One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

You have given all your power away to this person and they are giving nothing back. Or not enough back. You can recognize that this is poisonous to you, but you don’t know how to stop.

My advice isn’t going to be how to deal with this situation at large – because it’s not going to change. If this person isn’t into what you are, you cannot change this. You should not. You should respect your desires and only accept the love of someone who is obsessed with you, who cannot get enough of you, who feels they will die if they don’t get to dwell in your presence.

My advice is on how to heal from this. First you must search yourself and your history and identify your wounds. Look out for who or what has hurt you and forgive yourself for going through it. Forgive yourself for the tactics and strategies you learned for your survival until now – and then let them go. You’re not a helpless child that needs the care of their parent anymore. You have abilities and quirks and talents and skills and life and so you are absolutely deserving of emphatic, unrelenting love. You deserve happiness and romantic fulfillment. All of us do. Tell yourself this even if it seems obvious. Notice where you tense up in your body. Notice how it feels to acknowledge this universal truth. Then write it down in your journal or Notes app. Write it in a text message to yourself and leave the notification unread until the next time your phone turns off, so you always have it as a reminder. Say it when you are in the shower, say it again and again until you believe it.

When you change inside, the world changes around you. People largely treat us how we allow them to. Stop giving so much attention to this mystery heart marauder. Picture your ideal Hallmark Christmas movie romantic relationship: then reject anyone that is not willing to try and give you what you want. Do not agree to do anything you don’t want to do. Do not make concessions or keep quiet out of concern for another person’s happiness. You are the author and the subject of your own life, no one else. Accept compliments from others with a smile. Look at who looks at you. Look back. Apply for a job you’re not qualified for. Do it nervous if you have to. Embrace being the main character. In those teen romance movies, inevitably, the unrequited love comes around when the protagonist goes through their character development; I’m not saying this will happen to you, just that you seem overdue for a metamorphosis.

You have so much love to give, I can tell. But in this way you aren’t giving enough of it to yourself. You want to give to people who cannot and will not give back to you in the way you deserve. Only you know why and only you can change it. You will have to be brave. It is so much harder to accept being loved than it is to love, because to accept means to acknowledge that you are worthy of someone else’s love. Let them pour into you.

“How can I facilitate a safe environment so I can encourage my partner to feel more deeply. We both love each other to bits but after being together for a year, I've realised he completely detaches when something goes wrong in life. I respect his space and always give him time to process but instead of feeling it out, he suppresses it and we don't speak about what happened, not unless I ask him about it.”

Oof. I had to answer this one because it spoke to me personally. I’ve been in the position of your partner many times before. Emotional avoidance is truly a plague that seems to especially haunt modern men. I’m a therapist, not a sociologist, so I won’t claim to know why this is the case, but I definitely see it enough for things to seem like a pattern.

I say this gently, with love and care: there is nothing you can do about this.

I will say it again, for emphasis. There is nothing you can do to change your partner. He has to make the change in himself or it will never happen. That is just how it is. We can lead a horse to water, we can take a horse to SeaWorld – actually no, fuck SeaWorld, take them to the beach or something – but it won’t drink until it wants. Until the thirst is stronger than the urge to hold back. Until, until.

I know you didn’t ask how to change him, and I appreciate that. But someone needed to read that last paragraph.

Looking at this, I wish we had more information about your last sentence. I wonder how it goes when you ask him about his feelings. How much time to process do you give him? I would bet money that he feels like you don’t give him enough. Has he ever brought something up to you of his own volition? Was he ever given a chance to? In what other ways are you taking control of this relationship and deciding the pace of it? Do you know how he feels about this dynamic? I have a hard time taking it at face value that your partner has shallow emotions. It feels much more believable to me that, for whatever reason, your partner is very skilled indeed at suppressing or disguising or enduring their feelings. What is the methodology of his suppression? That would be useful insight, too. Beware of addictions or compulsive behaviors – they won’t change until this communication pattern of his does.

I also wish I had more context around your partner’s detachment. I wonder if even you have it. What does it mean for something to “go wrong”? Some people get avoidant and closed off in times of emotional distress. Or when they perceive someone else’s emotional distress and close off to protect themselves from facing accountability, disappointment, etc. Does your partner have a shite job that leaves them an emotional shell? Or does this happen in times as innocuous as a missed train? The level of severity and frequency here determines the urgency of the problem. But again, I have to stress, you cannot change them. The best you could do is communicate to them how serious of a problem this is.

Yes, I recognize the inherent paradox in that. “How do I tell my avoidant partner that their avoidance is a problem? Won’t they just keep avoiding it?” Maybe they will, maybe they won’t. I know that’s not the approach you seemed to have in mind, but I think modeling emotional transparency is a good tool to have in your arsenal.

Notice I said emotional transparency over honesty. As an avoidant myself, I have the insight of knowing that sometimes, one would rather be silent than honest. I grew up hearing that if you have nothing nice to say, you should say nothing at all. But that doesn’t really work so well in adulthood. You might not want to tell your partner that it disgusts you to sit on a pee-sprinkled toilet, or how gross it is that their hair sticks around in the shower drain when they don’t pick it up… yet you clearly do need to talk about how their hygiene is incompatible with your peace, and something has to change.

The word choice you use will be very important in this situation. You always want to make sure your partner is aware that you are communicating with them because you want to work together and you want to understand them. They will feel trapped and uncomfortable. In their head, you will be taking on a tyrannical position and forcing them to look at and acknowledge things they would rather not. Even if it feels safe enough for them to talk about their feelings, they’ve gone so long suppressing their true desires and emotions that it will likely feel like a floodgate is being flung open. They will feel overwhelmed and they might feel a sudden compulsion to make a number of changes. Or they may retreat into their most comfortable relationships or habits.

What’s important at this stage is patience. They may say things which surprise you. You may find yourself blindsided by them. This will be difficult, but I strongly recommend you keep anything but encouragement to yourself, at least at first. You want to help teach them that they are worthy of love and appreciation even if they say something which you don’t like to hear. Even if they have an emotion which you don’t understand or like.

Avoidance is a learned behavioral tactic which removes us from danger, perceived or real. The smell of rotting food is a biological avoidance – this stinks, don’t eat it, you’ll die. It’s the same with our relationships. If their father was particularly punishing and macho, they probably learned that any “feminine” expression of emotion would lead to shame, punishment, violence, disappointment, etc, which to a young mind is as good as fatal. Ultimately you want to empower your partner. Remind them of their worth and their independence as an adult. Remind them that they are loved, so deeply loved, no matter what, unconditionally.

Love is the only way to liberate anyone. Be as transparent as you can. Lead the way until he can.


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