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I want to know how a woman can create intimacy with a man.
I am a 31-year-old woman, who seems to be running into some avoidant/emotionally unavailable men lately.
It seems my want and need for intimacy in a relationship creates conflict within these men, and they may not know how to deal with it.
I have started to question if I still even know how to create intimacy. I never had a problem with this in my past serious relationships (before age 29).
Time seems to be of the essence, here. Not time in the sense that you need to rush to solve this problem, but that the timing of your issue is a factor.
Based on your age, you’ve just gone through what’s known in astrological terms as Saturn Return. This is the period between ages 28 and 30 when Saturn, the planet of structure and spiritual organization, returns to the same spot in the solar system as it was the year you were born.
For many of us, Saturn Return is a rebirth. And birth can be really painful.
Often, the lives we thought we knew well, get turned on their heads: our relationships get wobbly, our career choices can make an about-face, even our own self-knowledge gets put under Saturn’s harsh spotlight, forcing us to re-evaluate everything we thought we knew about ourselves.
Since you mention that intimacy was easier for you prior to the age of 29, it’s likely that Saturn may have been asking you to shift your thoughts about how you show up in relationships with men. Now that you’re 31 and on the other side of Saturn Return*, it’s time to ask yourself how you might have shifted or might not have.
In other words: Did you do the work?
What is the work?
Before we can even consider entering relationship with another, we must be solid in our deepest selves. That is, knowing our needs, desires and boundaries. That’s the first step. The second step is putting this knowledge into action by standing by that deepest self, protecting it like the rare and unique gem it is.
You know that you have a desire for intimacy, which is a healthy and beautiful thing, but it seems the men you attract are avoidant and unavailable. This raises the question of whether or not you are truly opening yourself to a healthy, mutually interactive relationship.
Let’s face it: real intimacy is scary.
If we do this dance of love correctly, it leaves us raw, vulnerable, exposed. When we open our hearts, we invite our partners to muck about in there, calling our attention to the parts of our selves that we many not wish to see.
By the rules of Jungian projection, you may be unconsciously seeking out men who cannot deal with intimacy because to some extent you are not prepared to dive into that pool yourself. On the surface, yes! You want that deep and loving connection with another human being. But deep in the murkiness of your psyche, you may still have some reservations.
This is perfectly understandable. The first two-and-a-half decades of our lives, we do our best to fit into the world, making decisions about how best to get on with other people, adjusting our personalities to suit. But by the time we reach the end of our 20s, we realize that the only way to truly live is to be ourselves—only we don’t know who that is, since we spent so much time trying to fit into other people’s ideas of who we should be!
Just after my own Saturn Return (and after the break-up of a long-term relationship), I felt I had done enough inner work to get back into the dating arena. I began attracting amazing, vibrant, gorgeous men—all of whom wanted nothing to do with a deep relationship with me. I could not for the life of me figure out what I was doing wrong. I had read scads of books about male-female communications, I studied psychology, I used the dating pool as my own personal laboratory for improving my own psyche.
Then one fine Sunday morning while I was watering and talking to my two Wandering Jews, Irv and Stella, it hit me.
“I don’t like men,” I said out loud. (My plants were polite enough not to respond.)
No wonder I was attracting the male equivalent of Teflon! Unconsciously, I had no desire to have any man stick in my life—I didn’t like them. I didn’t like their gruffness juxtaposed with their easily wounded manhood. I didn’t like the history of male persecution of women (animals, nature, other men). I didn’t like their assumption that they ruled the world.
I let myself rant until I had said it all. Then I began to heal my anger. Once I’d done that, I was better able to meet men where my healing was, not where my pain was.
The point is that when we are in flux, we project that state of flux. So even when, on the outside we wear the mask of Loving Potential Partner, our unconscious state is broadcasting a message that says, “Closed for Renovations.” What we attract, then, are partners who are themselves closed.
But all is not lost!
In order to begin to attract the right mate for ourselves, we need to do the work mentioned above. Create time for yourself at least once a day where you do nothing but serve your highest good by doing what you love. I call it a solitude practice. With this regular practice, you begin to burn new neuropathways in your brain that trigger self-love and self-celebration rather than, for example, fear that you may be unable to create intimacy anymore.
When we begin to develop the self, we fill ourselves with power that then radiates to all around us—including potential partners. You will begin to attract those who, like you, are on the path to deeper awareness and intimacy.
Of course, we know that no one is perfect, but it’s committing to the the process—that continued effort to evolve—that makes a partner worth being with. When you find that man—and I feel you will—you will recognize his own beautiful dance along the path and honor him for it, even when he trips. And he will do the same for you.
He is out there. Right now. So polish your gems (do this for yourself first), then let them shine. He will see them.
*My novel, The Bride of Manhattan, is about a young woman’s adventures with Saturn Return. Sometimes goofy, sometimes painful, it may give you some inspiration (if not a few laughs).
Author: Rachel Astarte
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock