The “Freedom/Closeness” Dilemma in relationships

Breaking Pointe
Breaking Pointe

My new guilty television pleasure is the program “Breaking Pointe,” a reality show about dancers in a ballet company in Salt Lake City.  They ran last year’s season on BBC America which is where I found it, and then this year’s season ran on the CW network.

One of the featured dancers, Allison, is involved in a classic push me/pull you relationship with Rex, another of the dancers.  In this kind of relationship one partner is pushing to be closer and the other one is distancing – pushing away.  However what often happens is that the roles switch and the formerly distancing partner becomes the one who wants to be closer.

In the Allison/Rex dynamic, Allison was involved with another man, Jonathan.  Then she and Rex had an affair and she broke up with Jonathan.  Rex still wanted to be with her and she pushed him away.  Then she realized Jonathan was a jerk and now she wants to be with Rex.  Now Rex is saying, not so fast – I’m not so sure I want this.

Howard Sasportas and Liz Greene coined the term the “freedom/closeness” dilemma to describe the conflict between the basic need to attach and feel safe with another human being and the need to differentiate the Self and become more comfortable as an autonomous individual.  This is a process that begins in infancy but it can become distorted and corrupted in certain family situations.  But really, those of us with this dynamic were born with a prospensity towards this conflict, and this is evident in our birthcharts.

Certain signs and planetary placements crave closeness and security, and others indicate a push for greater autonomy and freedom.  The water and earth signs tend to crave attachment and safety; the air and fire signs yearn for freedom and space.  Neptune, Venus and the Moon are connectors – Mars, Uranus and Jupiter are detachers.

Often in this kind of chart we see an individual who may be completely unaware of their need for space, who longs for connection but who habitually chooses unavailable partners.  Or they might be in long-term relationships in which intimacy is avoided as a means of finding space.  Most often we vacillate back and forth – in one relationship we are the pursuer and in the next we take the role of the pursued.   One individual with an intimacy/distance conflict will nearly always attract another with the same conflict until we understand and recognize that the conflict is actually in our own psyche.

We can see that clearly in the Allison and Rex dynamic.  Allison was unavailable, and Rex wanted to be with her.  Jonathan had moved away and then Allison wanted to be with him.  Then she realized Rex had always been there for her and Jonathan was a bit of a jerk, so she decided she loved Rex after all.  And now Rex says, “Not so fast, lady.  I’m not so sure I want this.”

Astrology’s magic lies in its ability to draw open the curtain and reveal the workings of the psyche.  Once we understand why we behave the way we do, making changes where necessary to lead a  happier and more productive life becomes easier and more rewarding.

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