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Is Our Obsession With Relationships Healthy?
Chiron Files by Eric Francis

Dear Friend and Reader:

Today is the annual cult of romance known as Valentine's Day.

It's time for all the coupled people to buy chocolate and flowers and diamonds, and pump the romance of their love affairs; time for all the uncoupled people to unabashedly ramp up their search for the special relationship; or to sit home woefully dreaming of what might someday be or what one day was. With each passing year, Valentine's Day competes with Christmas and Halloween for the "most money spent" award. Many single people feel left out; for some it's a sad day.

Have you ever questioned whether this approach to relationships -- that is, to romance -- is healthy? As an astrologer who has discussed relationships with nearly every client who has come to me, I propose it's time to ask. Valentine's Day mania is just an example of the many ways our society is oriented around 'coupledom', from benefits in the tax code to one of the biggest civil rights issues of our day, that being the right of lesbian and gay people to marry. What is interesting is the extent to which this meme of pair bonding is presented as the only legitimate relationship option. If you're not in a relationship, some odd rule somewhere says you have to be in one; there's a kind of mandatory search for the 'special someone'.

Does anyone remember that line from Fear of Flying, in which Erica Jong says she wants to be a whole person instead of half a couple? The astrology of 2011 is all about being a whole person. Astrology or not, the moment we're in is calling on us to be a whole person, in harmony with our own energy. We talk a lot about being in integrity; that means whole and integrated.

The astrology of our moment strongly favors whole personhood. In fact, if not for the devoted resistance to the concept that seems to be such a part of the dualistic human experience, I would say it's all but inevitable. This is illustrated several different ways.

First, Saturn in Libra is peeling back the facade from our relationships. The standard narrative (the nuclear family, monogamy is the only way; if you're single, you're weird) is wearing thin under the compelling energy of Saturn; astrology that is urging us to get real. Part of real is about making sure we are emotionally self-sufficient; part of real is about conducting our relationships on adult terms. One thing our society does is romanticize relationships; as if once you have one, you'll always be on a Caribbean vacation. Saturn in Libra is saying we need to be more practical from the outset. Yes we need passion, yes we need to dream and yes, we need to treat our relationships like real-world entities that require a strong sense of purpose and regular maintenance.

One of the most challenging things about relationships is that they rarely acknowledge the individuality of the people involved -- that the people in the relationship are whole people and not half a couple. Uranus entering Aries next month is likely to stir up a tempest of the desire to be an individual. That may put a strain on some relationships that are not accustomed to this state of being; one thing we may learn is that our structures are too brittle and need to be more flexible.

Chiron has just entered Pisces for the next eight years, drawing us deep into our unconscious, helping us become aware of our motives, and what we need to resolve emotionally. We have a lot to learn about this; there is a deep need for emotional healing. I suggest that partners recognize that everyone has different emotional healing needs, and your primary relationship is not the only place you may need to get those needs met.

Many people recognize their need to be more independent, but are afraid to do anything about it. Despite all they do with others, and seek from others, their deeper nature is calling on them to stand on their own feet. You may be one of those people, and if you are, I suggest you follow your instincts and take action that will help you get strong in the ways you need to get strong. You can do it -- and you will benefit greatly from doing so. It's just that you may not find a lot of support around you -- but this fits the description of being able to live your life without needing the constant approval of others, or being driven through life by the fear of abandonment.

I propose living in a way dedicated to approving of ourselves, affirming the lives of others no matter who they are to us and exploring love based on honesty and emotional freedom. It could be simple. It will be, if we let it be.

And this, I would evoke as the new spirit of Valentine's Day.

Yours & truly,
Eric Francis
Editor's Note: Normally we distribute Chiron Files on Tuesday morning, but because this issue has a Valentine's Day theme we are sending it Monday evening. This will take the place of our previously scheduled mailing tomorrow. In case you're curious and would like more ideas to consider on the theme of our wacky relationship lives, here is a link into a new archive of past articles on sexuality and relationships by Eric. Friday we published an article called Be My Valentine, which explores alternate models of relationships. These articles are full of inspiration to explore whether your status is single, monogamous or 'complicated'.

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