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Every year, I face a quandary that exemplifies the biggest ongoing issue in my long term relationship: birthdays. My partner and I have been together for over ten years, and I’ve had quite a few disappointing birthdays, birthdays where there was barely a card or a gift. Our solution has been that to plan my birthday celebration together. I tell her where I want to go and what I want to do, and if I want a gift then I prescribe it. It’s better than nothing, but in the end, I’m chronically a little disappointed. In the end, having to explain to my partner exactly how I want her to appreciate me leaves me feeling, well, unappreciated. I try to accept that my partner might not ever be the kind of person to surprise me with flowers, but in the end, thinking about it always leaves me feeling a little glum.
What do you do when you have a need, and it’s reasonable, and it’s just not in your partner’s nature to fill it? Do you just accept it and move on? Or is there an alternative I’m missing?
Unappreciated, Glum Goat
Capricorns are built for harsh conditions. We are the mountain goats who slog to the chilliest summit of our goals. Where our non-Capricorn companions take that as a cue to go inside the ski chalet and celebrate with a bottle of wine in the hot tub, we fix our eyes on the next summit, grit our teeth and get going. Even when that means our more lighthearted traveler buddies get left behind.
With three personal planets in Capricorn, UGG, if you have to, you can swing the lonely, each-for-his-own lifestyle. It does sound like your Capricornian realism is helping you drill down to the pragmatic level of the birthday conflict, but I can see why those “choices” (to suck it up, or…to suck it up) would leave you feeling glum.
You refer to two hardwired, at-odds natures. But, dear UGG, what are these Natures? The Nature of birthday card forgetting versus the Nature of birthday card needing? What lies underneath on your partner’s actions? Is she indifferent to your feelings or is she overwhelmed by not knowing how to make you feel appreciated? Does she usually forget dates or is her own birthday experience so different she can’t quite grasp why this matters to you? There are so many possible motivations for that behavior. If you haven’t yet, start by asking open-ended, non-blaming questions to learn more.
Your nature shows up loud and clear in your chart. With your Cap Sun in the 5th house, you share your light and draw energy from mutual appreciation, romance—and from giving and receiving plenty of happy, playful attention. Capricorn means business, so fun and romance for you are matters of responsibility. When your partner doesn’t step up in the way you expect, that disappointment runs deep. As you say, birthday cards (and lack thereof) symbolize a significant expectation you hold. To pretend this expectation does not exist is to effectively shut your partner out of your true self.
Another aspect of your nature which lurks beneath the question is a tendency to be incredibly hard on yourself*: to push yourself to make do with less, go it alone, struggle, play the helper, giver and martyr so that no one gets close enough to see your vast inadequacies.
Really, these “inadequacies” are the positive, healthy signs of being human. Your chart is set up** to help you (over time and with some work) relax and share the pleasures of being human with others. To get there, though, you have to let people in.
Capricorns like to present fully-assembled solutions to their partners. Problem is, that undermines the partner’s confidence and can create a pattern where the Cap manages the relationship and the passive partner continually disappoints. When this happens, the opportunity for true compromise dries up and the relationship loses.
What is your partner’s version of events? Does your knowledge of her Nature come from engaged conversation or assumptions?
My guess is that the missing alternative on your list is more complex than a question of birthdays. Something along the lines of slowing down to make room for more cooperation, more wine, more Jacuzzis, more listening and discovery of one another. How can you collaboratively build a relationship culture of mutual acknowledgement and appreciation? Is that as important to your partner as it is to you? If not, what does she care about? What can you two build that’s greater than the sum of your individual Natures? Rather than backing away from the birthday conversation, explore these questions together. In spite of your abundant Capricorn drive (peak upon peak), your fulfillment in life comes from the companionable, leisurely climb. When you take time to chat on the mountainside, to enjoy the views, take interesting detours and to get to know your buddy, you automatically start having fun and losing yourself in the shared moment. Then, you become the ultimate 5th house Capricorn: that confident, grounded, inspiring soul who takes joy seriously and only wants to generously share their pleasure with another.
* Pluto square Sun and Mercury; Mercury, Mars, Sun in Cap; Virgo Moon; Venus in Pisces; South Node in Sagg.; Saturn in Leo in the 12th.
**NN in 3rd House & Libra