In Tantra, we often speak about the different poles called feminine and masculine. The feminine desires to be loved, to be held by a strong masculine. The feminine loves to be opened, ravished into bliss and wanted. The feminine also loves to feel safe. To feel filled, as there is always a certain emptiness inside that creates a desire to be filled up that can overtake anything else.
The masculine desires freedom. To not be trapped, but to journey towards the horizon, guided by a sense of purpose in life. There’s a goal, a direction and not even love can or should take the masculine away from this. Everyone and anything that takes away the sense of freedom for the masculine will feel like a burden.
Setting the Balance
Inaccurately, the masculine is often seen as synonymous with man or male, and feminine with woman or female. This is not so. As the Tantra cliché says: all of us have both poles in us; the masculine as well as the feminine. And yes, often men have more of the masculine and less of the feminine and vice versa, but this is not a static thing. I see it as the balance switch between speakers on a radio. We all have two speakers. Left and right. Masculine and feminine. Yin and yang. We all have our favorite place of setting the switch. It might be close to the middle, it might be far from it. It might change over time. And maybe you fluctuate on a daily base.
Most of the time, you will attract people who are the exact opposite of you. Is your setting mildly more feminine? You will attract someone mildly more masculine (regardless of gender). Is your setting extremely masculine? You will attract someone extremely feminine.
The Challenge in Masculine/Feminine Relationships
For clarity sake, to make my point in an understandable way, let’s take the example of me, a woman whose setting is quite far into the feminine (but able to switch to masculine easily, e.g. when leading workshops or organizing logistics for three kids with playdates on different sides of town). My partner is a man with quite the masculine setting (but able to switch to feminine).
I have a desire for freedom, adventure and having a clear purpose in my life. Although my feminine setting is dominant, my masculine side also needs nurturing and fulfillment. But more than that, I experience a desire to relate deeply to someone. I want to feel filled up with love. I want to be desired. I want my partner to be there for me and hold me, no matter what I feel. Whether I feel insecure, sad, blissful, angry or down; I want him there, stable as a tree and with arms wide open. Not taking any of my moods personally, but allowing me to be this full-spectrum feminine woman including all that comes with it.
He wants that too. To be that tree for me. And he wants freedom. He wants to travel, to share his gifts with the world, and he desires my support as his partner, encouraging to be all this and even more.
And this is where the challenge comes in.
Especially for the feminine, there will always be an unfulfilled part. A part that (wholeheartedly) needs to sacrifice the longing to be constantly filled to be with a partner who desires freedom. But freedom can feel unsafe, and how to open up and radiate as a feminine being when you don’t feel safe, and maybe not even loved in the way you desire to feel loved?
The Big Pitfall of Compromise
From a place of fear, it can be easy to compromise to bridge the gap. It would be easy to hold the partner who desires more freedom back. To basically bribe them to provide more safety and holding. The partner desiring more freedom can easily feel guilty and compromise following their calling to be free, create and share their gifts.
The result of that is what you have probably seen all around you, and maybe you’re in the middle of it: relationships in which people feel trapped, compromising their dreams and desires from a place of fear – and because it’s what we have been taught for ages: relationship means sacrifice.
We have put the responsibility for our own happiness in the arms of the other. They have to make sure we are happy, and when that doesn’t happen (we probably get frustration in return), resentment comes in, spiraling us in a downward circle.
Magic is Possible
Is it possible then, that magical relationship where both feminine and masculine flourish?
Yes, but it needs a different approach than what we are used to. Instead of the ‘you make me whole’ BS from popular songs and fairy tales, we need to start taking care of ourselves. Knowing what it is that makes us who we are. Is it love, fulfillment or freedom? And how can I create that in my life without
- making my partner responsible for it, and
- blaming them when I don’t feel nurtured in the way I desire.
It also requires a lot of deep listening to the other. What is it that they need? How can I support them (which is a different thing from arranging it for them, or taking responsibility for it) getting that?
It might mean you make the conscious choice to do things in your life a bit different to co-create the relationship you both dream of. If your desires for freedom translates to traveling, you might not go as far and as long as you would without a partner. Or maybe you go together. Or maybe there’s a completely different way that opens up you haven’t even thought of.
If your desire to feel filled with love translates to daily sex, you might start a self-love practice, or find a lover nearby when your relationship structure allows it. Or maybe you will find that tea with friends actually nurtures the same desire, just in a different way.
Bridging the Gap
I strongly believe it’s possible to bridge this gap in desires between masculine and feminine desires in a healthy, sustainable way. There won’t be a single approach that will work forever, as we can change the settings of our balance, and even when we don’t, our desires might still change, depending on life situation, time of the year and whatnot.
Here’s a little exercise that can help you identify and bridge the gap between you and your partner:
Sit down together and make sure you have some time. Meditate for a few minutes, or take some breathes together.
You might notice that you feel triggered; emotions keep you away from your deeper feelings. In that case, set a timer for 5 minutes for each of you, and agree to vent your emotions while the other doesn’t respond or do anything. This is Buddha-face practice: sit and receive your partner in their fullness. Don’t take it personally, they are doing something important for both of you by releasing some stuff that blocks the view to what’s important.
When you feel calm and connected, have another round (or first round if there wasn’t anything to get out of the way) with a timer again. For 5 minutes, while your partner is listening, share your desires for the relationship. No solutions yet, no blaming the other, just share your desires. Do you want to feel free? Do you want to feel safe?
After five minutes your partner shares. What are their desires? Now it’s your turn to just listen.
When you both have shared, you now have a more clear idea of what it is that the other desires. Now, can you find creative ways to fulfill these desires without compromising your own? Be creative!
A relationship between a feminine and a masculine that respects both, is not the easy way. The gap will always present itself, as the only way to fill the gap is, in my experience so far, by compromising.
It takes courage to create space for both poles to flourish. Maybe most from the feminine, as to give space for the masculine to be free, there is a counterintuitive movement needed, as granting freedom can feel like the opposite of receiving safety. It requires two people willing to do their own work. To look deep within where they are giving responsibility away.
It also requires an ability to sit with discomfort. We are masters of avoiding discomfort, and most of us see discomfort as a sign of something wrong. But maybe it isn’t. Maybe discomfort is simply a sign we are entering new territory where there is stuff to heal.
Instead of getting rid of the discomfort as quickly as we can, why not take some time with it. Breathe with it. Allow it to be there with you and actually teach you.
Do you want to learn to sit with discomfort and learn from your emotions?
Do you want to become more free in the realms of intimacy, self-love, trust, relating, and sexuality? I offer online (Skype, Zoom) or offline (hands-on) coaching sessions.