Oracle of Ybor: Bleak Love

Feb 16, 2023 at 2:12 pm
Welcome to the Oracle of Ybor.
Welcome to the Oracle of Ybor.

Dear Oracle, 

I’ve been married for nearly a decade to my husband. I love him so much, and he’s my best friend. However, he’s not very “romantic.” I don’t get a lot of words of affirmation or quality time with him, two things that are important to me and my love language. (We have talked about it, and he gets defensive and thinks I’m criticizing him.) Recently, an old ex has been texting me, saying he regrets not fighting for me, thinks I’m beautiful, worships me, etc. It’s very over the top but also kind of thrilling! I don’t want to leave my husband… but I do really like this new attention. I’ve been texting back, and I’m not sure where I want this to go. Do the cards have any advice? 

-Flirting With The Past

Cards: Knight of Wands, Page of Pentacles (rev.) Temperance, Strength 

Dear Flirting,

It’s not surprising that you’re thrilled that your ex is telling you he regrets losing such a beautiful, heavenly creature. That’s some dramatic validation that you still got it—and I don’t think many people are immune to that kind of flattery, happily married or not.

However, opening the door to flirting with an ex can lead to many paths with a range of consequences. You might just send some slightly flirty texts for a couple of weeks, and then it peters out to nothing. You might start with texts but then go to phone calls, dates, and then onward to a full-blown affair. You really get to decide how much you want to escalate things.

Because it wouldn’t surprise me if your ex wants an affair. His card is the Knight of Wands: passionate, impulsive, with a streak of wildness. Of course this type of person would text a married ex some fiery, dramatic declarations. He’d whisk you away, probably on the back of a motorcycle, from your dull domestic life to live deliciously—or so he’ll promise.

This level of big “R” Romantic energy can be intoxicating—which makes it hard for your less passionate husband to compete.

Your husband is the Page of Pentacles reversed. He’s a hard worker, no doubt, and while he may appreciate beauty, he doesn’t know how to express it. Like all Pentacles, he might show love through more “practical” ways: financially, doing chores, things like that.

It’s worth noting that your husband is a Page, not a King. Pages can be a bit on the immature or emotionally underdeveloped side. So that would make sense as to why when you say, “I’d like you to say more lovey-dovey things to me,” he hears, “you’re an unromantic piece of shit.”

It also suggests that, at this moment, the Knight is taking up more of your mental energy. This ex is looming large, and your husband is dwarfed by comparison.

Regarding what you want, we have two Major Arcana: Temperance and Strength.

I’ve written before about how Temperance is a card of balance. That’s true here—“flirting” is balanced, “seducing” is not--but Temperance is about the act of tempering. You can temper something by mixing it with something to bring it to a proper texture (like you would for chocolate), and I think you’re trying to temper your marriage.

I don’t believe you actually want to be with your ex. (There was a reason you two broke up.) But I do think you want your husband to be fiery and passionate and tell you the same things this guy does. Maybe not all the time—he’s a shy lil’ pentacle boy—but enough that you feel desired and that there’s still a spark.

Now, society is shitty to men when it comes to emotions, so your husband might generally have a difficult time expressing his deep love for you. That’s 100% possible—and something you two can talk about in couple’s therapy.

I recommend counseling because you’ve already talked to your husband about wanting more romance, and he wasn’t very receptive.

And this isn’t something to be ignored. Romance is vital to a relationship—it’s what differentiates “a couple” from “two roommates.”

A professional can help you two talk about your issues in a way that doesn’t feel judgmental for him, and that may allow him to express his own desires in a way that you can hear.

With Strength as the final card, I think you’re looking for the courage to deal with this problem head-on. I suspect it’s been bubbling under the surface even before the Knight of Wands galloped back into your life. Be honest about your feelings, marriage, and what you’re willing to accept.

If your husband doesn’t want to say lovey-dovey things to you or spend more quality time, do you think you could accept that and be happy in this marriage?

If he does start making some small romantic gestures, would that be enough? Would you want to outsource your romance fix with an open marriage? What is your ideal situation? What’re your husbands’? Is there a realistic way to blend those two?

Strength is not a card about forcing something. It’s not a show of brute power but a sign of mutual respect. If your husband doesn’t want to change anything, you can’t force him to. And if you find yourself in a marriage that isn’t making you happy and can’t be saved, I hope you have the strength to do what you need to do.

However, I don’t think you’re there yet. Start looking for a therapist who takes your insurance and talk to your husband about it. He might bristle at the suggestion, but it might help to frame it as a practical step, like a car tune-up.

Also, keep an even head about your ex’s texts. Flirting is fun but you’re figuring out what you want with your husband. You don’t want to cross a line that will make that decision for you. 

Whatever happens, I know you have the strength to take this on.