Relationships and Connection Charts

This is an edited conversation loosely transcribed from the Human Design Collective Podcast Spotlight Episode on Relationships and Connection Charts. It contains some additional points. You can listen to it here.


Today, we are talking about a topic that all of us have in our lives: relationships. And from the perspective of Human Design, our relationship chart is something very specific like when we’re looking at an individual chart. So if you’re looking at your own chart, then part of what we’re getting to see is your nature, what’s fixed about you. And then also we see what’s open about you, what’s flexible about you. Overall, that picture is showing us something about the characteristics and the themes and the energies that are part of your body and consciousness that don’t change. And one of the freedoms that comes with that is that you really get to see what you can just accept and surrender to in life. Stop trying to change it, stop trying to make it different, just in relation to yourself. And then as you accept yourself, as you align with your own nature, you can find that as you move through life, there’s a lot less resistance.

When we accept what we are, there is a lot less difficulty. Things may not look the way you think you want them to, but they’ll fit you in a different way. So when we look at a relationship chart, what we’re actually getting to see are two individual charts coming together in a partnership. And we get to see the design of that partnership. And in a similar way, that partnership design is its own entity. It has its own nature and its own dynamics. When we look at the dynamics in a relationship chart, we can see them as something we call mechanics. The mechanics have to do with the energy exchange and the way the themes interact with each other, the way the frequencies, the energies, and the characteristics interact with each other. So one of the first things that can be really enlightening about looking at a relationship chart is to see that the relationship has its own fixed nature.

This means that there are things about it that don’t change. It’s just part of the mechanics. It’s part of the nature of that entity. The freedom that can come with that is to be able to recognize that there are things in the relationship that are probably never, ever going to change. And it puts us in an interesting position of needing to face facts when it comes to the mechanics, but it also gives us freedom in being able to see that it’s nobody’s fault. So what I see in a lot of couples when they first get a relationship reading is they start to discover that there are a lot of things going on that are nobody’s fault. It’s not either person’s fault that these dynamics are this way.


I think the thing that you’re really pointing to here, which is so important, is this orientation of no blame. When you start looking at these relationship or connection charts, it allows us to see the underlying mechanics of the interaction. You get to see each person for who they are energetically. And in terms of type, authority, and definition, you also get to see the relationship that’s created when two people come together. As you said, you see that there are specific ways that we hook each other up, there are ways that we connect and it’s unique to that particular couple or that particular relationship. If you were to go out and have a relationship with a different person, you would have a totally different set of mechanics. Most likely you might find that you also have a very different experience of yourself in one relationship than you had in the prior relationship. And you start to see things from the perspective that it’s not necessarily a person’s fault or your part, or someone’s bad or good, but this is the way this relationship works. It brings awareness to it, which I think can be really helpful.


Yes, in terms of our nature, what you are describing is true. The big, big exception, however, which is very common especially before midlife, and sometimes throughout life, is that most of us are living from our conditioning rather than our nature. This means we have become distracted by conditioned themes, often from our childhood, which we then compulsively re-create in our adult relationships. If you look at the charts of major partnerships in your life, especially those from early adulthood, you will often see similarities with your parents. This is where we see certain patterns repeat in relationship after relationship. This is the effect of conditioning and until we deal with that, heal from that, let that go, we can not experience unique or differentiated relationships.

So one of the core pieces of guidance with Human Design is to use your strategy and authority, use your own internal body intelligence, to be able to tell if it’s correct for you to be in any particular relationship. It doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy and perfect, but it means that it will be correct for you. And you’ll be able to know that through your own design, through your own personal design, but then you also get to see that in the nature of the relationship itself, each one has its own set of challenges and strengths. Each one has its own sets of things to explore, things to work with, things that feel good, things that are painful. And that’s true in any relationship. So like you’re saying, with each different relationship we experience, we can see what these different dynamics are.


You touched on something else that I think is important. This idea of entering into a relationship correctly within the context of Human Design. That means following one’s strategy and authority as a tool to work with in terms of how you’re entering into situations, or how you’re engaging with people in this world. For a generator, it would come through response, letting something come to you rather than you going out and trying to initiate a relationship for example. Or if you’re a Projector it’s going to be even more specific. You’re really waiting to be seen and recognized for who you are, and then invited into a relationship in a way that you can show up as yourself and not try to be something different than you are. this means not having to compromise yourself right as you’re going into the relationship. And it makes a lot of sense, just on a very common sense mundane level. If you’re entering into a relationship and you’re not clear on who you are or who the other person is, if you’re trying to prove yourself or you’re making a decision or going into a relationship or marriage or bond for your family or your community or culture that may not be correct. And it’s setting the tone for the entire relationship, it’s a really important consideration. And all of this points to how we are entering into a relationship with an awareness of self and the other as they actually are.


Yes. So that’s a really interesting piece because I’ll see people ask all the time, especially when they’re encountering a new relationship, they might want to go to an analyst or, or look up the charts online and say, “Oh, is this going to be a good relationship? What kind of design should I be looking for?” There are things in that kind of analysis that can give you some clues about what the dynamics and the relationship might be like, but really only your own internal response or your own internal awareness about the interaction can tell you if this relationship is right for you or not. I think the big thing that becomes a real problem in relationships is the same thing that is a real problem for us as individuals. It has to do with conditioning and imitation. I think a lot of the issues that we encounter as individuals come from taking a certain amount of conditioning from society or from family or from past relationships that makes us think I’m supposed to be a certain way.

If I can make myself conform or imitate the model of something that I think is the best way to be, then that’s how I can get through life. And it’s when we get into that kind of dynamic with ourselves that we lose touch with our own nature. And in the same way, we live in a culture and society, no matter who you are, where you are, that has very specific ideas about what a relationship is supposed to be. And the funny thing is that in most cases, there are a very small handful of options for relationships. You have your lifelong partnership; you have your familial sibling-like relationships and friendships; you have your parental type relationships, you have your co-working relationships, but if you really looked at the models that we set up in society, there are a very small handful of variations there.

And then for each one of those, we have this idea of what the ideal is. And some of those factors really interfere with us being able to see the relationship for the unique thing that it is and appreciate it for what it is. I think one of the big ones is the idea that if a relationship is good, whether that’s a work relationship, a friendship or a partnership or a marriage, if the relationship is good, it means that you want to be together a lot of the time and it lasts forever. You have close contact until death, you know? And so there’s this sense of failure that a lot of people feel if they have challenges in the relationship, or if there are certain things they don’t have access to in a particular relationship, or if you get to a point when both people, if you’re really being honest, can tell this relationship’s finished for now in this form. There’s a sense of timing with relationships that we don’t acknowledge or recognize because we have this idea that it’s supposed to be a certain way for a certain amount of time and the longer, the better, and the more intense, the better, and the more we’re happy and light all the time, the better. And these are all judgments that really interfere with being able to appreciate the relationship for what it is and let it live as its own unique thing.


Yeah. I think what you’re pointing to is this tendency for the mind to grab on and hold on and try to direct the life. In other words, we ended up following these mental narratives, these mental scripts, that society hands us or our family hands us. And then we try to adhere to them and we say, well, this is the way it works. It must be like this. And that’s often very different than what our natural response to something might be or where our energy naturally wants to go. And it may put us in a position where we’re trying to live in a way that’s just not healthy for us, or it’s not who we are. It’s not actually what we’re here to do. And we keep overriding our natural way of relating or going into things. And it ends up being almost like a counterfeit.

We talk about the “not-self” in Human Design. And then you mentioned this question of timing. If you want to look at it in terms of the lifetime, a lot of us don’t even know who we are and what we’re here to do until we get through the Saturn return, which often comes up at around age 29 or 30. Somewhere in that range, we start getting a sense of it if we’re living as ourselves. So we have at least the potential for that at that time, but we’re making all these decisions based on these other scripts or narratives at an earlier age, often in our early to mid-twenties or late twenties, when we’re still working it out, we’re still trying to figure out what we’re about, what our life is. And then we’re making these promises, as you said, these commitments are establishing these bonds indefinitely.

And then somehow we’re surprised when it doesn’t quite work out. All you have to do is go out there and look at some of the statistics around relationships and marriage and divorce. And you see like, wow, this is a big issue in our society, but we’re trying to fit the square pegs into round holes. And, you know, going back to the actual connection chart and the mechanics of it, you’re going to see as much variety in a connection chart and across two individuals, as you have individuals on this planet, and yet we only have a handful of these templates that we’re all trying to adhere to or force ourselves into.


Yes. I think it sets a lot of us up for a lot of disappointment and failure because there’s so much pressure and there’s so much expectation. And like you said, there’s so much of an idea we carry into our relationships about what a relationship is supposed to be and how it’s supposed to feel. But I think the truth is that you don’t actually know what a particular partnership dynamic is or how it’s going to feel until you encounter it. If we could approach it that way, with a sense of curiosity, we could actually give the relationship a chance to live as itself in the same way that when we bring children into the world, if we didn’t immediately impose upon them a whole set of expectations about what they’re supposed to be, we’d actually have the opportunity to be curious and discover who they are as a unique being.

When we spoke with Mark Germaine, he said, “Expectations are the devil.” And I liked that phrase because I think it’s really true. It’s a really sad thing. I can see in a lot of relationships where both people are really, really suffering. They are really, actually in a lot of pain. And yet there is a lot of love and respect underneath it all, but they just don’t know how to deal with the mechanics. And they don’t quite know how to face the truth of it together. In some ways, I think when you get to a point where you face the truth, you might both realize this is over, in this form at least, this form isn’t working for us.

Then there’s a chance to either discover, “Well, what is our correct form and structure? What is the correct amount of time for us to be spending together? What kind of things can we do together? What kind of things do we enjoy together? What things should we avoid in each other?” But if you never let go of whatever your expectation is of what you think that ideal relationship is supposed to be, you never get the chance to see who that other person really is and find out what can this dynamic can be.

If we can let go of those expectations, it’s a huge deconditioning process if we can just allow ourselves that as individuals. But then to be able to extend that to another person, to let go of our expectations of them and not sacrifice ourselves in the process, it’s potentially a real and unique journey. And I can understand why a lot of people will say that deep intimate relationship is a real path of exploration and growth. If you go after it openly and with honesty, it’s quite an adventure.


Yeah. I would say for most people, I think relationships tend to bring in the greatest challenges and opportunities for growth and awareness, especially for people who have a design that is really relationship-oriented, like split definitions or Projectors. But I would say for every one to varying degrees.


Yes. When you start to look at your own design and you look at the design of another person, it’s a chance to just see what you have in common, what you can relate to in each other, and recognize that there are going to be a lot of differences, in most cases.

Also, there is a collective context around this, because I think it’s important to see that we are all swimming in an ocean of a lot of mutation. Right now we are in a context where the nature of institutions and relationships and bonds is really changing. So for any of us, if we’re struggling with this or if we have been for a while, I think it’s important to recognize that it’s not just you, it’s not just us. It’s not just my marriage. It’s not just this relationship. We’re actually all kind of in this time where we’re having to figure a lot of things out from scratch and the things that we used to be able to just rely on and count on are changing.

So it requires a lot more seeing and creativity even just to come into it with your partner. If you’re going to look at your designs together to see if you can have that attitude about it, it’s like we’re all in the storm together. You know what I mean? Nobody’s trying to make it harder for anybody else. But I think it can be hard for us to realize that this is not just my personal problem or this is not just my partnership that’s having a problem. We’re swimming in a sea of a storm and we’re all just trying to find our way. So I think that’s a good first attitude to have.


That is a really good point. It goes back to what you were saying earlier that it’s rarely a question of love or care for the other person just entering into it from that place. It’s like we all have our issues. We all have our work to do with a certain amount of conditioning that just needs to be processed and worked through. But I would think it’s pretty rare, even in some of the most contentious relationships, to really think that the other person simply doesn’t like you because of the way that they’re behaving or their tone of their voice. It’s usually not that there’s something else going on. There’s a pattern there. And if you can really get down deeper into the relationship and what each person wants, I think we’ll see that people just want to be loved, to be accepted and to be themselves. And that is a great place to start is to be able to both accept yourself as you are, and then the other, as they are and enter into the relationship with that orientation or that point of view, holding it that way.

As you said, quoting Mark, you know, expectations are the devil and that’s a big piece of it. We go into it with certain assumptions or expectations about who the other is or who we want them to be. And looking at something like the body graph or using a system like Human Design can show us pretty clearly how a person is designed to function in this world and what their gifts are, what their traits are and what they’re not. It can be a huge eyeopener, a point of realization that can be really helpful in bringing more awareness to those dynamics. And that’s where we do start to get into some of these more specific mechanics in a chart. There’s quite a bit of detail in a relationship chart.


I think addressing that attitude piece is a really great start because then when you go into it, you’re not going into it right away with either the idea that this person will fulfill what’s missing for me or will love me in a way I don’t love myself, or will be an add on to my life the way I want it. If you’re early in a relationship, sometimes people are looking to see what the relationship chart says because they don’t trust themselves or because they want help setting expectations from a mental place. Or worse, I can now police this person and be the assessor of whether or not they are living correctly. If we throw all of that out the window and just come into it with, “Let me just be present and see what I’m dealing with here. Let me just see myself for who I am and see what I’m dealing with in this other person.” Then we can trust our bodies and our awareness to guide us to what is true for us. It takes a lot of courage to see clearly and to act on what we know to be true rather than resist it.


It’s such a different way of going through life though, that one of the interesting questions that come up from time to time, or I’ve encountered it from time to time, both online and in social media or talking with friends about it, is “Shouldn’t there be a Human Design dating app or something? Shouldn’t there be a way of matching people perfectly on their characteristics or their designs?”

It’s understandable, that’s kind of the world we live in, but a lot of that is just the mind trying to figure it out ahead of time, instead of doing what you’re saying and actually entering into it from this state of awareness to see what it could be. And following one’s strategy and authority, as a way of taking you into a relationship is challenging to the mind which then comes in and says, “Well, let me go and figure out what the safest thing or the most comfortable thing is, how I’m going to get what I want and can this person give me what I want.” And some of that can be seen in the bodygraph, like we’ve been talking about, but it becomes more of a mental exercise then really trusting in life, trusting in the intelligence of the body, surrendering to the life that you’re here to have, trusting that you’re going to get what you get. And that’s a really hard thing for the mind to let go of, I think, that false sense of control.


Yes. For all of us. So as we start to step into looking at the specifics, I think we could invite ourselves to go in with the attitude that nobody’s wrong. There’s nothing wrong with anyone. There’s nothing wrong with any individual and there’s nothing wrong with any relationship. One of the things I love about Human Design is that the design is perfect as it is. Every design is perfect as it is. Every person has a specific place and function given what their nature is. Similarly, I think every relationship has a specific place and function. Even if that function might end up being to not exist, but there’s a place and function for every relationship as well. So nothing wrong with you, nothing wrong with me, nothing wrong with us. Let’s just look and see what’s here.

You can start by looking at it on a really simple level from type to type. So if your partner or the person you’re dealing with is of the same type as you and you know something about that, then that can be a place where there’s a certain amount of natural resonance and understanding. If there are differences in type, that can be one of the first really valuable places where you can learn about what the differences are. If you know something about your own type, if you know that you’re a Projector and you’re in relationship with a Generator, then take a look and see what is that about? What is being a Generator about? And you’ll start to see, this is a different creature. This creature has a different energetic function than I do. What is natural to their body and their energy has a different core function.

The second place we can look is at emotionality, which is one of the biggest themes in design. So you can notice if you’re emotional, if you have the solar plexus, the emotional center defined, then you have emotional authority. And that’s one of the first things you can notice is: does your partner have emotional authority as well? Or do they not? And if you dive into what it means to be emotional then that can give you a lot of awareness about your differences or your similarities in terms of emotionality, which tends to be a big part of relationships. Then if you take it a step further, you can also look at the centers. Where do you both have centers in common? Do you both have the sacral center defined? Do you both have the throat defined? Those places where you both have a center defined can be areas where you can go to be able to work things out or understand each other or find some common ground.


Yeah, that’s a really helpful, simple tool. What do we have in common? What are our differences? Can we come together in certain ways? And are we just fundamentally different in other ways? Then it’s a question again of acceptance.

One of the other interesting elements we can look at is Profile resonance. Are you sharing the same Profile with the other, or is that profile in harmony with other, like, for example, a 1/3 Profile harmonizes with the 4/6, the 1 in the 4 and the 3 and the 6, or you could have two, 4/6 Profiles and there would be this natural sense of resonance in terms of the style or way of moving through the world, the natural way of interacting or orienting towards life as a whole.

There are the relationship themes that RA talked about also. They are kind of like little rhymes. This is where, when you put the two charts together, you have a certain number of centers defined in the connection chart or the partnership chart. Each configuration has a certain theme, for example, 9-0 “nowhere to go”, 8-1 “have some fun”, 7-2 “work to do”, they’re just kind of fun mnemonics that give you a sense of what that theme is about. The basic idea here is that the open centers in the connection chart tend to be areas where the individuals in the relationship can go outside of the relationship. Or you could think of them as doors or windows to the house. Like if you’re in a 9-0 relationship, well, it’s pretty contained and exclusive. Like once you’re in, you’re in and there may not be a lot of going out of that relationship. Whereas if you have, let’s say a 6-3 relationship, there are three different exit points to the relationship. The relationship is probably going to operate that way, where each person is coming and going and not always in the same direction or doing the same thing.


It points to a bigger theme, which we can see in a lot of different aspects of design, that has to do with how much natural space there is in any given partnership. With some partnerships, the way the mechanics work, it’s natural for the relationship to be kind of tight and consistent, to have a lot of contact and a lot of time spent together, even if you don’t enjoy it all the time. There’s a way that the relationship holds itself together. And then there are a few different aspects, like what you’re mentioning, if there are multiple open centers in the relationship chart, where there a relationship naturally has more space in it. There’s more room in it. There are more ways, like you said, to get out of the relationship or to take breaks from it or to have space or to be exploring different things.

We can also look at definition. So if you’re looking at your chart, you’ll see there’s a feature that says definition, and it will say single or split, triple split, quad split. There are a few different variations there, but that can also show what each individual tends to do when the going gets tough. So for a single definition, the tendency is to process alone. For a single split design, there’s a tendency to move toward the relationship in order to work things out. So there are a lot of details here. You may not catch them all, but I wanted to bring up that theme in particular, because you may find that in a specific partnership, one of you has a tendency to process on your own. Whereas the other one wants to process together.

Again, these are areas where we might have some judgment about how it’s supposed to be. As in “If we really love each other, we should work everything out together. Or if we really love each other, and this relationship is good, then we should want to spend most of our time together. Or if we’re really a good fit, but we each want to go off fairly frequently and do our own thing. Then maybe there’s something wrong with the relationship.” If we peel back those expectations and look at the mechanics of our own design and the relationship, you’ll see, there are different natures there. So some relationships naturally have more space. And that doesn’t mean it’s not a good relationship. And it also doesn’t mean that it might not be one that you keep coming back to. Sometimes we part ways and come back together in a particular kind of frequency, or like you said, there may be times when you actually enjoy spending a few days or a few weeks or a few months apart, and then you come back together.

And I think for many of us, we would think that’s a problem. There must be something wrong. You know, if it would be natural for us to want that kind of space from each other, or to have that kind of movement in and out of the relationship. And it truly might be a problem. But if you look at the design itself, then you might see that it is natural.


Yeah but… yeah but… yeah but. That’s hard.


It is hard. Not only is it hard because we have our own judgments and expectations to deal with, but what other judgments and expectations are we dealing with? Everybody around us, the people who love us are the people who want good things for us or our families or our close friends. They might all have their ideas of what kind of relationship they think you should be having. And for the most part, people mean well.

It’s a great thing to bring attention to. Because again, I think it’s another way that we can see that we’re all in this together. It’s nobody’s fault. Here we are. If I’m in relationship with someone and I’m trying to figure out, “What is this thing about? I love this person, but these certain things really don’t work. We get in certain stuck loops and we can’t get out of them.” Not only am I trying to figure that out with the person I’m in a relationship with, but at the same time, I’m dealing with my own mind, all my judgments and expectations, everything I’ve been taught and then the friends and family, and whoever’s around me, who has their opinions about what I should be doing.

And I think even in that to look at your partner and just recognize, wow, this is kind of an uphill battle. This is a lot to be swimming in and sorting out and really trying to get down to the foundation of what’s the truth of who we are and how we connect. And can we find our way with that? Can we help ourselves to stay focused on that and let it be between us and not necessarily about what everybody else has to say about it? That’s a huge challenge, but I think a really, really worthwhile one.


Very much so. I’d like to touch on a couple of other things that for anyone out there who have looked at relationship charts in Human Design and dug into that area a little bit, one of the things you see as there are these different type of channel configurations between the two individuals and how they come together in the partnership chart, there are really four different types of configurations that we can see. And there’s one in particular, which is really worth some additional discussion. So I wanted to bring that in today, but we have what is called dominance channels, companionship channels, electromagnetic channels, and then compromise channels. And I’ll quickly go through each, just on a very surface or overview level. The dominant channel is when one person has the whole channel and the other person doesn’t have any part of that channel. Doesn’t have either gate in that channel.

And that’s just an opportunity for the person who doesn’t have either gate in that channel to look at the person who has the whole channel and just really learns from it or admire or appreciate that. That’s just who this person is. And to be able to see it in a way that doesn’t feel like there’s a competition there, or like anything necessarily needs to be done about it, either you like it and it works for you or not. And here’s the thing I want to say too, is there’s really no good or bad in any of this. And so, as we’re talking about these different channel types into your listening and thinking, well, that dominant sounds negative, or maybe it sounds good that we have that, you know, it may or may not be it’s up to whether it works for you. And it’s correct for you. There is no inherently good or bad moralistic statement that we can make on any of this. We can just see these things as describing how the relationship operates.

The other type of channel is a companionship channel and that’s where both people have the same channel. And in some ways, it’s like the situation we mentioned earlier, where you share a center or a couple of centers in the body graph. It’s a type of common ground where you both carry this frequency part of your life force. And you can just connect on that level or you relate on that level. There is a sense of we are both like this. There’s a situation where we tend to be attracted more to what we have in common with others. We can get attracted to similarity through a kind of resonance. So the companionship channel is where there’s a similarity there and we can relate in that way.

Then we have electromagnetics, the third category that we’re discussing. Each person has one half of the channel. One person has one gate and the other person has the other gate. Together you create that life force, that channel, the relationship will begin to express the frequency of that channel. Even though the individuals don’t have that in their individual designs or in their birth charts, the way electromagnetics are talked about is through attraction and repulsion. So electromagnetics are often the pull that we have to each other, the glue or the stickiness of the relationship like this person has what I need. The gate is always looking over to the other side of the channel for the gate that it doesn’t have. And then someone shows up in your life and you’re like, “They have this thing that I need. And I’ve been looking for, it must be good, right?” This can be a healthy situation, but it’s also a situation that you can find yourself stuck in. And that’s where it becomes more of this energy of repulsion. Sometimes the thing that initially drew you to the person or that pulled you to the person becomes this thing that you struggle with, or maybe you feel like you can’t get away from.


Yes, I would say with an electromagnetic channel, they often feel, especially at first, like you’ve got one end of something and the other person has the other, and it’s a draw. But it might also be that you come in contact with somebody who has the other end of a channel for you and it’s not a flavor that you like, that you don’t like their particular flavor of that end. So you might not be attracted to it there, but when there is attraction through the electromagnetic and a relationship, I think what you’re pointing to is that often initially that can feel like a strong pull. It can feel like a strong magnetism. And then what happens over time is that it can sometimes start to feel confining. So it’s not necessarily that it feels bad, but it feels limited in the same way that any channel definition that we have is a limitation.

Definition is a specific fixed aspect of the design. So in a relationship chart, the electromagnetics are fixed aspects of the relationship. If you enjoy them and you continue to enjoy them, then that can work. Great. And then you may also find over time that there are points you hit, where you’re interested in other flavors of that frequency. It can start to feel like a limitation. I think the question there is more about, do you still enjoy it? Does it still work for you? Do you still respond to it in a way that feels satisfying or do you still feel invited by it to be part of the relationship, however that works for you, but it is a limitation and it can be either a limitation that you enjoy or not.


That’s a good way of putting it. What about the last one? Compromise Channels?


The last one is everyone’s favorite. A compromise channel is what happens when one person has a full channel and the other person has one gate within that channel. With dominance, you can just respect and admire tthe other person has this gift or characteristic. With compromise, you have a part of that frequency, but you don’t have the full channel. And what that tends to mean is that it’s a place where the person with the full channel compromises the person with half of the channel. That can set up a dynamic where at first it can feel like an electromagnetic. At first, it can feel like an attraction point for the person who has one gate.

But over time you can start to realize the person who has the full channel actually doesn’t need you. They actually don’t need me in this realm. And I’m actually not that welcome in it. They’re doing their own thing. They have their own fixed life force through this whole channel. And I feel like I ought to be a part of it because I have half of it, but I’m not really welcome there because in any of our designs, wherever we have a full channel, that’s a closed system. That’s a closed area in us. It means that’s our zone. That’s our realm. That’s a place where we have a fixed way of being. The person who is compromised can feel like they want to try to have influence in that theme, in the theme of that channel, but they never really can.

And if you keep trying, if you keep going to that theme to try to take part and to try to compete with the partner who has the full channel, you’ll probably find it becomes a really sore spot. The compromise channels tend to be places where we see couples get into those kinds of arguments that just loop. They just sort of like go around and around. You can never get to the bottom of it. You can never fix it. You can never make it better. And if you’ve been with someone for a long time, you start to recognize it. Like, Oh God, we’re going down this wormhole again. Oh no, we’re going to have this argument again. Often compromises have that kind of feeling to them over time.


It’s like the sore spot in the relationship. Going back to what you were saying about how the gate wants the other gate at the other end of the channel. If the mind comes in and starts trying to have the whole channel or be the other part of the channel, to fulfill the gate that it doesn’t have, then it’s the equivalent of continuing to poke that sore spot in the relationship again and again. And like you’re saying, maybe to have a certain amount of influence or to be able to do what the other person does or to compete on a certain level. It sets up these situations that really can be the deal breakers in a relationship. If the person keeps going back there, it becomes this question of awareness, seeing the underlying pattern, seeing the dynamic, and then accepting that this is what it is that we’re not going to change. The underlying mechanics don’t change. You can maybe change your relationship to it and say we’re not going to go there. Let’s do something else. Let’s go for a walk or let’s connect another way or try something else, have a different experience, but stop poking that same thing because it’s not going to change.


I think that’s an area where we can really see where our own stubbornness or our own vanity or our own expectations really interfere with having peace with each other. I can give an example. I have a few different relationships in my life like my mother for example. She has the channel 18/58, which is the Channel of Judgment. It goes from the root to the spleen. It’s a Design of Insatiability. So anyone who has this full channel has a very fixed instinct about what to correct and a particular drive and energy to want to fix patterns in their own way. So these are people who tend to have their own vision of what can be corrected and their own drive to actually do it, to fix it and make it better.

I have just Gate 18. So I have half of that channel. And in those relationships, before I realized that I would find that these are people in my life who would often correct the way I was doing something, I would try to get them to use their energy, to fix something the way I saw it should be fixed or the way I saw it could be corrected. And what I’ve had to learn over time is to accept that people who have that channel are going to have their own instinct of what to correct. And it’s different than mine. And I’m probably not going to be able to influence them, to get them to use their energy for the things I want to correct. If I keep holding on to that expectation of wanting to interact with this corrective energy, then I kind of set myself up to keep failing and keep being disappointed in the interaction.

Whereas if I just accept, she’s got her energy, she’s got her own sense of judgment and awareness there. She’s got her own drive for what she wants to use her energy for and that’s probably not a place where I’m going to be able to interfere with her or influence her very much. So just don’t go there. I let go of that expectation. I let go of that fight. It’s like the pick your battles thing. Like that’s not a battle I can win. If I keep trying to, I probably find that I keep bringing some experience of damage into the interaction, because I’ll keep feeling like either I’m inadequate in some way, or she’s hurting me in some way because she’s not giving me what I want or doing it the way I want it to be done. That just leads to a lot of unnecessary suffering when it’s not her fault. It’s not her fault that she has this fixed life force in her. She’s going to do what she needs to do. That’s what she’s designed for.


You can’t blame the other person for being themselves.


[laugh] Sure you can.


But yeah, it’s not going to really help or it’s not really productive.

And so thinking of examples, you know, Ra gave that example of the Channel of Acceptance, a Design of an Organizational Being, which is the 17/62. That was the compromise that he had with his wife apparently and Ra having the 62, but lacking the 17. He would talk about it in a humorous way, like he was always the idiot. He could have all this knowledge, he could have of students all around. He’s changing people’s lives, but he’s an idiot at home. Don’t go there. That humor element can be really important. When you start seeing that pattern set up again, or you start seeing that loop you can adjust your attitude towards it or change your relationship to it, or your perspective. You might be able to inject some humor in it, humor towards yourself, or humor towards the other. You brought this great metaphor the other day about game theory. And it’s like playing a video game or something and going into a room and seeing that the same algorithm is playing out again and again in this room. And every time you go to the chest and open that box, you know, it’s like, this is the thing that happens. Well maybe do something different.


Or stop expecting it to be otherwise and either accept defeat or don’t go in that room. I loved the way Ra handled that because he just said he was secure enough with himself and accepting enough of his own nature and his partner’s nature to say, “I’m not going to influence her opinion, but she’s got that channel. She thinks for herself, it’s a fixed closed life force energy. I’m never going to be anything but an idiot in relation to that. So I accept in that realm. I’m the idiot. She’s always right.” So I think to either accept defeat or just to don’t go there expecting a different outcome, but don’t go into that theme and expect it to play out differently.

I love thinking of relationships as a game because then it stops being about, is this relationship right or wrong? Is it good or bad? It’s more like, this is the game. This is the game of this relationship. These are the features of it. These are the different rooms that exist. These are the different tools that exist in this game. And really, it’s not about thinking that you can alter the elements of the game. It’s more just to find out, are you creative? And is it still correct enough for you to keep playing it or are you done with it? Do you need to play a different game. It’s just what’s happening. It just is what it is. We could think of that as a choice, but if you’re listening to your own body, it will reveal the truth to you.


Right. And that’s maybe what it all comes down to. We kind of started here. It seems like we’re kind of finishing here, this place of acceptance of self and other, no blame entering into relationships correctly. What are the other practical takeaways from this?


Letting go of expectation, being willing to see what the similarities and differences are between you and another individual and to not turn that into a source of somebody has to fundamentally change what they are. Let’s assume nobody’s going to change. Then just look and see, what do we have in common? What goes easily for us? What do we enjoy here? And then where are the pain points? Where those downward spirals? Where can you let go? One of my favorite relationship therapists used to say, if you’re in an argument with your partner and you catch that you’re in one of those looping arguments, if you’re the first one to realize it, then it’s on you to decide to lose, let the other person win. There’s no extent of the fight that’s going to get you somewhere different. So just let go, let it be what it is. And then to see if you can live with that.

When you look at relationships in midlife especially, you start to see that what can seem like change is often people dropping their conditioning. Then you find out what’s really in there. That’s actually when you have a chance to really assess the relationship. You may find that when you really see someone’s true colors, you may not like them much anymore. That can be a hard truth to face. Some say that couples grow apart. Maybe it’s more that they often grow into more of themselves and then you find out what you’re really working with and whether or not it’s correct for you.


And I might add that relationships have timestamps. Not every relationship can last indefinitely forever until the end of life. Relationships that did not last indefinitely are not a failure. Maybe certain relationships are highly significant in our lives and they last five minutes. You know, we have a five-minute conversation with someone in passing that can really change things. Some relationships last years, some last decades, but the timeline or the time span should not be a statement or a judgment on the importance, significance, or value of that relationship or whether it was successful or not.


I think one of the funny things is that we can really think that we have a lot more control over when people come in and out of our lives than we actually do. When you mention this timestamp thing, I think something that Human Design points to is that there are certain trajectories that we’re on and there are certain players that come in and out of our lives for certain amounts of time. We might think we’re in control of that. But personally, from looking at my own life and a lot of people through design, I think we probably have a lot less control over that than we realize. What we can affect, however, is how much we suffer through the process. So for as long as someone is in our lives or for however they go, that’s where we have an opportunity to really lessen the suffering around it all.


What comes to mind for me is thinking about Projectors in relationship. One of the things that you’ll often see is that Projectors need to be invited into relationships and sometimes they need to be let out of relationships. That’s something that comes down to type. The idea here being that it may not be up to the Projector, if they’re materially dependent or they’re plugged into the other person or they’re relying on them as an energy source, to just walk away. So there could be a certain amount of suffering. But if we’re entering into relationships correctly and we’re honoring who the other is, honoring ourselves and approaching it with this sense of openness and acceptance, then we might find that everything just works better.

Then the other person may see, “Hey, this is not working.” And let the Projector out. The point being that we think that we’re controlling all of this. We think that we’re doing all of this. And I think anyone who’s either looked at astrology long enough or Human Design long enough or just paid attention to how their life has actually gone, they’ll see. Otherwise we’re staying in things for too long, holding on to things out of some false sense of security or fear. And that we are to some degree materially dependent or energetically dependent on others, not just Projectors, but all the types can find themselves in that situation.


Yes. Everything has its place in purpose. And whether that’s for us as individuals or for a relationship itself, I think that stands true. The more we can accept that and let it be unique, I think the easier it is.

You don’t enter into a relationship as yourself. You become the relationship characteristics. You become them. So, Dominance gives you a view. It gives you a view of the consistency of the being you’re connected to. More than that, this is where you have the deepest potential learning from a partner. In other words, somebody who has a definition in some area that you don’t have, that brings the opportunity of really understanding that process. It’s consistent, it’s always there, and you get access to it.

Again, there is a real dilemma about the characteristics of a partnership. How you’re going to function in the partnership goes back to how you’re going to operate yourself. If you’re not operating correctly, the characteristics in the partnership are not going to work properly. It just isn’t. And Dominance is something that can be like the sound of its name. Dominance can end up being something very, very uncomfortable. You end up with a partner who has a specific orientation in a certain way and you can never escape it. It’s always there, it’s always in your face, it’s always in your body, and you always have to deal with it. One side of that is, “I’m not like that, why should I deal with that?” And the other side is, “Isn’t that fascinating, look how that person deals with that.” And that’s the way that person is always going to deal with that.

So when somebody comes up to you and asks you about your partner, if you’re talking about their Dominance you’re going to talk about something that is going to be recognized by others, because you’re really seeing their definition. In many ways, this can be a very rewarding aspect in design, to be able to see your partner. Now, of course, we’re dealing with binaries and sometimes it doesn’t work both ways. Sometimes you have somebody, because of the genetic attraction, who is very open connecting to somebody who is very defined and then you end up in those situations where you can have a lot of Dominance and it can be quite uncomfortable. There are all kinds of varying degrees of it. But when Dominance is something that can be a commonality, this is one of the ways in which you can get partners to actually see each other, even if it’s just an aspect of their design, but really see their uniqueness in those aspects.

– Ra Uru Hu

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