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Advice for relationship readings

Most people seem to get started with the Yijing by asking about a relationship. It’s a good way to start: it’s present, immediate and something you care about – when you ask these questions, you’re really asking them.

It’s also potentially tricky, that mix of getting started with overwhelming emotion. Easy to get tangled up in doing reading after reading that isn’t really helping you at all, without even noticing. And this is a shame, because readings can and will help: Yi offers clearer insight and more complete understanding (of the other person and of yourself), things that provide a stronger foundation for that relationship you’re building.

(Note: I’m writing this article assuming you’re asking about a man, because writing s/he all the way through feels silly. It’s all just as true if you’re asking about a woman.)

So, how to start?

First, start with one reading. Read everything it says, together with your question, and allow yourself time to understand. Sleep on it. Ask for help if you need it. Think about what difference this answer makes – how you’ll respond to it, whether there are things you’ll change.

Yes, it is very tempting to ask questions in dozens so you can get all the answers at once, clarify everything and leave no shred of doubt. Problem… it doesn’t work. You bounce about between your dozen or two dozen answers and don’t have the time or focus to take any of them in, let alone respond to them.

(Tip: there are online readings, like the one at this site, that make it quick and easy to ask. They do give genuine readings; Yi isn’t fussy. Nonetheless, for your first few readings, I strongly recommend you get pen and paper and three coins and cast your own hexagram. It’ll give you a much better understanding of what you’re looking at and how it fits together, and the time it takes makes it much easier not to ask your next 23 questions.)

Starting with one reading means you start with one question. It’s never hard to think of one (or thirty) in these situations, but some lead to much more helpful readings than others.

Not-so-helpful questions

Basically, any question designed to make things emotionally safe for you before you take any risks (or any more risks) counts as not-so-helpful, because it’s trying to achieve the impossible.

I can think of a couple of ‘making it safe first’ questions…

There’s,
‘What will happen?’ and ‘Is this meant to be?’

What will happen depends on what you choose and what he chooses. ‘What will happen if I…?’ is a better start to a question, because it recognises your choice. But he still chooses freely, also, and will not be tied down by an oracle. ‘What difference will it make if I…?’ is a more lucid kind of question here.

And there’s,
‘How does he feel about me?’
with its friends, ‘Why is he doing this? What did he mean by that? And why isn’t he calling me?’

This is a radically unhelpful question in a whole lot of ways.

Does he want you to know the answer to this? And if he doesn’t, is it at all reasonable to expect Yi to help you to spy on his inner life?

If you can in fact spy on his inner life, and he’s confused and his feelings keep changing, all this is going to show in the reading. It is not going to be easy to understand. Also, it is not necessarily going to be true tomorrow.

It is hugely, terrifyingly hard to interpret these readings objectively. It’s excruciatingly easy to respond instead by building a fantasy relationship-castle out of a string of readings, with each question based on a misinterpretation of the reading before. What you end up with has nothing to do with the reality – and yet it is strangely addictive. It’s always easier to ask another question – fitting the curtains and carpets in your imaginary castle – rather than actually going and talking to the man himself.

And on that subject – substituting readings for communication does not make for a good relationship. If you’re in a relationship with someone and can’t ask what they mean or how they feel, then a better question to ask might be ‘What can I do to help us to communicate better?’

Come to that… substituting obsessive speculation about what he feels for becoming conscious of your own present desires and choices? “If I knew what he felt, I’d know what I can safely let myself feel”? Also doesn’t tend to work. If only.

And finally, it’s surprisingly hard to ask a clear, unambiguous question about this. For instance, is ‘how does he feel about me?’ meant to give you a picture of his emotional state? Or of how you appear when seen through his eyes? This is not something you want to be trying to work out after casting the reading, believe me.

Questions that help

A possible first question (remembering that you’re starting with just the one) might be,
‘What kind of relationship could we create here? What’s the potential?

It’s true that this is perilously close to asking, ‘What will happen?’ The difference is the awareness behind the question. You know that the relationship is something you and he will create; you know there is no stone tablet with your relationship future carved into it, ready for Yi to download for you. Still, some relationships are just never likely to get far, some people are not what they seem; Yi can help you to avoid disasters. Also, spending time with one of these responses gives you a chance to discover how you feel about that potential.

A useful question in an ongoing relationship – asking how he feels.

😕 ?

Yes, I do remember the first half of this post. But these readings can actually be helpful when you’ve already asked questions about yourself, and when you’re in an existing relationship (by which I mean one that any outside observer would recognise as a relationship!) and having problems. Yi can help you to see how things look to him, so that you can listen better when you talk.

‘What do I need to understand about…?’
or
‘How does this look to him?’
can be helpful. You do still need to be absolutely clear about what you’re asking – to see him through Yi-eyes, or to see through his eyes. Is either possible? Will you understand what you see anyway? There are no guarantees – but you can at least avoid the hideous muddle of not knowing what you’re interpreting.

If you’re not sure whether it’s right to ask, you might start with a question like, ‘What difference would it make to talk with Yi about x?’

Anything that’s about you, here and now

These are the ones we forget to ask, and – of course –  they’re the ones that can make most difference.

Try,
‘What’s going on with me here?’ (for instance ‘what’s up with how I react when he does that again?’) This is good to know.

Or try, as I was saying, ‘What difference would it make if I…?’
(But only if you are willing and ready to do that thing now, and not just castle-building! The reality of your intentions does reflect in the reading.)

Possibly the most helpful question to start with is just to ask for advice.
‘What’s the best attitude to take to this relationship?’
‘How to be with this?’

You may even find that’s all you really wanted to know.

9 responses to Advice for relationship readings

  1. This came at a perfect time! I have been using your website and I Ching readings for God knows how many years (my guess is 8? I am now 27 years old!) and it has guided me through many tumultuous periods. I am now back to asking – what should I do with this (new) relationship. And I was falling into the trap of asking 10 questions at once! That you posted this just 10 days ago is just such a coincidence (or not!). I did go and ask about 3 more questions after reading it, but with your suggestions in mind. The answered seemed positive, and very much coherent. I hope they are true or that I am interpreting them without bias 😉

    THANK YOU for your website, and your free I Ching readings. I look forward to more of your blog posts!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Relationships are key to one’s soul. It is the WHAT+ the HOW of the self sees the world. The self can try a hundred times or a single attempt using the IChing. Be centred and know yourself. Be strong + patient because attempting to get into your own soul is not an easy journey as we know, relationships are not easy.
    They are your gateways so keep trying … Nothing is impossible when your heart is correct ie executed with love + compassion. Clarity will come like sunrise.

  3. Perfect..exactly what the doctor ordered now that I am beginning to use the IChing more regularly…thank you and I look forward to exploring more – time seems to disappear lately. Thank you for all your welcoming emails as well….

  4. Really glad this post is proving helpful… that’s what it’s for. The discussion that followed when it was copied to the I Ching Community was good, enlightening stuff. Here it is.

  5. Hi! It is the first time I post here. I have been studying I ching for a while but sometimes I doubt of “obvious” and “easy” answers.
    My question to I ching was very clear, and it is about relationship.
    I recent started a new relationship and I was giving myself some trust again, cause I have been hurt before (basically because I trusted blindly). It was all going well then we had our first disagreement. At first I thought it was normal; soon there will be a reconciliation.
    But the thing is it has passed almost a week and he refuses to answer to my apologies and requests. I know his mind is elsewhere (under work pressure), but even though I wanted to solve things quickly.
    So I asked the I ching if we are going to reconsiliate soon.
    The answer was hexagram 19. (Lin, approaching). Is it so simple as that? Can I calm myself?

  6. Yes and Yes to your two questions. But not easy. Not sure what your time scales are or how patient are you ? A week is not a long time in a relationship. Are you bombarding him with ‘apologies and requests’ ??
    If so, probably a good idea to ‘calm yourself’ by being in silence. ‘Solving things’ require perseverance. The Lin hexagram indicates the BEGINNING of the winter solstice – a time of awakening from the cold darkness. Go within yourself and find your first seasonal jewel of light in this relationship journey.

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