Fatal Attraction: Gen X vs Y
Updated: Mar 21
BY MOLLY SIMMONS
As a millennial woman in her late 20’s, I’ve always found Gen X men to have a certain appeal. When I was coming of age in my early 20s, they represented the quintessential “older man” to my generation, offering stability, maturity, and perhaps just a little bit dangerous. They were able to reap more rewards from the structures created by the boomers allowing many of them to obtain fuller bank accounts, own homes, and have real careers. They have all the stability and economic freedom that most millennials struggle to access in the socio-economic climate we came of age in. Gen X’ers are a little older, yet we can understand each other's cultural references and they’re still energetic enough to match our adventurous spirits.
And yet, things are never quite as easy as we’d like them to be. On the surface, our Gen X counterparts do represent the idyllic partners our millennial hearts have been looking for. Once we dig a little deeper, however, we come to realize that these men can be avoidant, distant, infantile, and downright dismissive. These are men with natal Pluto in Libra placements, ranging from about age 39 to 52 (born around 1971 - 1984), the bulk of Gen X that has been the torment of millennial women since we were old enough to set our sights on them, which for us with our Plutos in Scorpio, can be a challenging mix.
Libra is a beautiful sign - one that values harmony, beauty, and peace. Ruled by Venus, Libra shapes our relationships to love, beauty, and to money. When they are at their most harmonious, Libras are incredibly empathic and attuned to the needs and wants of who they’re with. They help ease conflict, are charming, diplomatic, and want the world to be beautiful. The shadow side of Libra are people who are indecisive, terrified of judgment, conflict avoidant, and seek peace at the expense of truth and depth. Viewed through the generational lens of Pluto, these trends are clear as we see our older friends and family unwilling to see the truth of climate change, generational intrafamilial trauma, political disaster, or the violences of capitalism and colonialism. Many of them are stuck in the shadow of their Libra, and they would rather maintain the status quo than challenge the tentative peace that surrounds them.
Pluto in Libra men take these trends even a step further, as astrology and social conditioning collide to create a man who perhaps has single-handedly created more intimate frustration in millennials than any other. Astrology and society cannot be separated - sometimes innate astrological traits fight against the rules of social order (the sensitivity of a Pisces man going against the narrative that men are strong and don’t betray their emotions), and sometimes they go hand in hand and heighten one another (the natural detachment of an Aquarius making a man as impenetrable as stone). This Pluto in Libra placement seems to enhance some of the more frustrating qualities that we socially condition into our men, and requires both patience and skill to unravel.
The Pluto in Libra man is characterized first by his charm. Despite our best efforts, we are drawn to the natural magnetism of these men, and are often drawn in by their beauty, their aesthetics, their indescribable air and even their positive relationship to money. On the surface they seem to offer everything we’re looking for, and we are convinced that they will provide us an emotional depth and connection that lasts. We quickly become disillusioned, however, when we realize these men not only exist in disconnection but seem to thrive on it, and are unable to even face conflict, let alone resolve it. No one has mastered the art of withdrawing like a man with a Pluto in Libra—watch him disappear for weeks on end, only to resurface when his problem is resolved, or he thinks yours has. And when you try to dig deeper with him, get him to see your hurt feelings, his need for support, or his own dysfunctional behavior—he will resist, deny, and placate until you’re too frustrated to keep having the same conversation over and over.
These are the stickier habits of a Libra placement, made worse by the social conditions in which they were raised. Children of their age were often latchkey kids, forced to raise themselves while their parents were at work, suffering from insecure attachment with their caregivers. They had less freedom to pursue their dreams and pushed themselves to be self-sustaining in practical careers, likewise denying too much responsibility outside of work because of all the emotional responsibility they faced as children. The wound of Pluto in Libra is relational—though they have the ability to shine in relationships, relationships also remain their greatest source of trauma and pain. Afraid of rejection, worried that they won’t be accepted or receive the intimacy they deserve, they maintain the illusion of deep connection while actually never allowing things to go below the surface. Distance is a way to maintain safety—the vulnerability that closeness requires challenges the lessons they’ve been taught since infancy.
A Pluto in Libra is particularly tricky when it butts heads with the millennial generation - those of us with Pluto in Scorpio. Those of us born under this sign are always seeking to dig deep and uncover—it’s no coincidence that ours is a generation of fundamental transformation in the societal structures that no longer serve us. We always seek to go deeper—into emotions, communication, processing constantly seeking deeper, darker waters. The natural lightness and peacemaking qualities of the Libra can be difficult for the more brooding Scorpio placements.
How to deal with a Pluto in Libra man? Well, first and foremost, patience is key. You’re playing the long game here, with no guaranteed payout (emotional or financial). It’s up to you at every step to weigh your investment versus your frustration, and decide whether or not it’s still worth it to keep him in your life. Secondly, you need to accept their limitations. The likelihood that they will one day embody all your ideals in a partner are extremely low, even if they do attempt to search their depths by going to therapy. This is not to say that they aren’t kind of loving partners—but they often lack the characteristic emotional depth that millennials see as essential in our romantic partners. I find it’s best not to push a Pluto in Libra man, instead finding ways to challenge his patterns that aren’t directly confrontational. Lastly, we can learn to accept ways of communicating that are non-verbal. As modern women we place a high value on talk, often convinced that the only way to closeness is through the spoken word. If you want to engage with a Pluto in Libra man, you’ll have to open yourself to the ways he’s communicating without words. Just be careful not to read signs into every little thing he does, and remember to have your own boundaries and advocate your own needs even as you play the game.