Dating

“My ex used astrology to justify our breakup”

After a painful break up with a Cancer, an Aquarius asks if astrology should influence who we date?

It was only a few weeks into our relationship that my ex brought up our astrological differences. He was worried that each of us related to the world too differently — he, a Cancer, was more emotional, whereas I, an Aquarius, approached things more intellectually. “But I’m so sentimental!” I quipped. Like the true Aquarian I am, I hide my true feelings behind sarcasm and wit.

A quick internet search proved to him our lack of compatibility; we received a 1% in the sexual and intimacy category. In his mind, the search results raised a BRF (big red flag) but the truth is the red flags were already there, we just weren’t addressing them.

We were two beautifully flawed people trying to make a relationship work without expressing needs or feelings, which had caused us to become codependent, aka a delicious recipe for relational disaster. I didn’t realise it at the time but he was using astrology to express seeds of doubt while I had been using the relationship as a form of escapism from all the losses I had experienced. My feelings for him were tainted by the anger and grief I had yet to let myself fully feel yet. 

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What’s your sign?

“What’s your sign?” has become a common phrase amongst today’s single folk. In our virtual, zodiac obsessed world, it is not unusual to investigate our romantic compatibility with a potential partner only minutes into a conversation on Tinder. Some people even put their signs on their dating profiles (note: I am one of these people). Others have vintage signs hanging in their apartments that explicitly state their sun signs (note: I am one of these people).

I won’t lie, I’ve definitely swiped left on someone before because they were a Scorpio. But that’s mainly because of a singular experience I had with a Scorpio. Our date went something like this: he drank two beers, I didn’t (which is fine, I’m sober). I took my leftovers to go, he didn’t. As we walked through a local park, he suddenly threw my leftovers on the ground and kissed me intensely. I stood there stunned. The next day I received a text from him: he didn’t think we should go out again because he didn’t feel like we were compatible. I agreed.

Knowing someone’s zodiac sign can give us tools to gauge how we might relate to them in a partnership. How? “Different astrological love matches can bring out the worst and best in partners,” says New York-based astrologist Lisa Stardust. However Lisa says that often people make assumptions based solely on their sun sign and that the other signs in their charts are just as important when it comes to understanding compatibility better. But even then there are always other factors that determine how two people fit together.

“I’ve said this time and time again, sometimes love trumps astrology.” In Lisa’s work she’s actually seen more people with unlikely compatibility who’ve made their relationships work because of how they relate to their partners in a larger way. Not only that, she believes that every sun sign can relate to every other sign. “There’s no right or wrong way that people can link up or match.” When it comes to incompatibility, the reasons likely go beyond the two people’s charts—what it really comes down to is whether or not both partners are ready to be in a relationship.

Still, Lisa says there are matches that can bring out the worst in people because the relationship is “too easy” and the bond is taken for granted. There’s also the fact that people’s perceptions of sun signs today are largely based on meme culture. Like many of my peers, I love the hit of dopamine I get whenever I see myself reflected in an Aquarius meme. I mean, if you haven’t DM’ed an astrology meme to a friend and said, “This is SO me,” are you really a person in 2020?

“A lot of what we experience nowadays with dating and astrology is really influenced by meme culture when in fact what people really need is to give the other person a chance to get to know about them,” Lisa explains. In this way astrology memes, although they can be fun and therapeutic, have reduced our complex personalities to flattened jpegs broadcasted on our screens. And memes fail to capture the nuances of each person’s life experience from the perspective of their zodiac sign, their entire birth chart and beyond.

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Written in the stars

Differences in astrology shouldn’t be the only grounds for leaving a relationship behind but of course, different signs handle different things differently. And this is especially true when it comes to relationships and breakups. Before me, Lisa had never heard of someone using astrology to break up with a partner in all her years as an astrologist. 

Hearing this made me laugh out loud (there I go again). But also, she thinks astrology can sometimes be used as an excuse to not talk about what’s really going on, dig deeper into personal issues, and make a relationship work. This is exactly what transpired when my ex decided our pairing just didn’t make sense. I get it now.

“Usually with this pairing, you have to realise that you want someone to evolve,” Lisa says of Cancer-Aquarius partnerships. But Cancers, who are creatures of comfort, are less willing to change while Aquarians are constantly evolving, they just do so slowly.

After two-ish months together of cuddling up, smoking weed and watching Star Trek, taking showers together and laughing at my silly impressions, it ended. Our communication just wasn’t there. Our lives had become too emotionally enmeshed, our individual identities had fallen to the wayside. It’s as if we woke up one day and remembered we were two distinct people. For me, this realisation felt alarming; I was like a deer in headlights. For him, this realisation brought clarity; he needed space. I needed closeness. So, he walked away.

Though my ex and I had distinct approaches to feeling our feelings and the interwebs doled out little hope for our partnership that doesn’t mean the Aquarius-Cancer pairing can’t work for others. The truth is, two people, no matter how different, can learn from each other’s ways of navigating the universe, if they’re open to it.

Through this relationship I learned that astrology can give great insight into our personalities and relationships, yet so often when we have issues – and turn to astrology – it’s often because we don’t want to endure the discomfort of turning inwards and letting ourselves evolve. Astrology can help us get where we want to go, but it doesn’t have all the answers. 

Image: Getty

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