“Is she really right for me?”

“When will I find true love?”

“Will I find true love?”

“Is this going to be a serious relationship?”

“Why does everyone want to get serious? Can’t we just enjoy ourselves?”

These are the sort of questions astrologers hear often. There’s probably no area of life where people seek out astrological guidance than when wading into the promising but scary waters of love. As a result, astrologers usually have a great deal to say about this topic.

First off, although many people want to find out about a specific person they’re interested in (or already married to.... or recently divorced from), we usually begin with the client’s chart, looking for relationship potential and timing.

For example, someone with the explosive planet Uranus in their seventh house of partnership may experience many breakups just when things start getting really serious. The more they search for a traditional marriage with a traditional partner, the more they find that they can’t tolerate a traditional partner (or their partners can’t tolerate them!). On the other hand, if they are willing to accept a less traditional arrangement (with a less traditional partner), things often go much better.

What we really want and will be happy with in a relationship is often not what we expect. Most of us buy into images of relationship that we learned from our parents, television, love songs, and our community. While many of us do fit in well with these images and expectations, many of us would really benefit from a more flexible approach to partnership. Not everyone is really suited to a long-term, exclusive partnership with one person, for example. Letting go of our images of relationship is often more difficult than letting go of an actual partnership, but astrology can help to clarify what it is you really want.

Timing is shown in the progressed chart, and also by transit (how the planets now aspect the birth chart). Sometimes people get a real “itch” to get married, or to break up a relationship. Sometimes they find themselves really interested in, or even obsessed with, someone. Progressions and transits help to illuminate these times, and it’s often possible to separate relationships with serious potential from those that will burn out quickly.

For example, one woman had her progressed sun conjunct her Venus, just as her boyfriend had his progressed Venus conjunct his sun. This is a classic “I want to get married” aspect, and sure enough the engagement ring was soon on her finger. They both felt like getting married, and hey, since they were already going out with each other, it seemed a logical choice that they should marry each other. The only problem was, the relationship really wasn’t that good. While they were swept up in the sun-Venus moment, they got engaged, but before long the limitations of the relationship were obvious, and they split up.

But how do we tell about a relationship’s potential? We can compare the charts of the two people, what’s called synastry. Many people are aware of this at the level of sun signs - Aries and Leos go well together, Sagittarius and Cancer do not. Like most of sun sign astrology, there’s some truth to that, but there’s a tendency to oversimplify.

A more traditional approach looks at the aspects between one person’s sun and the other’s moon, especially the man’s sun in aspect to the woman’s moon (although as men and women break away from stereotypical roles, many variations are applicable). Sun-moon aspects usually describe whether the relationship will be harmonious over the long term. The sun is what our lives are about, and the moon is our feelings and emotions, as well as our source of comfort. Good sun-moon aspects suggest that the inner and outer lives go well together, and that in the home and out in society things will go smoothly.

Then there’s Mars and Venus, which have to do more with our images of masculinity and femininity. Looking at these planets tells us what a person expects in their partner, at least in somewhat idealized form. Aspects of Mars and Venus between two charts also say something about sexual compatibility.

There are other aspects between individuals that astrologers look for when assessing a relationship. Sometimes stressful aspects are actually a help, in that they keep things from getting too placid. It’s fine to have an overall harmony, of course, and no one wants to be bickering and fighting all the time. On the other hand, a sea of placidity over several decades could be.... a bit boring. Without a little tension here and there, there’s very little potential for growth - when everyone is on the same page about everything, you tend to function on a sort of autopilot. A little conflict can be a good thing, as it forces us to become aware of our choices and the relationship fresh.

It’s interesting that some relationships seem to be about strengthening each person, as when two people with fire signs (like Leo and Aries) get together. Often there is a need to strengthen some aspect of the person’s chart that’s weak, and the partner is called in as a reinforcement. Say a woman has a strong sun in Aries, but it’s poorly aspected by Saturn, making it hard for her to express her solar nature. She might well seek out another Aries, or a Leo or Sagittarius, to bolster her partially weakened sun.

Other relationships are more complimentary. In one long term relationship, the two people have their ascendants exactly opposite, and their moons are opposite by sign. On top of this, he has no planets in fire signs in his very earthy chart, while she has no planets in earth signs in her very fiery chart. It’s almost like they are sitting on a seesaw, balancing each other. It’s an extreme example, but we often seek in others what we are lacking in our own chart.

Relationships are complex, and so is the astrology of relationships. Astrology can help in understanding what an existing relationship is about, and whether there is a strong long-term potential in a new romance.

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