“Why do all you girls put your sign in your dating profile?” I was on a date (yes, success!) and we veered into the category of “other people on the apps.” I made fun of all the pictures of dudes with fish, and the number of men seeking “ethically” non-monogamous relationships. My date wanted to know why the women he saw on the apps cared so much about his astrological sign. He thinks it’s full B.S., even less meaningful than a Meyers-Briggs or Enneagram delineation.
Ok, Does Anyone *Really* Date Based On Astrology?
It might seem like nobody is actually dating based on their zodiac sign and it’s all for the memes—Teen Vogue ran an article saying astrology doesn’t matter—and yet, next down on the Google search, was a piece from the same outlet on who one should date based on astrological signs. Still need more proof to know you’re not the only one filtering out Scorpios? Bumble says their star sign filter is their most used qualifier. MTV says one third of the young people (Gen Z) use astrology to determine their compatibility with a date.
I took to the internet to ask who believes the fault is in our stars when it comes to love. I got a wide range of responses. Maud Waterman, a Los Angeles based filmmaker, instead of bread baking or TikTok content creation, used her free time during the pandemic to study astrology. She says, “I’m definitely a believer! If you had asked about a year and a half ago I would have been a skeptic, but I did an unfathomable amount of studying (yeah, I’ve got textbooks) over quarantine and I now use astrology in my daily life.” I heard from several astrologers who operate in person, on the internet, or even on TV. I heard from an aura photographer (which I guess is a thing), crystal specialists, and psychics. What color is your aura, do you think? I hope mine’s purple.
I heard from skeptics who think, like my date, that it’s all a bunch of hocus pocus, and people like Michelle Davies—a life coach and editor of The Best Ever Guide to Life—who used to believe in astrology until it started negatively affecting her relationship. She says, “It’s because I was looking at our relationship dynamics through the lens of astrology, disregarding that certain things can be worked at through free will and effort.” Now she can think of astrology as a suggestion, but not a mandate.
I won’t name names, but some people have been dumped for their obsession with astrology, and there are people who swear by it anyway and would rather die (or stay single) than date an Aries. I interviewed two experts for further information on the psychology behind astrology and how it relates to the psychology of love: Clarissa Silva, Behavioral Scientist/Relationship Coach, who can be called a skeptic; and Maria Shaw, psychic astrologer and reality star, who has done readings on the eighth season of 90 Day Fiancé.
Ask The Experts
Even if you’re the most diehard horoscope checker, Silva says, “Astrological signs are labels, not dating deal breakers.” She adds, “Determining actual compatibility is far more complex.” I agree that it makes sense that one little piece of the personality puzzle is not enough to seal your fate, even if they are a Scorpio.
Shaw agrees. She says that, even if a reading shows that two people are not meant to be together, she would never tell someone what to do in their relationship. She also believes that you can’t simply look at someone’s sun sign to know compatibility. You need to do their full “star chart,” which entails using accurate info about the time, place, and day you were born. This gives a full picture of one’s past lives, present personality, and future path.
But What If You’re Dating A Skeptic… Or A Sagittarius?
Can you still use astrology to inform your decisions about the relationship if the other person thinks it’s woo-woo nonsense? Shaw says, “Use the astrology as a tool for yourself. Don’t push your opinions to get them to believe.” That said, you can still arm yourself with all the information, should you so choose: “Knowledge is power,” she says. If you simply can’t go on a second date without the full astrological picture, Shaw advises, “Get their birth information, find out about them, and decide if you want to go forward on this. You want to know where this thing is gonna lead.” She does emphasize getting consent from the person before charting their stars, but says it’s okay to use the information to inform yourself on whether or not you want to stay in a relationship—much like any other information you might find out in your routine pre-date social media stalking.
Silva, on the other hand, warns that this kind of judgment “can result in meaningless or erroneous predictions on compatibility.” She elaborates, “Astrology provides a layer of the complexity of personality but can’t make predictions on compatibility and long term happiness.” She says you can use astrology “as an entertainment source or a source of providing hope or direction for those that seek out this as guidance,” but that astrology is quite literally fake news: “a pseudoscience because it hasn’t passed the rigor of scientific inquiry to qualify as evidence-based.” Believers are going to say that something as intuitive as astrology cannot be studied by science, but many skeptics are going to insist on peer-reviewed evidence before committing to a life led by the stars.
Shaw has patience with the idea of skeptics. She says people who are getting wrong information are either not looking at the full picture or are getting information from a suboptimal source. Some websites copy info from other sources or from looking at only the sun sign instead of the sun, rising, and moon signs, not to mention the planetary alignment at the time of your birth. Still, when I summed this up on my next date with the skeptic, his eyes rolled so hard they got stuck that way and he had to go to the doctor (not fact).
Does Astrology Matter?
So, here’s why people use star charts to guide them in their relationships: either they truly believe in it, or they find it fun. None of us knows what we’re doing, so any guidance that gives us the answers we seek is going to be welcome. Just like I really shouldn’t be dating Slytherins anymore, someone might take a personality profile of a Taurus and use it as a reason to say, “Thank you, next.” Conversely, maybe a Ravenclaw with a Hufflepuff rising like myself can read an Aquarius’ profile and swoon, while knowing his sign won’t guarantee he isn’t a dick whistle.
As for me, I’m an astrology agnostic. I can’t know whether or not my tendency to multitask and chat is due to my being a Gemini or some other mix of nature and nurture. But isn’t it fun to dream? As we ended our call, Shaw said that, according to the planets, “We’re coming into a romantic period. We’re going to see people getting back to being romantic and wooing people. People want to fall in love and be in love.” Aw.
A skeptic might say that we’re getting into a romantic period because we’ve been locked in our houses in our sweatpants all winter. But either way, isn’t it nice to imagine that, as the plague recedes, there are people out there, maybe a soul mate or, as Shaw put it, “a past life connection,” ready to “walk your path?” Whether it is written in the stars or not, as we head into a potentially disease-free summer, full of starry nights and warm breezes, I wish you love, or, at least, some fun with a handsome Pisces.
Image: Lucas Ottone / Stocksy.com