The role your zodiac sign’s shadow side plays into your romantic relationships
First introduced by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung, the shadow self refers to those aspects of ourselves we’re not keen to have others know about and would rather turn away from or hide—or keep in the shadows, if you will. As clinical psychologist Carla Marie Manly, PhD, author of Joy From Fear, previously told Well+Good, “the shadow aspect tends to be the part we are not familiar with that we tend to repress.”
She says “it often holds the pieces of the self that are filled with shame, guilt, inferiority, and unlovability—all of those critical pieces that we like to keep away from the persona that is very ego-driven.” These traits can be largely positive, but may turn into negatives in the right circumstances or if taken to the extreme.
“Relationships can serve as a mirror, and if we are in a romantic relationship that’s allowing us to be our full selves, it’ll include the stellar parts of ourselves and the parts that you don’t really want to look at.”—astrologer Stephanie Gailing
Astrology allows us to dig a bit deeper into our personalities, and learning how your personality traits can affect your romantic relationships is part of that. “Relationships can serve as a mirror, and if we are in a romantic relationship that’s allowing us to be our full selves, it’ll include the stellar parts of ourselves and the parts that you don’t really want to look at,” says Stephanie Gailing, astrologer and author of Astrology: A Guide to Understanding Yourself Through the Sun, Moon, and Stars.
It’s key to remember that these traits themselves aren’t necessarily negative, but that they can come across as negatives. For example, think about how Capricorn’s meticulous planning and perfectionism can help them climb the corporate ladder, but how that same trait could also prevent them from actually getting into romantic relationships unless that person checks every one of their boxes, or how Libra’s desire for fairness and compromise can help them maintain relationships, but may leave their own needs unaddressed in a romantic partnership.
Read on for intel from Gailing and Alexandria Lettman, astrologer and founder of spiritual wellness platform Jupiter Jewel, about how each zodiac sign’s shadow side manifests in their romantic relationships.
How each zodiac sign’s shadow side impacts their romantic relationships, according to astrologers
It’s no secret that you act before you think sometimes, Aries. In many cases, your boldness is a plus, but to some this impetuousness and impulsiveness may come off as less than thoughtful. “You can be impulsive and self-focused, so you may rush to form relationships and may seem inconsiderate of others’ needs but only because you’re so in touch with your own needs,” says Lettman. To make sure your behaviors aren’t misinterpreted by your partner, Aries, slow down and consider your words and actions and how they’ll be received.
Taurus, there’s a reason your sign is symbolized by the bull. Your determination can be read as being difficult, says Gailing. “You can come across as stubborn and overly slow to change,” she says. Try to let up a little, because compromise can be a great thing in relationships.
It can be tough to hold your attention, Gemini, so you may be prone to losing interest in a romance if you feel bored or overlooked, says Lettman. This can be a great mechanism to make sure you’re getting what you want, but it could cause you to seem fickle. “Your instinct when a spark kind of fizzles is not to revive it but to move on, so this can make people think you’re just not serious about commitment,” she says. Instead of moving on so quickly, take stock and decide if there’s something worth working on and if there is, take steps to get back on track.
Caring for and protecting those you love is part of how you show your affection, Cancer, but sometimes it may come off as smothering or overly guarding, says Gailing. “It can come across as ‘at all costs I will protect those people,’ and it may lose rationality,” she adds. As much as you want to nurture and protect, remember that you can’t do it always—Lettman adds that it’s key to allow your S.O. to do things on their own so your loving actions are better appreciated instead of resented.
Leo, it’s no secret you love the limelight, but while in many ways that showmanship is welcome, your penchant for drama can sometimes come across as too much. “You are prone to dramatics, especially when you’re bored, and this can come across as picking a fight,” says Lettman. Don’t start disagreements just to keep things interesting, and be sure to read the room and tone it down if necessary.
Ever the perfectionist, Virgo, your meticulousness and attention for detail may come from a good place, but your notes can come across as criticism.”You may think you’re being supportive and helpful, but in actuality it’ll come across as critical and nit-picky,” says Lettman. Work on softening your approach and delivering feedback gently instead, she advises.
You always strive for balance and fairness, Libra, but sometimes you lose yourself in your diplomacy, which can lead to your needs and feelings not being considered. “The thing Libras have to watch out for is being too apt to compromise, and then feeling angry at the end of the day because nobody thought of them,” says Gailing. Your need to make everything fair and not taking a side can also come off as superficial, she adds. Set and maintain healthy boundaries to be sure your needs and desires are met, and watch that your constant compromising doesn’t lead you to harbor resentments toward your partner, advises Lettman.
Your deeply rooted desire for control feeds your need for concealment and mystery, Scorpio, but be sure to watch that you don’t push your partner away because of it, says Gailing. “It’s very all or nothing, and the main wound of Scorpio is the fear of abandonment, so it’s ‘I’m going to cut you before you cut me,’ so that secretiveness could cut somebody out,” she says. As tough as it can be, try to let your guard down, and don’t always go on the defensive.
You’re the zodiac’s free spirit, Sagittarius, and you don’t let anyone get in your way of wandering and exploring—not even your S.O. But your need to always be independent and on the move may mean you leave your partner out, and can come across as inconsiderate or indifferent. “Because you’re so free-spirited, your significant other may think you’re just not thinking about others when you’re making plans,” says Lettman. Be sure to loop people in on what you’re up to.
Your caution and knack for planning may serve you well in many realms of life, Capricorn, but that same trait can hinder your romantic efforts. Because it takes a while for you to open up to someone, you may find that you’re so cautious that you don’t allow for spontaneity or opening up, says Lettman. “You’re quite emotionally reserved and unwilling to go deeper with someone, but it could take a long time for you to be ready for that, and by that time you could’ve missed the boat,” she says. Try to be a bit more spontaneous and put your planning pad down every once in a while.
You root your actions in logic, Aquarius, and care deeply about facts. Sometimes you may rely too much on thinking and not enough on feeling, so it could appear that you’re discounting your S.O.’s feelings; you may be prone to intellectualize others’ feelings, says Gailing, which creates emotional distance. “You could come across cold, rational, and detached,” says Gailing. Remember that love and affection involve both the head and the heart.
You’re ever the romantic, Pisces, and your expansive imagination and ability to dream feeds that. You’re prone to escapism, so you need to watch that you don’t get so enamored of someone that you harbor delusions about the true nature of the relationship, says Gailing. “It could be wanting love so badly that you see it where it maybe doesn’t exist,” says Gailing. Keep your head and heart in the clouds, Pisces, but come down to earth for a reality check often enough to make sure your affections aren’t misplaced and are reciprocated in the way you deserve.
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