Beliefnet
Oh My Stars

Last time, I made a case for the producers of “Married At First Sight” hiring an astrologer in order to improve their success rate at matching couples. But of course there are no perfect people, and thus no perfect relationships… so even sound astrological principles are no guarantee of long-term relationship success.

The Internet is jammed with articles about why relationships fail and how to prevent that (but not as much as it’s jammed with porn, “discreet dating,” and gambling sites, which can both be contributing factors to relationship problems). There’s also plenty of advice on how to keep your relationship healthy. Likewise, you can find all sorts of material on astrological compatibility — why are people attracted to each other? What makes people want to be together? — but you won’t find so so much about the astrology of breakups.

Here, in my experience, are the two most common astrological culprits for what causes a breakup.

TROUBLE WITH THE COMPOSITE

If you are unfamiliar with the concept of a “composite chart,” here’s how it works. Everyone has their own individual birth chart, but when you put two people together in a relationship you can also combine their charts. If Person A’s Moon is at 15 degrees Aries and Person B’s Moon is at 15 degrees Gemini, together they have a composite Moon at 15 degrees Taurus.

A composite chart, although it should never be treated with the same importance to a relationship as the synastry (where you compare points in one person’s chart to points in the other person’s chart), can explain why some relationships seem to work better than others (like the strange case of Nixon and The Astrologer). A composite chart can also explain why good synastry can sometimes lead to a relationship failure (as with Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin). Just like a standard birth chart, a composite chart can be subject to bad transits (but again… synastry comes first, so don’t panic).

GOOD ASPECTS GONE BAD

There are a few aspects that can make a relationship compelling, particularly the conjunctions and (in a less stable way) oppositions. If Person A has their Sun at 12 degrees Pisces and Person B has their Venus at the same degree (or the opposite point — 12 degrees Virgo), that can make for a really compelling relationship. Saturn in Sagittarius is square those points, and Neptune is within conjunction range (and is opposite 12 degrees Virgo).

Thus, the same factors that make this relationship work can come under stress from difficult transits. Transiting Saturn square your Sun can bruise your ego, and transiting Saturn square your Venus can be trouble for relationships in general and make it harder to be happy with what you have. So then, the groundwork is laid for B to become distant… and for A to boost his/her self-esteem with an affair.

Yes, there are other helpful aspects in synastry, like the trine and sextile. I often pick on those aspects for being “soft,” but there’s one distinct benefit to them when it comes to transits: If A’s Sun was trine B’s Venus instead of conjunct or opposite that Venus, a difficult transit to A’s Sun can be supportive to B’s Venus. Thus, B can help A get through the difficult time.

Astrology doesn’t decode all of love’s mysteries… any more than a century or more of psychology and neurochemistry can. But it certainly does provide an explanation for some things that work (or don’t) in a relationship. But, no matter what… never let astrology be an excuse for bad relationship behavior. Transits may be astrology’s domain… but what you do with them is on you.

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