Eric and I have been together for nearly ten years. We met in college where I was instantly drawn to his energy—he was the life of the party and had the type of smile where the rest of his face smiled too. I slid into his Facebook messages (oh, 2010) and somehow played the cards that made him fall in love with me, and now we're married. He's my best friend, and life would be a bore and a half without him. Suffice to say, I'm in this for the long haul.
This month at Byrdie, as a sort of anti-mainstream take on Valentine's Day content, we're exploring the theme of attraction—the "science" behind it, how we're hardwired physiologically and emotionally, and the psychology of compatibility. For the latter, we consulted two astrology experts to get the lowdown on the adage that "opposites attract," which got me thinking: If I were to consult an astrologist and have them evaluate my relationship, would the moon and the stars deem us a solid couple?
I approached this "investigation" from a completely neutral standpoint: My natal chart could tell me that my relationship is essentially Gone Girl come to life, and I wouldn't panic (though I might keep that info tucked away just in case.) You see, some people live and die by their horoscope, but I'm scarcely acquainted: Up until recently, I couldn't tell you my rising sign (Gemini, apparently). I've just never made storage space in my brain for it. But nine times out of 10, when I do read my horoscope online or in the back pages of a magazine, it's freakishly spot-on. So while I may not be a devotee, I enjoy the clairvoyant nature of astrology and the intangible world that allegedly has us all pegged.
I enlisted the help of our resident astrologist, Rose Theodora, and asked for her relationship feedback based solely off of Eric's and my sun signs (Aries and Virgo, respectively). As it turns out, even though some websites will give you an "astrology compatibility rating," (one site gave Eric and I a 25% so… yeah), Theodora says this is essentially fake news.
"When it comes to compatibility, your actual sun sign has little if nothing [to do] with compatibility," she explains. "Sun signs are more about what you're striving for professionally and how you express yourself—it's the overall perspective of how you navigate your life. When it comes to what inspires you in the bedroom or titillates your mind, you have to go deeper, and this is based on your birth time." She explains that you share a sun sign with approximately 19 million people worldwide, so you can't be accurately "matched" with another person without diving deeper.
But having only our signs to go off of, Theodora did give me some insight on our planets. As it turns out, all of the planets influence you when you're born, so beyond your sun placement, every person is also assigned a Venus, Mercury, Mars, moon, etc.
"[Generally speaking,] when it comes to who you are attracted to, this is Venus," she explains. "When it comes to what motivates you in the bedroom, this is Mars. When it comes to communication, this is Mercury, and for your emotional needs, compatibility is highly important in the Moon sign." Considering these factors, here's what Theodora had to say about my relationship.
"You're ruled by the planet Mercury. You're earth (grounded in the material world), mutable (contemplative sign), like a precise needle in a haystack motivated by the details and monotony of life. You view life through an intricate, highly precise lens. You tend to mull over perfectionist thoughts, and this makes you a great communicator and critic—you are discerning and function on the mental plane. Aries, ruled by the planet Mars (a fire, or action), cardinal (provoking) is the most confrontational sign, always motivated by a challenge. Aries do not get hung up on details—in fact, they despise them. They want to experience the world physically and quickly and have little patience for strategy. Aries is raw and motivated by adversity. Virgo is fragile and motivated by their ability to fix what's wrong. In general, this warrior Aries, and perfectionist Virgo would not be compatible."
Let's unpack this a bit: I'm definitely analytical, especially when it comes to other people and their actions, but I wouldn't call myself a perfectionist. In fact, sometimes I can be a bit too impulsive and quick-moving (like recently, when I bought plane tickets through a janky website and ended up losing out on a cool $400). Eric, on the other hand, is the most methodical, thoughtful, level-headed person I know (he's an auditor by trade and by nature). We are perfect opposites, so to say that he, an Aries, isn't detail-oriented or confrontational doesn't align with his personality whatsoever. It was a bit alarming to read that we aren't compatible, but this assessment doesn't take into account our birth times, so I used a free birth time compatibility site similar to the one suggested by Theodora to hopefully glean a deeper reading.
After inputting our birth dates, exact times of birth, and birthplaces, I sat anxiously watching the circle in my browser tab spin while our fate was determined. The result? We're apparently 50% sexually attracted to each other. I asked Eric for his feedback, to which he said, "Well, that's 100% wrong." (Good answer. I think I'll keep him around.) It did rate that our elective affinities are 80% compatible, which is true, but this wasn't always the case.
As our relationship grew, we took on each other's likes and hobbies: I became more interested in cooking and sports because of him, and he has a newfound appreciation for animals and music because of me. In terms of communication, the site suggested that Aries gives off a large amount of his energy in order to help me "know my own essence," but that this can cause conflict, as I feel like he's trying to "lead" me. I've told Eric several times that I feel like he's parenting me, but I know it's just his way of taking care of me (and because without him checking to make sure I have what I need, I have found myself in several sticky situations). Clearly, there are hits and misses here.
The overall takeaway here is this: Astrology definitely hits on certain points both individually and as a couple that I can identify with, while other factors don't add up. However, the site I used states this: "It is not possible to tell from the stars if the couple will love each other. Compatibility is about having just the right amount of opposition (dynamism) and smooth, flowing aspects. If everything is easy and predictable, you simply won't work at the relationship." Theodora herself states that each person has a "unique path" and that "astrology simply helps you to navigate," and that it's more so about choice, moving forward confidently, and healing yourself.
Knowing this, I'm not taking our reading as a sign of our demise; instead, I'll pocket each piece of information relating to our personalities, strengths, and weaknesses and use them as a reference point when we hit roadblocks, as well as a means to build and strengthen our bond. Astrologically, we may not be the perfect couple—and in life, we certainly aren't—but almost ten years later, I've never loved him more, and that's all the reassurance I need.