What Your Ruling Element Can Tell You About Your Relationship

Photographed by Rachelle Manning.
You don't have to be an astrological fanatic to know your sun sign's ruling element — after all, there are only four to choose from. Whether you're a fire, earth, air, or water sign, this aspect of your astrological identity is foundational. Your ruling element can affect your personality, actions, and, yes, even your love life.
If you're curious about the deeper nature of your romantic relationship, it won't hurt to consult your and your partner's ruling elements. Of course, as with anything in the realm of astrological compatibility, take your findings with a grain of salt. In other words, some elemental pairings may be more compatible on paper than they are IRL (and vice versa), so none of these theories should be interpreted as hard-and-fast rules.
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To figure out your compatibility, you'll first need to find out which element you and your partner are: Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius are fire signs; Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn are earth signs; Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius are air signs; and Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces are water signs.
Ahead, we'll look at each type of elemental pairing and see what they mean.
If you have opposing elements...
This goes out to the couples that consist of either fire and air signs or water and earth signs. These elements appear directly across from each other on the Wheel of the Zodiac, and they tend to possess very different, if not flat-out conflicting, personality traits. This may sound like a recipe for disaster, but dating someone who's completely different from yourself can be refreshing — and a welcome break from your particular way of viewing the world. It's common for opposing elemental couples to enjoy challenging each other. For example, an earth sign will push a water sign to get out of their feelings, while the water sign urges the earth sign to loosen up.
If you have adjacent elements...
Again, you may need to consult the Wheel of the Zodiac to be sure your relationship falls into this group, but adjacent elemental pairings include the following: fire and earth, earth and air, air and water, and water and fire. These element pairings appear next to each other on the Wheel, thus their name. Overall, couples in this category tend to complement each other — they aren't carbon copies, but they aren't completely at odds, either. You may fill a need that your partner was never able to satisfy on their own (for instance, an earth sign often provides grounding and perspective to an air sign). Or, perhaps you and your S.O. inspire each other through your slight differences, in the way that a fire sign can inject passion into a water sign
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If you have the same elements...
It's not as intense as dating someone with the exact same sign as you, but sharing an element with your partner means you can see a lot of yourself in them. Your similarities could be points of conflict: Fire sign couples may lose their tempers easily while earth sign couples can get hung up on the tiniest issues. By that same token, you may have bonded over your shared element. After all, only a fellow water sign could understand why you're so sensitive — and an air sign would never have to explain to another air sign why they were an hour late.
Oh, and if you check your sun signs and your elemental pairing doesn't make perfect sense, check your Venus signs, too. Given the fact that it rules attraction and affection, this planet's placement is usually a clearer indicator of the state of your love life than your sun sign.
To find out more about your relationship's specific elemental compatibility, astrologer Sally Cragin breaks down each possible elemental combo here.
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