The Astrological Explanation For Why You’re Fighting With Your S.O.

produced by Erin Yamagata; modeled by Jordan Stephney; produced by Julie Borowsky; modeled by Madeline Schepis; photographed by Refinery29.
Maybe they don't feel like they're being heard. Or, maybe you're ready to move in a new direction, but they're happy with the way things are. Fighting with your partner can dredge up all sorts of deeper, underlying issues, but it can also illuminate an important aspect of your astrological compatibility — one that you may have overlooked.
If you've dipped even a pinky toe into the deep and mucky pool of compatibility theories, you already know that most of them focus on a couple's sun signs, planetary placements, or, to get slightly more in the weeds, their ruling elements. But, we can gain even more insight into what makes a couple tick by looking at their signs' respective modalities. There are three modalities, and four signs belong to each of them.
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The first group is known as the cardinal signs, whose solar seasons coincide with the start of the four seasons of the year (Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn). Last week, for instance, you may have noticed that summer officially started right around the same time that your Twitter feed filled up with Cancer memes — that's because Cancer's solar season kicks off on the same day as the summer solstice. The second group is the fixed signs, whose solar seasons occur midway through their respective seasons (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, and Aquarius). And the third is the mutable signs and they come at the end of spring, summer, fall, and winter (Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces). The three modalities are similar to a sign's ruling planet or element in the sense that they give us a better understanding of its behavior.
Specifically, however, the modalities can shed light on how we deal with matters of control and conflict. For example, cardinal signs are natural leaders who feel comfortable taking charge and formulating long-term, overarching plans. The fixed signs, on the other hand, are much happier when they already have a plan laid out for them that they can then execute — but heaven help them if someone makes any last-minute tweaks. Meanwhile, the mutable signs are highly adaptable and can usually roll with changes as they come.
So, let's return to those hypothetical fights you may have with your S.O. It probably won't solve your problems altogether, but checking out your signs' modalities may help you both understand where the other is coming from. If your partner isn't interested in changing the current state of your relationship, their fixed modality may have something to do with their perspective. Or, if they feel like you aren't open to their input, you might be a cardinal sign who likes to be the one and only captain of your (relation)ship.
To be clear, don't panic if you learn that you're a cardinal sign and your S.O. is a mutable sign. No modality combo is inherently bad, let alone a reason to break up. Rather, this info can help you avoid getting too deep into a fight before seeing your partner's side. For example, if they are a fixed sign that likes to stay the course, you know not to spring any huge changes or news on them without warning.
Control is a major factor in any partnership, whether we care to admit it or not. There are plenty of reasons why your partner may prefer to be a leader or a follower besides their sign's modality, but starting there may offer some clarity. Changing the subject to astrology in the middle of a fight is ballsy, but it just might deflate the whole situation.
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