It's the most done-to-death romantic trope: Two people meet, they don't get along at all, they continue to spend time together, they see where their differences actually complete each other, then they miraculously fall in love. Opposites attract! Sam and Diane! As anyone who's actually tried to date someone with completely opposite views and interests already knows, the reality is rarely as cute as the stories would lead us to believe.
Luckily, for those who are still holding out for the perfect odd-couple romance, there is one realm in which opposites certainly do attract. A popular astrological compatibility theory holds that opposite signs (ones that are directly across from each other on the Wheel of the Zodiac) often make great couples, thanks to their differences, rather than in spite of them.
In case you don't know the opposite sign duos off the top of your head, they are: Aries and Libra; Taurus and Scorpio; Gemini and Sagittarius; Cancer and Capricorn; Leo and Aquarius; Virgo and Pisces. The first three consist of signs from the spring and fall seasons, while the last three are summer/winter pairings. Viewed with the signs' ruling elements in mind, only two types of pairs are represented: earth and water, and fire and air. (There's a whole mess of theories about elemental compatibility, which we dive into here.)
In other words, there are plenty of practical differences between these couples. And yet, how those differences actually affect the signs' behavior makes for a rather complementary relationship.
Take Capricorn and Cancer, for example — a serious, hardworking earth sign and an intuitive, nurturing water sign. These signs differ most clearly in how they express their emotions. Or, put another way, this is where they teach each other the most. Caps have a tendency to beat themselves up when something goes wrong, and Cancers understand the value of forgiveness (particularly for oneself). Meanwhile, Crabs often internalize their feelings and frustrations to the point that they shut down. Fortunately for them, impatient, sometimes blunt, Goats will cut to the chase and not only ask what's wrong, but what they can do to make it right, too.
To be clear, a Gemini dating a Sagittarius, for example, will not face the exact same challenges as someone dating a person who flat-out disagrees with them about politics or pop culture. A Sag and a Gem's dating narrative is one of learning how their differences actually complete each other — not one of learning to ignore the issues that divide them and love each other anyway.
Rather than jamming square pegs into round holes to make both partners think, act, or communicate the same way, opposite-sign pairings require each parter to fill the other's gaps. And in doing so, they find a happy balance. So, when they make a rom-com about a textbook Leo and Aquarius getting together, against the odds, we'll be here for it.