When I was in high school, my friends and I used to kill time in the computer lab (when our work was done, of course) by playing with a love calculator. We would type in our names alongside celebrities or boys at school to see if we had a chance with them.
Was it funny? Of course. Was it dumb? Absolutely. Even at 16, we knew that it was a game based on an algorithm. One could argue that horoscopes are similar, just with dates or birth, but the difference is that our culture often takes dating advice related to astrology seriously.
From popular women's magazines like Cosmopolitan and websites like Elite Daily and Bustle, you’re bound to see dating advice related to astrology. We all know that astrology is a pseudoscience, but why do we trust it when it comes to relationship advice?
Why Astrology Is a Pseudoscience
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes reading your horoscope can be fun, but there’s a difference between reading it for fun and actually taking it seriously. For example, I see a lot of my personality in my sign and often joke about it, but I see a part of my personality in the characteristics of nearly every other sign too. I’ve met people who fit theirs perfectly, some in the middle, and some who have no traits of their zodiac sign. This is because astrology is a pseudoscience.
Astrology doesn’t have a verifiable mechanism and isn’t based on the scientific method.
Though some claim that astrology is valid, scientific evidence says otherwise. According to ZME Science, astrology doesn’t follow the scientific method. “Although astrology can seem like a science because it tries to explain something from the natural world, astrology doesn’t have a verifiable mechanism, and astrologers don’t have a critical approach towards their claims. Critically evaluating a hypothesis, testing it against a conflicting theory, and adjusting the theory based on existing evidence is essential in science — and astrology fails on all three accounts. Therefore, astrology cannot be considered a science.”
Your Zodiac Sign Isn’t a Personality Trait
I might get excommunicated from being a Millennial for saying this, but it’s getting so annoying that I don’t care anymore. I’ll even say it louder for the people in the back: your zodiac sign isn’t a personality trait or an excuse to be rude. You didn’t break up with your last ex because he was a Scorpio and you’re an Aquarius; you broke up with him because he was a selfish jerk and you deserve better.
We see so many articles about the relationship habits of each sign, why your ex sucks because of his sign, which signs we're most compatible with, how to make a relationship work if our signs aren't compatible, and the astrological compatibility of celebrity couples. As I’ve said before, astrology can be fun to read about, but taking it seriously won’t lead you to good dating advice. Dating advice and compatibility should revolve around the individual and what’s best for us. Since the day you were born doesn’t accurately determine your personality, taking dating advice from astrology makes no sense.
So Why Do People Rely on Astrology for Guidance?
So if it’s scientifically proven that astrology is a pseudoscience, then why do 29% of Millennials and Gen Zers believe in it? It can be reassuring and tell us if we’re on the right path, which can provide comfort while we all try our best to make it through life.
Astrologer Jeanna Kadlec says, "Astrology gives us a better sense of our own individuality and self-understanding, which is ultimately what I find to be grounding in an extraordinarily random and unjust world. If you're looking for a better understanding of your place in the world, there's something for you here."
When we’re struggling, it feels easier to center it around astrology instead of seeing a therapist.
However, even astrologers are hesitant about giving dating advice related to astrology. Kadlec continues, “Speaking as a formally trained astrologer, you cannot predict how a person will behave based on their chart. That's the energy they're working with, and it could manifest any number of ways based on their own life experience. They're a person with agency, after all. I don't cut anyone out of my own dating pool based on their sign, and I actually prefer to not know someone's chart in advance, to avoid snap judgments.”
Some even compare seeing an astrologer to seeing a therapist. One 31-year-old woman said, “The process is a little bit like therapy, where the reader asks you about a particular problem, or question you might have, and uses the cards to explore your feelings. She then talks it through with you. I tried not to give anything away because I was pretty suspicious of giving her the answer, but things came up I hadn’t even mentioned to her – problems I was having with my mum and work. It was really emotional. I did find it useful – it actually was one of the things that pushed me to quit my job a month later. But I think it’s also the direction; having instructions from something to back up the feelings you’ve been having, but maybe haven’t properly acknowledged or been brave enough to face and deal with.”
This woman has a point. When we’re experiencing issues in any area of life, it may be easier to center it around something like astrology instead of seeing a therapist and digging deep to find the cause. Sometimes we’re not ready to dig that deep — or to do the work to grow and heal — because some of our problems are rooted in trauma that’s difficult to face.
Though seeing an astrologer may seem harmless, it’s important to remember that they don’t use the scientific method and they’re not trained mental health professionals. Therapists, on the other hand, do use the scientific method and are thoroughly trained in psychology. If you truly want guidance, you're better off seeking professional advice from someone who is trained in psychology.
Reading your daily horoscope can be fun sometimes, but it’s also important to remember that astrology is a pseudoscience and to not take it seriously. This applies even more to dating (and parenting) — our place on the astrological map won’t do anything to help you through your relationship issues or help you find the perfect guy. Astrology can feel reassuring, but it’s important to remember that there are healthier and more reliable ways to deal with the stressors of everyday life, like therapy.