3 Ways to Deal If You're Married to a Cancer

Those born under this water sign are ruled by their emotions. They are known to be sensitive, loving and family oriented. But when the tide turns…yikes, the claws can come out. And further warning: Most astrologers seem to think Cancers have drama with their mamas. Here, tips to navigate life with these complicated creatures.

DGLimages/Getty Images

If You’ve Got Mother-in-law Issues

Sensitive, sentimental, nostalgic and loyal at all costs, Cancers love the idea of marriage and parenthood, and tend toward a traditional path when it comes to both. An instant enemy? Anyone who criticizes Mommy. Yep, you’ve hit the Oedipal motherlode. If your Cancer is deeply attached to his or her mother and it bugs you, it’s crucial you speak up without going nuclear. But before you do, assess whether there’s anything really wrong with their relationship. “While you might find it odd that he's calling or even visiting his mother daily, the frequency of contact a guy has with his mom doesn't determine how healthy or unhealthy his attachment is to her,” according to psychologist and relationship expert Dr. Debra Mandel. “What does, however, is the quality of the contact. If both mom and son have mutual respect for one another and have set good boundaries with each other (if he's able to say ‘Thanks but no thanks for the new underwear you bought me, Ma. I am 34, you know...’ for example), their talking every day may not be something worth your concern.” So, their closeness may confuse you, but the best solution isn’t to smother the relationship but to let it breathe.

5 Actually Helpful Tips for Getting Along with Your Mother-in-Law


If Your Spouse Is Moody

Emotional, highly attuned to others and often insecure, Cancers can be, well, crabby. Mood swings and self-pity may surface when waters get choppy. So how to ensure smooth sailing? First, take stock of and responsibility for your own feelings—and your own feelings only. “Moods are contagious,” writes physician Dr. Alex Lickerman on Psychology Today. “Often…your reaction to your partner's mood will be to mimic it (i.e., he's down so you become down; she's angry so you become angry, and so on).” While we’re not always able to control the way we pick up our partner’s negative vibes, “We can exert a restraining influence over the likelihood that we'll blindly act on our feelings,” he writes. Instead, we can “rationally decide how we want to react.” Take a breath, take a walk, resist the urge to “fix it” or fault yourself. Be supportive of you partner and compassionate with yourself. And know that moods, like summer storms, are here and then gone.


If Your Partner Is Emotionally Unavailable

The crab’s hard shell is an apt metaphor for these self-protective, sometimes impenetrable partners. So what to do with your slow-to-warm S.O.? Take what’s bothering you, then reframe it. Advises psychologist Dr. Harriet Lerner: “You may be married to a private guy who doesn’t want to debrief after every dinner party or talk in detail about the symptoms of his stomach flu. If you can see your partner’s need for privacy and space less personally, you’ll be able to calmly invite more connection rather than anxiously or angrily demand it.” Hold up. We thought we were supposed to ask for what we want in relationships? “Remember that distancers open up most freely when they aren’t being pursued or criticized by their partner,” she writes. “If you have a constructive criticism say it in one or two sentences (‘I want you to say thank you when I make you dinner’) and leave it at that.” And if all of this sounds like you, listen up: “Refrain from diagnosing your partner (‘I feel like you’ve shut down’) or the marriage (‘We don’t really communicate anymore’). Instead of communicating about communication—talking about how you don’t talk—just try talking.”

What Is ‘Micro-Cheating,’ and Are You Guilty?