3 Ways to Deal If You’re Married to a Leo

Chances are you can deal with a little drama. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be with a Leo. But rather than try to tame this fiercely loyal, larger-than-life lion, you’ve got to live in harmony without getting eaten alive. Here are some tips on how to play nice with the king or queen of the jungle.

The Best Zodiac Sign for Your, Um, Zodiac Sign

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If It’s Always ‘me, Me, Me’

Often more take-charge than team player, the words “arrogant” and “egomaniacal” tend to spring up when describing this spotlight-loving lion. But on the positive side, so do “magnetic” and “shiny.” Brash self-confidence and intense pride are part of your partner’s animal magnetism. And running around with such a beast can be exhausting. “Leos can be overbearing,” per the AstroTwins. They “have a tendency to step on some toes and get a little overzealous, even pissing people off with their bossy demeanor.” Your job? Define your boundaries and pick your battles. Your Leo is probably not be a full-blown narcissist, but this advice from therapist Elinor Greenberg is worth noting nonetheless: “You need to be prepared to let minor, unintended insults go…If you tell your narcissistic mate every single time he or she hurts your feelings, the relationship will sour, you will find yourself in a continuous state of war, and nothing will be gained.” Instead, draw your line in the sand—if they cross it, then it’s worth bringing up.

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If Your Partner Is Messy

Social and outgoing, Leos are pack animals. They are also pack rats. In fact, their habitats may look more like pigpens than lion’s dens. You will not find a made bed or a Swedish death-cleaned closet in your S.O.’s vicinity…unless it was your doing. Go ahead and tell him he’s an animal. This leopard lion is unlikely to change his spots. In fact, nagging can even damage the relationship, say experts. Psychotherapist Guy Winch recommends bringing up the mess during a non-stressful time (i.e., not the moment he’s about to leave the house for work or the instant he gets home). Winch suggests approaching your partner in a collaborative, empathetic way that won’t put him on the defense. Frame the conversation positively, Winch tells Real Simple. “Say, ‘I know you’re not ignoring it on purpose…you’re not being passive aggressive. I know you just don’t see [a sink full of dishes, laundry all over the floor]. They don’t bother you. However, they really bother me, and I want us to figure out a system or a way that we can tackle these things so I don’t have to nag you on a regular basis. Because that’s not fun for me, and it certainly must not be fun for you.” That “system” may be as simple as setting aside an hour each weekend to do dishes or laundry together.

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If Your S.o. Is Combative

Some people are so conflict-averse, they will stew in silence for years (hiiiii, Virgo). Not Leo. Ever the fire-starter, they “get others hyped up around them,” per the Astro Twins. They can be aggressive, jealous and fearless, charging into battle without hesitation. “Leo is all about confrontation because she knows that it's a chance for her to be a drama queen,” per one astrologer. “She does like saying exactly what is on her mind during confrontation, but she also understands that it's a way to be honest with somebody she cares about.” No matter how you slice it, “Leo doesn't hold back.” If you want to help your S.O. simmer down, read up on relationship guru Dr. John Gottman’s philosophy of “repairs.” Gottman defines a “repair” as “any statement or action—silly or otherwise—that prevents negativity from escalating out of control.” All couples fight, per Gottman—sometimes viciously. It’s how they make up that makes or breaks them. “Your future together can be bright even if your disagreements tend to be very negative,” Gottman writes. “The secret is learning the right kind of damage control.” Maybe this means taking a minute to touch her hand mid-argument. Maybe it’s forcing yourself to say I love you when what you really want is to go for the jugular. Or, it could be as simple as stopping a fight in its tracks by telling your partner you’re getting overwhelmed with emotion (or “flooded”) and need a break, then setting a specific time to return to the conversation with cooler heads. Gottman even offers a “repair checklist”—aka a list of genius phrases you can use like “I can see my part in all this” and “I think your point of view makes sense”—to help you have healthier fights. Useful when living with someone who’s quick to get her claws out.