It’s “break up with your significant other” season.
To be fair, every season at Harvard might as well be “break up with your S.O.” season. Never before have I seen so many messy romantic relationships (and breakups) than at Harvard. Stifling sobs in communal bathrooms, second-guessing every amorphous figure at a too-dark party, running away to New Haven. When it comes to the ends of relationships, Harvard students run the gamut of every unfortunate response to trauma.
Breakups suck — you don’t need me or astrology to tell you that. Often, when romantic relationships end, we think the issue is us. That we did something wrong. That we didn’t try hard enough to make it work. That we are simply unworthy of love.
This is the Harvard mentality of total, fatal self-agency at work, even in our most private, non-academic, romantic lives. It’s almost self-centered, the way we think that we are always in control and directly responsible for any situation we played any role, major or minor, in.
I, too, have made the jump in reasoning from breakup to self-criticism before. Personally, I’m a Mars-Venus conjunct in Scorpio. In astrology, Venus is the planet of romance, soft affection, and pleasure; Mars is the planet of feral animal instinct and unchecked aggression. My Mars and Venus are conjunct, meaning they lined up one right on top of the other in the sky when I was born. The energies of planets in conjunction smash together into one hyper-focused beam. When those planets work well together, that’s wonderful! But when they’re essentially opposites, like my Venus and Mars, they only cause problems. Like two positive magnets pushed too close together, all they want to do is flip out.
The claustrophobic tension of my Mars-Venus conjunct isn’t helped by the sign they’re in: Scorpio, characterized by brooding, dark intensity. Clearly, this is not an ideal Venus placement. My Mars-Venus Conjunct in Scorpio says a lot of things, none of them great, about how I love: too deeply, swinging rapidly from fond to tempestuous, with a throat sealed shut in rage. It’s a warning sign to anyone with any astrological familiarity: I am not a good person to date.
Of course, astrology’s not always right; it just gives you another perspective on yourself. I look at my Mars-Venus conjunct in Scorpio and, because I am only human, and because I am a Harvard student who thinks everything I am a part of that breaks indicates a part of me that is broken, I wonder. I wonder if this placement affects my romantic relationships. I wonder if it causes my breakups.
But there’s no use in thinking like that. Broken relationships are not individual failures; it takes two to tango, after all. If you’ve ever Googled “[insert sun sign here] compatibility,” you know that astrology looks at relationships based on not just individuals but the pair. Astrology teaches us that relationships are about combined synergy, not individual action; when they end, it’s not either one person’s fault, but the fault of the mismatched energy between the two of them. There is nothing wrong with either of you; you’re just not compatible.
As much as it might seem like it, as much as it might hurt to know otherwise, your compatibility with another person is not in your control. Even if you could perfectly change yourself to fit right in as the missing puzzle piece to a romantic prospect’s jigsaw, you can’t control how they feel about you. Maybe they just get the heebie-jeebies by the way you laugh, or are put off by your enthusiasm to be with them, or find the maximally-compatible version of yourself unsettlingly fake. The parameters of compatibility are always shifting in ways you can’t account for. And so tragedies, from breakups to miscommunications, happen outside of our control. All we can do is to make peace with them.
You will suffer sucky breakups. But through all of them, you remain worthy of love — no matter how complicated your Venus situation is. As the stars spin in the sky, eventually, someone is born under a configuration that clicks with your own Venus. By pure number-crunching alone, there is someone out there for you.
You are searching for that person, I’m sure. Like all Harvard students, you are always on the quest for betterment. But unlike other Harvard goals — consulting club promotions, successful midterm regrades, intramural team wins — this one will come to you in time, without trying to game the system first. Until then, treat yourself with that kindness and love you crave, through all the rough patches and breakups that feel like the end of the world. And one day, the stars will reciprocate, bringing reciprocated romantic love in spades.
Christina M. Xiao ’24, a Crimson Editorial editor, lives in Eliot House. Their column appears on alternate Mondays.