What We Love and Hate About Dating Cancers

For those who believe in it, astrology can be a powerful tool for introspection and self-knowledge — or you can use it to talk shit about your ex and obsess over your crush. Journey with us as we do both, and then head to the comments to live your truth.

A. Andrews, Cartoonist

I’ve never dated a Cancer, but I’ve definitely had to have full on break ups with Cancer hookups and yikes. I love my Cancer pals, but fear I’m too insensitive to handle romantic Cancer//Leo relationship dynamics.

Vanessa Friedman, Community Editor

Once I was lying in bed with my Cancer (now ex) girlfriend and I came across one of those astrology BINGO memes and one of the squares for Cancer said “buries the hatchet but never ever forgets where it is in the backyard” and I showed that to her and she looked at me very seriously and said, “yeah, that’s true.” And then just stared at me for a while. Anyway I could say more but I’m scared of hurting All Cancer Collective Feelings, bye!!!!!!!!!!

Ari , Writer

Okay, I think this might be controversial, but I love dating Cancers??? They are attentive, they let me know when they’re feeling sensitive, they love cuddling. Listen, Cancers might be the way, truth, and light.

Stef Schwartz, Vapid Fluff Editor

I lost my virginity to a Cancer, and for years afterwards we were extremely close friends who talked each other through trying emotional times (like say, being fucked with by two consecutive Geminis). I think he’s a therapist now. He was a sweetheart. Would crab again.

Ryan Yates, Writer

Cancers are boundary-less passive aggressors more interested in who they think you are than the person standing before them – not in an idealistic seeing the best potential in everyone sort of way, but in a wow are you really not listening at all sort of way.

Rachel Kincaid, Former Managing Editor

It is with a heavy heart I say that Cancers are my least favorite sign. Both my parents are Cancers — both of them!!! — and Jesus Mary, I have had enough. I have only technically dated one Cancer, my high school boyfriend of ~2 years, who was much more on the “cold and withholding” end of the Cancer spectrum than “sensitive and emotionally fragile” end, but it still gets the job done. The negative Cancer archetypes — overly sensitive, defensive, both needy and punishing, manipulative and addicted to performative victimhood — are all the worst parts of my childhood and my absolute least favorite interpersonal experiences in general. Not saying all of y’all are like that, or when you are that you’re like that all the time! Just saying never again am I going to wait while someone makes a scene out of sulking around the house, possibly for days, holding the household hostage emotionally until they feel like talking about what they’re upset about!

Positive: They’re very sweet and caring people. It feels okay to be vulnerable with them because you know they’ll empathize.

Negative: They think their brand of care is the brand of care everyone needs which, nope. Also if they fail at taking care of you they will put you on the hook for reassuring them they’re still good caretakers? Some water sign shit like that.

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  1. I think I’ve commented on Autostraddle more in the last 2 weeks than I have this entire year. I need to go back to work soon.

    I look at astrological signs and personality traits a bit like using WebMD as a diagnostic tool; look long enough and your symptoms or those of someone else will vaguely point to a disease. And that makes me wonder how often a person is misdiagnosed based on their astrological sign (e.g. most people would behave this way under these circumstances; however, you’re a Scorpio, so of course you behaved that way or Capricorns are like this and aren’t compatible with my sign so I must steer clear of all Capricorns). I’ve never bothered to learn the astrological signs of anyone I’ve dated (hell I barely know my own) or been in a relationship with unless they’ve brought it up and even then it’s whatever.

  2. Crab is delicious! It’s freaking great!
    And I’m 1200% with Al(aina) on this one.

    • My ex, who unfortunately im still in love with is a Cancer. Im not sure why Im addicted to the pain she brings me. She has dumped me twice over things she perceives to be reality when they are actually far from accurate. Im now blocked on everything and after 2 and
      a half years, I think this time she is gone for good. She puts up a hard exterior but they are
      very sensitive. My cancer ex is manipulative, passive & aggressive, and. T

  3. I dated two, count em, TWO, cancer men in high school and Carolyn’s description is spot on for me. And I say that having a cancer moon sign that I’m very emotionally attached to.

    • As a Cancer, I want to let you know I do not support this anti Cancer rhetoric, especially the parts that are true.

  4. I’m a Capricorn with a Cancer and it works for us! Never been so frustrated yet so committed to finding solutions to any issues that have come up. We seem to complement one another’s strengths and weaknesses. We’re also both INFJs so prob that’s part of it but as far as astrology saying the sign opposite yours is a good match? For us rings true.

    • As a cancer sun, I can’t help but laugh at how accurate some of this is lol. A lot more hate (okay, dislike) than love comments though…I will internalize it all and brood over it later….

  5. I’ve been a longtime reader for years but never created a profile and um. I’ve been waiting for the Cancer one and I should have known better than to expect anything nice about Cancers. But, you’re getting it all wrong.

    Comparing past boyfriends, parents, and flings when the title is about dating seems a little… out there.

    Get to know a good Cancer and their intuitiveness, their ability to read your moods and facilitate to what you need, their drop everything to make you feel like the most amazing person attitude, their sensitive nature, creativity in all forms and yes including in bed, and you’ll never look back.

    Look at them as overly sensitive cry babies and you’ll fail to notice that 69 is their zodiac sign. The End.

  6. I personally think that these signs are another way inadvertently invented by humankind to form groups. People just end up loosely coalescing around a star sign. But they are a good time-pass and conversation topic nevertheless. Random tidbit – If one were to believe Ilene Chaiken’s Wikipedia page, she’s a Cancer.

  7. I have never really identified with my sign and then…

    “Negative: They think their brand of care is the brand of care everyone needs which, nope. Also if they fail at taking care of you they will put you on the hook for reassuring them they’re still good caretakers? Some water sign shit like that.”


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  9. Sensitive, yes, defensive, what do you mean???!!!

    Let’s see – I’m not passive aggressive, hate “performative victimhood”, detest martyrdom (jeez, surprised not to see that one here), yes, caring, in my own odd way, went thru some clingy phases (briefly), but tg seem to have grown out of it. I also happen to think we’re generally quite funny, if we’re the kind that doesn’t have our heads up our own butts most of the time. Attentive if we don’t suffer from ADHD, and I’ve seen both sides of that one – good attentiveness, giving the kind of attention someone actually wants and appreciates; and the other kind, obsessive or solely on the “giver’s” own terms.

    I think because my mother is also a Cancerian, it sensitised (hah) me to the worst of it, such of the martyrdom stuff, so I didn’t go down that path so much.

    Funnily enough, the only signs that I have very little attraction to are Aquarians and other Cancerians. Never done the do with either – that I know of.

  10. hmm maybe we wouldn’t be so emotional / defensive / empathetic if y’all weren’t so meannnnnnn lol jkjkjk

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