Cancers need to be needed in a relationship. They are happiest when they feel that others rely on them (and could not manage without them). Their relationships only feel worthwhile when are making a real difference in another person’s life.
Typical Cancers are kind and generous, and in return, they ask only for love, fidelity, and sympathy.
Cancers are extremely generous with their time, energy, and resources when helping a friend or lover in need. They offer emotional sympathy and practical help for problems, as well as a generous helping of comfort food when needed.
Most Cancers are patient with friends or lovers who are ill or unhappy, and they put their own needs aside to meet the needs of others.
Cancers forge intuitive bonds with family members, significant others, and friends, and may pick up on their distress even when feelings are well-hidden. They are sensitive to subtle emotional shifts in others and will often feel the suffering of those they care about as if it were their own.
Cancers are supportive, offering reliability, stability, and comfort to lovers and friends because they are unusually perceptive of other people’s feelings and want them to be happy.
Typical Cancers do not understand emotional coldness or indifference in others, and they are distressed when they encounter it.
Cancers tend to be possessive of lovers and friends. They do not easily forgive a betrayal of their trust and may become clingy or emotional if they don’t feel secure in their relationships. In some cases, they have good reason to worry, whereas in others, they are creating trouble where none actually exists. However, regardless of their partners’ intentions, they are more inclined to hang on tightly than to let go, even when things are not going well.
Because they are prone to jealousy, Cancers usually prefer monogamous romantic relationships and very close, emotionally involved connections with friends. They tend to have a small number of very good friends they can trust rather than a large group of casual acquaintances.
Most Cancers are fiercely loyal to their friends and partners and demand the same in return. They are forgiving of most things, but a breach of trust is the exception to this rule.
Loyal Cancers will usually side with friends and lovers even when they have behaved badly or caused their own problems, and Cancers demand the same loyalty from others. They need family members, friends, and partners to take their side in all situations; those who do not support them completely have committed a devastating act of betrayal.
Cancers can be easily hurt by a careless or deliberately cruel word. They will blow up in a rage-filled tirade or an anguished emotional scene, become grouchy and passive-aggressive, or retreat for days in response to mistreatment (real or imagined).
Cancers do best in friendships and romantic relationships with kind, gentle, diplomatic people who are less likely to upset them. Belligerent types will trigger a state of chronic warfare and cold-hearted individuals can leave Cancers in a state of constant misery.
Cancers are also very upset by any mistreatment of others and inclined to react harshly (or overreact) to even minor insults against those they care about. They often become even more outraged or distressed than the individual who was mistreated because they are so sensitive to anything negative that is said or done to their loved ones.
Typical Cancers are reliable and conscientious. They can be counted on to show up, keep their word, and follow through on their plans.
Cancers don’t understand flaky, unreliable people. They pride themselves on their dependability and believe that reliability is a signal for other good qualities.
Trust is critical to Cancers, and keeping promises is an important indicator of trustworthiness. Reliability is also important to their sense of relationship security because a person who is unreliable in one area of life may be untrustworthy in others as well.
Cancers give 100% of themselves to their mates and families. They can be very solicitous and self-denying, in many cases doing more than their fair share of the housework and childcare. Because they are generous and not inclined to keep score, they can end up in one-sided friendships or romantic relationships where they do most of the giving if others take advantage of their altruistic natures.
If Cancers aren’t careful, unreciprocated generosity can become endless self-sacrifice, eventually resulting in a resentful martyr complex and, in some cases, passive-aggressive behavior. It is a major challenge for Cancers to say “no” rather than agreeing to unreasonable requests or unfair divisions of labor and then silently stewing in resentment over the situation.
Cancers need security and consistency to feel safe in a relationship and they often meet these needs by favoring traditional lifestyles. Unless their ascendants or moons are in more unconventional signs (for example, Sagittarius or Aquarius), Cancers prefer to stay in one place and have a conventional homelife, usually with children. They are nesters who require a stable, comfortable base in which to start their families.
Cancers gravitate to the simple pleasures in life, such as hearty comfort food and attractive natural surroundings. They enjoy cozy domestic pursuits with partners or friends, such as watching movies or listening to music, and most are nature lovers, so they like to socialize outdoors as well.
Typical Cancers are excellent hosts, able to put on a good spread of food and drink and create a comfortable environment where guests can relax and feel at home. Most love holidays because they provide opportunities to cook delicious food, decorate lavishly, and participate in other traditional activities.
Cancer Compatibility with Other Signs
The Atypical Cancer
The sun sign isn’t the only element that influences personality. Aspects and planetary placements, particularly the moon sign and rising sign, are also important. For example, a Cancer with Aquarius rising will be less traditional, domestic, and possessive, and with Sagittarius rising, the secure home base is less important, and there is a strong urge to travel to foreign lands. Leo or Aries rising increase the likelihood that a Cancer will be interested in sports or some sort of patriotic service (such as the military), while Gemini rising makes a Cancer more outgoing and intellectually minded, with an intense thirst for knowledge.
There are many websites that offer free chart calculation to determine other planetary placements and aspects. Learning these other planetary placements is recommended, as it provides a more comprehensive personality profile.
- Bugler, Ashford, Chubb, & Zapp. (1992). The Complete Handbook of Astrology.
- Fenton, S. (1989). Rising Signs.
- Woolfolk, J.M. (1992). The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need.