This is a difficult match unless other elements in the two natal zodiacs are highly compatible. The Aquarian emotional detachment will be distressing to Cancer, while Cancer’s dependency and sensitivity will make Aquarius feel trapped. Cancer does better with a warmer, more affectionate companion, whereas Aquarius tends to be happier with a more independent and less sensitive lover or friend.
Cancer and Aquarius have very different relational styles and lifestyle preferences, which can make long-term relationships difficult. Cancers tend to be nurturing and sensitive to the needs of others. They usually want to stay close to their families, cultivate a small number of longstanding friendships, and remain in one place rather than moving around. Aquarians, on the other hand, get their intellectual stimulation through seeking new connections and experiences. They relate to others in a cerebral rather than an emotional way, and although most aren’t deliberately cruel, they lack emotional intuition, so they may hurt the feelings of more sensitive types unintentionally. They are also independent by nature and require the freedom to pursue a variety of interests and maintain friendships outside of their primary relationships. Their fear of boredom also leads them to make sweeping life changes on a whim and spend money carelessly, both which are upsetting to security-conscious Cancers.
Cancers and Aquarians also tend to have different interests and outlooks on life. Cancers are sentimental and past-oriented, while Aquarians are futuristic and progressive. These differences influence their preferred pastimes, political leanings, and what they like to do with their free time. Cancers typically prefer home-based or outdoor pursuits and small gatherings of friends or family, whereas typical Aquarians are drawn to technology-based, political, or cultural activities and have a stronger need to make new connections. Whether they fall to the right or the left of the political spectrum, Cancers are inclined to be conventional in their political beliefs, whereas Aquarians often adopt more radical belief systems (typically on the left side of the spectrum, though they may also swing right, but in unusual ways).
In a romantic relationship, the typical Cancer wants to spend plenty of time alone with a partner. The typical Aquarius, by contrast, prefers to spend time among groups of friends and will be aggravated by Cancer’s possessiveness. Cancer may find Aquarius cold and distant because Aquarius is unlikely to provide much in the way of romance, heartfelt discussion, and personal attention, while Aquarius is bewildered by Cancer’s cycling moods and emotionally reactive nature. Cancer may take the Aquarian need for time apart as a rejection, while Aquarius perceives Cancer’s need for regular reassurance as a character flaw.
The success of this challenging match will likely depend on Cancer’s willingness to lower expectations regarding traditional romance and allow Aquarius more freedom, and Aquarius’s willingness to soothe Cancer’s insecurities with words and deeds when necessary. Both will need to compromise on a variety of issues (unless other elements in their natal zodiacs bring their temperaments into better alignment). In a best-case scenario, these two will meet each other halfway, with Aquarius picking up some of Cancer’s pragmatism and common sense and Cancer absorbing some of the Aquarian optimism and self-protective emotional detachment.
Note: There is more to astrological compatibility than sun signs alone. Other elements in a person’s natal zodiac also play a role. Ascendants (rising signs), moon signs, and other planetary placements and aspects also shape personality and affect compatibility. For example, a Capricorn with Leo rising will be more extroverted than a typical Capricorn, and a Taurus with Aries rising or the moon in Sagittarius will be more compatible with Sagittarius than a typical Taurus. For more information on other natal chart elements, see Astrology Sun, Moon, and Ascendant.