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September’s Mercury Retrograde Is Coming for Your Relationship

We’re still dissecting the details of Bennifer’s back-to-back weddings, and boom! Worldwide romantic reverie: interrupted! For this we can thank (or rather, blame) Mercury, who is turning retrograde in relationship-obsessed Libra on Sept. 9. No, this is not the breaking news anyone was hoping to hear during cuffing season.

While Mercury’s in reverse until Oct. 2, we can expect the usual retrograde mishaps. Emoji-laded texts will be woefully misconstrued, leading to hours of overexplaining. Your date’s GPS sends their car to the restaurant’s other location, the one that’s plagued by rush-hour traffic. Plans to “strategically ghost” for 24 hours (to not appear thirsty, obv) trigger your boo’s anxious attachment style issues.

But we’re not talking about these minor grievances. Libra is the sign of balance, harmony, and negotiation. If the give-and-take is lopsided in any of your important relationships, it’s about to become a very big deal—especially during the Libra portion of the retrograde, which lasts until Sept. 23. After that, Mercury backs up through picky, perfectionistic Virgo until Oct. 2, which ain’t bound to make matters any easier.

While we can’t escape Mercury’s yearly trio of retrogrades, we can learn to work with them. How, you ask? By preempting the drama these transits threaten to hurl in our direction. Every zodiac sign should brace for mishaps this September; here’s how to get your romantic emergency preparedness plan in place.


Relationships are supposed to be 50/50, right? During the retrograde, you may feel like you’re putting in too much effort—or that your person isn’t making enough time for you. Is your boo really blowing you off, or are they literally just busy? Do your best to not rush to conclusionsMeanwhile, an ex could use all the storage in your data plan sending (not-so) borderline inappropriate voicemails. What’s an Aries to do? Keep your impulsive urges in check while you wait for Oct. 2 to arrive.


Little things get under your skin mightily during this Mercury retrograde, which kicks off in your nitpicky sixth house. But should you end things because you can’t stand the way your date clears their throat or nags you about leaving a single dish in the sink? Probably not, Bull. If you’re that on edge, it’s generally a clue that it’s time to manage your stress. Hop back on your Peloton or renew your gym membership—and see if your boo wants to be your fall fitness buddy.


It’s never that difficult for a Gemini to confuse drama with excitement, but be careful about stirring it up this September. Passions will be running especially high (and hot!) for your sign, with Mercury backstroking through your romance zone. But so will your temper! One wrong move could send you spiraling—and that’s when you always wind up saying the thing you live to regret.


Reduce, reuse, recycle? Fine for those cardboard takeout trays. Unwise for anything involving your love life—at least while Mercury is retrograde. If you find yourself pining for an ex, distract yourself and let it pass. Chances are, you’re craving comfort, so book a spa appointment or go visit a close friend instead. Cohabitating Cancers, honor privacy policies and be extra mindful of everyone’s need for alone time—especially your own!


With this Mercury retrograde kicking off in your communication zone, you’re especially susceptible to muddling and misconstruing messages. Don’t play coy or make assumptions about anyone’s motives. You’ll just confuse matters further. When you have questions, it’s best to ask them directly. Caveat: timing is everything! Save your fiery DMs as drafts and make time to talk face-to-face (even if it’s screen-to-screen). Tone of voice and body language convey so much.


Whoever said “don’t sweat the small stuff” obviously never met a Virgo. And with Mercury backing up through your practical second house (and then into your sign from Sept. 23 to Oct. 2), you need to align around all the mundane stuff that actually does matter in relationships: coordinating schedules, managing shared bills, planning actual dates. Try not to come down like a drill sergeant with this, though. Even when something is “set in stone,” you need to remain flexible in the face of near-assured retrograde snafus. A sense of humor saves the day.


You’ve gotten far in life on the power of positive thinking, Libra, but with this Mercury retrograde beginning in your sign, you may have a few complaints to share, too. But hang on before those scales of yours go swinging to wild extremes. It takes two to tango—even if your only part in the matter was going along with something that never felt right to you. Rather than firing verbal shots, challenge yourself to be creative and proactive. Working out a new sharing model for a relationship could be a romantic experience.


Everyone has baggage, Scorpio, but check yourself! Are you playing a game of “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours?” Digging into people’s psyches could backfire during this retrograde, particularly if you haven’t revealed any secrets of your own. Find other ways to build trust than acting like a private investigator. Spend time doing shared activities and see how people show up in different scenarios.


Swipe…off? With Mercury spinning back through your tech sector, the digital dating gods will be acting up. Give the apps a rest and focus on IRL encounters with people who share common interests, where you’ll have an easy time sparking up conversations. For coupled Archers, group hangouts can get dicey if you feel like your partner is being possessive—or worse, neglectful when you’re out. You could catch feelings for someone in your friend group, but this comes with a major caution label. Unless you see legit long-term potential, don’t even touch that.


Are you keeping up appearances at the expense of authenticity? Time to break the awkward silence and talk about issues that you both now are simmering below the surface. This doesn’t have to be a deal killer, Capricorn! But what you do need to get real about is whether or not your bigger life goals are lining up. If you aren’t moving in opposing directions, see if you can navigate a compromise. While things might not look “traditional” for a minute, who cares? And before you answer that, remind yourself that the only opinions that matter here are the two people in the relationship.


Call it wanderlust or a wandering eye: With Mercury spinning back through your freedom-loving ninth house, familiarity could breed contempt this September. But don’t go galloping off to so-called greener pastures. There are lots of ways to “create space” without breaking hearts or blurring boundaries. Find ways to pursue your autonomous interests—and nudge the other people in your life to do the same. When you both pull away a little, the urge to merge will build back up again.


Slippery fish or circling shark? With Mercury backing up through your seductive, possessive eighth house, expect all the feels to pull you out to sea. Make sure you have lots of grounded friends around who can talk you back to your senses when you start spiral? What you’ll need to watch out for most of all? Getting baited by the green-eyed monster. Reacting to jealousy is never a good look—and it can take you to some regrettable lows if you aren’t careful.

Did you know that every relationship has its own zodiac sign? It’s true! Any couple can look to the stars and find an instruction manual to understand their connection. In their new book, The Astrology of Us, ELLE’s resident astrologers, The AstroTwins, give a complete roadmap you can use to unlock the soul purpose of any relationship.


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