Another Mercury retrograde is nearly here, and there's always lots of focus on what this can impact for you. For this article, we're going to go into how retrogrades can impact relationships in astrology.
What is a retrograde?
A planet is called retrograde when it appears to be moving backward through the Zodiac from our view here on Earth. It isn't actually moving backward, and just looks that way. This is reverse motion for the planets, so their energy can get thrown off. Mercury retrogrades 3-4 times each year for about 3 weeks, Venus every 1 1/2 years for about 1 1/2 months, Mars every 2 - 2 1/2 years for 2 - 2 1/2 months, and Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto retrograde for months at a time every year. The Sun and Moon don't retrograde.
Transit Retrogrades & Relationships
When Mercury or Mars retrograde in your 5th house (of love) or 7th house (of relationships), or aspect your natal Venus, this can impact your relationships. You can experience challenges in existing relationships that have to be worked on, or you can reconnect with people from the past. You may become aware of old subconscious issues with Mercury, or have to deal with motivations in relationships with Mars. Communication has to be mindful, otherwise both can result in some epic fights and nasty exchanges.
Since Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are retrograde for months at a time, their impact isn't very strong. With Jupiter, you may grow lazier in dealing with issues; with Saturn, you may struggle with responsibilities; with Uranus, you may feel restless and impulsive; with Neptune, you may have a hard time seeing what's there; and with Pluto, you may want some space.
Venus is the planet of love, so Venus retrograde is the only one that impacts relationships regardless of where the retrograde is occurring or what aspects it's making. When Venus is retrograde, there tends to be all sorts of relationship problems! We often see people break up or get back together under Venus retrograde. It's usually best not to make a rash decision though, and try to understand what it is that the Venus retrograde may be trying to get you to see.
Natal Retrogrades & Relationships
If one of your natal planets is retrograde and is located in the 5th or 7th houses, conjunct your natal Venus, or is the 5th or 7th house ruler, that retrograde planet has some bearing on your relationships. It'll be much stronger when it's Mercury, Venus, or Mars, and this can show you have some big relationship or love issues to work on, and that your whole approach to relationships may be on the unconventional side. With Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto, you simply may go about relationships in a slightly different way, or go for people who are a little different.
Retrogrades & Synastry
If you have Mercury, Venus, or Mars retrograde in your natal chart (so you were born while they were retrograde), and someone else's planet conjuncts, this can elevate the nature of your retrograde planet in your dealings with one another. When it's one of their personal planets (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars) or Jupiter, they may actually like the way your retrograde planet operates. While you may normally encounter people who don't like it, they may list it as one of the things they like most about you! When it's Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto, this can create challenges in the relationship.
Often, when you have Mercury, Venus, or Mars retrograde, you'll want to be with someone who has that same planet retrograde in their natal chart or progressed chart (which can make them comfortable with the retrograde energy now). You fit together nicely because you understand a part of your charts that is usually one of the most, if not the most, challenging part of your chart. There's less of a desire to change that as you understand it in one another. You're two strange peas from the same strange pod!
Suggested Reading: Articles in the love astrology series: Mars, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, the 12th house, Chiron, eclipses, the Lunar Nodes, and the Asteroids of Your Name