Will 2021 be my year to find love? I asked both an astrology and dating expert

Words by Joseph Lew

What do the stars have in store?

I’ve always been a sucker for love horoscopes. Anyone that knows me knows that I spend far too much time poring over Co – Star and DailyHoroscope, devouring daily insights and deciphering monthly predictions.

My mouse gravitates towards click-bait digests titled ‘This month is it for Pisces!’ and ‘A match made in heaven – a guide to the most compatible zodiac signs’, and I’ve found myself dabbling in the oddly specific Buzzfeed quiz on occasion, predicting the year I’ll get married based on of my favourite flavour of ice-cream and taste in rom-com movies.

After the year that was, I’ve admittedly felt lonelier than ever. With visitor restrictions rendering me unable to access my usual support networks, I’ve felt so isolated and disconnected from those around me.

I’d watch as my friends visited their partners freely, while I was reduced to Snapchat spectating, movie nights and after work drinks from the confines of my own home. Driven by my cabin fever and coupled with my compounded loneliness, I spent an unreasonable amount of time on Hinge and Tinder, fingers swiping over names and faces, people and possibilities. 

Looking for some similarly thought-provoking reads? Try this one on astrology’s gender gap.

And so, when I stumbled upon research that revealed one in four Australians feel alone, a number that has only increased over the past year, I felt oddly comforted. Here I was being told that I wasn’t the only one feeling this way. And later, when Hinge announced that almost 73 per cent of Australian dating app users expect to meet their match this year, for some reason, I started feeling optimistic.

In order to figure out how to best prepare myself for the dating scene, I thought it would be wise for me to figure out what I was doing wrong, or at least, identify what I could be doing better. I decided to consult with two professionals in the realm of love, an expert in the stars and an expert in dating.

What do the stars say about love in 2021? 

To decipher the overlap between astrology and love, Australia’s leading media astrologist Natasha Weber, starts by turning my attention to the planet Venus. She explains that beginning with Capricorn in January, Venus moves through each of the signs at three-week intervals, bringing with it its own gifts and challenges, depending on the space it occupies. For instance, when Venus resides in Aquarius (a quite cerebral sign), “mental connection with potential and current partners becomes paramount.”

Starting around mid-December until the end of January 2022, Venus goes into retrograde, which means that it appears to move backwards through the heavens, causing energetic ramifications for us on Earth. As Venus will be retrograding through the sign of Capricorn, Natasha says this will be a make-or-break time for relationships, depending on where they’re at. 

“On the one hand, couples that are happy and strong will be looking to deepen their commitment. This might look like getting engaged or getting married or taking on a mortgage, provided that they’re on solid ground,” she predicts.

“But with lovers that are having some issues, if they’re determined to stick together and see things through, then they will have to work hard and put in the effort, because Capricorn is a hard working sign. 

“The couples that are really on shaky ground, they will probably decide to call it quits during the retrograde period. By the end, the pressure will be too much and enough will be enough for these couples.”

How do I apply my horoscope to my dating life? 

With horoscopes the defining personality trait of Generation Z, something I’ve commonly encountered while swiping through dating apps are zodiac emojis proudly emblazoned across profiles. After coming across data released by Tinder in 2019 which revealed that female Scorpio users and male Taurus users performed better than other signs, I ask Natasha whether displaying my horoscope would help me attract right swipes.

She quickly points out the flaws with this strategy, noting that each sign manifests itself in a variety of ways and that we shouldn’t fall into the trap of assuming someone’s behavioural characteristics so quickly.

“Every sign has a light and positive way of expressing itself. Or it can have a negative way of expressing itself,” she explains. 

“For example, Geminis are not all two-faced, they’re just incredibly clever at juggling two different things, which is a positive expression of that sign.”

What dating mistakes do horoscope-readers often make?

 When it comes to determining compatibility, Natasha notes that a common misconception is that horoscope devotees often rely solely on sun signs, rather than considering horoscopes as a whole. She suggests that people should look at their birth chart instead, which can be calculated using the date and location of birth, to provide a more holistic view of someone’s cosmic attributes.

In particular, by looking at the Venus sign, Natasha says it’s possible to predict how someone is in a relationship, what they look for in love, and their ways of showing love. In turn, by looking at Mars, it’s possible to ascertain someone’s sexuality and drive, equally important components of a romantic relationship.

However, at the end of the day, Natasha says that it all comes down to free will, and how individuals choose to express their sign that matters.

“You can look at the astrology and use it as a guide, but there’s no substitute for really getting to know a person because the soul chooses how they want to express their life experience.

“Free will trumps the astrology.”

What does a relationship scientist say about love in 2021?

In order to figure out how to apply my astrological knowledge to my dating life, I turn to Hinge’s Director of Relationship Science and behavioural scientist, Logan Ury. She opens by revealing that, like me, 66 per cent of Hinge users were feeling optimistic about dating in 2021.

Because of this, Logan says there’s an expected relationship boom for the year, with people putting more emphasis on, and motivation towards, dating. As to why this seems to be the case, she says it comes down to two things: intentionality and motivation.

“[People] are being self-reflective, and looking at their own habits and questioning ‘Who am I?’, ‘Who do I want to be with?’, and ‘How am I showing up in my relationships?’,” she explains. 

“The pandemic did leave a lot of people by themselves so there has been a shift in people’s priorities, and now they have the motivation of not wanting to be alone. That, plus that intentionality of doing all that inner work, is the relationship boom.”

How do I up the dating ante?

Although my Hinge profile seems curated well enough, I question Logan as to what ways people can optimise their dating profiles. She starts by saying that firstly, it’s important for people to be themselves.

She says people often fall for clichés, which are a total no-go, and advises that instead, users should strive to provide specific and personal answers, accompanied by wisely chosen prompts. Of course, when it comes down to it though, like most other dating apps out there, it really comes down to the photo.

“You always want to put your best foot forward, so choose a first photo that really helps you shine,” Logan explains.

“You want a good mixture of humour and vulnerability; you want to show different sides of your personality. So you might start with a headshot, then have a full-body photo, then have somewhere you’re doing an activity, and one with friends and family.”

What are some common dating mistakes?

A common error that Logan says users often make is waiting too long to get to the date. She reminds me that users aren’t there to find a pen pal or simply someone to chat to. She says the ideal timeframe to respond is within 24 hours, because it creates a better chance of ending up on a date, and to skip the small talk and open with more telling questions such as “What podcast are you listening to right now?”

When it comes to the date itself, Logan says there’s always the option of a virtual date. In these situations, she recommends that users take steps to make sure it doesn’t feel like a continuation of work, by putting reasonable time between work and the date, and switching video-call apps rather than staying on Zoom or Hangouts. But above all, Logan says to make sure the date doesn’t feel like a job interview.

“Your dates should not be interrogations where you say, ‘Can you fill the role of a husband?’, ‘Can you fill the role of a wife?’, they should actually be experiences where you say ‘What side of me does this person bring out and do I enjoy being that person?’”

Looking to dive deeper into online dating? Some tips on how to do so more safely can be found here

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