Relationship Advice: When Mercury Goes Retrograde

astrology clock

The stars predict romantic rockiness for all but one lucky love stage; here's how to cope.

Something weird is in the air. Have you noticed it? Nothing seems to be going right. Important e-mails have been bounced. Your laptop or cell phone has gone kaput. Your love life seems to have taken a turn for the worst. You may have even been dumped. That thing you've been avoiding? Well, it's come back to haunt you, hasn't it?

Blame it on Mercury in retrograde. It began August 20 and will continue its terrible reign until September 12th. 

In astrology, the planet Mercury represents the mythological messenger and rules over all things having to do with communication. And when it goes into retrograde (a three-week period that happens four times a year when the planet appears to slow down, stop, and move backwards) you can be sure to expect chaos, delays and confusion on all fronts.

Don't worry. Everything will be OK. And besides, it isn't all bad. There's a time and place for everything in life, and that includes Mercury's retrograde phase. provides four good rules of thumb for coping during this time period (take a time-out and deal with things from your past, be non-committal and avoid making set plans, repeat and review everything, reflect on your soul), but we wonder: how does this translate into your love life?

Unfortunately, be prepared for a few curve balls to be thrown your way, as what was committed to, promised, expected or planned will surely go awry during a retrograde period. Below are some pointers for navigating this difficult time period no matter what love stage you are currently in.

Single: There is no better time to be single. Take this time to reflect on who you are and get in touch with your feelings, goals and aspirations. What's your life plan, and what do you need to do or change to get things going? Reflect, don't act. Mercury in retrograde is a period where you should be looking back—not forward. Do not go on a first date. You just aren't yourself and will have difficulty communicating clearly. What's more, you may have ghosts of relationships past on your mind. One or two of them might even reappear in your life. If they do, now's a good time to reconcile and move on. Hold off on any new romance until Mercury goes direct on September 12th. 

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