When we love someone and enter into a committed relationship, we are signing up for all of that person: the good, the bad, and the ugly. In the field of astrology, astrologers may refer to the best and worst traits of each zodiac sign as “high-functioning” and “low-functioning.” If you read horoscopes or study zodiac signs, you may have read “Aries are hotheads, Taurus are gluttons, Gemini are two-faced” etc, those are considered “low functioning” or “under developed” traits.
We all have the capability of expressing the best parts of our sign and the worst parts of our sign. If you have a horrible day at work, you're tired, and someone picks a fight with you, you may exhibit some low functioning traits of your sign. Some people could be 75 percent low functioning while others have developed their sign's nature so well, they rarely exhibit low-functioning characteristics. Recognizing your sign’s disposition can help you understand your reactions and instincts — especially in love.
Each of the 12 signs has their faults and blessings, and relationships can bring out the best and worst of people. If you study astrology, also check your rising sign and moon sign for a more complex picture.
Here are the best and worst traits of each sign when they're in love.
Aries, being the “child” of the zodiac while also being ruled by the planet Mars, has a temper and a "me first" attitude. Their first instinct for MOST things is anger. Insulted? Angry. Confused? Angry. Hurt? Angry. Their ego is easily bruised, so if they lash out it is usually from a place of vulnerability. It can be difficult to see other perspectives at first.
High: Sincere and direct
On the positive side, Aries are almost always straightforward and sincere with their intentions. They are bad liars (their sister sign, Libra, got all the the smooth talking). Aries do not have the patience to beat around the bush; they will tell the partner how they feel and what they want. Their intentions are pure, and they need reassurance and someone to give them some perspective at times.
Taurus, the fixed earth sign of the zodiac, cares about security and their comfort. In life, and especially in relationships, anything new or out of the ordinary to Taurus is unwelcome and their first instinct is to resist it. They hate change, especially when they didn’t choose it. Seemingly small changes can rock a Taurus’ world, so their partner may get frustrated at the stubborn pace of the bull.
High: Loyal and real
On the positive side, Taurus is always ready to start building a secure life together with their partner. Once they commit, Taurus is ready for the long-haul. They will always make sure the bills are paid, the lights stay on, and the groceries are bought. Taurus is steady and practical, and wants to carve out a comfort zone for them and their partner to enjoy the good life.
Being a mutable air sign, Gemini is always tempted to just “go with the flow.” They don’t want to cause any conflict or trouble, so they sit back and let other people handle it. This passivity is unhealthy, and obviously doesn’t work in serious relationships if issues arise. Gemini must learn to vocalize their emotions, both positive and negative, or else deep connection will be hard to come by.
High: Communicative and thrilling
When they do feel comfortable enough to communicate freely, Gemini is a fascinating lover, who wants to learn everything about the partner. Gemini will be honest and talkative, and will want to discover and learn new things from romance. They seek excitement with their partner, and loves the idea of finishing each other's sentences when in a relationship.
Cancer is the depicted by the crab for many reasons, but the most obvious being its defensive shell. Cancer only shares their inner workings to people they trust greatly. Even if you are close with Cancer, they are still so internal and moody that it is difficult to tell exactly what they feel. Cancer prefers to keep their soft side well-protected, and for their partner it can feel like trying to predict the weather.
High: Honest and heartfelt
When Cancer finally feels a serious connection, this water sign will openly share anything and everything about how they feel. In a relationship, they are not the types to keep cool if they’re hurt or upset, and this leads to emotional honesty. Cancers are naturally caring, and aim for commitments that last a long time; Cancer is looking to make their significant other a part of their family.
No surprise that the zodiac sign ruled by the sun often wants the world to revolve around them. It’s not a conscious decision, Leos just see themselves as the protagonist in their story and everyone else as supporting roles. This can lead to self-aggrandizing, or Leos not treating others the way they themselves demand to be treated.
High: Romantic and generous
On the high-functioning side, Leos propensity for drama makes for some amazing romance. When committed and serious, Leo’s ego can be set aside. They are the types to lavish their lovers with gifts or words of kindness. Like the sun, Leos are warm, radiant, and encourage life. This sign rules expression, so when they are in love, the whole world usually knows.
Like all the mutable signs, Virgo is not great at confrontation or directness. This earth sign desires communication and rapport, but often will stuff down their issues for the sake of the relationship. This bottling of emotions manifests in unhealthy ways like passive aggression, cutting remarks, or even resentment.
High: Dependable and caring
On the high-functioning side, Virgo is an attentive and devoted lover. When Virgo is in a balanced relationship that encourages honest communication, they are at their best. Virgo remembers tiny details about the partner and takes meaningful steps to make the relationship even better.
Because Libra is the sign of the scales, their whole life is a balancing act. They “weigh” their options and may waver when trying to make final decisions. They are people pleasers, but they have to consider their own needs as well. This can lead to cancellations, changes in attitudes, or general flip flopping. To the partner, this can seem like Libras are flaky, not passionate, or indecisive.
High: Committed and appealing
On the high-functioning side, Libras are some of the best people to partner with. They rule marriage/partnerships, so sharing their life is natural. They desire someone to keep them company and balance them. As a cardinal sign, they like to tackle problems head on rather than avoid them. To boot, Libra is ruled by lovely Venus, meaning they want peace and possess natural charm.
Ruled by Pluto, Scorpio is the sign life and death, transformations, and extremes. Scorpios may view the world as dangerous or dark, something to be survived. They’re convinced something bad will happen, especially when it comes to love, so they retreat to solitude to protect their energy. Their negative outlook can lead to suspicion, sadness, and distrust in relationships.
High: Magnetic and devoted
On the high-functioning side, Scorpio is ready to dive into uncharted waters with their partner. Scorpio is captivating and one-of-a-kind, attracting their lover with passion and intensity. They love with their whole being and need absolute commitment. Love is all-consuming for Scorpios and not something to be taken lightly.
As a mutable sign, Sagittarius appreciates and needs freedom, flexibility, and reflection. For their partner, this can come across as a changing personality or fluctuating passion levels. One day they’re waxing poetic about love and marriage, the next day they are against any establishment. It is in their nature to be contradicting and hard to pin down.
High: Optimistic and open
On the high side, Sagittarius always is seeking new experiences. If their lover wants to try a cool restaurant or go to a new part of town, Sagittarius is ready and willing. Sagittarians are open minded, so their partner feels free to approach any topic without reservations. As a fire sign, they are romantics at heart and love to flirt and play. Sag rules publishing and philosophy, so they want to make memories that are good enough to be in a novel.
Being ruled by restrictive Saturn, Capricorn often comes across as bossy, uptight, or filtered. Capricorns value responsibility, trustworthiness, and duty in others; for the partner, it can sometimes feel like they are disappointing Capricorn. It can be tough meeting Capricorn's standards, especially due to their often strong presence.
High: Dedicated and trustworthy
When Capricorn allows themself to let go of their reservations and fall in love, they are loyal and thoughtful partners. Capricorn is an earth sign, so when they invest their time into someone, they want it to be worthwhile (not to mention, earth signs are very sensual!). When they’re committed, Caps will strive for the best of everything and prioritize the relationship. They need a dedicated partner to build an empire with.
Aquarius, ruled by the oddball Uranus, can be a complex and unusual partner. Aquarius rules friendships, idealism, groups, networks, technology — not necessarily super messy or personal topics. They like distance and keeping things theoretical, and in relationships this may lead to some issues, like being too rational or avoidant.
High: Idealistic and transparent
When they learn to get close and personal, Aquarius is insightful and surprisingly intuitive. For an air sign, they understand people very well. They are the humanitarian sign, and understand how humans operate on a deep level. In love, they seek progressive and original ways to commit to someone, and their fixed nature makes them the air sign most comfortable with commitment.
Being a water sign plus a mutable sign can lead to someone who is easily influenced or hurt. Pisces can easily lose themselves in a partner or a relationship — or worse, their illusion of a relationship. They can come to rely on unhealthy habits or tactics in a relationship, including just being too clingy or forgiving. Pisces can easily get swept up in delusions or fantasies.
High: Dreamy and inspirational
On the high side, Pisces love is truly beautiful, especially when they work to make their dreams a reality. As the 12th and final sign of the zodiac, Pisces possesses a little piece of every sign inside them making them wise and understanding. They seek to transcend everything with their partner - Pisces gives unconditional love because that’s all they know how to do. They are hopelessly romantic and will create their own little universe for the relationship to blossom.