We're currently smack in the middle of a Mercury Retrograde, with the last one of 2017 happening from Dec. 3 through Dec. 22, 2017. If you're an astrology fanatic, you're probably already well aware of how Mercury Retrograde can affect your life. But for the rest of us, it might be helpful to know: what even is Mercury Retrograde, and what does it mean for our love lives?
"The three-week period that we call Mercury Retrograde is a time when Mercury’s energies are moving inward or reverse," Jaye at GiftedAstrology.com tells Bustle. "I personally like to to break down the word retrograde to explain how this three-week period affects us. The first half of the word 'retro', means past or reviving something from the past (like retro fashion). The second half of the word 'grade', defines a level of quality or importance. So, 'retrograde' brings back important things from our past to revisit, revive or re-plan — with the chief purpose of improving our lives when we live through it consciously."
So even though Mercury Retrograde sounds ultra scary in theory, it is possible to use this time to grow with your partner and strengthen your relationship — but it won't necessarily be easy.
What Romantic Challenges Do We Face During Mercury Retrograde?
Mercury, ruler of the mind and communication, is the messenger of the gods, and when his planet appears to move in reverse during retrograde, the idea is that our earthly communication is all out-of-whack as a result — which can have a profound impact on our close, intimate relationships.
"Communication is the number one challenge during Mercury Retrograde because Mercury is all about communication."
"Communication is the number one challenge during [Mercury Retrograde] because Mercury is all about communication," Jaye says. "When people are unaware of Mercury Retrograde, they can take what’s happening to them very personally (like anyone would), but when you’re aware, you can use it to your advantage. Meet your (and your partner's) Retrograde experience with a mindset that it’s purpose is to deepen your life and love. Relationships improve by practicing compassion and accepting that it’s just three weeks in your long, beautiful journey together."
Why It's Harder To Communicate During Mercury Retrograde
Obviously, the planetary movements don't dictate everything about our lives here on Earth — but Mercury Retrograde simply makes it more likely that we'll have communication issues, like having difficulties compromising during an argument or hitting send on an important text too soon.
"Communication is more difficult because wires can get crossed and tangled during this time," Jaye says. "Two people could think that they’re having a conversation about one topic, but if you were to ask them about it afterwards, you’d find that they were on completely different pages and they each heard a totally different story."
As if that wasn't bad enough, Mercury Retrograde has another possible side effect that can be very tricky for couples to navigate: issues (or exes) from our past being brought up and revisited all over again.
"[During Mercury Retrograde], all communication is stifled in general but more specifically, their romantic past," Astrologer Valeria Mesa tells Bustle. "Mercury Retrograde is notorious for revisiting past connections... This is a good time to rekindle relationships and/or gain necessary closure. It’s also a good time to be authentic with your partner and communicate things [from the past] you would normally keep to yourself. Nothing is coincidence. Mercury Retrograde brings back what is unresolved and/or karmic into our lives for a reason. Use this energy wisely."
How To Get Through Mercury Retrograde With Your Relationship Intact
So now that you're aware of all the ways Mercury Retrograde might affect your love life, you're probably wondering: what can I do to make sure my relationship survives the last Mercury Retrograde of 2017? The answer is actually fairly simple: just take a little extra time to think through how you communicate with your partner during this time.
"Don’t jump to conclusions during Mercury Retrograde, and to keep yourself out of hot water, double check your emails, social media posts and texts before you hit send," Jaye says. "People may be extra-sensitive and your communication could be taken the wrong way, so keep your significant other in mind when you are sharing things publicly. Privately, you can be extra supportive of your other half if they’re experiencing a trying time, as Mercury Retrograde will have people dealing with computer problems, delays, mistakes, and challenges. Everyone appreciates positive people and if you lovingly remind them that they are clearing away the old to make room for the new, that may be all they need to lighten their retrograde load."
As long as you take extra precautions and are careful about how and when you communicate with your partner, there's no reason that your relationship has to suffer just because Mercury is in retrograde. In fact, you can use this time as an excuse to actively work on your communication skills as a couple — and when Mercury is no longer in retrograde, your relationship might just be stronger than ever.