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Should I Have an Affair? And Other Post-Retrograde Quandaries Answered

Venus and Mercury both ended their retrogrades recently (thank goddess), but we're all still dealing with a lot of confusion and drama. Our in-house astrologer is here to help.
Photo by Nasa Goddard Photo via Flickr

Venus and Mercury retrograde might be over, but their effects are still reverberating—Venus is still asking us to get real about our relationships and examine issues around self-worth, and we're all still puzzling through the confusing communication caused by Mercury retrograde. This is because, after a retrograde ends, the planet still needs to complete what astrologers called the "post-shadow period."


During the post-shadow period, the planet moves forward through the degrees of the zodiac it had just backtracked through, making it a time when we, too, move forward and learn to work with whichever lessons we learned during the retrograde. Venus's shadow clears on May 18, and Mercury's clears on the 21st.

Let's see what questions our readers have for Broadly's in-house astrologer, Annabel Gat, this month:

Dear Annabel,
Venus retrograde completely turned this Pisces's life upside down! I have been in a long-term and (what I believed to be) happy relationship for the past three years. I felt completely secure until the start of Venus's retrograde. Around the end of February, I started to get some attention from my very charming Leo coworker. Once the retrograde started, things escalated quickly, from innocent flirting to within a breath of cheating on my partner. Around April 6, we had a fight over whether or not I could cheat on my partner (I wasn't sure I actually could) and we haven't spoken directly since.

I don't know where things stand with this dude, or my relationship, or my trust in myself. I want to keep my life intact, but I also really miss that Leo's attention! Venus churned up all of this dark stuff about my relationship and my needs, but I haven't found any answers. I feel like I've lost my fucking mind, and I don't know what to do now. Am I done with the Leo? Am I done with my relationship? Am I done with myself? What's happening?
— Pisces in a Pickle


Dear Pisces in a Pickle,
A union between a fish and a lion is magical: Pisces folks are famous for being the dreamy, otherworldly creatives we can turn to when we need a pal to escape reality with. But who does the fish look to for excitement? Luxurious, glamorous, flashy Fire sign Leo's energy is totally inspiring to you. Leo is what we call a "fixed" sign, which means their season falls in the middle of the season, giving them an air of reliability and stability. Leo's ruling planet, the Sun, dependably rises every morning—and dependability is something you can lack in your life as a mutable sign (signs that fall at the end of a season, symbolizing change and flow).

You were in a three-year, happy relationship—so why the heck am I talking about stability? Here's what I think: It's not the attention you received from the Leo at the end of February that fucked you up—rather, there were already shifts taking place within your relationship that made the Leo's attention so attractive to you. Venus began its retrograde in Aries on March 5; however, it entered the pre-retrograde shadow period on January 30, planting the seeds for whatever you were going to review and rework during the retrograde. Was your three-year relationship really working?

Read more: Your Monthly Horoscope: May, 2017

I'm happy to hear that Venus churned up dark stuff about your relationship. We'd rather things come to the surface instead of bubbling below, staying in the shadows, right? It's no surprise that you want to keep that Leo in your life: Flirting with someone new can be thrilling and intoxicating, and Leo is the royalty of the zodiac. You thrive when you're around people who make you feel like you want to be a better version of yourself, and Leo's high standards inspire you to continually level up. Is the three-year relationship you've been in living up to your standards? If not, that's a good thing to know!


So, are you done with the Leo? We shall see. Unresolved sexual tension between people usually doesn't die too quickly, unless you totally cut ties and stop seeing each other—which doesn't sound realistic, since you two work together. Are you done with your relationship? As long as there isn't an abusive dynamic, Pisces, it's all right to take your time to feel things out, as long as you begin opening the lines of communication with your partner about how you two can live up to a higher standard within your own lives and with each other.

Venus will clear its retrograde shadow on May 18—hopefully, things will begin to feel clearer to you then! Good luck, Pisces!

Dear Annabel,
I have a question about a guy I met a few weeks ago at a conference. We met on the first night, and ran into each other throughout the rest of the week at various points. One evening ended with drinks in a large group, but nothing happened even though there was chemistry. On the last night I decided to dig out his business card and text him to meet for a beer in the bar with his business partner. Anyway, the business partner didn't turn up, but he did, and the bar was closing so we had drinks on his balcony and a nice two-to-three-hour conversation about life, family, past relationships, etc., which then turned into other stuff.

We live in two different countries and, while I'm not one for hook-ups or following up on anything, I decided to be honest with my intentions of not wanting anything serious, but stating that I'd like to see him again. He responded a day later telling me that he was glad I trusted him, and he'd like to keep in touch with me via writing and telling him what I'm thinking and feeling (he recommended some books to read, etc.), but the "signs" are telling him to wait three to six months before he has "the will" to see me again. He's into a lot of spirituality and New Age stuff, but… my question is: Should I bother communicating with him and continue lulling myself into a false sense of security, or just move on?
— Waiting for an Answer


Dear Waiting for an Answer,
Perhaps he wants to wait three months to see what the big reveals the eclipses in August will bring. Maybe he wants to wait until lucky planet Jupiter enters sexy Scorpio in October. Or perhaps he wants to see how things will feel when Saturn, the planet of commitment, enters Capricorn in December.

Or maybe he's separating from his partner, seeing twelve other people, or who knows what else. I'm all about signs and omens, but in this capacity, it's too vague and too weird. If you ran into him "a few weeks ago," then I'm guessing it was either during Venus retrograde (March 5 to April 15) or the Mercury retrograde (April 9 to May 3). If it was during those to retrogrades, see how your feelings change and grow between now and the end of the post-retrograde shadow period, which ends on May 18 for Venus and May 21 for Mercury. My advice? Move on—and if he does come back around in three to six months, hang out with him if you feel like it.

Dear Annabel,
I'm a Cancer who moved halfway across the world just over a year ago with my long-term boyfriend. I broke up with him about nine months ago. I went traveling, changed careers, and now find myself in a typical corporate job, which is something I've never done before—and potentially something that makes me kind of miserable. Do I say, "Fuck it," quit, and go traveling in June, or do I stick it out until February next year (when my visa is up) and see what happens?
—Fuck It


Dear Fuck It,

Being an Aries, I think "fuck it" is always the best answer. But, you, sweet Cancer, are far more cautious than I. (Because our Cancer friends are the best cooks, always have a cute place to live, and are so nurturing and nostalgic in general, we tend to think of this emo Water sign as being the homebody of the zodiac—which is pretty much true. However, that doesn't mean that Cancers don't want to see the world. On the contrary, travel is part of the way Cancers keep their deeply sensitive souls healthy and happy!)

Regarding your specific predicament, I'm not sure what you stand to gain by staying in a job that you think could make you miserable until next February. Is gaining the experience at working a "typical" job something you want to have under your belt? Or maybe you're craving stability and wanting to save some money by staying put and not traveling?

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We just finished Venus and Mercury retrograde, important times of reflection around our goals, values, and commitments. During the post-retrograde shadow period—which goes until May 18 for Venus and May 21 for Mercury—you'll likely gain a clearer idea of how you want to move ahead.

Venus is all about our values, making this a good time to ask yourself what yours are: Is traveling the world important to you? Or having a solid resume that shows that you can commit to a company? Whatever it is, the clearer you are about your goals, the better you can make your decision. Fortunately for you, Mercury rules communication and the mind, and when it clears its shadow period on the 21st, you'll likely be in a great position to take action!

Do you have a pressing question for Annabel? Email us with the subject line "DEAR ANNABEL":