Dating a Cancer

So you’re dating a Cancer or want to be. Here’s our guide to navigating first moves, knowing if it’s reciprocal, flirting and memorable date ideas.

Dating a Cancer is as if the eyes are the windows to the soul. Cancer leaves the curtains open when they’re feeling the love. Their soft, tender gaze will melt your heart. It’s almost the way a mother looks at a newborn—radiating wonder and hope. Cue the violins! Toss the rose petals! Release the cherubs and their magical harps!

First Moves: How Cancer woos you

This water sign’s heart is easily stirred. Still, there’s something in the way they look at you that will make their interest obvious. Courtship with a Cancer can be fun and romantic. At the very least, you’ll enjoy a few fun, carefully planned dates.

Signs a Cancer likes you

Signs Cancer is checking you out as a prospective partner

  • They get physical, touching your bare skin while they talk
  • They put an arm around you, hug you, or pull you close, seducing you with their signature, hand-blended fragrance made to work with their unique body chemistry
  • They hang on every word you say and get really involved in the conversation, prompting you to open up further with “Tell me more about that?” or “How did that make you feel?”
  • They call you to “see how you’re doing”—a gentle, well-being checkup
  • They get all chivalrous—opening doors, kissing your hand, walking you home
  • They offer their help with an issue or household project and show up with state-of-the-art tools or kitchen equipment
  • They listen to you vent about your loser ex (they’re secretly competitive and love to one-up your past flames)
  • They ask your friends about you behind your back (their “rejection protection” strategy)
  • They ask deliberate questions designed to help them figure you out—and yes, they want to know about your childhood
  • They invite you to join them for a cultural event or a well-planned date to a concert or independent film that you’ll be able to discuss at length over drinks afterwards
  • They offer to bring a meal over to your home or office

Flirting with a Cancer

Flirting with a Cancer isn’t hard once you break past their initial reserve. Once they know it’s safe to drop their guard, they may shock you with their forwardness when you’re dating a Cancer. Still waters do run deep—and observant Cancers know just what to say to catch you off guard. Oh, you didn’t realize they were watching you too?

Here’s how to get a Cancer to stop playing it cool.

Ask for their advice

Personal conversations (about you, not them) are the ultimate icebreakers for dating a Cancer. Any opportunity for them to show their sensitivity helps them avoid the small talk they hate. Plus, you’re bound to get some hot tips from one of the most observant signs in the zodiac.

“I’m watching every little thing,” says our Cancer friend. “I’ll notice your haircut is new, you did something with your eyebrows, your shoes.”

Talk about books, art and culture

Cancers are the ultimate culture vultures who have no problem showing up to a concert or film opening alone because they love an artist’s work that much. Talk about your favorite band or a controversial New Yorker article and they’ll be eating out of your palm.

Tease them mercilessly

Sometimes it takes a little “neg” to get Cancer out of their shell, so don’t be afraid to poke them until they emerge. They might snap back at you with a sassy retort—and yeah (ouch!) it might hurt a little. But if Cancer is into you, they’ll probably just laugh, swat you and boom—they’re charmed! Pro tip: Don’t tease them about any sensitive subjects unless you want the pinchers to come out!

Complain about your love interest or a recent ex

Competitive Cancer loves to play the sensitive hero, one-upping all the other contenders. After all, understanding the psyche is their secret weapon. Go ahead, tell them what a jerk your ex was. It just primes the pump for their favorite opening line: “If we were together…”

Be yourself—boldly

Like a moth, Cancers gravitate to the brightest light in the room. If you’re the pulse of the party or the center of an exciting conversation, they may end up in your orbit. Lean forward when you’re talking so they can get a whiff of your fragrance, run a hand through your hair, play to their camera. The more you dazzle them, the better.

Take it back to the playground

This is the zodiac’s sign most likely to marry their childhood sweetheart, so flirt like the most confident kid on the playground. They love it when you giggle or blush like a schoolgirl—especially over them—or you offer to carry their bag and walk them to “class.” Old-fashioned role playing makes them swoon! Just never treat Cancer like they’re actually helpless or dependent.

Dating a Cancer: Make it meaningful!

Cancers are sentimental romantics with a secret wild streak, so their dates must be classy but also exciting. It’s a tall order, but that’s fine! They don’t mind waiting around for a gallant suitor to dash in and wow them with their excellent taste and a generous spirit. As the zodiac’s culture hounds, they have their fingers on the pulse of the art world. Gallery exhibitions, live concerts, author lectures, the opera and ballet—bonding over creativity and art can rev Cancers’ romantic engines. It will also help they break the ice on first dates if you’re dating a Cancer.

Caution: Avoid getting too personal, too quickly

Crabs are highly private and would rather not reveal anything too personal early on. They can talk for hours, however, about the subversive nature of an indie rock musician’s lyrics or the untimely passing of a legendary rapper. Order tickets for events in advance. This gives Cancer something to look forward to and provides an added measure of security that the date is actually going to happen.

Make it yummy

As the zodiac’s foodie, Cancers’ favorite dates often involve sampling the fare at raved about restaurants. You’ll happily order the six-course tasting menu and wine by the bottle. A date who enjoys the decadent sensuality of sharing a meal will find Cancer melting to their will.

Later in the courtship dance, cooking together can be a total aphrodisiac. They’re likely a whiz in the kitchen. If not, they’ll happily play sous chef, chopping and grinding between Cabernet-soaked kisses. If the vibe is cozy enough, they might just settle in for the weekend. They can’t wait to get to the nesting phase of the relationship. A night of cuddling on the couch can be sheer bliss.

What to do on a date with a Cancer

  • Go antiquing; Cancers love to treasure hunt for items with historical value
  • Rent scooters and go for an adventure ride
  • Party hop!
  • Sample cuisine at a fusion or experimental restaurant
  • Attend a charity event together
  • Stay in for a romantic evening; spending cozy one-on-one time appeals to Cancer homebodies, too
  • Explore the arts: check out a must-see exhibit or theater production
  • Score tickets to hear the latest up-and-coming band

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