Are new astrology-based dating apps worthwhile?

Apps like StarCrossed and Struck (not yet available in Aus) are designed to guide you in finding matches that are astrologically compatible with you, which goes well beyond just your everyday horoscope. Here’s everything you need to know.

I don’t know about you, but I love a good horoscope.

I regularly check in on my Co-Star app to see what the stars have in store for me. Sometimes it’s energising and positive, other times my reading will be on the bizarre end. Like that time it told me I shouldn’t wear bike shorts. Clearly, the universe was being a little b*tch that day.

Usually, I’ll ponder for about 30 seconds over whether or not the platform’s musings apply to my life; then I’ll get back to my day. It’s all a bit of fun, you know?

For some folks, however, star signs are monumental. They play a part in all of life’s big decisions – including choosing a romantic partner. If you’re one of those people, exciting news! It seems astrology-focused dating apps on the rise.

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Before you ask: no, I’m not talking about that time Bumble allowed users to filter profiles according to star sign. Apps like StarCrossed and Struck (not yet available in Aus) are designed to guide you in finding matches that are astrologically compatible with you. This goes well beyond just your everyday horoscope.

In most astrology settings, people tend to read or talk about their sun sign. This is the zodiac you’re likely familiar with (mine, for example, is Virgo). But if you take a deeper look, as these apps do, you’ll find your chart is a lot more involved than that.

Astrologer Suzie Bartle explained to me that your “sun sign is half of the whole”. It is your “true essence, and who we are at our core,” but it isn’t your complete personality. Your moon sign, (yes, you have one of those, too) is connected to whether you’re “emotionally expressive, closed off, or somewhere in-between” and your rising or ascendant sign is related to how you “interact socially”.

What these zodiac dating apps use to measure compatibility is your entire birth chart. This is created based on when and where you were born, and the astrology connected to that. It’s pretty complicated. But it makes for a far more detailed assessment of who you are.

“The birth chart can be quite expansive,” Rachel Lo Co-Founder and CEO of Struck told me.

“We run all the sort of standard planets plus north node, south node, descendant [and] a few other ones that are not necessarily as prevalent in pop astrology. But we do all that in the back end, and we run your full chart against other users’ charts.”

Once the app has crunched all the astrological details, it will show users four compatible profiles per day, Lo explained. All potential matches meet a compatibility benchmark, but “we don’t necessarily tell you, ‘Oh, this is 100 per cent match or a 50 per cent match,'” she shared.

This, she explained, is because Struck wants people to use astrological compatibility as a helpful tool, not a defining feature in dating.

“If you looked at two people’s charts, you could have a pairing where you’re like, ‘This is amazing,’ and the two people just won’t have chemistry,” she said. And the same goes for the opposite situation, too. As a result, Lo encourages people not to look at astrology as a hard-lined guide.

“Your fate isn’t being determined by any chart or app or anything like that,” she said.

“It’s something to have fun with; it’s something to learn more about yourself and others with.…[If] you’re keeping an open mind and maintaining a sense of agency and independence over it, then it’s great.”

Christine Rafe, a Psychosexual and Relationship Therapist with Good Vibes clinic, echoes many of these points.

“I see time and time again people meeting and falling in love with ‘unlikely’ matches or someone they wouldn’t have considered would tick all their boxes when they first saw their profile,” she said.

So, if you’re looking to use a niche dating app like these astrology options, Rafe suggested trying to be, “as open-minded as possible”. Singles looking for love should avoid “always going for the specific ‘type’ of person they think is going to be best based on the story they have told themselves,” she said.

In dating, Rafe explained, it’s fair that you prioritise your core values – and astrology may be one of those – but it’s worthwhile considering people who may not seem perfect for you ‘on paper’. (Give that Capricorn a go; they can’t all be bad!) And if you’re using a niche dating app, “couple it with a general dating app” for more chances at finding a match you really dig.

Ultimately, if zodiac signs are genuinely your thing, of course you can keep them in mind when dating. Just be aware that many elements make up a person, as well as a healthy romantic pairing. Your birth chart sure is one part you can take note of, but it isn’t the entire story.