How To Tell if a Mars in Cancer Man or Woman Is Into You

Credit: Tuned_In via iStockphoto

Credit: Tuned_In via iStockphoto

Mars in Cancer is a mix of caution and aggression. Reserved at first, he only makes a move if he feels safe (which happens after he’s spent some time observing you). But he’s a Cardinal sign, which means he initiates. So if he is attracted to you, he’ll move forward rather abruptly. This blend of holding back/jumping forward can be confusing. Should you make the first move? If he’s not making a move, is he uninterested, or simply biding his time?

The Sensitive Aggressor

When dealing with Mars in Cancer, remember that she is ruled by the Moon, which makes her extremely sensitive and changeable. Emotional safety is her priority, and her actions are a response to this. Initial standoffishness is due to her protective shell. She may not react favorably if you make the first move, because she feels safer when she’s in control. And if she doesn’t know you, you’re automatically in the suspicion zone until she gathers more intel.

But she is a Cardinal sign, which means she’s impatient. If she’s into you, she won’t keep you waiting for long. Her approach may feel abrupt, because it appears to come out of nowhere. But she’ll have been quietly scoping you out for a while. If you feel safe enough for her to approach (meaning, she senses that you’re not going to stomp all over her boundaries) she’ll move in. You’ll know she’s into you if she suggests going out to eat, or (even better) cooking. If she actually invites you back to her place (which is unlikely to happen on a first date, but you never know) you’ve hit the jackpot. Home is her sacred space. She’s a domestic, nurturing sign, so offers of hugs and help are signals that she’s into you.

A note of caution: sometimes she wants to protect anyone she cares about, whether or not she’s attracted to them. So don’t take a hug or visit to her home as an immediate sign that you’re going to be lovers. She may just want to help you out as a friend. Fortunately, if she wants more than friendship, she’ll make that clear, very quickly. Again, it’s best to let her make the first move. If she’s not interested in being lovers, unsolicited sexual contact from you will be an absolute dealbreaker. She has no problems severing ties with someone who steps over her line.

Keeping the Home Fires Burning

Once you and Mars in Cancer are involved, the game will change. When the two of you have established a comfort zone, he’ll prefer it if you’re the aggressor. Cancer is a confusing mix of assertive Cardinal and receptive feminine energy. So you may have to take on the “male” role as the sexual initiator. Having said this, you’ll have to respect Cancer’s boundaries at all times. Pay attention to what he says and doesn’t say. When Mars in Cancer is feeling safe, sexy and open, he’ll be all over you with loving (sometimes smothering) physical contact. When he’s feeling hurt, offended or invaded, he will curl into himself and avoid all touching. Then, it will be up to you to figure out what the problem is. Sex with Mars in Cancer is a fully immersive experience, with undertones of mothering. If that raises the “ick” factor, know that this Moon-ruled sign is based on maternal instincts. He’ll want to be held, he’ll want to hold you, and sex will be about more than the physical act. If the emotional connection disappears, he won’t stick around for long.

No matter how social she is, Mars in Cancer has an introverted side. If you’re not prepared to spend some quality time at home with her, she won’t be happy. If you take advantage of her nurturing by not returning the favor, she won’t be happy. If you block out her efforts to care for you, she won’t be happy. There’s no guarantee that she’ll want babies, or that she’ll get along with her biological family. But she will insist that you become part of her existing family (whatever that consists of). Her definition of family may include children, pets or friends, but she’ll want to build some kind of nurturing unit with you. If you’re not up for that, she definitely won’t be happy. You may think that she sounds like a demanding lover, and you’re correct. Mars in Cancer is The Mother who asserts her will through the care and feeding of those she loves. Few planet/sign combos will nurture you with their entire heart and body, like this one.

About Nadia Gilchrist

Nadia Gilchrist offers over 19 years of experience in astrology. Her writings and personal consultations focus on applying practical astrological analysis to the real world. Nadia blogs regularly at Ruby Slipper Astrology.


  1. magiczara says:

    This is very accurate. I have this placement, and it can be a tough one. I often feel clumsy and awkward when asserting myself or “moving in” on someone I fancy, though I also can’t help myself when I really feel strongly for someone. The note of caution is also very much appreciated. I once invited my neighbor to my home to make him dinner as a thank-you for something nice he’d done for me, but I wasn’t interested in him romantically. I was trying to be friends and nothing more. I regretted it almost immediately, as he proved we couldn’t even be that. He’s mostly respected my boundaries since then, but not completely, and I still feel a little uncomfortable around him because on occasion he is too intrusive for my tastes. Makes my Mars shut down completely.

  2. Colleen says:

    Thanks Nadia. It clarifies a few things, but I wish I knew why I keep falling for Mars in Cancer people when my Mars is in Cap and I end up finding them irritating! (Or vice versa)

  3. @magiczara
    thanks for sharing that…

  4. @Colleen
    You’re welcome!

  5. Mars in Cancer is an act first think later right brain sign. You will notice that the way they walk has a “waddle” to it. Women with Mars in Cancer may be attracted to women, and the female anatomy. This is very much a foodie placement who is drawn to self care and care for others through nutrition and sustenance.

    @Colleen, Mars opposite Mars is tough because the people involved run on two very different schedules. Much like Moon opposite Moon. Ie, wanting sex and the other person wants to read, wanting to go out the other wants to stay in, so on and so forth.

  6. I have found, in my personal experience, that Mars in Cancer types have a very hard time letting go… of people, of arguments, of the past, of their idea of how things should be, of how they feel. They want what they want, when they want it, and they want it now, and you’d better read their mind to figure that out. If you don’t deliver, it is definitely all your fault. Mars here is in detriment and often the shadow side of Cancer is what gets acted upon. Other balancing elements in the chart often have to be present to produce someone with this placement who is also capable of self-control and choosing the higher ground. I have found that Mars in Cancer in the 7th house, in a male, produces someone who wants his mate to do all the mothering and pampering and cooking and caring, and not the other way around, a total Mama’s Boy. This is by no means applicable to everyone with this placement, but I have seen it play out similarly in everyone I know who has Mars in Cancer, whether male or female. It’s a certain type of crabbiness!

  7. Wow this is so true my sweetheart is a Mars in cancer he get like this sometimes dang I think I may have hurt his feelings when he is hurt he go on the opposite side of the bed ? man I got to owe my baby an apology didn’t mean to hurt him

  8. so true. plus i have venus in scorpio

  9. My girlfriend has mars in cancer, and she a total crybaby. She digs up the past, and she remembers everything. When she’s made at me, she’s distant, but other than tht she’s all over me. I Feel like she expects me to kno what she’s feeling I didn’t say thinkin becus she the feeling type while I’m more mental. She’s a sun In Sagittarius n moon in Taurus so this placement makes her dominating free but seeking security. Her mars in cancer makes her seem like the above. When she gets mad she explodes and she’s very territorial and jealous but thts my baby

  10. You are right about that.

    I am Sun in Cancer, Moon in Aries, Mars in Cancer. To me, emotions are pretty much the foundation of my being, whether that is expressed in displays of emotion or simply a mostly introverted personality. Unfortunately, my Venus im Gemini pretty much negates any chances of another planet’s balancing out my Mars. My Mars is in my 7th house as well.

    Because of Cancer’s cardinal and water qualities, emotions are everywhere. This means things that hurt hurt more, but things that are enjoyed are those that evoke the emotions. I would love for a woman to do all those things for me, but I would do the same for her. Cancer is the domestic nurturing sign; I want to be cared just as much as I want to care for her. What benefits my Mars in Cancer is my Mercury in Leo, also 7th house.

    Mars in not in detriment, but is fallen in Cancer. So a Cancer with this placement has an especially hard time channeling Mars’ energy and vitality outward and in tune with the Moon. In the 7th house, this likely translates as emotional security procuring an stable relationship. I couldn’t be intimate with a woman if I were not attracted to her emotionally.

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