Hobbies Astrology Winning the Love of a Cancer Woman ATough Shell, But Inside, She's All Heart Share PINTEREST Email Print Karen Smith/Getty Images Astrology Love & Compatibility Basics 12 Signs of the Zodiac The Sun & Sun Signs The Moon & Moon Signs The Houses By Molly Hall Molly Hall Molly Hall is an astrologer, tarot reader, and author of "Astrology: A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Zodiac." Learn about our Editorial Process Updated on 04/13/19 Cancer gals can be tough nuts to crack, and your success in wooing one will depend on how manly layers of a defensive shell she's built up. If the Cancer you've set your sights on has suffered lots of heartbreak, winning her trust means a commitment to the long game. Dependent Soul Our "you only live once" culture can be particularly hard on the sensitive Cancer psyche. For the most part, Cancers see themselves as the quintessential helpmeet who longs to keep the home fires burning for her spouse and children. If she's receptive, she will open herself to making that desire a reality, particularly if she meets someone who has the substance she craves. If, however, she's frustrated in romance, she may satisfy her maternal instinct by adopting (or worst-case scenario, hoarding) pets. The Cancer woman who has become emotionally lost, either as a result of a broken romance or an unstable family life, can flounder for years. She has trouble resolving boundary issues and may even fall into patterns of promiscuity. This vulnerability does bring out the knight in shining armor in both friends and suitors, and she tends to rely heavily on the loved ones in her life for support. If you're fortunate enough to be brought into her circle of trust, a Cancer woman will be motherly in all regards, meaning she treats friends as she would family. Starting Your Cancer Romance The Cancer woman can seem extremely shy at first, even to the point of being uncomfortable making eye contact. Great first dates are those which focus is on something other than her—a movie, a concert under the stars, a play, or a tennis match. With the freedom of not being observed, she'll be able to tune in to how it feels just to be with you. Avoid loud venues, crushing crowds, and canned dating situations. Instead, opt for mellow atmospheres that feel cloistered but not claustrophobic. Cancer is a cardinal sign, which means she'll want to take the lead at times, especially when something grabs her emotionally. If she evinces an interest in an activity, be prepared to go with the flow. (As your relationship progresses, this tendency may manifest itself in the bedroom, often with mutually gratifying results.) A Cancer in love is protective of her feelings, even defensive unless she feels 100 percent safe. Often Cancer Suns live in their own world, and yet are sensitive to the moods of others. She may expect others (meaning you) to share this same sensitivity. She'll drop hints, and may expect you to be able to read her mind and know her heart. It's best not to press too much for her life story but a friendly curiosity will likely be welcome. Home Security The Moonchild loves to nurture, and only truly unwinds in the sanctity of her home. It's a good sign if she invites you over for a lovingly prepared feast. As she begins to feel safe with you, she'll slowly shed more of her protective layers, but at first, she'll most likely want to talk about you. She'll appreciate hearing about your childhood and the highs and lows of your life. It's wise to avoid stories that are "ugly," mean-spirited, or those that show a lack of empathy. She's got a steel trap for a memory, and if you upset her, she won't soon forget. Touchy at Times As a water sign, Cancer women can be hypersensitive. If you've hurt or offended her, even without meaning to, she can turn to stone, and while she may be smiling, the light will be gone from her eyes. That doesn't mean you're on the outs for good, but she might need time alone to sort through her feelings. If you're getting the cold shoulder, give her some space and see if she comes around. Sometimes dark moods can take Cancer women to extreme places. If you love without judging, the waters will calm again. If you avoid playing on her insecurities, at her most vulnerable moments, the trust will grow. Is she crazy? Yes, at times, but that's what makes her so fascinating. Funny Girl Some Cancer women retain a childlike sense of wonder no matter what age they achieve. That twinkly-eyed spirit serves them well into their elder years. The Moon-ruled lady loves to laugh, and she has a great sense of humor. A night of stand-up or watching a romantic comedy will draw out her natural nuttiness. You'll win points by pointing out the absurd, or making her laugh at herself—but be careful. The line between poking good fun and pointed barbs can be a fine one. It takes a skilled and compassionate observer of the human character not to hurt her sensitive feelings. If that's not in your wheelhouse, best leave it alone. The Cancer Woman's Ideal Mate At the end of the day, a Cancer woman's perfect mate is one who is both loving and dependable, while not necessarily being always predictable. Being there for her, "for better or worse" (whether you're married or not), is the key to helping her fulfill the potential of her Cancer Sun and becoming a woman who is emotionally independent, while deeply loving and nurturing at the same time. Watch Now: What's the Typical Cancer Personality?