The Hanged Man in love: What to do when it’s best to do nothing.

Hanged man
The Hanged Man from the New Pallidini Tarot.

Getting the Hanged Man in a tarot spread, especially if it’s a romance spread…tends to make people slump. They either assume it is a bad card, or they just…blank out, and spend time on all the cards around it, carefully avoiding it like the upside down elephant in the room. But…I am here to make an argument that The Hanged Man is a friend. A good friend. The one that gently but exasperatingly tries to get you to PUT DOWN THE SHOVEL (or that phone!) and quit digging yourself in deeper.

Listen to your pal.

An excerpt from my book, Love Tarot for Beginners, on our serene acrobat:



A pause in the action. Needing to let go of all attempts to control. Sacrifice. Peaceful waiting. Submission.


This is a card of fascinating contradictions. Its message is one of needing to behave in a way that is probably the opposite of what is instinctual for you.

The Hanged Man is here to tell you that this is a time where you cause more problems the more you struggle, cause more loss the more you “try.” This is a time of letting go; not of the relationship, but of any attempts to control the outcome.

This is out of your hands. In a traditional Tarot deck, you will see that even though the man is suspended upside down, his face is serene. This is you. This needs to be you. In letting go, you win. In surrendering, you survive. If you are pushing someone hard to behave in a certain way, give you what you want to create a certain experience, or even to feel a certain way, then it will not succeed.

This is a delicate time, and whatever happens next will not be up to you. There are certain cards in the deck that strongly reinforce this idea. If The Fool, The High Priestess, Strength, or the restful Four of Swords show in the same reading, then you need to be cool as a cucumber: relax, be gentle with yourself, and let go of all demands.

If the Lovers card appears with this card, well, then you are really twisting in the wind, and the fate of this relationship is out of your hands.

Control is a tricky thing. It’s like trying to sit on top of a beach ball while in a swimming pool: sure, you got that baby under water for now, but eventually it’s going to pop up, and you are going down. Why not, instead, gently hold onto that ball as you skim the surface, letting it carry you across the water?


You don’t get to know that right now! This is the Tarot’s “Magic 8 Ball” equivalent of “Ask Again Later.” Later, by the way, doesn’t mean in an hour. Be still. Have faith. Let go. This is a card of beneficial outcome, but only if you stop struggling.


Ah. It is very, very hard to let go of the need to control. Especially when you LURVE someone, or WANT someone, or, eep, feel like you NEED someone. That’s a crummy feeling, that last one. It has a graspy, exhausted tone that feels something like holding your arms out in front of you for, say, about an hour.

No good.

Here is a case of freedom in surrender. What does surrender look like, in this case? Setting down the phone. Frantic texts are not for you. Freedom to Think About Other Things Besides Mr. Or Ms. Perfect. Freedom to focus on neglected friendships, hobbies, interests. Freedom, because to do anything ELSE poke poke poke at that cage of wished for outcome, is a big dang mistake. STOP IT. You can not pester the situation into submission..into wanting you.

You are a person of value and you don’t chase after stuff. Stuff wants you, baby.

So hang.

Watch it come to you happily…or drop away, because it was never going to work. Either way.. you win!

Good luck out there!






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9 thoughts on “The Hanged Man in love: What to do when it’s best to do nothing.

  1. Thank you! This really helped me. I just went through a break and I was desperately trying to get back together. Did my spread tonight (3 days after the break), I used the Chakra spread, and the Hanged Man showed up on my emotional/feelings/relationship draw. It might make me feel a little more calm and serene now.
    Again, thanks! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am touched you found what I wrote helpful. I know that feeling…it’s a bad one, the helpless falling feeling of loss. Stay serene as you can and realize you are entirely and utterly lovable.


  2. Awesome! I had this card in the position ‘against’ in a love reading (also, nex to to it, the moon as the outcome :-\ ).
    Anyway, love this:

    ‘You are a person of value and you don’t chase after stuff. Stuff wants you, baby.

    So hang.’

    I was probably needing to read it. Thank you!


    1. I am always really grateful to hear from someone who found anything I write useful. Thank you for taking the time!…In this case, I would say that the against is just the idea that you might have little control over the situation in the relationship, and though this will not be for ill, it can mean you feel less empowered, especially with that Moon near by which is basically tarot’s Magic 8 Ball response of “Ask again Later”. It can be tough to feel like your fate is in someone else’s hands.


  3. This is a perfect articule about the Hanged Man. I find it very difficult to understand in reading as it has a few different meanings if i’m not wrong. It’s so nice to read as your getting an advice from a very close friend…thank you so much for your words. I’m in a relationship that felt ending since the beggining and my guts tell me to drop it but i don’t have the courage and i feel sad of thinking of losing this person because there are good and bads…but i tent to rush decisions and that always works bad for me. I got in a star reading in the “heart of the matter” 1 the lovers, 2 two of swords, 3 the hanged man. Any insights very welcome 🙂 thanks again, merci.


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