The pairing of the Five of Swords and the Lovers reversed is an unwelcome sight in a relationship thread, unless you’re looking for confirmation that the relationship is off the rails, and in that case you probably already know that. Of course, Tarot is a great tool for telling you what you probably already know, but it does help you focus.
The Five of Swords is somebody who’s main interest is themselves, and they don’t mind looking out for themselves by any means necessary, even if it means being a little (or a lot) underhanded to succeed. And if you get hurt in the process, hey, that’s life. Along with this comes discord, naturally enough, another possible meaning for this card.
When you pair the Five of Swords with the Lovers reversed, you see the domain in which this self-interest is acted out, because the Lovers reversed can indicate a fear, or lack of desire for commitment and intimacy, communication problems, and an unwillingness to meet their partner halfway. This could play out as obviously as someone who is cheating on you. Alternatively it can indicate that someone might not be emotionally available. Or maybe you feel like someone is not as candid with you as they should be, which makes sense since the Five of Swords often has a secret they don’t want to let you in on. You might feel underappreciated by this person because they don’t value you enough to take your wants and needs into consideration. If you don’t want to go along with what the Five of Swords wants, then they’ll be just as happy to go along without you. All of which ties into another possible meaning for the Lovers reversed—a dysfunctional relationship.
Of course, this doesn’t have to represent a romantic relationship. Maybe your business partner is telling porkies, or your real estate agent forgot to tell you about the temporarily covered sink hole in the back garden of that house you like, for example.
If none of this resonates with you when you see these cards, then consider the possibility that the Lovers reversed is pointing out either a bad decision or a reluctance to make any decision. Especially with the former, the Five of Swords might have a negative impact on decision making due to the underhanded way of operating, perhaps trying to get away with something they know that they should not. Which usually isn’t a problem for the Five of Swords…unless they get caught of course. So if you’re thinking about writing off luxury items as business expenses, for example, or trying to pass off someone else’s work as your own in the office this might be a warning against doing so. Five is the number of change, and Swords can represent justice, so what seems like a good idea at the moment might not end up being one.