Dear Vicki: This may seem like an odd relationship question, but I need help ending a relationship. Eight years ago, I divorced after five years of marriage. It was a difficult time for me so I didn’t date for several years. Two years ago I started dating a nice fellow named Chuck. It’s been fun – we certainly laugh and go out a lot – but lately he’s started hinting at marriage. I care about Chuck, but he isn’t really someone I want to be with the rest of my life. He shifts from fun Fire energy to dour Metal too often; it’s like he’s two different people, which makes me tired, so I need to end things. I’d rather find a Wood personality, someone more like myself, to settle with but I don’t want to hurt Chuck’s feelings. Is there a way the Five Elements can help make it easier to tell him we’re through? Signed: Sensitive in Seattle
Dear Sensitive: It is very kind of you to seek out a good way to tell Chuck you aren’t interested in a marriage relationship with him. And since you’ve already ended a more permanent relationship once, it is wise of you to be cautious regarding entering into another one. The short answer to your questions is that yes, you absolutely can use an understanding of the Five Elements to help you end your relationship with Chuck on a good note. But first, let’s take a quick look at why it’s not surprising that your relationship with Chuck isn’t something you want to make permanent.
Chuck’s Fire relates to your Wood on the Nurturing Cycle, which can be a good thing for a relationship. However, it’s your Wood that feeds his Fire, and that’s the reason the relationship can feel tiring for you. Too much Fire will drain your Wood energy. And if Chuck’s secondary is Metal, it relates to your Wood on the Controlling Cycle, so will feel stifling to you. Honestly, it’s surprising you lasted with Chuck for two years, but I suspect the reason you did was because you have a secondary Earth.
I say this because it’s really hard for Earths to end relationships. Plus, an Earth would seek out a nice way to do it when necessary. Also, a Fire/Metal person like Chuck could be a very comfortable match for an Earth: Both his primary and secondary elements relate to Earth on the Nurturing Cycle. That means Chuck’s Fire would feed your Earth and then your Earth would feed his Metal. And since Earths love to be needed, Earth feeding Metal usually isn’t nearly as draining as Wood feeding Fire. But it’s clearly your primary Wood that’s driving the need to break up with Chuck and there are specific ways the Five Elements can help you when you do.
As a primary Fire, Chuck cares about having fun with people he enjoys. It would have been his Fire that wanted to date you and spend time with you. But it’s probably his Metal that’s nudging things toward marriage. That’s because Metal sits at the end of the cycle and governs the “right” way to do everything. From a Metal perspective, once you’ve been through the dating/discovery period, you either move to the next phase or end things. His Fire clearly enjoyed his time with you, so his Metal began contemplating the next step of making the relationship more permanent.
Unfortunately for Chuck, your Wood/Earth isn’t in agreement and the best way to communicate this to him is going to be to speak directly to his Metal. That is where he will understand you. But don’t do this with a lot of Wood energy because too much Wood brings up a desire in Metal to chop that Wood, which will anger your Wood and create an uncomfortable scene. Instead, speak to Chuck from your Earth (backed up and bolstered by your Wood). This Earth energy will feel comforting to Chuck’s Metal since Earth feeds Metal. And because you’re addressing Metal, stay kind, but also logical and rational. This will not only feel right to Chuck’s Metal, but will also make it easier on your Earth (which isn’t going to enjoy disappointing someone you care about).
What you want to avoid is any Fire energy that might take Chuck’s primary Fire into panic or anxiousness. The good news is that, left to its own devises, his Fire will be fine. Once single again, it will soon find other connections to have fun with and as his Fire energy grows, it will soften any lingering grief or inability to let go of you his Metal may have. This will free you to begin dating again and find someone a bit more suitable for a longer-term relationship. However, I’d like to offer a quick comment about your desire to find a Wood personality like yourself: That may not be such a great idea.
Two Woods together can easily get into a competitive space if not careful. Or they can become so busy with personal accomplishment that they don’t focus on their relationship. That said, this may not happen to you because of your strong secondary Earth. But remember that Wood and Earth relate on the Controlling Cycle, so your Earth could easily feel controlled by a relationship with a Wood unless he has a secondary Earth himself. I’d like to suggest that instead of looking for a Wood, seek someone with Earth either as a primary or ideally, as a secondary. Earth is where relationships sit and it will feel comfortable to your own Earth.
As you no doubt discovered from your divorce, ending a relationship is never easy for either person. But if you can break the news to Chuck using your Earth in a logical and rational manner, he will likely take it well and begin putting himself back together quickly. Good luck and blessings to you.