Dear Vicki: I started dating a guy last spring and we connected immediately. Jack is a super outgoing guy who does voice over work and is lots of fun to be around. We laughed and had tons of fun all summer. It was perfect and seemed to get better and better, so I thought he might be the one. But as winter rolled in, it seems like he’s drifting away. We did a few things around the holidays, but now he says he’s really busy and will call later, but he never does. I’m really busy too – I’ve just started a career as a nurse – but I still have time to reach out to him. When I do, he says he’ll get back to me, but nothing. It’s rude of him, I know, but I really loved being with him. What did I do that drove him away, and what if he never comes back? Signed, Nervous in New York
Dear Nervous in New York: I am so sorry you find yourself in this difficult situation. It’s never easy to be in a relationship that is changing in a way that you don’t want, so let’s take a look at what might be going on between you and Jack. As a nurse, it seems very likely that you are a primary Earth personality. The caring and desire to do for others that nurses embody is characteristic of the Earth personality. As for Jack, the intensity with which you connected last spring, as well as his occupation as a voice over actor, suggest that he is probably a primary Fire personality. Intensity, especially around relationships, is not uncommon with Fire people, and most forms of acting usually come naturally to them.
In the Five Elements model, Fire and Earth relate on what is called the Nurturing Cycle, with Fire feeding Earth. That would explain why the relationship felt so good to you. It probably even felt natural to Jack for a time. In nature, an earthen hearth is a very comfortable container for Fire’s energy, at least in the beginning. So what’s going on now?
In the good news department, Earth and Fire personalities both care deeply about connections. The bad news is that Earth people usually want long-term connections while Fire people are usually into more intense, short-term connections. So as an Earth personality, you are more likely to see the beauty of a developing relationship, while Jack’s Fire personality will revel in the fun and intensity of the initial contact and be less interested in a long-term thing. This doesn’t mean that Fire people can’t have long-term connections; they certainly can. But what an ideal long-term relationship looks like for a primary Fire person will be very different from what an ideal long-term relationship looks like for a primary Earth person.
In truth, over time you might have tired of the relationship with Jack. As I said, initially an Earth personality can be a comfortable fit for a Fire personality – and the Fire person will certainly seem exciting and fun to the Earth person – but it takes a lot more than that to create a stable relationship, as I’m sure you know. Eventually, Jack’s need to be out doing things a lot might have become tiring to you, and your desire to cuddle at home a lot might have become boring to him. It really comes down to priorities, and this is an area where you and Jack would have had major differences. Fire people have a hard time staying in any relationship for the long haul because they are drawn to the intensity of the exciting, new connection. In fact, Jack may not have been bored with you or your relationship; it might be that he just craved the rush and fun of newness. Earth personalities, on the other hand, usually want nothing more than stable, long-term connections.
Another difference between you and jack is that Fire people usually don’t like boundaries. They enjoy the freedom that comes from jumping around. In our culture, a committed relationship implies stability, which is something that’s usually very important to an Earth personality. As an Earth person, you look at relationships as deep commitments, so through no fault of your own you might have been sending signals to Jack that felt a bit confining.
Finally, in the Five Elements model winter is Water time, and Water is the natural control for Fire. Jack might be someone whose Fire personality diminishes in winter making connections less important to him during that time. The reverse of this is also true: Fires will especially love connecting during summer, which is their season, and the time that the two of you had the most fun.
All of these are possible explanations for why Jack might seem to be cooling. You don’t mention your age, but I suspect that you have years of dating opportunities ahead. Your time with Jack has been an excellent opportunity to experience the fun of being with someone who has a Fire personality. But each element brings its own beauty and gifts to every relationship, and I’m sure you’ll find someone who has the combination of elemental personalities that is the perfect match for you. And this is an excellent time to consider what you want in a relationship. In the Five Elements model, winter is a time of beginnings, so try to leave space for the possibility of something new. Blessings to you!