Dear Vicki: I’m writing because I had the great misfortune to fall in love with a wonderfully funny and outgoing guy. We met on a blind date and he’s like no one I’ve ever been with before. I laughed more than I’d laughed for years that first evening, so naturally agreed to see him again. It’s been a whirlwind of activity, which is so not me. All of my well-ordered ways seem to have gone out the window since Tad’s been in my life. And while part of me finds this exciting, another part is afraid that I’m losing who I am. I’m new to the Five Elements, so am unsure of my primary elemental personality, but can tell you that I’m a software programmer, if that helps. Oh, and Tad is a salesman who is very active in our local theatre. Surely this relationship can’t last, so should I just stop seeing him now before it really hurts? Signed, Losing My Way
Dear Losing My Way: Normally, if you are both adults and are both having fun, I would ask why would you want to end the relationship. However, I suspect that what might be going on for you is that time with Tad sometimes feels a little uncomfortable. While it is fun, it probably also comes off as a bit out of control, which makes you feel like you are losing who you are. So, let’s look at why that might be.
Your belief that you should probably end the relationship with Tad before things get too crazy for you, coupled with concern about losing control and your occupation as a software programmer, suggest to me that you are a primary Metal personality. Metal people care deeply about order and process. They do detail very well, too, so make excellent programmers. The top priority for most Metal personalities is the ability to maintain control at all times. And finally, in the Five Elements model, endings sit in the Metal element. There is little doubt in my mind that you are a primary Metal elemental personality.
Tad, on the other hand, sounds a lot like a Fire elemental personality. Fire people don’t value order or process. In fact, they usually find too much order rather boring and drab. Fire people appreciate spontaneity and fun, which as you have aptly noted, isn’t something Metal people usually experience on their own. The ability to jump quickly from one place/project/idea to another is a hallmark of the Fire personality. In fact, this spontaneity is one of the major reasons that Fire people are not only great at acting, but also selling. They can easily go wherever the part – or the sale – needs them to go. But, this means that the life of a Fire person is usually the exact opposite of the well-ordered and structured life of a Metal person. So, what does that mean for your relationship?
A connection between Metal and Fire personalities will be a meeting of opposites in many ways. While it will definitely be exciting, it could well put both of you somewhat outside of your individual comfort zones. However, it will likely be more uncomfortable for you because in the Five Elements model, Fire and Metal relate on the Controlling Cycle with Fire controlling Metal. But before you assume the worst, I want to point out that Fire “controlling” you can be a good thing! If you have a tendency to be a workaholic, Tad can balance that for you with his desire to have fun. If you find yourself clinging to what you perceive as necessary order, Tad can bring some playful chaos into your life that will shake things up a little. And if you need control to feel safe, Tad’s Fire energy can melt your Metal energy in a gentle way that will allow you to embrace new experiences and ease the stress of always maintaining control.
And you can be good for Tad, too. Your Metal energy can bring order to whatever flighty Fire ways he has and possibly even a bit of structure to unbridled spontaneity. In nature, fire has the least structure of any of the elements – it is really just heat made visible – so a bit of added structure for Fire people is usually a very positive move. Also, given their place at the end of the Five Elements cycle, Metal people have literally seen it all and possess great wisdom regarding the ramifications of any course of action. This is a gift they offer each of the other elemental personalities, but it can be especially valuable for the Fire personality because Fire people often don’t look before they leap.
Given all of this, it is absolutely possible for a Fire/Metal relationship to work well for both element personalities as long as you each remember what matters to the other and don’t cross important lines. Too much chaos for too long could well drive you crazy. Your Metal might melt into a puddle and be unable to perform your important Metal functions. Likewise, too much structure for too long could reign in Tad’s exuberance and make him feel lifeless. For your relationship to go the distance, each of you will need to understand and respect the other’s priorities which, honestly, is absolutely necessary in any relationship.
At the very least, a relationship with Tad will be refreshingly different for you. I encourage you to be open and honest with Tad about your needs and ask him to do the same with you. Then relax, have fun, and see where things go. If you two work well together, you can be the best thing that happened to each other. However, if life starts to feel too out of control for you or he starts to feel too caged, then it might be time to be grateful for the experience and move on. Only you will know. Blessings to you, and Tad!