Helping Friend Dumped During Pandemic

Dear Vicki: Sami has been my best friend for over a decade. We have had many wild and crazy times together, mostly because Sami loves going out and is always the life of the party wherever we go.  She said she never wanted to be tied down, but all that changed last year when she met Hans, an outgoing, serious banker guy pretty focused on his career. Sami really fell for him, and he seemed to feel the same about her. Sami’s life was definitely a lot more together with Hans around. But after about six months of what looked to me like crazy, happy, almost all the time togetherness – including sheltering together at Sami’s during this pandemic – Hans left Sami last week for a meditation instructor. Sami’s totally depressed and not herself. What can I do to help her get Hans back? Signed, Sorry for Sami

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Dear Sorry: This is a difficult time to end a relationship. During the Covid-19 outbreak, stable relationships can significantly support our sense of normalcy. For Sami and Hans to split up now will definitely rock both of their boats, but of course it will be especially hard on Sami. To find ways to help her, let’s see if we can figure out why Hans might have left. And as you can imagine, I believe it comes down to the interaction of their primary elemental personalities.

As someone who loves going out and is always the life of the party, I think it’s pretty safe to say that Sami is a primary Fire personality. Hans, on the other hand, is clearly not. As an “outgoing serious banker guy pretty focused on his career,” he is likely a primary Wood personality. Getting ahead really matters to Wood people and at a personality level, they are often mesmerized by the light and fun Fire people create. I believe Sami and Hans had a Wood/Fire relationship, and that dance between Fire and Wood is an interesting one. 

The Five Elements Model

If we look at the Five Elements model (if you are unfamiliar with the dynamics of the Five Elements model from traditional Chinese Medicine, please check out The Five Elements tab on this blog), Fire and Wood relate via the Nurturing Cycle (the big circle in the diagram above), with Wood feeding Fire. But the Wood/Fire relationship is unique in the constellation of Nurturing Cycle connections. The other Nurturing Cycle relationships can be described as: Earth feeds Metal by birthing it. Metal feeds Water by enriching it. Water feeds Wood by giving it moisture. Fire feeds Earth by creating ash. But the ash that Fire feeds to Earth comes from Wood. That is because Wood feeds Fire by offering itself to be transformed.

This means that initially, Hans’ time with Sami was probably incredibly exciting for him. That’s something Fire people bring to the Wood/Fire relationship: exceptional experiences Wood people rarely create for themselves. In the beginning, I’m sure time together was a complete high for both Hans and Sami. Fire people bring transcendence to Wood people. And Wood people feed Fire people with attention and support, which makes the Fire personality happy and actually allows them to burn even brighter. But Fire burning unchecked can deplete – even destroy – Wood. It’s likely that when the newness wore off, Hans found time with Sami more exhausting than exhilarating. And when you add to that the responsibility Wood people feel to do everything right to stay safe during a pandemic, it’s no wonder it was all too much for Hans.

In this exhausted state, Hans would need nurturing himself, so it’s no surprise he ended up with a meditation instructor. If we look back at the Five Elements model, we see it’s Water that feeds Wood (via the Nurturing Cycle). That means that the elemental personality most likely to feed a Wood person is a Water person. For Hans, the calm, detached temperament of a meditation instructor would be a ready antidote for too much Fire energy with Sami. But it didn’t have to turn out this way. Whether Sami ends up back with Hans (because too much water can rot wood) or finds herself in a different Wood/Fire relationship down the line, there are two points to share with her about Wood/Fire connections that will help her going forward.

First, Wood people need to feel important and successful. With his new girlfriend, the meditation instructor, Hans will feel important because of the nurturing energy that flows from her Water personality to his Wood personality. Basically, she focuses on and feeds him. When he was first with Sami, Hans probably felt important because she, the life of the party, wanted to be with him. But the ongoing activity and drama that can accompany life with a Fire personality likely depleted him because it was his Wood fueling her Fire. Hans probably arrived at a point where he just couldn’t do it anymore.

Second, it’s important to remember that Wood people need personal accomplishment to feel good about themselves. That means they need time to work toward success. Some Wood people can do business at parties and social events, and this is where their lives overlap perfectly with a Fire partner. But it sounds like Hans wasn’t one of those Woods. So, not only was too much Fire energy depleting him, his need for time to create personal accomplishment probably wasn’t being met.

The good news for Sami is that Fire people usually bounce back quickly. To help her build back her joyful Fire personality, you can encourage her to wear red (the color that increases Fire energy). She can also use rosemary or lavender essential oils (they balance Fire energy) by rubbing a few drops on her skin or inhaling a few drops placed on a tissue. Finally, Sami can put the palm of one hand across the back of her head directly behind her eyes, the palm of the other hand across her forehead, then hold this position gently for 2 to 5 minutes. This posture specifically balances the emotions of the Fire personality.

Going forward, remind Sami that Wood/Fire relationships usually do best if their connection includes a degree of separation. This allows time to work and recharge for the Wood person and time for additional activity for the Fire person. If they know and understand this, people in Wood/Fire relationships will get along perfectly. And ultimately, that may still be in the cards for Sami and Hans. We just never know. I wish both you and Sami all the best. Stay safe and well!

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2 thoughts on “Helping Friend Dumped During Pandemic

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