They Both Want the Spotlight: Can This Relationship Work?

Dear Vicki: I’m wondering if you can help me with my new boyfriend. I’ve been dating Skip ever since we met at a friend’s party about six months ago and it’s been a blast! He’s funny, outgoing, and really exciting to be with. His hobby is stand-up comedy and he focuses on performing for charity events. He’s got a big heart, too. The problem is that I’m also funny and outgoing, so there are many times when we seem to be competing for the spotlight. We aren’t seeing other people anymore, but do we have a chance of staying together? Signed, Funny in Fresno

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Dear Funny: Do you and Skip have a chance of staying together? Absolutely! Any relationship can work if we take the time to understand each other and our relationship tendencies. And that’s where the Five Elements model comes in – it’s a wonderful tool for understanding our personalities and how they relate to each other. In your case, it’s pretty easy to determine what elemental personalities you and Skip have. As outgoing, funny people who enjoy the spotlight, it’s a good bet that you and Skip are both primary Fire personalities.

A big priority for Fire personalities is connecting with other people, and parties are a great place to do that. The challenge is that Fire people also love to keep moving, so not many of their quick meetings from parties turn into long-lasting relationships. The fact that you and Skip are still together six months later speaks well of your chances. That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that there are very specific challenges that come with a Fire/Fire relationship. Knowing them upfront will help a great deal.

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Keeping Her Brother and His Girlfriend Together

Dear Vicki: My brother Joe is in his early forties and works as a cook, which is just his “day job.” His passion is music and playing guitar. When we were younger, Joe wanted to write songs for a rock band or be an elementary teacher. Neither ever happened. But about a year ago, Joe met a woman who runs a nursing home. Carol is close to his age, kind and caring, but also very exacting in how she approaches things. She’s always punctual, too. Since Joe moved in with Carol, he has changed in very positive ways. He’s less scattered, more organized, and even thinking about going back to college for a degree in early education. Our whole family is thrilled, and I’m wondering if there is anything we can do to help Joe in his relationship with Carol. She is so good for him. Signed: Caring Sister

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Dear Caring Sister: It’s wonderful news about Joe, and no surprise that your family is so happy. In the Five Elements model, family sits in the Earth element. That means we’re all a little Earthy around our families. Deep, lasting relationships matter to Earth people. They also really want the people they care about to be happy. In fact, there appears to be a great deal of Earth energy in your family. Not only because you all want to help Joe and Carol stay together, but because I suspect both Joe and Carol have Earth as key parts of their elemental personalities. So, let’s take a look at them individually, then move on to their relationship.

Joe’s passion for music and songwriting suggests he has a primary Water personality. But his current job as a cook, as well as his desire to be in elementary education, suggests that he has a strong secondary Earth personality. I suspect Carol has a strong secondary Earth personality, too. Earth people make wonderful nurses. But to run a nursing home means that Carol has a more structured element as her primary personality: either Wood or Metal. And given her tendencies to be exacting and punctual, I suspect she has a primary Metal personality.

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New Boyfriend Makes Her Laugh, but Will It Last?

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

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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?

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Alone Time and Relationship

Dear Vicki: My husband of 15 years and I divorced two years ago. It was his choice and very difficult for me; I crawled into a hole for quite some time. Recently, I’ve started dating a nice fellow I’ll call Tom, but I’m having trouble figuring him out. Sometimes he’s sensitive and caring, and sometimes he’s aloof and distant. When he’s in his caring place, we get along great. But when he’s off on his own, I tend to drift away, too, which I don’t think speaks well for a future together. I do love time alone – I’m an art therapist so enjoy my painting – and Tom is an attorney who spends a great deal of time at work. Do you think we have a chance of making it work? Signed, Can This Work

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Dear Can This Work: First, let me say that I pretty much believe any relationship can “make it” if both parties understand the dynamics of their connection and are willing to work with them. There will be ups and downs, of course, but these can be predicted based on your elemental personalities. Knowing what your personal tendencies are in a relationship will always help build on the ups and smooth over the downs.

It sounds to me like you may have a primary Water personality given your love for art and an appreciation of time alone to paint. Creativity of all kinds sits in the Water element. But the fact that you use your talent to work as a therapist suggests that you also have a strong amount of Earth energy in your personality, too. Earth people love helping others, and they also value home and family. Your concern about being able to “make it work” with Tom speaks to a desire for a long-term relationship, which is also very important to Earth people.

As an attorney, it’s very likely that Tom has a primary Metal personality because it takes an appreciation of detail and hierarchy to practice law. Metal people also require time alone to work, which would explain his tendency to distance himself from you at times. And when Metal people become overworked or tired, they can come off as aloof, so I think it’s a pretty good guess that Tom is a primary Metal personality. However, his sensitivity and caring with you suggests a good amount of Earth energy in his personality, too.  Bottom line: In your relationship with Tom he brings Metal and Earth personality tendencies and you bring Water and Earth personality tendencies.

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He’s Giving Her the Cold Shoulder

Dear VickiI 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

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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?

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