He Cheated, But I Want Our Marriage to Work

Dear Vicki: Cal and I met when we were in law school. He was smart, funny, and very outgoing. I was more serious but somehow, we clicked. We married right out of law school and life was fast-paced and passionate. We worked hard, but I could always count on Cal’s teasing and humor to keep us connected. He went into trial law and I took the corporate route. But two years ago, right after our daughter was born, Cal won a high visibility, important case and things changed. He worked longer hours, played harder, and has been around less and less. I’ve left my firm and am trying to make a good home for the three of us, but he’s hardly ever here, which isn’t the right way to run a marriage. And when he is home, we fight and there’s no passion left. I finally confronted him last month and he admitted that there’s someone else who, as he puts it, is more fun than I am. I still love him and want Alma to have a full-time father. Can you help? Signed: Jilted in Jersey

Dear Jilted: This is a complicated situation, as you no doubt know. I do think there are actions you can take that will make a difference, but first, it’s important for you to understand the dynamics in your marriage. This will help you build on your relationship’s inherent strengths and hopefully avoid some of the more likely pitfalls.

The way you describe Cal in law school, it sounds like he was manifesting the primary elemental personality of a Fire.  Fire people are outgoing, funny, and love living life large. They also love connecting with new people, even if just for a short time. But Fire people lack the structure usually required to succeed in law school, so Cal has to have a strong secondary elemental personality that helps him out in the structure department. The most structured of the elemental personalities are Wood or Metal, and given his choice of trial law, I suspect his secondary personality is Wood. Wood people like being visible.   

That means getting ahead, defending the underdog, and winning (and winning and winning) will all matter greatly to him. And now that he’s become very successful, it will matter even more. So while he may be a primary Fire personality, it’s likely that he’s stepped more into the Wood part of his personality these days. And as you’ve seen, the Fire/Wood personality combination can make for an excellent, and usually extremely successful, trail attorney.

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Best Friend Can’t See Her Boyfriend is Cheating

Dear Vicki: I’m writing because I’m pretty sure that my best friend’s boyfriend is cheating on her. Bev and I have been besties since grade school. She’s sweet and kind, loves people and animals, and is studying to be a nurse. She and Jake (who spends more time skiing or playing ball than studying for the college business classes we share) have been together for a year and she’s convinced he’s “the one.” The problem is that lately I’ve seen Jake hanging with Ellie, the “hot” girl from our high school class, a lot. I’ve hinted at it to Bev, but she just smiles and says they’re old friends. They certainly look like more than friends to me, which really makes me angry! So what do I do? I want to shake Bev and tell her she deserves better than Jake. Why can’t she see it? Signed: Loyal Friend

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Dear Loyal Friend: Bev is very lucky to have a friend like you. And as her friend, you are definitely in a difficult place. The relationship between Bev and Jake is private; it’s really no body’s business but theirs how they handle it. That said, it does sound like Bev believes it’s a monogamous relationship and Jake may have different ideas. The other issue at stake is your relationship with Bev. You do risk looking like you’re butting in if you pursue this too strongly. The last thing anyone in love wants to hear is that their best friend thinks their boyfriend is a jerk. So, you need to tread lightly here. But treading lightly doesn’t mean doing nothing, so let’s take a look at the relationship dynamics at play between you, Bev, and Jake and see what might make sense.

Your description of Bev indicates that she is clearly an Earth personality. Earths are usually sweet and kind, they usually do love people and animals, and they make wonderful nurses (and friends). You and Jake, on the other hand, both sound like Wood personalities. Your anger over Jake’s potential betrayal of your friend is characteristically Wood. Jake’s interest in Ellie, the popular girl from high school, is also characteristic of a Wood. Being important matters to Woods and they often borrow their importance from the people with whom they associate. Dating the hot girl could definitely make Jake feel good about himself. Finally, Woods are frequently drawn to business as an occupation – hard work can create significant personal success – so it makes sense as a career path for both you and Jake.

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