Can Love Bloom Again — 25 Years Later?

Dear Vicki: My husband and I divorced years ago. We never had children, which was fine with me since I spent almost every hour of the day building my medical practice. Apparently it wasn’t fine with Jim because he remarried within a year of our divorce and had two children with his new wife. We both stayed in Albany. Our paths rarely crossed, but in the little spare time I had, I did think of him a lot. Now, twenty-five years later, he is a widower and manages the restaurant he has owned for decades. I am retiring and wonder if there is any possibility that we might try again. I was an idiot to leave him, but now that I’m done working I think things could be better. I’m new to the Five Elements but suspect I’m a Metal and Jim is probably an Earth. Signed: Alone in Albany

 

Dear Alone: This is certainly an intriguing question. The Five Elements can help us understand each other and ourselves. They can explain why some connections are harmonious and others discordant. They can even predict what issues we might have when we interact with someone. But they can’t really explain love. Love is, well, sort of mystical and a connection of the soul. The Five Elements are part of our personality.

That said, it sounds like you might still love your ex-husband. If that’s the case, there’s no harm in reaching out to see where things might stand for Jim. You don’t mention how long ago his second wife passed, but that might make a difference in the reception you receive from him. Earths cherish long-term relationships and don’t let go of them easily. He might think it strange that you are contacting him now, or he might welcome a connection from the past. With Earths, it’s hard to say, so you’ll just have to take your chances. But before you do call Jim, it might help you to consider why your marriage to him failed in the first place and if things might really be different for you a second time around.

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Earth Can’t Imagine Starting Over

Dear Vicki: I am a recently divorced Earth. My Wood husband and I separated early last year and I’d hoped we’d get back together. But several months ago he stopped by, told me it was time to get on with it, and handed me papers to sign. I was shocked. But according to my lawyer it was a fair settlement, we could get a great price for the house, so I signed. Now I feel lost and lonely. My one child is married with a family and lives out of state. She has offered for me to come stay with her, but I think that just prolongs the pain. My ex is probably right: It IS time to get on with it. But no matter how hard I try, I can’t imagine my life going forward. I really don’t want anything new. I just want my old life with my old husband and my old house. But that’s all gone. How do I start over? Can the Five Elements help? Signed: Sad and Single

 

Dear Sad and Single: I am so sorry you’re going through this. It is very hard to cope when change is thrust upon us rather than something we select. And as an Earth, the end of a marriage and loss of the home where you raised your daughter is even harder because home and family are so important to Earths. You don’t mention if you have a counselor, but if not, I urge you to consider one. And yes, the Five Elements do offer wisdom regarding how you can start over. It rests in the model itself.

The Five Elements Model

If you look at the model, it’s actually a road map for starting and stopping. The decreasing energy of stopping something flows along the Controlling Cycle represented in the model by the star pattern. The building energy of starting something flows along the Nurturing Cycle, which is represented by the circle pattern. Because you want to start something new, we will be using the Nurturing Cycle to help you.

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Earth Can’t Find the Love She Longs For

Dear Vicki: I want to be married and in love, but I’ve been divorced three times. Even though I was so sure I’d found true love with each guy, the relationships didn’t last. My first husband and I married young – we were only 19 – but we were in love and wanted the same thing: a home and family. Or so I thought. He left me for his flashy young secretary who was a better fit as he climbed the corporate ladder. Husband #2, a college professor, left to accept a fellowship to study primitive tribes in Africa. And Husband #3 is an artist who found his muse in the woman who runs a local gallery. They live together in a loft now. I honestly thought each of these men was my true love, a person I could grow old with. But now, at 37, I’m wondering how to pick the right guy. I’m new at the Five Elements, but am pretty sure I’m an Earth. Is there a certain element I should pick? I want a home and a family. Signed: Unmarried in Marengo

Dear Unmarried: It sounds like you’ve had quite an experience relating to different elements. I think you are correct – you are most likely an Earth. Home and family are very high on their list of priorities. The resiliency you’ve shown and hope you continue to hold out for a lasting marriage suggests that you might have Water as a secondary. Bless you on staying positive. But be mindful for yourself that you keep your energies balanced. Too much Earth (desire for a relationship) and Water (trust that everything will be perfect) can create a lot of mud for you. Mud usually lacks clarity and focus, which are important to have when entering into a relationship. Information about the person and their personality tendencies is important, too, but selecting a life partner isn’t as simple as finding a “positive” elemental match. The Five Elements model shows us that all of the elements can get along well with the others.

Honestly, you could “pick” whomever you fall in love with, but then make sure you take the time to determine their primary element so you can understand what their priorities will be in life and relationship. I also suggest that you help them understand what your priorities are as an Earth. Too often we tend to trust “love” as being all we need. And while it’s extremely important, I also believe that we need understanding and acceptance if any relationship is to go the distance. So in the name of that understanding, let’s take a look at what might have unfolded at an elemental level in each of your previous marriages.

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Time Has Changed Metal Co-Worker, Not For The Better

Dear Vicki: I’m writing about a co-worker of mine who I’m pretty sure is a Metal. Jim always follows the rules, arrives exactly at 8am and leaves exactly at 5pm, and is fastidious in his work. We’ve been at the same small structural design firm for several years and usually get along just fine. But for the past few months, Jim’s acting like a completely different guy. He used to be pleasant and a hard worker, but now he is often what my grandmother used to call “prickly.” He’s argumentative, disagreeable, and makes rude or insulting comments under his breath (but still loud enough to be heard). We’ve ignored this at work – our office manager says Jim is going through his second divorce – but it’s really becoming uncomfortable. I dread going to work for fear that a loud argument will break out between Jim and Frank, our sales manager, who can be overbearing himself. Is there something I can do to help Jim, and other people in our office, stay happy with each other? Signed Worried in Wisconsin

Dear Worried: Jim is lucky to have such a caring and considerate co-worker. He does sound like a Metal, and while you don’t mention your element, I suspect you are a combination of Metal and Earth. To enjoy structural design work suggests that you have the meticulousness and precision of a Metal. But it’s your Earth that’s upset about Jim’s rudeness and the potential for conflict at your small office. Your sincere desire to help Jim also speaks of Earth. And Frank, your sales manager, may well be a Wood because the outgoingness of Woods usually makes them great at sales. The fact that he’s a Wood will also make Frank more sensitive to out of balance energy coming from Jim. Let’s take a look at how you might help Jim and your office “stay happy with each other.”

First, it’s important to remember that you, as an Earth, relate to Jim on the Nurturing Cycle, with your Earth feeding Jim’s Metal. This will make you feel somewhat “motherly” toward Jim and is probably a factor in your desire to help him. Frank, on the other hand, relates to Jim on the Controlling Cycle, with Jim’s Metal controlling Frank’s Wood. This dynamic alone can create an undercurrent of tension in your office; Woods usually don’t like to be controlled. And as an aside, you probably do find Frank somewhat overbearing because he relates to you on the Controlling Cycle, with his Wood controlling your Earth. The fact that your Metal controls Frank’s Wood probably allows you to hold your own with him, but it’s your Earth that wants peace in the kingdom.

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Ending a Relationship: Can the Five Elements Help?

Dear Vicki: This may seem like an odd relationship question, but I need help ending a relationship. Eight years ago, I divorced after five years of marriage. It was a difficult time for me so I didn’t date for several years. Two years ago I started dating a nice fellow named Chuck. It’s been fun – we certainly laugh and go out a lot – but lately he’s started hinting at marriage. I care about Chuck, but he isn’t really someone I want to be with the rest of my life. He shifts from fun Fire energy to dour Metal too often; it’s like he’s two different people, which makes me tired, so I need to end things. I’d rather find a Wood personality, someone more like myself, to settle with but I don’t want to hurt Chuck’s feelings. Is there a way the Five Elements can help make it easier to tell him we’re through? Signed: Sensitive in Seattle

Dear Sensitive: It is very kind of you to seek out a good way to tell Chuck you aren’t interested in a marriage relationship with him. And since you’ve already ended a more permanent relationship once, it is wise of you to be cautious regarding entering into another one. The short answer to your questions is that yes, you absolutely can use an understanding of the Five Elements to help you end your relationship with Chuck on a good note. But first, let’s take a quick look at why it’s not surprising that your relationship with Chuck isn’t something you want to make permanent.

Chuck’s Fire relates to your Wood on the Nurturing Cycle, which can be a good thing for a relationship. However, it’s your Wood that feeds his Fire, and that’s the reason the relationship can feel tiring for you. Too much Fire will drain your Wood energy. And if Chuck’s secondary is Metal, it relates to your Wood on the Controlling Cycle, so will feel stifling to you. Honestly, it’s surprising you lasted with Chuck for two years, but I suspect the reason you did was because you have a secondary Earth.

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