Is Her Partner Disconnecting?

Dear Vicki: I just read your excellent post on help for a Metal husband and Fire wife and I wonder if you could comment on the variation I think I have going on. I am a Fire/Earth and use Wood for structure. My partner is Metal, but he is an artist so I think there’s a fair amount of Water in there, too. Anyway, we’re having problems. I drive him nuts with all my home projects and inability to sit still for a whole movie or TV show. He drives me nuts with his laser-focused attention that resents interruption whether working or relaxing. He doesn’t understand why it bothers me when he doesn’t answer a question. He decides if he thinks it needs an answer, and if he doesn’t think so, he is mum. I’ve tried to be patient with him because he recently lost a close friend, but it’s not working. I worry he might be pulling back. When we first got together, I felt our Earths bond strongly, but over time this has become intermittent. When stressed, I am drawn outdoors where I work on significant flower and vegetable gardens and a flock of chickens and a few fish in the pond.  He hates gardening and yard work. Maybe you could suggest another way to bring up his Earth? Signed: Nuts in Nevada

 celtic logo

Dear Nuts in Nevada: This is an excellent question. On the surface, it does seem like the information offered last week to a Fire/Metal couple should fit for you and your partner. However, I believe that there are more differences between the two couples than similarities. First, I suspect that you are really an Earth/Fire, not a primary Fire. My reasoning for this is that when stressed, Fires rarely seek solace outside with gardens, chickens, and fish. Instead, they usually seek events with other people where they can feed their need for excitement and connection. So your question is more about making a relationship work between an Earth/Fire and a Metal/Water. And I can tell you right up front that more Earth energy isn’t going to help, so let’s look at what will.

First, as with most relationships, it’s important to understand the underlying dynamics between you and your partner. In fact, it is more important in your relationship than with many others. As you know, your Earth will feel good to his Metal because Earth feeds Metal on the Nurturing Cycle. Metals expect this from Earths. However, your Earth relates to his secondary Water via the Controlling Cycle (Earth directs Water). More importantly, your secondary Fire relates to his primary Metal on the Controlling Cycle, (Fire melts Metal). That isn’t going to feel good to him at all. But turnabout is fair play, because his secondary Water relates to your secondary Fire via the Controlling Cycle (Water puts out Fire).

The takeaway from all of this is that the only Nurturing Cycle connection in your whole primary/secondary relationship complex is your Earth feeding his Metal. Every other connection you have with him is via the Controlling Cycle. Your Earth controls his Water, your Fire controls his Metal, and his Water controls your Fire.

Continue reading

Fire Off Balance with Watery Partner

Dear Vicki: I am a Fire/Wood. I recently moved in with my Water/Metal boyfriend and things are not going well. Now that Frank and I live under the same roof, it feels like I’m walking around in a water-soaked blanket and my happy Fire feels shut down. To compensate, my Fire grows and I go into panic and anxiety. Plus, Frank’s Metal can be so sharp and detached that I feel a great deal of anger toward him. He often goes into his deep place of yearning for information and leaves me to take care of “our life” for long periods of time. I am fighting off resentment and doing my best to be compassionate while keeping the reasons we fell in love in the first place in the forefront of my mind, but I am struggling. What can I do to protect my Fire from being extinguished and get along better with this guy I think I love? Signed: Drowning in Seattle

Dear Drowning: First, let me commend you on the excellent job you’ve done assessing your situation. Also, it’s wonderful that you are attempting to be compassion and keep in mind the reasons you fell in love with Frank. At times that may not be easy. Based on your understanding of the elements, I’m sure it’s not lost on you that you and Frank have a relationship based on the Controlling Cycle, with him doing most of the controlling. His primary Water controls your primary Fire, and his secondary Metal controls your secondary Wood. Also, there is absolutely no overlap in any of your elements. Between the two of you, four of the five elements are represented in your primaries and secondaries. That means there isn’t any common ground between you, which that can make you seem like strangers to each other. But in good times, it can feel like you complete each other.

Right now, it sounds like you’re feeling more like strangers. As you suspect, your Fire is an important piece of the puzzle. But the anxiety and panic you feel isn’t coming from a state of too much Fire when it grows to compensate for all the Water around you. Actually, it’s coming from too little Fire based on all the Water around you. Too much Fire makes one scattered and overwhelmed, too little Fire manifests as anxiety and panic. This means that, as you have surmised, you need to grow your Fire. And this brings us to a fascinating aspect of your relationship dynamics with Frank. At an elemental level, he could be the perfect person for you. Let me explain.

Continue reading

It’s All About Balance for this Rocky Relationship

Dear Vicki: My partner and I have quite a turbulent relationship. He is VERY Wood and can be loud, judgmental, and sure he’s always right. On the other hand, he can be the most generous, kind, and thoughtful person ever. Sometimes, even if he’s in a great mood, he gets quite loud and talks non-stop and can’t seem to calm down. He can be very overwhelming and interrupt a lot, too. I’m sure that as a Fire/Water, I have traits and habits that probably drive him crazy, but life with him can be so overwhelming. It’s especially hard when he’s in one of his judgmental moods because he doesn’t get all the facts before passing judgment. When my Fire is unbalanced, I overreact and this makes things even worse. I’ve learned that approaching him from my Water works much better. Even so, we’ve really been having a hard time lately and have talked about separating. Neither of us wants this, but after 7 years we are both feeling more than a little stressed that we just can’t get it together. Signed: A Frustrated Fire

Dear Frustrated Fire: You have summarized your issues well. On the surface, it seems that the two of you should have a great relationship: His Wood relates to both your Water and Fire on the Nurturing Cycle. This means that your Water feeds his Wood, and his Wood feeds your Fire. It would be interesting to consider your partner’s secondary element to see if there is any Controlling Cycle influence in your relationship. Right now, the only controlling factor is your own Water to Fire. Is it possible that he has a secondary Metal? You don’t mention his occupation, but the fact that you find him very judgmental suggests that Metal might be strong in him. Metals are the final discerners in a cycle; they decide what matters and goes forward to the next cycle, and what is released and left behind. They are the ultimate authority on fact, too, so if your partner has a poor relationship with facts, his Metal (whether secondary or further back) is likely out of balance. His Wood will also bring an impatience for moving forward without full preparation.

If he is a secondary Metal, he would have a Controlling Cycle relationship with himself just as you do – his Metal would control his Wood. His secondary Metal would also add a Controlling Cycle factor to your relationship because your Fire controls his Metal. This means that between the two of you, four of the five elements would be represented in your relationship. Significantly, the one missing is Earth, the element of relationships. And this isn’t as bad as it sounds. If neither of you have a strong Earth, you won’t miss it in the other. However, it does imply that the two of you must be pretty compatible to have stayed together for seven years without a lot of Earth, so let’s see if we can help smooth things out.

Continue reading

Water Keeping Friend’s Fire Dim?

Dear Five Faces: I’m writing about my partner Lizzie. We’ve run a small auction business for several years and have done really well. I love seeing what comes in and the challenge of understanding it’s history and how it might be used going forward. I think I’m a Water/Metal. Lizzie is definitely a Fire. She runs the auctions and makes it look easy. The problem is that last Christmas our facility burned down. I took it philosophically—that’s what insurance is for—but Lizzie was devastated. I keep trying to get her to see things the way I do, but nothing I’ve said or done has perked her up. Not even going over the plans for the new building. It seems the more I try to help her, the worse she gets. I’m fine doing this alone, but I miss Lizzie’s sunshine. What can I do? Signed, Gloomy in Glendale

Dear Gloomy: I’m so sorry about the fire. It’s interesting that a fire would take down a Fire, but that can happen. If we experience an exaggerated amount of our element in a destructive way, it can cause us to pull back. For example, wind sits in Wood, but too much wind can really wipe out my Wood. I suspect the fire deflated Lizzie’s Fire and she’s having a hard time getting over it. But there are several things you can do to help.

Continue reading

Earth+Water+Metal=Rust or Happiness?

Dear Five Faces: My brother Joe is in his forties and works as a short order cook, which is just his “job.” His passion is music and playing guitar. When we were younger, Joe wanted to play in a rock band, but that never happened. I’m pretty sure he’s a Water/Earth. About three months ago, Joe met a woman who runs a nursing home. Carol is close to his age, kind and caring, but also very organized. I think she’s a Metal/Earth. Since Joe started dating Carol, he has changed in a very good way. He’s thinking about going back to college to train for a job in the technical end of renewable energy. 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

Dear Caring Sister: That’s wonderful news about Joe. And while I’m sure your whole family is happy that he’s in a good relationship, it seems they are also happy that he’s looking into a different career. You don’t mention what element you are, but I’m pretty sure you have some Earth in there or you wouldn’t be asking how to help Joe in his relationship. Earths so want the people they care about to be happy. And if Earths get out of balance, they can move into a place where they turn other people into “projects” to help them be better, happier, whatever. They can also find that they need to be needed. You and your family might want to check in on your Earth energies every now and then to make sure you stay balanced around Joe so he can run his own life.

Continue reading