Chinese medicine dictates that there are five different ways that people can interact with the world, and every person has all five within them, but there is one primary archetype that becomes your guiding force. These archetypes affect how we act and are perceived in relationships. We have an idea of what we are like, however other people can perceive us very differently depending on which archetype they are guided by.
Those with the fire archetype are highly intuitive, optimistic, and funny but can get bored easily and have short bursts of anxiety or panic. With partners, they are enthusiastic and fall in love quickly with passion and romance. This can become an issue because they can get overly excited before there is time to build trust. Fire types match best with wood and earth but can have challenges with water and metal people. When two fire types are in a relationship, there is a risk that they will get sick of each other quickly.
Earth archetypes are generous and kind peacemakers that are loaded with empathy and thrive on being needed. Because they need to feel needed, earth people may often have trouble sleeping, ruminating on if they did enough and made everyone happy that day. In relationships, earth types strive to create togetherness and unity. They are the people who will invite everyone to their house, know what everyone needs, and will meet all of those needs. This nature may cause them to become too overpleasing and avoid conflict even when things are going badly. People with Earth archetypes may have trouble standing up for themselves and can get stuck in relationships with Narcissists. Earths will best mesh with fire and metal types while having trouble with water and wood types. A relationship with two earth archetypes may get stuck in not doing anything or making plans for the future with no drive to actually enact them.
Metal people create beauty and grace within details, patterns, and rules. When stressed, they can become judgemental and unable to see past the small details to the big picture. In relationships, they are very similar. Metal types are rhythmic and organized, needing their wedding to be perfect, believing in adhering to dating rules, and expecting a partner to arrive exactly on time to a date and be chivalrous. They are very respectful of their significant others and demand respect back. Metals work best with earth and water, while they may struggle with fire and wood. Two metals in a relationship may find that there becomes no room for fun and flexibility, as when stressed, metals get very stuck on the rules and would rather be right than married.
Water archetypes are deeply insightful and can be quiet. They are dreamers who love fantasy and solitude. In stressful mindsets, water types will retreat into their own mind rather than talking out an issue and may become so over-isolated that they risk becoming depressed. In relationships, water people take things very slowly and love to get to know their potential partner before entering anything serious. They love spending nights in with their significant other rather than socializing at a party. The easiest relationships for a water person will be with either a metal or a wood person, while relationships with earth or fire people will be more difficult. Two water archetypes in a relationship can potentially over-isolate themselves from the rest of the world.
Wood people tend to be brave leaders who love challenges, learning from mistakes, and winning. They are fast moving and may exercise often. When stressed, they can become easily frustrated or angry. In a relationship, wood people are adventurous and daring. However they also like their space, so if stressed, the relationship may become too confining for them and they will need personal space for themselves and their friends. Relationships tend to go best with partners that are water or fire archetypes and are most challenging with metal and earth types. If two wood archetypes are in a relationship together, they should be careful to not compete against each other and instead focus on fighting for and with each other for the same goals.
Ultimately, any combination of archetypes can make a relationship work. The most important things to focus on are empowering and working on yourself, so you are ready to embrace and work on life with a new partner. Stay self-aware, and recognize that when you’re in a stress state, it may not be the best time to fall in love, but rather reflect and self-regulate. Another key to making a relationship work is to understand and appreciate all of the archetypes, and ultimately, be empathetic towards them.
Tournesol founder, Carey Rosen Davidson, has more than 25 years of experience leading altruistic and educational initiatives to build successful, collaborative, creative solutions that enhance the lives of stakeholders. Her mission with Tournesol is to meet the overwhelming increase in demand for better and more comprehensive integrative healthcare with a new, sustainable, temperament driven model for individual and organizational health.
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