We Can't Go On Like This

Long-term relationships change people. We become like the ones we relate to for long periods of time. We rub off on each other. We begin to share character traits, likes and dislikes. We reflect each other. And then one of us changes. Sometimes a person changes in small ways and the other person has to shift-shape just enough to keep the relationship working. Sometimes a person changes drastically, and the relationship can't weather the differences. People break up. They go their separate ways. Both continue to grow, but in different directions.

The same thing happens with people and their houses. We have a relationship to our places, and the more long-term that relationship is, the more drastic those relationship changes can be: we demo the kitchen, tear down the walls, sell the house, move across town or out of state, or give up ownership all together, or we simply redecorate.

Just like relationships with other people, the relationship we have with our living spaces need maintenance, check-ins and check-ups, and sometimes deep deconstructing therapy to fix what isn't working. And yes, sometimes we just have to say, "I can't do this anymore.”


I ran into someone I spoke with last spring, who had told me that they were having trouble selling what I'm sure is a pretty magnificent, desirable property. The house just won't sell and it's probably been on the market for about a year... this is a case of "the house won't break up with me." Or, perhaps that house is stuck in the past somehow, replaying an old relationship tape to any prospective suitor- the house might not come across as "single and available." I haven't seen the house, nor do I know why it hasn't actually sold, and though there could be a myriad of reasons why it's been holding out for the right new owner, I do know that it could use some therapy. Houses that change owners can often use some help transitioning between relationships because what attracted one owner, may not attract another. House stagers know this- they primp and paint a place to try appeal to the widest cross-section of desirable suitors. A feng shui consultant has the tools to dig to a depth of insight that not everyone can get to- feng shui will point out a house's patterns and traits that might turn people off or give potential buyers the wrong message.

To hire a feng shui consultant is to seek out relationship therapy for your home. The macro-definition of feng shui is simply, the relationship between people and their places, so it makes sense to get help from an expert when you need help working on that relationship. It's not that people can't figure it out for themselves- they can and do all the time. But sometimes it just helps to have an objective observer-listener come over and point out something in the communication between a person and their place, and say, "I think this is an area that can be improved, and here is a specific change that has been empirically proven to improve it." Good feng shui consultants use common sense, a diagnostic language rooted in natural law, and knowledge of Chinese medicine to diagnose what a building needs to be the strongest, most supportive version of itself. If the relationship between you and your house can be saved, a feng shui consultant should be able to recommend exactly what you can do to save it. So instead of saying to your house, "We can't go on like this," you are hopefully able to say "You complete me."

Aubrey ThorneComment