This newsletter is designed especially for YOU if:
- You have met someone and are wondering if s/he is the "Love of Your Life"
- You are about to get married and want to co-create a fulfilling life partnership
- You have a good relationship and want to make it great
Together Forever Club for committed couples. If you want to give yourself and your beloved a huge gift our Together Forever Club is free and a great way to show your love and commitment to your partner. Membership is free! Upon registration you will receive a membership certificate that includes our Five Promises to My Beloved. www.togetherforeverclub.com
Ask Our Coaches:
Trust Issues: I'm looking for direction
"What should I do to move forward?"
This column answers questions submitted by our readers. Submit your question here www.relationshipcoach.org/ask-the-coach
and it will be forwarded to our coaches all over the world. Each issue, we'll publish a few answers from our RCI coaches.
My husband and I have been married for 15 years and we're in our late 50's. In March, I found out he had an affair. He told me it is the only time it happened during our marriage. On numerous occasions, I asked him to stop all contact and he assured me he would, but I found out otherwise.
He did not stop emailing/texting and phoning her and finally I moved out in May. We have recently decided to rebuild our marriage and he told me he is not seeing her, however he is only texting/emailing. I have told him I cannot go forward while he remains in contact and he can't explain why he continues to do so other than he is trying to back away from her slowly because of feelings he developed for her over time.
His last email to me said he was not talking, messaging or texting anyone but me. I am looking for some direction. I am seeing a counselor but I seem to be going nowhere with that. I find it very difficult to talk face-to-face with people as I am very shy which causes me not to be able to express my feeling openly and without getting very emotional. What should I do to move forward?
Denise responds ...
First let me say, Michelle, my heart goes out to you. I pose this question gently: Could this woman be satisfying a need that he is not getting met from you? Now that is not a judgment against you; it's more of a statement that he has an unconscious need that he is not in touch with, that is so lacking, that he is willing to lie and jeopardize his second chance with you just to meet it.
You expressed your discomfort with face-to-face counseling. Perhaps phone coaching might be a more suitable fit for you. Coaching is a beautiful process whereby you both, as individuals, would be supported in becoming consciously aware of your independent foundational values and emotional and physical needs. Then you would work together, as a couple, to co-create your shared vision for the marriage and your future.
This would bring attention to those hidden desires that are not being satisfied in your marriage for both of you. Many times we just need an assist at uncovering our needs and articulating them from a third party. Your husband may not even be aware of his own emotional requirements being fulfilled by this affair.
Dr. Denise Wade | www.sweetharmony.net | 1.610.639.6627
Anita responds ...
Michelle, it sounds like your mind and heart went through the ringer to the umpteenth level, to the power of a billion. I can imagine the number of sighs, cries, and "whys" that you have experienced up to this point. To move forward, try these three tips:
#1 Go back, for your future. Did you see red flags waving early in courtship? Chemistry and desire for love can make it difficult to recognize warning signs. Look back and write down times your gut gave you a li'l dirty message that your heart swept under the rug. It's time to address the dirt pile and clean it all out, for good.
#2 Never settle in the land of Enable-ville. When you enable, you lose your power and gain disrespect. It's clear by his actions that he hasn't been respecting you. How to get out of Enable-ville? The Borderline train….
#3 Borderline. Draw a clear, strong line between what's acceptable in your life and what isn't. If he crossed the line, especially after knowing where it is, he receives consequences. He'll try to convince you to reposition your borders. Read my cyber-lips: Don't give in. Stay strong, my friend.
Anita Myers | innerscopeconsulting.com
Nina responds ...
You could choose to give your husband the gift of trust while you repair your marriage or you may need your husband to show total transparency where he gives you access to his email, cell phone, and records while you heal.
You need to start rebuilding emotional connection immediately. Lack of this connection is what usually sparks an affair of this type. Keep the conversations between you upbeat and interesting. Be interested in him, but don't interrogate him!
Start doing fun things together like you used to do and make sure you have alone time. Time in front of the TV, at the theater, or at a social event is distracted and not quality "US" time. Play a game or go for a walk together where you can bond again. Talk about your life visions and how you can be a TEAM to make them happen.
If you can figure out what his primary love language is, make sure you are fulfilling that when you can. You can learn more about it in Chapman's book "The 5 Love Languages." Win him back with an emotional connection that's better than it ever was.
Nina Potter | www.ninapotter.relationshipcoach.org | 1.651.773.0732
Mari responds ...
Begin a 30-day course in loving yourself. Your esteem is at an all-time low and needs an instant shot of reinvigoration. Before making any decisions, use your alone time to come to an understanding that no one is going to love and honor you for who you really are until you first take the time to adore yourself.
Other people get their cues from us. If we don't care for ourselves, why should anyone else? Make a complete list of what you want in a husband and commit to hold to these requirements and needs. There are dozens of books available on the subject, as well as dozens of coaches specializing in this area. But the first step begins with your thoughts and beliefs about what you deserve.
While it's certainly admirable that you and your husband decided to salvage your marriage, if he's not willing to put in the effort required to help save it, you're in for an uphill battle. While your husband may desire to work toward rebuilding the marriage, until he demonstrates his sincerity and resolve to move things forward, his talk is just that -- talk. Allow yourself to heal.
Mari Lyles | Mybeautifulrelationship.com | 1.301.249.5921
Jianny responds …
Healing from betrayal takes time and commitment. If your spouse has stopped all communication and is ready to recommit to you and the marriage, the following will assist in restoring your relationship:
• Commit to place your marriage first. Each partner establishes emotional safety for the other to be fully expressed.
• The unfaithful partner is accountable to the faithful spouse in restoring the trust – granting access to emails, phone, passwords, etc. This includes changing unsupportive friends.
• Commit to healing. Each partner must make a decision to heal and create space for forgiveness.
• Understand what led to the affair. Take into account the events that occurred in the relationship contributing to the affair. What were the things that happened or were allowed; how did you not support or nourish each other? Pursue the "how" not the "why."
• Commit to effective communication. Reframe from blaming. Acknowledge and validate one another.
• Reestablish a friendship. Take genuine interest in your partner. Really get to know one another.
• Design an intentional marriage. Establish agreements that protect your love.
An affair does not need to end in divorce. It creates an opportunity to reclaim and redefine your marriage.
Jianny Adamo | www.fearlesslove.net | 1.954.495.4566
Love Lessons for Couples
Enjoy these wonderful love lessons –- just for couples -- contributed by several RCI relationship coaches.
Negative words hold negative power. As they exit one's mouth like a dagger, they pierce the mind of the other, burrow holes into his or her heart, and often, hold the heart hostage. Recovery from an emotionally verbal war takes moments for some, years for others. In some cases, no recovery.
Make a deal at peacetime to share respectful words with one another when in a conflict. If the gravity of your emotion or pride is heavy, agree to disagree. Show respect, honor and love for yourself through this action, and it will teach your love to try for the same.
There's a saying: "Don't make permanent decisions on temporary emotions." As each conflict appears, be thoughtful to recognize that it shouldn't inherit the need to sling bad words at your teammate. Be the bearer of peace, turning a conflict into a positive challenge to work through, happily together after.
Anita Myers | innerscopeconsulting.com
Be Committed To Always Making Each Other #1
It's easy to make your mate #1 in your life when you experience always being #1 in theirs. Start every morning with the intention of giving and think about how you can put your sweetheart first. If you haven't been doing this; start today, right now. Start making THEM your most important relationship over your kids, boss, friends, or family.
Make the decision to be the one to start and give it some time. Once they've noticed, you can approach them about reciprocating for the rest of your lives. Make new wedding vows over dinner or have a whole new ceremony and reception to celebrate! The key is to be committed to making each other #1 and then enjoying the follow through.
Nina Potter | http://ninapotter.relationshipcoach.org
Follow The Platinum Rule
You know the Golden Rule about doing to others as you would like done to yourself? It works great with new dates, customers, sales people, and anyone you don't know; so why not with your mate? Because Platinum Rules! Do for your mate what THEY want, not what you want.
Think about the things that make your sweetheart FEEL loved. They may be different from those things that make you feel good. You might not care about cards, hugs, or compliments but they might think it's just the best thing you've done all year if you haven't been paying attention. Think about the last time you received a really thoughtful gift that was perfect just for you. Now go do that little something they would want and watch their face light up with love.
Nina Potter | http://ninapotter.relationshipcoach.org
Respond, rather than React
When you are feeling hurt or misunderstood, stop and breathe before you say or do anything. If your feelings, no matter how valid, get to control how you behave, then the love between you two will eventually be strangled by those ever-increasing negative feelings.
For example, resentment takes on a life of its own, and persists even if your spouse apologizes and corrects his/her ways. The feeling of resentment will not be your friend, but will be your ever-present poisonous companion because it keeps getting fed.
Feelings can be soothed, examined and addressed, without being acted out. Instead of blaming your partner, yelling, putting up a wall, or withholding affection or sex, all of which will cause more damage than the issue itself, learn how to mutually resolve the complaint early on, while refusing to hold onto the victim nature of the hurt feeling. Respond rather than react.
Annette Carpien | greatrelationshipscoaching.com
Start Talking or Start Walking
Relationships require good communication and working thru issues as they arise instead of ignoring them. When issues arise you need to talk to your partner about it sooner rather than later.
Before you have that conversation you need to set up some guidelines: where to have the conversation, who will talk first, avoid interrupting each other and listen without being defensive. Hear each other out and try not to let emotion get in the way; remember you are both on the same team.
Designate a day and time each week where you and your partner have a "check in" with each other, so you are constantly addressing issues which makes little room for any misunderstandings. Have fun with this and don't look at this as a chore, you are partners for a reason -- talking things out will only make your relationship stronger! Now get talking!
Michelle Bianco | coachmichellebianco.com
Better Laughing Than Crying
Every relationship has their issues, but how you deal with them is the difference between a long lasting relationship and heading to divorce court. So what do you do? At the end of the day you need to find your sense of humor.
Just as you feel an argument is about to begin and you are about to start slinging some good old fashioned insults, take a moment, breathe, and think where is the good in this? Imagine that there is a referee throwing the flag down to cease fire! Remember you love this person and think about how ridiculous you are both acting. Chances are there is some misunderstanding between you and your partner and he/she is not intentionally trying to upset you. Laugh at yourself, laugh at your partner and ask yourself is this argument really worth it – probably not!
Michelle Bianco | coachmichellebianco.com
Commitment: The Path to Relationship Happiness
by David Steele, MA, LMFT, Founder of Relationship Coaching Institute
I recently realized that in more than 30 years as a counselor, therapist, and coach, I have never been able to help anyone who wasn't committed to what they wanted.
Having a strong rescuer/hero complex, for many years I tried for a 100% success rate helping couples save their marriages, individuals find happiness, business owners achieve success, and so on, taking personal responsibility for the outcome. Whenever the desired results didn't happen, I blamed my skills and methods and sought more training and techniques, and never achieved more than a 50% success rate. I felt relieved when I discovered that other helping professionals did no better.
Thinking of all the people I tried to help, the biggest difference between those that succeeded and those that didn't, appeared to be -- Commitment.
Discovering the pivotal role of commitment, I now seek to address level of commitment first and foremost with my clients, going so far as to say that I can't help them unless they are committed. So far, I have not had any luck helping people become more committed than they already are. I'll let you know if I figure out the secrets of "Commitment Coaching." Until then, I will assume your level of commitment determines your outcome.
We seem to live in a society that values immediate gratification and happiness, and devalues commitment and sacrifice. Co-habiting couples want to be happy first, then they'll commit. No wonder the failure rate of co-habiting couples is so much higher than committed couples.
What is Commitment?
Commitment is both a FACT demonstrated by behavior, and an ATTITUDE consisting of thoughts and beliefs. Saying vows and exchanging rings in front of witnesses establishes the fact of commitment, as does the behavior of staying in an unhappy relationship no matter what. A committed attitude involves thoughts and beliefs to stay in the relationship under all circumstances.
What people say and do is typically preceded by their attitude, but not always. It is common to have a difference between fact and attitude, for example, the married person who wonders "Is this relationship right for me? Do I want to stay?" As long as they stay in the relationship, they are committed in fact, if not attitude. Behavioral choices can be interpreted to reflect the true, underlying commitment, regardless of what people say.
While both are important, if there is a difference, it is probably more effective to focus on what someone does more than their attitude and what they say. You can change actions and behavior much more easily than beliefs and thoughts, and "acting as-if" is a well-established technique for changing attitudes.
In my view, making a commitment to a relationship is a serious and irreversible choice, not to be taken lightly or entered into quickly, because you can never go back to the way your life was before. When you are single and dating is your opportunity to explore possibilities. When you enter a pre-committed relationship is your chance to fully compare your requirements with the reality. Ideally, you make a commitment with full consciousness and clarity that this is what you want, accepting all challenges and obstacles as part of the package.
Path to Happiness Paved with Commitment?
I have found compelling evidence that the path to long-term relationship happiness requires commitment in the results of a study by Linda Waite, author of "The Case for Marriage," who found that two-thirds of unhappily married spouses who stayed married reported that their marriages were happy five years later. She coined the term "Marital Endurance Ethic;" stating that "marriages got happier not because partners resolved problems, but because they stubbornly outlasted them."
This is astounding. All by itself, the act of commitment appears to be more effective than counseling, therapy, workshops, self-help books, and even relationship coaching, in overcoming problems and creating a happy long-term relationship.
Attitude, Behavior and Responsibility
Couples come to counseling and coaching wanting to be happy together. Chances are, they'll be happy if they just stick it out long enough, they don't need me for that. If they wish to proactively co-create their happiness together, as I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I've discovered they both must be committed and be willing to accept personal responsibility.
In working with couples I now inform them of this, and seek to immediately learn their level of commitment, their ability to accept responsibility, their attitudes toward commitment, and whether there is a difference between fact and attitude. If the "fact" is that they are in a committed relationship (e.g. married), yet their "attitude" is less than committed (e.g. "I'm not sure this is the right relationship for me" or "It's his/her fault, I'll change when s/he changes."), that is where the work must begin.
It is understandable that their unhappiness might cause couples to question their relationship, however, I share with them that I have learned that the path to happiness starts with commitment and personal responsibility. I explain that if they need results before commitment then we can't work together, as I would be doing them a disservice by wasting their time and mine, and chances are that if they do nothing other than stick it out, they'll end up happy.
Commitment is a fact simply demonstrated by the act of staying in a relationship. While "attitude precedes outcome" is true, it is also true that "all behavior is purposeful," meaning that what someone does is a better measure of the future than what they say. We can clear up a lot of confusion and "what ifs" ("What if there is an affair?" "What if they won't go to counseling?" "What if my needs aren't met?") by focusing on the "fact" of commitment as demonstrated by both partners staying in the relationship no matter what, since now, thanks to Linda Waite's research, we know that if they do so, the odds are that it will work out.
Should Commitment Be Unbreakable?
When entering a committed relationship, the great majority of us do so with the full intention of being together for life. Ideally, breaking that commitment shouldn't be easy or quick. In my opinion, unhappiness is not a valid reason to break a commitment; it is simply an indication that there is work to be done.
If, most of the time but not all the time, commitment is the path to relationship happiness, how do we decide whether to stick it out or not? How do we know that our misery will eventually lead to happiness or not? We can't really know.
Since we can't really know the prognosis of an unhappy relationship, perhaps the following questions might help:
1. Since unhappiness is usually related to unmet requirements and needs, can you find ways to get them met outside of the relationship while honoring your commitment? Sometimes we unrealistically expect our relationship to be everything we need, when happiness is really an "inside job."
2. Are the children better off in or out of the situation? Often, while you might be unhappy, your children are better off with you together.
3. What is the position of your family and friends? It is uncanny how they knew all along what we discover much later.
4. Are you REALLY taking full responsibility? You are not if you are resentful or blaming your partner in any way. Are you giving your power away by being reactive to what your partner says and does? What about YOUR commitment? If you know that the odds are that it will work out if you stick it out long enough, can you hang in there and take personal responsibility for your outcomes? Can you focus on YOUR attitude and what YOU can and are doing? "Life is not what happens to us. Life is what we DO with what happens to us."
5. Are you getting the support you need? Are you really using that support? Find a therapist, counselor, relationship coach, minister, etc, that you both trust and put yourself in their hands. Find wise and understanding friends and mentor couples that you both can relate to.
6. Are you and the children physically and emotionally safe? Commitment is not a reason to stay in an abusive and/or unsafe situation, but this is surprisingly rare (see statistics below).
7. What is your true, underlying commitment? If you would leave because you're unhappy, your commitment is to your own happiness, not the relationship. Be honest with yourself about any differences between your commitment and your attitude, what you are saying and what you are doing.
Research Results on Commitment and Happiness
Excerpted from "Does Divorce Make People Happy? Findings from a Study of Unhappy Marriages" By Linda J. Waite, Don Browning, William J. Doherty, Maggie Gallagher, Ye Luo, and Scott M. Stanley:
1. Two-thirds of unhappily married spouses who stayed married reported that their marriages were happy five years later. In addition, the most unhappy marriages reported the most dramatic turnarounds: among those who rated their marriages as very unhappy, almost eight out of 10 who avoided divorce were happily married five years later
2. Unhappily married adults who divorced were no happier than unhappily married adults who stayed married
3. Unhappily married adults who divorced were no happier than unhappily married adults who stayed married
4. Unhappy spouses who had divorced and remarried were no happier on average than those who stayed married
5. Many happily married spouses have extended periods of marital unhappiness, often for quite serious reasons, including alcoholism, infidelity, verbal abuse, emotional neglect, depression, illness, and work reversals
6. Unhappily married adults who divorced were no more likely to report emotional and psychological improvements than those who stayed married.
7. Unhappy marriages are less common than unhappy spouses; three out of four unhappily married adults are married to someone who is happy with the marriage.
8. Staying married did not typically trap unhappy spouses in violent relationships. Eighty-six percent of unhappily married adults reported no violence in their relationship (including 77 percent of unhappy spouses who later divorced or separated). Ninety-three percent of unhappy spouses who avoided divorce reported no violence in their marriage five years later.
9. "A strong commitment to marriage as an institution, and a powerful reluctance to divorce, do not merely keep unhappily married people locked in misery together. They also help couples form happier bonds. To avoid divorce, many assume, marriages must become happier. But it is at least equally true that in order to get happier, unhappy couples or spouses must first avoid divorce. In most cases, a strong commitment to staying married not only helps couples avoid divorce, it helps more couples achieve a happier marriage."
10. In "The Case for Marriage" Waite reports that committed couples are physically healthier, mentally and emotionally happier, have more and better sex, and are more financially successful than singles or cohabiting couples.
Copyright © by David Steele and the Relationship Coaching Institute. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.
Couple For Life Resources
RCI has made available 35 recordings of presentations by the world's leading relationship experts. To access these recording from our Conscious Relationship Summit go to: www.ConsciousRelationshipSummit.com
For free relationship assessments and resources for couples visit our web site at www.coupleforlife.com
Get a Relationship Coach!
Check out our coaches at: www.coupleforlife.com/find-a-coach/
Simply select one of our qualified relationship coaches and we'll be happy to meet with you over the telephone at your convenience for a complimentary 30-minute session. If you haven't done this before, you'll find that it's extremely helpful to talk about your relationship with a neutral third party who is a professional relationship coach. Try it!
Check out our Conscious Mating Audio Programs
Please share this with couples who you care about.
Links to Us
Tara Kachaturoff | Editor, PartnersInLife.org Couples News Tara@relationshipcoachinginstitute.com
Want to help people with their relationships and have a career you love?
Become a relationship coach!
Free introductory training at: relationshipcoachinginstitute.com
To subscribe to this newsletter
Copyright © 2012 by Relationship Coaching Institute. All rights reserved. Feel free to share this newsletter with others as long as our contact information and authorship is included.