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July 2006

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In this issue:

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Conscious Relationship Resources

Conscious Relationship
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David Steele
Founder and CEO,
Relationship Coaching Institute

Cindy Briolotta, President
Relationship Coaching Network

Linda Marshall - Photo
Linda Marshall
Director | Couples Programs

Tara Kachaturoff - Photo
Tara Alexandra Kachaturoff
Editor | Partners in Life Couples News

Copyright 2006 by
All rights reserved.

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Conscious Dating: Finding the Love of Your Life in Today's World

Order a copy today for your single friends and family members at

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!

Ask Our Coaches:
Living Apart- Together

...We live apart, together. I didn't realize there was a term for it or that it was becoming a common form of partnering.

This column answers questions submitted by our readers. Submit your questions to who will forward them to our coaches all over the world. Each issue, we'll publish a few answers from our RCI coaches.

Dear Coaches,

I just learned my partner and I are a LAT (Living Apart Together) couple. I saw it on television. We live apart, together. I didn't realize there was a term for it or that it was becoming a common form of partnering.

My partner and I are not interested in getting married or living together full-time. We each maintain our own residence. We spend at least 5 days a week together, usually at my place. We have children from previous marriages and this way we don't need to worry about blending our families. Each set of children can maintain their own routines, in their own surroundings. My partner has his children every other weekend and spends most weekends at his place. Sometimes we all get together for a recreational outing, but we don't have to deal with all the challenges of living together.

We are very committed to each other and this works well for our children and us. Our challenge is dealing with friends and relatives who think we’re crazy. I must admit that seeing a TV show that validated our lifestyle was a relief. I was wondering if you have any suggestions as to how we can respond to others who have negative perceptions of our arrangement.

My parents are especially concerned and my mother bugs me a lot about getting married. She doesn't believe my partner is really committed to me because if he were, he'd marry me and want to live with me. She's worried about who will take care of me when I grow old.

I try to reassure her we are very committed and we like the arrangement – then I change the subject. However, she brings the topic up often. Do you have any ideas as to how I can reassure her more effectively, and also how I can respond to friends who are, at times, quite judgmental?

Jean from Ohio

Louise responds …

Why you are so concerned with what others think? What matters the most is whether you are feeling happy and fulfilled. Perhaps you’re feeling a degree of uncertainty about the situation, which is triggered by how others perceive what you’re doing. Are you feeling uncertain at some level? When you are certain that you love and want your relationship just the way it is, then others will be certain, too.

Louise Rouse, RCI Coach |

Marcia responds …

With a 50%+ divorce rate and the possibility you’ll become a widow, even marriage doesn’t guarantee loving care in your later years.

Because your mother “bugs you a lot” and your friends are harping on you, you’ll have to set firm boundaries each time they raise the subject. Stop what you’re doing, look them in the eye and say something along the lines of, “As I have said before, my relationship is fine. My retirement plans are fine. Please don’t bring this up anymore.” Then change the subject. If they continue, repeat, word for word, exactly what you said.

Defending yourself in a conversational style only opens the floor to those tired discussions about your personal life. Repeating your boundary-setting language can put a stop to it.

Marcia Augustine | | 770.499.8932

Randy responds …

You are finding yourself up against cultural stereotypes and social programming. It’s impossible for most people to shed this programming, so don't try too hard to change their minds. The main thing is for you to be happy with yourself and your relationship. If it satisfies your requirements and needs, then that is all that counts and you don't need to apologize or explain to anyone.

Your mother most likely has good intentions and valid concerns worth listening to, but no doubt is strongly programmed with conventional wisdom. My view is that marriage is more than just a document. Children will grow up and move out, and your relationship will gradually transform. If you have high chemistry and a commitment to growth individually and as a couple, then there is a bright future ahead. Who knows, maybe you will get married someday.

You can tell your mother you’re happy with the current status of the relationship, you’re working together to insure a successful ongoing future, and you’re solving the problems of life in the best way you know how. Actually, many relationships deteriorate after marriage, so you can tell her that you are working on the more important "marriage of the soul." I hope these suggestions give you a good place to start.

Randy Hurlburt |


Feature Article:
Living Apart Together Relationships:
Questions to Ponder

By Linda A. Marshall, M. Div.
RCI Director of Couples Programs

Researchers in Europe have found that LAT (Living Apart Together) relationships are a growing trend in England, France, Norway, Sweden, and Holland. It appears also to be on the rise in Canada.

Since the census bureau doesn’t measure LAT relationships, it is hard to determine just how many couples in the United States are choosing this arrangement. However, since other significant trends in Europe have eventually made their way to the United States, we can safely assume that LAT relationships are on the rise here as well. They are now the subject of television programs.

Advantages of Living Apart Together

  1. There is the opportunity for on-going romance
    It can seem like a first date every time you’re together.
  2. Older couples who are living longer nowadays can avoid complicated inheritance issues
  3. Divorced couples, especially with children, can avoid the higher incidence of divorce for those who remarry, especially those who try to blend their families

According to the US Census Bureau, at least fifty percent of first time marriages end in divorce, whereas sixty percent of second time marriages end this way. Additionally, only one out of three stepfamilies survives.

This trend of living apart together may be a creative solution to the pitfalls found in long-term relationships, especially for those who have already experienced the pain of divorce. With so many marriages not surviving, is it possible that we have had too narrow a perspective on how to be in a committed relationship?

Would growing acceptance of the LAT arrangement lead the way in establishing more diversity, solving what is not working in our stereotypically-approved structure for couples and families? Is the LAT arrangement pointing to the importance for all of us to have solitary, alone time?

We live in a time when we’re confronted with the need to embrace diversity if we are to live together peaceably. Is the LAT arrangement an expression that we need to consider as we grow in our ability to recognize the strengths in what is unfamiliar to us -- be that in our family structures or in the traditions of people from other cultures and religions?

Disadvantages of Living Apart Together

Most relationship experts are aware that one of the major challenges couples face when they marry is learning to manage and appreciate each other’s differences. In the midst of this challenge, you’re learning how to continue to be your own person and how to connect with your spouse.

If a couple is willing to understand and work with this process, they’ll grow in emotional maturity and will actualize their essential wholeness in a way that is not possible in separation. This is a spiritual process that leads to an experience of connection much deeper and richer than that experienced in the early romantic stage when the focus is on the hope of having found just the right person who will fulfill all of our needs.

Questions to Ponder

  • Is it possible that the unwillingness to compromise and share, and the search for freedom to live on one’s own terms that characterizes the self-involvement of the Baby Boomer and Generation X’ers, is robbing us of our ability to form long-term relationships?
  • Is LAT preventing us from integrating another into our life, from gaining a deep level of intimacy and connection?
  • Are we losing the ability to learn selflessness and how to give and forgive?
  • Are we continuing to glorify rugged individualism at the expense of relational maturity?
  • Is it possible for us to learn to live together in deep respect, appreciation, and compassion?

These are just some of the questions couples might think about as they explore the concept of a “living apart, together” arrangement.

Linda A. Marshall, M.Div. | 937.684.2245
RCI Director of Couples Programs |


Bonus Article:
Evolving Marriage into a Spiritual Path

By Linda A. Marshall, M. Div.
RCI Director of Couples Programs

M. Scott Peck’s definition of love in The Road Less Traveled has always inspired me-

“Love is the willingness to extend yourself for the purpose of nurturing your own and another’s spiritual growth.”

Hedy Schleifer, a relationship coach and trainer, who understands the art of connection at a profoundly deep level, reminds us-

“Marriage is an adventure to be lived, not a problem to be solved.”

Ten Characteristics of a Conscious Marriage

Harville Hendrix describes ten characteristics of a conscious marriage in his book Getting the Love You Want. These speak to me about marriage as an adventure of growing into the spiritual and relational maturity that leads to life!

  1. Realizing that love relationships have a hidden purpose—finishing our childhood issues and growing into maturity.
  2. Creating a more accurate image of our partner than the ideal one created in rapture and the frustrating one created in post-rapture.
  3. Taking responsibility for identifying our needs and wants and then risking communicating them clearly to our partner.
  4. Becoming intentional about behaving toward each other in a constructive way.
  5. Valuing our partner’s needs and wants as highly as we value our own.
  6. Embracing the shadow sides of our personality.
  7. Letting go of self-defeating tactics and learning new strategies for getting our needs met from our partner.
  8. Searching inside ourselves for our lost and hidden strengths and abilities and recapturing our sense of wholeness.
  9. Rediscovering our original nature—our drive to be loving, whole, and united with the universe.
  10. Accepting that creating a good marriage is difficult and has more to do with being the “right” partner than finding the right partner. It requires commitment, discipline, and the courage to grow and change.

Linda A. Marshall, M.Div. | 937.684.2245
RCI Director of Couples Programs |


Words of Wisdom

"Give your difference, welcome my difference, unify all difference in the larger whole -- such is the law of growth. The unifying of difference is the eternal process of life -- the creative synthesis, the highest act of creation."
~ M. P. Follett

"Mastery does not come from dabbling. We have to be prepared to pay the price. We need to have the sustained enthusiasm that motivates us to give our best."
~ Eknath Easwaran

"Strangely enough we strengthen love in ourselves when we raise into consciousness the shadow side of our lives. Conversely, when we keep negative feelings out of sight, they smother the love that seems to lie deeper and closer to the real self. This is probably why there is so much pain in not loving. The life that is not able to express the love which is so integral to it grows deformed."
~ Elizabeth O'Connor


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  • July 13: The Love Principles
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  • October 12: The Journey from I to We
  • November 9: Reptiles in Love

Conscious Relationship Podcast

Conscious Relationship Article Bank


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Linda Marshall, M.Div. | Director of Couples Programs

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