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December 2007

Couple holding hands

In this issue:

F`ree to our subscribers!

Conscious Relationship Resources

Conscious Relationship
Tele-Seminar Series

Conscious Relationship Podcast

Conscious Relationship Article Bank


David Steele
Founder and CEO,
Relationship Coaching Institute

Frankie Doiron, President
Relationship Coaching Network

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

Copyright 2007 by All rights reserved.

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

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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

Conscious Mating
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Conscious Mating Audio Programs

When you're dating someone do you ever wonder-
"Is this the right relationship for me?"

Our Conscious Mating Audio Programs provide detailed, comprehensive strategies for dating and mating, addressing all the relationship and decision-making challenges that arise when you're in the pre-commitment stage of a relationship.

These audio programs are recorded from our live tele-seminars and include the MP3 audio file for playing on your computer, MP3 player (iPod or other), or burning onto a CD, AND a complete PDF transcript for following along and making notes.

Program #1- Is This the Right Relationship for Me? Introduction to the Pre-commitment Stage

Program #2- Am I Ready to Be a Couple?

Program #3- Finding Lasting Love by Experiencing Your Experience

Program #4- Should We Live Together?

Program #5- Dealing With Our Baggage

Program #6- Are We Compatible?

Program #7- Sharing Our Vision

Program #8- Deciding "Is This The One?"

Program #9- When We Must Say Goodbye

Check them out at

Ask Our Coaches:
 Getting Married … or Maybe Not

"...I’ve been having second thoughts about getting married. I don’t know if I’m scared, or that he might not be “the one” or what it might be. All I know is that I’m not feeling right about this...."

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’m currently engaged and we plan to get married in January 2008. I’m 34 and he’s 35. It will be a first-time marriage for both of us. We don’t live together right now. We’ve been engaged for two years, have the entire wedding planned out – and it was an expensive undertaking, complete with a three-week honeymoon in Europe. We’ve both invested our own money in it as well as that of our parents.

I’ve been having second thoughts about getting married. I don’t know if I’m scared, or that he might not be “the one” or what it might be. I’ve been feeling this way for the last month, right after I finished planning the very last of the wedding “to dos”. All I know is that I’m not feeling right about this.

Nothing in particular has come up that might cause these feelings. I do love him dearly, yet I still feel uncomfortable for some reason. I don’t know what to do. I’m feeling stuck. How do I know if I’m making a mistake? I’m afraid of calling this off because maybe I’m just anxious because this is a big change for me. If I call it off, I don’t think we could ever move forward again as a couple. How do I know if I’m doing the right thing? What should I do?

Bethany from Bellevue

Michelle responds …

Bethany, I really understand your dilemma. Just prior to my first marriage, I started thinking that this is not right, but after talking to people who had previously told me the engagement period is the hardest, I stuck it out. I had been going out with the guy 18 months and engaged for 2 years. Big wedding of about 250 people... I went ahead. My marriage lasted about 3 months.

What I learnt from that is to trust your gut. It is telling you something. Before my second marriage, many years later, we both did the Conscious Dating RESTS program together. This really helped me clarify my non-negotiables, my needs and my wants. If you have not done this as a couple then I highly recommend you do this.

I know your wedding is soon, but there is still time to do the program. If he does meet all of your requirements and you have discussed your needs, then it may just be the fear of the unknown and taking that next step which is causing your unease. In my opinion, doing the Conscious Dating program, together with a coach will give you peace of mind. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Michelle Zelig Pourau |

Anna responds …

Congratulations on your engagement! I want to acknowledge your honesty about your ambivalence and let you know that you are not alone. I take it that your plans have you in overwhelm. If the wedding plans had been simpler, would you feel as overwhelmed and anxious?

What I’m trying to get at here is to find out if the ambivalence is about the man you want to marry or the fears of the letdown after all the plans have been carried out. For example, for those afraid to travel, the traveling is frightening, but once they get to their destination, all is well. Getting married is not about the wedding, it’s about the life afterward. Sit with that a moment to see if anything comes up for you.

Then I’d like for you to visualize yourself five years from now, but without the man you are about to marry. What feeling does that bring up? Hopefully this will provide you with the answer you’re looking for. I wish you well in your new life!

Anna Manning || 830.964.4037

LeAnn responds …

The feeling of anxiety about your scheduled wedding may be a sign for you to step back and check out what your inner guidance is telling you. Is the expense of the wedding, honeymoon and the possibility of canceling plans going to keep you from choosing what is BEST for you and your future?

Two years is a long time to get to know someone and living with someone is entirely different from being in a committed relationship while living in separate homes. There are parts of a person's personality that may not surface without the day-in / day-out living together situation. Your anxiety can be a perfect nudge to remind you why you chose to marry your fiancé.

Are you open to exploring your emotions and feelings and thoughts like, “he might not be the one"? Could it be you need to remind yourself of the reasons you chose to marry your fiancé? A relationship coach may be an excellent resource to assist you with your exploration and to help you gain more clarity around this issue.

LeAnn O’Neal, MA, LMFT || 530.676.3847

Feature Article:
Heat It Up:
Six Tips For a More Romantic Relationship

By Annette Carpien

Has your relationship gotten a bit stale or lifeless?

Do you wish you could “juice” it up more?

If you’re not getting enough affection, quality time, connection or romance, maybe you’re not giving enough – perhaps you’re waiting for your partner to initiate. It’s time for a new approach - be proactive.

1. Carve out love and connection time.

Take 2 minutes (or more), at least once each day, to stop everything and focus on the love, admiration, and appreciation you have for each other, even if, for now, it might be one-sided. A good time might be when your partner comes home from work. This is not the time to talk about the toilet backing up, or overdue bills, or your frustrations at work.

Don’t mix in problems with your connection time. Think of this as sacred time. If you have children, train them that this is parents’ together time – that afterwards, it will be their time. What could be a better model for your children than to observe their parents loving each other?

2. Touch often, touch sweetly.

A kiss behind the neck, a stroke on the thigh, a short head or hand massage, hugs when you pass each other in the middle of your busy day -- each of these is like a deposit in your Love Bank Account.

Regular affection in the way your partner enjoys it, sometimes sensual and inviting, other times reaffirming of your love and commitment, can easily enhance the love between you. If your partner resists because he or she thinks it is only about wanting sex, you will need to listen non-defensively to your partner’s concerns and negotiate to have both affection and sex in a way you both feel good about.

3. Have sex more often.

Even if you’re not particularly attracted to your spouse any longer, or too tired, make time for sex on a regular basis. Rather than deciding if you are in the mood or not, act as if you are, and you will likely find you’ll get in the mood quickly!

Sex is good for bonding, for your health and for your mental state. Don’t play the victim; ask for what you want and do whatever you can to make it delicious and enjoyable.

Although this sounds stereotypical, there is truth in it: Women who are frustrated because their spouses don’t help around the house find that with more sex their husbands become much more involved in home life -- and willingly. So focus on sex, and the housework and childcare may get more attention.

4. Cultivate your own world together.

Private jokes, stories, and your own unique ways of touching and connecting are all highly bonding. They create a sense of “us” – distinct from everyone else and are a great way to enhance your relationship.

5. Learn each other’s love language.

Do you want to be loved and cared for in different ways than your partner does? Ask yourself, “How and when do I feel most loved?” Then either observe or ask your partner the same question. Give your partner the love he/she wants in the way he/she wants it. Ask for it in the way you want it.

We all know the Golden Rule - treat others as you want to be treated. This is the Platinum Rule: Love another the way he or she wants to be loved.

6. Fire the mind reader.

Don’t assume your partner understands your every need and wish. Request or tell him or her what you want or need, especially when your wishes or needs change. Likewise, don’t assume you understand your partner’s feelings, needs, and wants. Be curious and ask.

We have the power to positively influence an outcome we want to achieve. We have inherent, God-given tools -- the power to envision, the power of intentionality, inspiration, assertiveness, the power to discover win-win solutions, to be loving, to ask for what we want, and to see the best in one another.

We also have external resources available which can help us give and get the love and romance we desire. Ask someone who has the kind of marriage or relationship you want for insights and inspiration. Or, consider working with a relationship coach who specializes in love or romance who can help you and your partner unfold or rediscover the love, romance and great sex you long for.

In the meantime, consider trying out some of these suggestions which can add to your relationship and bring more connection and happiness to both of you.

Copyright © by Annette Carpien. All rights reserved.

Annette Carpien |

Bonus Article:
How to Find Lasting Love by
Experiencing Your Experience

by David Steele,
Founder and CEO, Relationship Coaching Institute

In the pre-commitment stage when singles become couples, each partner has different hopes and dreams, wants and needs, attitudes and experiences. These differences too often result in relationship failure and disappointment when one or both partners attempt to mold the relationship and their partner to fit what they want, rather than accepting and embracing what is. While we must have a vision and requirements and choose a partner and relationship aligned with what we want, we can't be so rigid that we reject reality.

How do we let go of needing perfection without settling for less than what we really want? One strategy I recommend for Conscious Mating is to “experience your experience.”

What Does It mean to "Experience Your Experience?"

Your “experience” is what happens inside of you. It happens automatically. It's the thoughts that pop into your head, the sensations you have in your body; what you see, hear, feel, touch and taste. It's what you are feeling emotionally.

Your experience just happens. You go to a movie and you love the movie and you feel tingly and warm, that is your experience of the movie; you have a positive experience of it. You go to a movie and it scares you, turns you off, you hate it and it repulses you; you have a negative experience of the movie.

Your experience is involuntary. It just happens and it always happens in the now, so you must be present in the now to experience your experience; you can't be in the past, thinking about what was, and you can't be in the future, thinking about what will be.

Relationships only happen in the present. Connection can only happen in the present. To be in touch with what is real for us and to have a fulfilling relationship we must be able to experience our experience.

So "experience your experience" means to be present, be in the now, experiencing what is going on for you right now, and what's real for you right now, instead of your fantasies about what will be and your associations about what was in the past.

Experiencing your experience is important because too often we bring our past baggage into a relationship, we don't see the person and the relationship for what it is, we are too busy coloring it with the past, or we are absorbed in fantasy about the future, about what it might be and could be and will be.

Experience Comes First, Then Meaning and Action

Your experience is what’s real for you, and you get to decide what it means. If you went to a movie and it repulsed you, then you might make up a story, an interpretation of your experience, that the movie was horrible, it was the worst movie ever made. That's because of your experience.

Your experience results in your stories or your interpretations and meanings, and then what you might do is tell everybody you know, "That was the worst movie. Don't see it." So your stories, which come from your experience, then result in your actions or what you say and do.

Three Stages of Relationship

Stage One: Romantic Love

A relationship is a process, not an event, and there are stages that you go through. When you fall in love, you enter a romantic love stage that feels wonderful. Chemistry is high, your hormones are pumping, the world is more beautiful than it has ever looked before, and you feel like you’re alive and glowing.

In this stage you notice your similarities with your partner, the ways in which you’re alike, and you feel like you’ve known this person your whole life. You feel like all of your needs are going to be met and everything you've ever dreamed for your life is going to come true because you've met this person.

This is an important stage because it is bonding you with your partner, and this bonding will be needed to get through the stage that comes next, because romantic love as much as many of us would like to hold onto it because it feels so good inevitably comes to an end, and the next stage then is the power struggle.

The romantic love stage can last up to two years, and typically wears off soon after making some kind of commitment. When you're in the romantic love stage you want to please your partner, and even if you were your own person before you met them, you often give up parts of yourself to please them. But we don't do this for long. Eventually, our real self wants to assert itself, and when that happens, you start to notice each other's differences.

Stage Two: Power Struggle

During the power struggle stage we become acutely aware of our differences and the things we don’t like about our partner and the relationship. What's really happening is that the parts of yourself that you had to cut off as you grew up are asserting themselves in a search for wholeness. For example, if you weren’t able to express anger as a child you’ll struggle with this as an adult and need to do so in your intimate relationship to heal your past and become a whole, mature, developed person. Your anger or frustration is not really about your partner. The issues and dynamics that come up in this stage are your blueprint for growth because they demand new skills and behaviors that are challenging and you're not going to want to do them. But if you're willing to stretch you get to reclaim your wholeness and your relationship will deepen and progress to the next stage.

It can be very difficult to understand what’s happening in the power struggle stage and it’s easy to blame your partner or the relationship for the stress and conflict that you experience. Many relationships don’t survive this stage. It helps to get outside support (relationship coaching, counseling, therapy) to understand and work through what's really going on. As relationship coaches we would like to help while the relationship is still good before there has been a lot of irreversible damage from the conflict of the power struggle stage.

Stage Three: Conscious Relationship

Once you've worked through the power struggle stage you may still experience frustration and conflict, however you’ve matured and learned the skills needed to take ownership of your experience and communicate effectively with your partner.

When the power struggle diminishes you can enjoy each other's company and have more fun together, experience more synchronicity, positive energy, and your relationship seems effortless and you’re more deeply connected with each other. You know each other’s warts and you love each other unconditionally.

This is the kind of relationship we yearn for, that comes with effort in learning how to get through the power struggle stage.

Evolve vs. Push vs. Twist

In the pre-commitment stage it’s important to allow a relationship to evolve and be what it is, instead of trying to push it to happen faster, or twist the relationship (or partner) to be what you want it to be. I recommend taking the time to get to know who your partner really is, instead of focusing on your fantasies, hopes and dreams. Experience your experience, embrace “what is,” and stay in the now so you are gounded in reality about your partner and relationship.

Your "Pygmalion Project"

A long time ago there was a brash, young sculptor named Pygmalion. He found the women of Cyprus so flawed that he resolved to carve a statue of his ideal woman, embodying every feminine grace and virtue. For months, he'd labor with all his prodigious skill, a rounding here and smoothing there until he had fashioned the most exquisite figure ever conceived by art. So exquisite indeed was his creation that Pygmalion fell passionately in love with the statue and could be seen in the studio kissing its marble lips, fingering its marble hands, dressing and grooming the figure as if caring for a doll. But soon, and in spite of the work's incomparable loveliness, Pygmalion was desperately unhappy, for the lifeless statue could not respond to his desires. The cold stone could not return the warmth of his love. He had set out to shape his perfect woman, but had succeeded only in creating his own frustration and despair.

A "Pygmalion project" is when you get together with somebody and your agenda is to mold them in your own image and twist your partner and the relationship into being what you want it to be. This doesn't work very well. And as you saw in the Greek legend above, even if you succeed, you're going to be unhappy, because it's not real. Your partner isn't real if they allow you to mold them. It's not a real relationship. And you'll be frustrated because even if you think you want them to be a certain way, to be more like you, it's not what you really want and it's not what you really need.

I believe we all have this tendency inside us. It's very tempting to want to mold your partner and want them to be different. To prevent this from happening we must stay conscious in our relationship and experience your experience. Experience your partner for who they really are, attempt to have a real relationship with them, and in the pre-commitment stage, if it doesn't work for you based on what it really is, then go ahead and move on.

Triad for Creative Lasting Love

To effectively “experience your experience” I’ve found it helpful to stay conscious of three aspects of your experience-

Facts- usually a measureable event ("the sky is blue")

Judgments- the meaning we make of the event ("the blue sky is pretty")

Feelings- our emotions and sensations (warm, cold, happy, sad, etc)

Often, what we human beings do, especially when we're upset or excited, is we make judgments about something and try to make that be the fact-

"You make me so angry."
"You're a jerk."
"I love you."
"War is hell."
"Ice cream is good."

These are all judgments. You might feel so strongly about them that you believe them to be true. While they might be your personal truth at the time, they are not facts, no matter how strongly you believe them to be true.

It all starts with an event or stimulus. Something happens that gives us a certain experience.

Then, we react to our experience by making meaning of it and forming judgments.

Then, our judgments stimulate our emotions- mad, sad, glad, fear, shame.

And this all happens in the blink of an eye.

We can then react consciously or unconsciously. If we react unconsciously we will act out our feelings and judgments, whatever they are.

Four Steps for Experiencing Your Experience

If we react consciously we will separate the facts from our feelings and judgments and then decide what meanings to make and actions to take. This begins by reviewing the facts in your head and making sure you're not mixing in judgments-

Step One: Review the facts

"OK, the sky is blue, we're walking in the park together, the temperature is about 76 degrees, I just said "It's a beautiful day" and my friend said "No, it sucks."

Step Two: Review your judgments

"Hmm, I believe it's a gorgeous day, walking here is wonderful, and I judge that my friend isn't getting it at all."

Step Three: Identify your feelings

"I'm glad it's such a beautiful day, sad that my friend is troubled and not enjoying it, frustrated and angry at their negativity."

Step Four: Make a conscious choice

Once you've separated the facts from your judgments and feelings you are in a much better position to experience your experience and decide what to think, feel, and how to react.

Notice in the above example that the judgments and feelings are mixed, which is common. If you are conscious you can choose amongst the mix of judgments and feelings that you will embrace and act upon, and which you will discard or leave alone.

In the above example you might decide to focus upon your sadness that your friend is having a bad day and choose a compassionate response, and to discard your judgment that they aren't "getting it."

Top Ten Attitudes Necessary for Lasting Love

An “attitude” is a system of beliefs, an interpretation or way of looking at the world. Attitude precedes outcome and can interfere or facilitate being in the present and experiencing your experience. You have control of and can choose your attitudes.

1. I will be happy by having goals and letting go of attachment to outcomes

2. I strive to live and “be” in the present

3. I love, accept, and trust myself

4. I focus on connecting, not results; a partner is someone to love, not an object or goal

5. I strive to be authentic; being fully honest with others, and myself, aligning my words, values and actions

6. I strive to live my life with intentionality; making choices conscious of my goals and consequences

7. I strive to take the necessary risks, overcome my fears, and stretch my comfort level to reach my goals

8. I assume abundance; all the opportunities and resources that I need will appear

9. I take responsibility for my outcomes by taking initiative in my life and relationships

10. What others judge about me is about them; I strive to let go of what others think and not take it personally.

Finding Lasting Love by Experiencing Your Experience

Strive to stay grounded in the reality of what is and make your decisions based on reality, instead of trying to make the relationship be what you want it to be. It's a fine line, because we do have a vision, we do have requirements, needs, and wants, and our agenda is to live that vision and get those requirements, needs, and wants met. But to find lasting love we must choose a partner that's truly aligned with our needs and work with that partner in a reality-based way by experiencing our experience each and every day.

To access the recording and transcript of Conscious Mating: Finding Lasting Love by Experiencing Your Experience visit

© 2007 Relationship Coaching Institute– All rights reserved.

David Steele, MA, LMFT is founder of Relationship Coaching Institute and author of "The Communication Map: A One-Page Communication System for All Relationships. For more information about The Communication Map visit

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