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November 2007

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In this issue:

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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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This newsletter is designed especially for YOU if:

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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

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Ask Our Coaches:
 Is there life after an affair?

"...I’ve forgiven her, but I no longer feel the same way about her or our marriage. I want to love and trust my wife again. I just don’t know how."

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,

My wife and I have been married for 15 years. Last year, she revealed to me that she was having an affair with her boss – it had gone on for 5 months. She called it off and has since left the company.

We’ve worked hard to keep our marriage together – for the sake of our children and for us. I’ve forgiven her, but I no longer feel the same way about her or our marriage. How do you build trust after something like this? How can you move on to enjoy the relationship once again? I can’t imagine living the rest of my life feeling as I do – very neutral about everything.

I want to love and trust my wife again. I just don’t know how. Up until now, divorce hasn’t been an option, but now I’m thinking it might be the best way for me to move on so I can find happiness and fulfillment once again. Where do I go from here?

Michael from Mill Valley

Lori responds …

I admire your desire to work through this affair with your wife. Here is what I do know; it will be hard, it will be painful, and you won’t have the same marriage ever again. However, couples who do work through these issues, in a real and honest way, usually have a better, more fulfilling marriage.  If you are honest and think about it, you don’t want back what you had because that is what originally led to the affair.

You will never be able to “control” her to ensure this never happens again. That’s hard for some people to let go of. Ask yourself if that is your goal.  A better option is for you to look at your part in the break-down of the marriage. Have you forgiven yourself? If both of you are willing to take responsibility for your own part in this, and release the need to be a victim, then yes, you can work through it and have a better relationship.

I suggest working with a well-respected marriage therapist and getting individual coaching support along the way. Be willing to work hard and no matter what happens, you will always be able to say you did the best you can. Integrity like that goes a long way.

Lori Rubenstein, JD, CPC | | 928.634.0252

Peter responds …

Is there life after an affair? It depends. It depends on the depth to which one feels wounded or betrayed or abandoned. The thread running through each of these feelings is trust. Usually, affairs erode trust and often trust, once lost, is very difficult, but not impossible, to regain.

The question is whether you and your partner are willing to do the challenging and difficult work, with a coach, counselor or therapist, to restore trust in your relationship ... or to walk away. The future health of this relationship also depends on the degree of emotional investment you both contributed, consciously, to your relationship over the past 15 years. The greater the investment, the better the possibility of sustaining the relationship.

A more important question is whether you picked up on the clues that infidelity might become a possibility -- clues such as unhappiness, emotional distance, anger, aggression, etc. In other words, infidelity was a result of a deep and dividing issue that permeated your relationship which indicated that needs were not being met.  

Some folks do recover from infidelity, but the process can be long and arduous. With the support of a relationship coach, counselor or therapist, and with open and honest communication, you'll see whether that road is worth traveling with your partner. It's not about the infidelity alone; it's about the root causes that led up to it that need to be explored. I wish you well on your journey.

Peter Vajda | | 770.804.9125

Don responds …

First, be comforted by the fact that your feelings are very typical.  In the midst of your pain, for the benefit of your children, and to give your marriage a chance, you have made the right decision to forgive.  But, be sure you recognize the true meaning of forgiveness.  It simply means, "I will no longer hold this painful experience against you."  It doesn't mean, "What you did was OK," or "I wasn't really hurt that bad by it."

If either of these were true, there would be no need for forgiveness.  Forgiveness also doesn't mean that you are instantly reconciled or that trust is restored.  These take time, patience, hard work and opportunity.

Since you have been together for 15 years, you and your wife have built a sizeable trust account -- much like a bank account is built up with periodic deposits. Your wife's affair has drained your trust account and thus the feeling of insecurity for you. Unfortunately, she probably won't be able to make a one-time trust deposit that will fully restore the account.  Just don't close the account too soon! You may find that the growth and
learning from this experience may allow you to build a stronger trust than you have ever known before.  

I firmly believe that out of every negative experience in life a golden nugget of growth is available.  Just take the time to reach in and find it and give it time to help both of your rebuild the relationship. Best of luck as you seek to do the right thing.

Don Bailey | | 941-727-8778

Annette responds …

What I hear you say is that you want your marriage to survive, but now, though you have forgiven your wife, you feel "neutral", or perhaps, numb.

Over time you may have experienced, and may continue to experience, a palette of other emotions such as sadness, grief, betrayal, and perhaps hope and longing. Your wife, also, is likely experiencing her own panoply of emotions including guilt. Yet it sounds like your worlds have become increasingly isolated -- neither there for the other's experience.

You might use this as a crossroads to not only heal but to re-invent your marriage. Having a vision of the kind of marriage you would like to have could be a more empowering force than using your current neutral or numb feelings as your barometer.

I suggest Anne Bercht's book, My Husband's Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me You might also check out or take Anne and Brian's workshop. Afterwards, as a couple, you might consider working with a coach or therapist to keep healing and keep moving toward a joint vision for your marriage and family life. Your children will learn a powerful lesson watching you both heal and thrive.

Annette Carpien |

Susan responds …

How very courageous to share this painful experience. I encourage you to look at the relationship prior to the affair. From my perspective, affairs often happen when relationships are already out of balance. I also recommend delving into your own perception of yourself and the experiences you have had in your early life around betrayal and trust.

Affairs can bring up old feelings of inadequacy for both partners. The partner who has the affair looks to escape his/her old pain or sense of inadequacy, while the other partner often experiences the betrayal and inadequacy in response to the affair. If you are asking yourself “why did this happen to me?” I would encourage the perspective “why did this happen for me?”

I feel these circumstances happen to bring up old feelings to be healed and to steer us in a better direction. It sounds like even though you feel you have forgiven your wife, that there are more layers to uncover here. Looking at how you can trust yourself more is another helpful place to explore. I highly recommend relationship coaching to examine the dynamics that had the relationship out of balance and to help create a new direction.

Susan Ortolano, MA | | 818.232.3186

Feature Article:

By Lisa Fredette

“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” ~~Catherine Ponder

Are you able to forgive others for their infractions against you? Are you able to forgive yourself for past mistakes? Do you find it easier to forgive others than to forgive yourself?

Maybe your inability to forgive yourself and others is because of your definition of forgiveness. What definition do you use for forgiveness? Is it the belief that by forgiving someone you let them off the hook? Do you believe that to forgive is saying that what happened was okay? If that is the case, no wonder you are having such a hard time forgiving.
Let’s take a look at a different definition of forgiveness. Forgiveness is accepting the fact that you cannot change the past. Isn’t it easier to find forgiveness now? Another way to look at forgiveness is through the concept of control.

If you are unable to forgive others, then you are harboring feelings of bitterness, anger and guilt, which affect how you experience each day. These feelings cloud how you deal with others and experience life. As a result, the person you are unable to forgive is controlling your life. Wouldn’t you rather take back your control? Wouldn’t you rather experience the beauty of each day? Take the first step and begin to forgive those who have hurt you, including yourself.

I know it’s easier to talk about forgiveness than to do it. To help you get started, let’s take a look at the different stages of forgiveness. In most cases there are four stages to the forgiveness process:

Stage 1: denial
Stage 2: anger
Stage 3: acceptance
Stage 4: compassion

Stage 1: Denial

Denial is similar to blowing the issue off. When you are in denial, you are quick to forgive and move on. However, the truth is that you never truly moved past what happened and you are just pretending it didn’t happen. That may work for a while, but sooner or later the unresolved issue will show up again.

One way it might show up is through anger. You may begin to experience inappropriate levels of anger and anger in unrelated areas of your life for no apparent reason. The reason is the unforgiving issue -- you just haven’t realized it yet. The key to getting through this stage is awareness; listen to your language and behavior and see if it is justified or if it is rooted in un-forgiveness.

Stage 2: Anger

Anger is the next step. This is where many of us stay stuck. This is when un-forgiveness becomes an excuse to live in mediocrity. This is the stage when you hear a lot of “I would be happy only if this hadn’t happened,” or “I cannot succeed because such and such happened.”

If you don’t work through this stage of forgiveness you begin to spiral into self-pity, which turns into “why me” and “life is so unfair.” Venting your anger is key to getting through this stage. Some healthy ways of releasing your anger include anger letters, venting partners and a physical outlet.

Stage 3: Acceptance

If you are able to move past the denial and the anger, you will begin to accept what happened. Realize that whatever it was that went wrong is reality, and no matter how hard you try to “wish” it away, it still is. When you are able to accept, you stop blaming and start taking back control over your life. You are more than halfway to forgiveness at this stage.

Stage 4: Compassion

The final stage is compassion. This is the hardest stage to get to and many are unable or unwilling to complete this stage. Getting to this stage is a truly freeing experience and everyone should strive for it; it is worth all the pain to get to this point.

Compassion is the ability to see the event from the other person’s perspective. You are basically able to put yourself in their shoes and see where that person was at the time of the event. Being able to get to this stage is empowering and you are finally able to take back total control over your life.

Make an effort to get here -- you will be glad you did. A tool that you can use for finding compassion for you or for others is by writing thank you letters. This allows you to see the good in the experience and gain insight into what you learned and gained from the event. I am a strong believer that you can grow and learn from any experience even if it is a bad one.
Make the commitment today to begin to find forgiveness in your life. Take the first step by making a list of all of those people you are unwilling to forgive and begin working through the forgiveness process. Before you know it, you will be taking back the control of your life. If you want additional support in finding ways to forgive those in your life who have wounded you, I encourage you to hire a coach.

Lisa A. Fredette | CTA Certified Life Coach |

© 2007 Relationship Coaching Institute– All rights reserved.

Bonus Article:
Double Your Romance
with One-Way Dates

by David Steele,
Founder and CEO, Relationship Coaching Institute

Over time, couples can easily develop routines that become ruts and it seems like romance goes out the window.

Does this sound familiar?

Partner #1: “What do you want to do?”

Partner #2: “I don’t know. What do YOU want to do?”

Then they end up doing pretty much the same thing they have done before.

Couples can also fall into “compromise ruts,” where each gives up what they really want to do in order to find something they can both agree upon. For example, in choosing movies, he might love action-adventure, she might love drama, and they might routinely compromise on comedies. After awhile, this might get old! (True story -- happened to me!)

What’s the alternative? How can couples keep their romance fresh and exciting?

Try rotating the following four ONE-WAY DATES:

TYPE 1: Partner #1 creates a romantic experience for partner #2

The purpose of this date is to give a gift and please partner #2 one hundred percent. This doesn’t have to cost anything, and doesn’t even require going anywhere, as long as the time and activities are creatively focused on what would please partner #2.

TYPE 2: Switch; partner #2 creates a romantic experience for partner #1

TYPE 3: Partner #1 creates a self-centered romantic experience

The purpose of this date is for partner #1 to please themselves 100%, to have romance exactly the way they want, sharing the experience with partner #2 in the way they wish, but not worrying about partner #2’s experience at all.

TYPE 4: Switch; partner #2 creates a self-centered romantic experience

To work, this requires planning and coordination. I suggest couples plan their dates and one-way types on a calendar a year in advance. This may sacrifice the spontaneity that some prefer but often can’t sustain, for intentionality that can continue to create romantic closeness and excitement for decades to come.

I have found that trying to reach agreement on everything can hinder creativity and dilute the possibilities. Using these One-Way Dates allows for each partner to freely and creatively choose activities that would truly please themselves or their partner, without eliminating exciting choices trying to please both.

© 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

For More Information, is a resource for couples offered by Relationship Coaching Institute, a worldwide relationship coaching organization dedicated to helping singles 'find the love of your life AND the life that you love'; to helping new couples 'make a wise choice in a life partner'; and to helping any couple 'fine tune and keep their relationship healthy and fulfilling.'

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