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October 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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A One-Page Communication System for All Relationships!

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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
Tele-Seminar Series

Note: We completed our Conscious Mating Tele-Seminar Series last month. Catch the replays using the links below.

Conscious Mating:
When We Must Say Goodbye

With David Steele

When singles become pre-committed couples they ask themselves "Is this the right relationship for me? Is this 'The One' for a lifetime commitment?" The answer for one or both might be "No," so then what?

Saying good bye is hard. When a couple breaks up, even if they were not in a committed relationship, they experience grief and loss. Many move on with their lives without closure because it's so uncomfortable.

Completing a relationship with integrity helps you move forward and become ready for your next relationship. Not getting closure results in carrying more baggage into your next relationship.

In this program you will learn:

- Three primary reasons for experiencing pain in a breakup, what they mean and what to do about it

- Our step-by-step "Goodbye Process" for getting closure on a relationship after it ends

- Strategies for saying goodbye for the initiator and receiver

- Our #1 Strategy for handling the pain of a breakup

- And more!

Access the replay of this seminar here

The recordings of all our programs are available f`ree at

Conscious Relationship
Seminar Series

Note: THIS WAS A GREAT PROGRAM! Catch the replay using the link below

Ilene Dillon, MSWAddressing Relationship Energy Drainers

With Ilene Dillon, MSW, MFT, LCSW

Do you know that "the way a relationship starts off, it tends to continue"? 

Too often we spend weeks or months in a relationship, only to find it is not working for us because we feel drained, guilty, very angry, or used in the relationship. 

You can save yourself time, energy, and pain by learning to recognize immediately when your energy is being drained and what you can do about it.  Whether you have a penchant for attracting energy draining individuals or you experience energy draining only occasionally, you'll appreciate having readily-available tools for dealing with this all-too-common relationship challenge.

In this program you will learn:

  • How and why energy draining occurs
  • 6 ways to immediately recognize when your energy is being drained.
  • Two prominent patterns of energy draining.
  • Three actions you can take to neutralize energy draining from others.
  • How to utilize the 72-Hour Rule to strengthen yourself in relationships.
  • The D.E.S.C. Plus-A-Step method for communicating powerfully.

Access the replay here

The recordings of all our programs are available f`ree at

Ask Our Coaches:
 A Good Neighbor or Not?

"...I’ve talked to my husband, many times, about how upsetting this is to me. He says I’m overreacting and that it’s nothing and harmless.."

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 40 years old, married, and the mother of two young girls. My husband and I have been together for 10 years. We moved to a new neighborhood 5 months ago and next door to a single, rather attractive looking female neighbor. She’s a little younger than I am.

She frequently stops over to chat and loves to engage in conversations with my husband. I think she’s flirting. She sometimes dresses in provocative clothing which I find upsetting. I’m not the jealous type – but right now I am. I’ve even come home more than a few times to find her sitting in our living room talking to my husband!

I’ve talked to my husband, many times, about how upsetting this is to me – how it makes me uncomfortable to have this single woman hanging around our home and him – and my children. He says I’m overreacting and that it’s nothing and harmless. I don’t think it’s harmless – it’s hurting me and affecting my feelings towards him, not to mention our neighbor. I think it’s inappropriate. I’m frustrated. I feel like I’m being ignored. What should I do?

Edie from Edmonton

Sandra responds …

Actually, I am far less concerned about your neighbor’s behavior than I am about your husband’s behavior. You are his wife, and your happiness and sense of security should be of primary importance to him. That he dismisses your feelings is unacceptable.

In my opinion you need to get your husband’s attention and have a serious talk with him in which you share your fears and concerns and you must ask him to change his behavior. If he continues to belittle your concerns, it’s time to call in help in the form of a therapist, minister, or coach to help him focus on what’s important in a marriage.

With the help of this third person, the two of you can work to redefine and strengthen your marriage. If he won’t go with you for counseling or coaching, go by yourself and explore your own bottom-line standards for a marriage. You deserve more than you are currently receiving from your husband.

Sandra Rohr, M.A.| 714.774.8540

Betsy responds …

Edie, I’m sorry that you are suffering with such unpleasant feelings! In addition to feeling hurt and frustrated, you must also be feeling very insecure. Try examining these feelings to get at the root cause. Have they surfaced under other circumstances? Could your recent move or your neighbor’s age and attractiveness be triggering insecurities in you that might not otherwise be present?

Your neighbor may indeed be flirting; but I think the core issue here is the trust level between you and your husband, and you and your husband’s sensitivity with respect to each others’ feelings.

Think back on how you two have communicated with each other. Could your husband be feeling that you are questioning his honesty or integrity? If so, he will likely be defensive which will hamper his ability to hear you and to be sensitive to your feelings.

Talk about each other’s feelings rather than the appropriateness of his and your neighbor’s actions. See if this opens the door for you and your husband to listen with compassion to each other and to work together to address your concerns in a collaborative way instead of being in conflict with each other.

Betsy Dorn |

Jeannine responds …

You have rightfully discerned that the issue is not so much about this woman being around as it is that your husband is not taking your concerns to heart. That you feel discounted and ignored is by far the greater issue. My advice to you would be to drop the conversation about the woman and instead confront the real issue of his not caring that you feel discounted and ignored.

Confrontation is a relational term. It means to face front – to confront whatever is getting in the way of love. There are three basic steps:

1. Assure your husband that you are for him and for the relationship. Create the feeling of being on the same team instead of in opposition to each other.

2. Own whatever part of the conflict that you can. In your case perhaps it is, “I am sorry if I’ve caused you to think that I don’t trust you.”

3. Let him know what it is that is causing you difficulty and make a specific request.

The idea is to be on the same team addressing whatever is getting in the way of love and not making each other the enemy.

Jeannine Lee |

Feature Article:
10+ Secrets of Great Relationships

By RCI Coaches

Secret #1: Commitment
by Betsy Dorn

What is Commitment? Is it a behavior; an attitude; an emotional state; or a promise?

I experienced commitment, recently, in deciding to swim solo across an expansive lake. Upon nearing the half-way point, I faced the choice of heading back to familiar territory, or going forward in spite of being uncertain of the distance, my capabilities, or what lurked beneath me. I took the risk and swam ahead in spite of my fears and committed my entire being to ensuring that my journey was successful.

Commitment in a relationship is very similar. In spite of inner fears, doubts and even discomfort at times, committed individuals choose to have faith in their ability to have a successful relationship, give it their best, and go the distance – together.

Truly committed couples always turn towards each other to remain connected and to resolve issues and concerns, and do not give themselves the option of exiting the relationship as a way to resolve relationship problems.

Rather than being a trap, commitment provides a sanctuary in which relationship work can be safely performed and the joy that comes with such devotion to the relationship can be experienced. True commitment, along with love, are foundational building blocks in a relationship that not only survives the test of time, but thrives.

Secret #2: Respecting Each Other
by Betsy Dorn

Being respected is a basic human need. It is a minimum requirement in any functional relationship between two people. In a highly evolved romantic relationship, couples do not just respect each other – they cherish and revere each other – each and every day.

This is demonstrated, not by feelings, but through daily actions, such as staying tuned-in to remain sensitive to each other’s feelings, listening attentively, regarding the other person’s needs and wants as equally important as one’s own, and being courteous as well as considerate even when stressed or tired.

Partners in relationships that don’t just stand the test of time, but thrive, combine respect with romance in the form of courtship. Such couples continue to court each other for the duration of the relationship as this form of respect is a pleasure to bestow as well as to receive.

Betsy Dorn |

Secret #3: Listening
by Marcy Rich

The sitcom character, Frasier Crane, always began his radio show with the statement, “I’m listening”. These are two powerful words for all of us to use so we can build better relationships. By listening, not just hearing, we show we have the ability to receive, attend to, interpret and respond to verbal messages in ways that are appropriate to the purpose of the communication.

While we all may have different listening styles as well as various motivations for listening, statistically we all gain approximately 85% of our knowledge through the act of listening. The payoff, then, for partners to listen to each other is a reduction in stress, an increase in cohesiveness and understanding, as well as an appropriate level of openness and honesty.

When we listen to our partners actively, critically and responsively, we allow ourselves to be more intelligent and discerning listeners. It is always a compliment to your partner when you listen without judgment until your comprehension is complete, listen between the lines, ask questions and paraphrase what was said, nod and show interest, provide feedback and maintain friendly eye contact.

So the next time your partner sits you down to talk, tell them – and show them - “I'm listening”.

Marcy Rich, M.A. | 480.596.6660 |

Secret #4: Forgiveness
by Patricia Drury, CPCC

Forgiveness is often mistaken for excusing or condoning, but it is quite a different thing. It is a conscious choice and an essential relationship skill - the only antidote to toxic resentment. For your relationship to last and be fulfilling for both of you, you both need to learn forgiveness. You will both surely need it at some point!

Forgiveness is a choice and is about you, not about the person being forgiven. When you forgive, you are not saying that whatever happened was somehow okay after all. You are not giving away anything that takes away from you. You are simply making the decision to stop chewing on it, to let it go, to make peace with it, and to move on. You are consciously placing a higher value on your connection to each other than on being “right.” Of course, if you are being abused, you may also make the choice to leave the relationship.

Forgiving your partner gives YOU peace. If ever you feel you cannot forgive, seek outside help - from a coach, counselor, or member of the clergy. Once you do forgive, you will have opened the door to deeper intimacy, greater emotional safety and stronger love.

Patricia Drury, CPCC | | 952-829-9233

Secret #5: Expressing Affection
by Pamela Simmons
Expressing affection maintains the five to one ratio of positive interaction to negative interaction, lets our partner know we care, and gets us through the tough times. Doing this skillfully prevents disconnect and despair when life stresses hit.
We need to learn what words or actions mean the most to our partners. If we give from our own love language, we may discover our partner missed the message completely. Dr. Gary Chapman narrowed love language down to five categories: time, touch, words, gifts, and service.

Our preferred language usually comes as a result of our growing up experience and may be garnered from disappointments. As the oldest child in charge of chores, coming home to the aroma of dinner on the stove warms my heart beyond belief.
Together, we can list the words and actions that mean the most to us: sitting on the porch together, a hug, “I love you,” a card, or taking out the trash, etc. If we do what has meaning for our partner, we create a deeper connection. Just as skillful listening accesses the heart of the speaker, skillful love expression reaches the heart of the receiver. A message understood by not only the brain, but also by the body and soul, is experienced richly and reminds us of our raison d’etre.

Pamela Simmons |

Secret #6: Compassion
by Mara Castello

Compassion is a fundamental building block within a relationship in that it provides a "sympathetic consciousness of the others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it.” Applying compassion in relationships is important in order to develop deeper connection.

To better understand the elements of compassion, it is necessary to keep in mind a model used in coaching called the "Process of Manifestation" which teaches that thoughts lead to feelings, feelings lead to actions, and actions lead to results. (Thoughts + Feelings + Actions = Results).

How does compassion manifest? It requires that we examine our core thought (T) to align it with that of our partner. This then produces a feeling (F) showing that we understand how the other person feels (empathy). We then ultimately act (A) on that understanding demonstrating compassion (either verbally or physically.) When two persons in an intimate relationship feel compassion for one another, judgment lessens, defensiveness lessens and it deepens the level of connection, the result (R), between the partners.

By understanding this process, in my own experience with my life partner, whenever I have experienced anger, I have been able to go back to my core thought (although not necessarily at that moment) and replace it with a thought that ultimately leads me to compassion.

Mara Castello | | 617.823.0523

Secret #7: Shared Values
by Jack Cook

We appraise others through our own set of values. We appreciate. We enjoy! We overlook issues for the sake of intimacy. We forget out of a fear of loss. And often our assumption that other people’s values mimic our own is faulty. Sadly for some the realization that shared values don’t exist in our relationship comes too late.

In Exercise 4 of the Conscious Dating Relationship Success Training for Singles manual, you will find these two instructions:

1. Choose your top five most important “Values” from the list on the next page.

2. Choose the top five values that are most important for you to share with your Life Partner.

By completing this exercise you not only become aware of your own values, but also you establish a set of guidelines to follow in creating your next relationship. AND it’s easy! A. S. K.

Ask about a person’s values. “How do you feel about______________?” “What are your thoughts on_________________?”

State your own values. Take or make the opportunity to let your values be known. Be clear – and get a response. Share information.

Know for sure. Don’t guess or suppose based on personal stories or family history. Be certain your values are his/her values.

Know your values. Know your life partner’s values. Values are the foundation upon which you build successful relationships.

Jack Cook | | 904.725.6044

Secret #8: Honesty
by Bj Moorer

Honesty is being straightforward even when it seems easier to shade the truth to keep the peace. This quality of being upright and fair and free from deceit or fraud is the backbone of a good quality relationship. Being honest goes far beyond a wife asking her husband if she looks fat in that little black dress after 6 years of marriage That wise husband may say she looks great even though she has gained a few pounds after 2 children.

This same couple may face an opportunity to pull a few too many strings to get little Jenna on the cheerleading squad, but they choose to instill in their child to stick with it and work harder. "Next year we'll be rooting for you” is what they tell her.

This couple has learned the value of honesty in their relationship and it is easy to instill it in others. That loving look in his eye and on her face tells the story. These two have come to value honesty and integrity – the building blocks of any successful relationship. Your honesty to each other serves as relationship glue. It brings depth to your relationship, enriches your lives, and provides the proper foundation for lasting commitment.

Secret #9: Fidelity
by Bj Moorer

What is fidelity?  Is it a lost notion from days gone by or is it at the heart of a great relationship today?
Certainly, fidelity is one pillar the enables a strong foundation for any lasting relationship.  My aunt and uncle have been married for over 50 years.  Yes, 50 years!  They still hold hands and smile at each other.  She waits patiently for her husband to rise up with the help of his walker and you can hear him any day asking her with loving care if she has any pain in her knee.  Uncle Henry and Aunt Jenny have had the pleasure of successfully enduring many storms and now enjoy sitting back and enjoying the company of the person they committed to.
If you ask Uncle Henry (as I have done often) what is the key to your successful marriage, he will tell you that he has never violated his wedding vows.  He has been faithful to his beloved every day of those 50 plus years.  Through every temptation, test or trial, we can choose to remain faithful.  With trust and faithfulness, couples can work through life, family and career changes and stay the course.  Fidelity to our partner is about deep commitment, trust and selfless love.

Bj Moorer |

Secret #10: Freedom to Be
By LeAnn O'Neal

What is "freedom to be"? Understanding each person is experiencing his or her own unique life and is F’REE to do so.  
Did you know a butterfly struggles to get out of its cocoon to gain the strength in its wings so it can fly? If the cocoon is opened prematurely the butterfly may not fly at all. 
Allowing the natural process of life can be challenging. "Free to be" fosters the feeling of "letting go" without attachment to the outcome of what will happen next. It is as simple as you both living separate lives and coming together to share when you are struggling with a major life decision or when your loved one has just picked up their new toy (car, big screen TV, etc.).

Both of you are free to experience without losing love as you know you will be loved anyway by your self and your loved one.
Without the “freedom to be”, we wither in any relationship because our passion for life is altered. When couples are devoted to the sacred union that keeps them together, they can allow each other to create on their own as separate people as well as together. 
LeAnn O'Neal, MA, LMFT

Secret #11: Freedom to Be
By Vanessa Dyer

Loving communication cures inner suffering. Begin with your self and then create healthy couple-hood.

Communicate love to your self through mind, body, and spirit. Love your mind with positive self talk, acceptance of now, wanting what you have, trusting yourself, knowing your boundaries, and communicating your specific needs and requests to others. Love your body by eating nutritiously, rejecting poisons, practicing moderation, and movement. Explore the universe and intuition for what rocks your spirit. These steps are proactive in taking responsibility for your fulfillment.

Loving communication in couple-hood is understood through touch, affectionate play, and endearing verbal tone. The bond strengthens daily with each supportive gesture. It does not include being right, one upping, criticizing, character assassination, or excluding or neglecting your mate. Love is communicated through validating each others feelings, making requests, reaching understanding and cherishing one another.

Assess if your connection is less than loving. Ask yourself if you feel better before or after having interaction with your mate? As Dr. Phil puts it, “Are you contributing to or contaminating the relationship?”

Loving communication creates trust; it is a spring board for exponential growth to deepen and soothe your soul.

Vanessa Dyer || 720.422.1701


© 2007 Relationship Coaching Institute– All rights reserved.

Bonus Article:
Rules of the Road for
Effective Communication

by David Steele,
Founder and CEO, Relationship Coaching Institute

Nobody likes conflict, yet the most innocent words or actions can result in an argument, even with the best of intentions. Don't wait for your next argument- read this article now to learn nine "Rules of the Road" for effective communication and conflict resolution in any relationship. These are key to avoiding hitting "The Wall" which results in arguments and conflict.

The Rules of the Road

In any communication there is a sender and a receiver. The risk of conflict is highest when the sender is experiencing an issue of some kind and needs to communicate about it. Before any effective communication starts, especially around an issue, it's important to understand these ground rules.

1. Issues are Unmet Needs

In my thinking, a problem or an issue in a relationship is about an unmet need. If it weren't a need, it wouldn't be an issue.

2. All Issues are Valid

If we assume this then we won't argue with each other about the validity of the issue. It is not nice to discount somebody's issues and say, "Oh come on now that's no big deal. What's your problem? Don't be ridiculous."

Don't allow someone to discount your issue. And don't discount their issue either, because all issues are valid, big and small. Just the fact that you experience an issue makes it valid; you don't need to justify it or get agreement about whether it's an issue or not.

3. Who has the Unmet Need, Owns the Issue

I call this "David Steele's Law of Relationship," and it goes two ways- for the sender it means that if you have an issue, it's about you, you own it. It's yours. It belongs to you. There is no universal issue out there that if everybody experiences this one thing, everybody will have an issue with it. Some people will. Some people won't. Needs and issues are subjective, not facts. They are your truth and not necessarily a truth that others share.

So if it's an issue for you, it's because you have the need and the need is unmet. It's not automatically an indictment that your partner is in the wrong. For example, if your partner comes home late and doesn't call, in some relationships that might be a problem, in others it wouldn't be a big deal.

If you have a need to know what to expect it will be an issue for you if that need is unmet when your partner is late and didn't call. The need is yours and the issue is yours. Your partner being late is simply a fact; it doesn't make them right or wrong. It doesn't make your issue less valid, it simply means you take an attitude of ownership.

Taking ownership of your needs and issues in a relationship is incredibly important because it empowers you to be responsible for your needs, and is much less likely to put your partner on the defensive because you're not making them wrong or blaming them for your unmet need.

For the receiver this means that that it's not about you. It's not your issue and your job is to let the sender have the issue and don't try to take it away from them by having an issue with their issue. If you take their issue personally and make it about you then you'll hit "The Wall." If you let them have their issue and support them to get their unmet need met you will be helping yourself as well because you want a happy relationship and happy partner.

4. One Issue at a Time

This is very important because when people communicate about issues and they talk about more than one at a time it often goes all over the place. They bring out everything and the kitchen sink; every resentment they've saved up, every little grievance. If you want to have productive communication, if you want to resolve something between you two, you pretty much have to focus on one thing at a time.

5. Take Turns

Take turns being the sender. One person speaks at the time. This is basic playground behavior. Share and take turns. However, you notice that arguments happen because one person is not letting the other person speak so they feel like they have to talk louder to be heard. And then it goes back and forth. So take turns being the sender.

I want to acknowledge that this is simple, but it's not necessarily easy. When you're hitting “The Wall” it feels so urgent to have your partner listen to you that you have a hard time being present to them. This can take a heroically conscious effort, but it can be done.

6. Speak with Moderation

If you're taking turns, then you don't need to yell to be heard. You can speak with moderation. Productive communication is about being calm, respectful and choosing your words carefully so that you say what you mean and mean what you say.

7. Listen with Curiosity

This is an important attitude, to be curious about where your partner is coming from and not to prejudge them as wrong, or speculate that, "they really mean—this," or "they're just saying that because of-- that." Look at them through new eyes. Listen to them as if you're listening to them for the first time. Listen with curiosity. When you do, I guarantee you'll learn something new about your partner and your relationship will not only work better, it'll be more passionate and fulfilling.

Think back to your patterns in listening to your partner. How often are you formulating in your mind what you're going to say back to them while they're talking? Sometimes we don't even give the other guy a chance to finish before we insert our opinions. This is human nature, it's a bad habit, we all have this tendency and it takes a little effort to adopt an attitude of curiosity, but it'll help you really be able to hear and listen effectively.

This is also part of taking turns. If your partner is the sender, then you need to be the receiver. You need to listen. If it's your turn to be the sender then you have a right to expect that your partner listen and receive you and if they are not playing that role you can request them to do so.

8. Assume the Win-Win

Most of us understand intellectually that we can negotiate. We can find a way that works for both of us. But what often happens unconsciously is that there is an assumption or fear that if you get your way then I'm going to lose and I'm not going to get my needs met. There is oftentimes a scarcity mentality that drives people into conflict. They really don't trust that their needs will be met if their partner's needs are met at the same time. It's either-or. I like to believe that it is both-and. So assume the win-win.

9. Nurture the Space Between

Here's a concept that oftentimes we forget about, and many couples don't even know about, which is that a relationship is more than just two people. There is a space between you where this relationship lives. This is where your children live, and everyone else that comes into contact with the two of you.

There's an emotional atmosphere between you two and it needs to be clean in order to be fulfilled and happy. If you have unresolved conflict, if your communication is not clean and effective, if there are resentments and disappointments and unresolved issues between you two, that is going to pollute the space between you two -- and everyone, including you, will feel it. So the space between IS the relationship.

We want to nurture that space; we want to treat it as sacred. It's not just about your partner and it's not just about you, it's the combination for which you are both 100% responsible. Not 50/50, each partner is 100% responsible for what happens in the space between.

These Rules of the Road are key paradigms that will help your communication to be positive and productive-- and you WILL forget them! I call this phenomenon "going unconscious." No problem -- next time you "go unconscious" and find yourself hitting “The Wall” and in an argument, remember the Rules of the Road for effective communication and conflict resolution.

© 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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