This newsletter is designed especially for YOU if:
- You have met someone and are wondering if s/he is the "Love of Your
- You are about to get married and want to co-create a fulfilling
- You have a good relationship and want to make it great
Conscious Mating Audio Programs
When 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 www.ConsciousMatingAudio.com
Ask Our Coaches:
Waking Up to Reality: What Do I Do Now?
"I'm feeling trapped and ... too young to be married."
This column answers questions submitted by our readers. Submit your
questions to Tara@relationshipcoachinginstitute.com
who will forward them to our coaches all over the world. Each
issue, we'll publish a few answers from our RCI coaches.
We've been married a little over a year. I'm 28 and she's 30. We've had a great time together, but I'm feeling trapped and feel I'm too young to be married. Many of my friends still have their freedom and they're traveling and doing things I can't do because of marriage, financial responsibilities, and a new home with a big mortgage and all of that. Added to this, my wife wants to start a family now. It sounded like a great idea a couple of years ago, but now it sounds like something I not ready for in any respect. I love my wife, but I really think I made a mistake getting married so soon. I'm not sure what to do.
Dennis from Des Moines
Randy responds ...
The first thing to do is NOT to start a family while you are still "deciding." I know of people who have done that hoping it would save the marriage, and it did not.
The problem here is not specifically that you are married, but that you feel trapped. It's not clear if you ARE trapped, or if you just FEEL trapped. In any case, you need to talk to your wife and let her know of your feelings and discuss what it is you need to do in order to not feel trapped.
Trying to find a balance between freedom and connection is a lifelong adventure, whether it's with your present wife or with someone else. This balance may change over the course of a lifetime. If you love your wife (and if she loves you) then it's worth a try to negotiate out a mutually agreeable solution for now that doesn't have to be forever.
If it turns out after trying that you truly ARE trapped, then you can consider the option of getting un-married.
Coaching would probably help on both fronts.
Randy Hurlburt | www.PartnersinLoveandCrime.com | 858.455.0799
Kat responds ...
When we make a commitment to something important in our lives and marriage is one of life's more meaningful commitments, it often is followed by a flood of fears and doubts. To make matters worse, we often feel guilty for having these thoughts and are afraid to tell our spouse which intensifies the experience.
Now let's take a look at what you wrote. Traveling and having fun and freedom can all be experienced inside a marriage. A mortgage, financial responsibility and even having children are all things that many people have without marriage. Could it be that you have a picture of what married life should be like, perhaps like one your parents had, that doesn't fit the one you would like to have?
I am also wondering where you were when these big decisions are made? Could it be you have gone along with things to make your wife happy? You need to let your wife know your true feelings. You stated in your letter that you do love your wife.
Let her know that first and foremost. Then gently tell her that you would like to find another way to make the big decisions in your life together.
Kat Knecht | www.RelationshipCoaching.com | 805.804.6282
Ann responds ...
Almost all trouble within a marriage can be traced to one of three things: Sex, Money, or Kids. You've named two out of the three. You've indicated your wife wants to start a family and you don't, and you've stated you feel financial pressure with the responsibility of a new home and a big mortgage. Combine this with your feeling trapped and you have a recipe for disaster. It appears that you are faced with the realities of adult life and are either unwilling or not ready to handle them.
I have many questions for you and no easy answers. Have you had a candid conversation with your wife? Is she aware of your feelings? You have stated you feel too young to be married and you appear to be longing for the lifestyle of your friends - freedom and travel to name a few. Are you allowing friends and their freedom to influence you? What has changed between the time you got married and now? Do you know why you feel this way? Has it evolved over time or is it recent?
Your first step is to be totally honest with yourself. Examine your commitment to the relationship and your willingness to uncover and discover the real issues behind your feelings. If you have not already done so, you must have an open and honest conversation with your wife. Do you love her? Are you willing to invest time and energy into the relationship to recapture what you felt in the beginning? Most importantly, until these issues are completely resolved, it is imperative you do not bring a child into this world. I urge you to seek individual and then couples coaching to help you figure out next steps.
Ann Robbins | www.LifeWorksMatchmaking.com | 954.561.4498
The Three Rings of Life
By Glenn Cohen
How many times have you heard people say something like, "I never get this upset or act this way except with my significant other." "I never behave or feel this way with my friends or anyone else."
Why is that? Why do we get so triggered and why do the worst traits of our personality come out to play when we are in a committed relationship? Great question and I have a theory about that.
The 3 Rings of Life
There are three rings in our lives. The outer ring represents our professional relationships and acquaintances. The middle ring is our friends and family members. The inner ring is our committed relationship. Inside the inner ring resides our emotional bunker – i.e. "emotional baggage."
Inside this bunker is all of the accumulated toxic waste of past emotional pains and fears. When we emotionally hide and reside in our bunker, we are blocked from being mentally present and emotionally available for our partner, ourselves and our relationships with others.
Allowing Our Partner to Enter Our Inner Ring
In the beginning of a relationship, we spend time evaluating whether we want to allow the potential partner to enter our inner ring. After some time passes, we decide to make a commitment and invite them to become a resident. Once there, our partner will invariably begin to poke holes in the walls of our bunker. Once holes are opened, the negative energy inside is released in the form of reactivity.
Reactivity is the release of negative emotional energy exhibited by inappropriate, destructive and toxic words, actions and behaviors. This explains why our worst behavior traits roam wild inside of a committed relationship.
Relationship Killer WABs – Words, Actions, and Beliefs
After some time passes, the little holes become bigger and more and more of the toxic energy is released. As the holes become larger, the Relationship Killer WABs – words, actions and behaviors - become more frequent and intense.
At one point your partner may have been a little standoffish, then sometimes they were robotic and now they resemble an ice cube. Or, maybe you affectionately remember in the beginning of the relationship your partner was a little emotional, then they sometimes had angry outbursts and now they are a raging lunatic.
"You are Not the Person I Married"
One day you look at your partner and say to them, "You are not the person I married. You are like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Where is the sweet, giving, caring person who used to look at me with a twinkle in their eyes and treat me with love?" This is when a relationship enters into the Cycle of Conflict, bombs begin to explode and feelings of safety are lost.
This is when we inflict emotional damage -- to each other, ourselves and the relationship. This is when the erosion of trust, respect and admiration become reinforced with negative perspectives and attitudes. This is when the relationship slides further and further down into a dark, scary and painful abyss.
As we merrily experience life, we begin to accumulate more and more of these weapons. As we become older, we refine our skills and become marksmen. Now, this is where it gets interesting. The Relationship Killer WABs (words, actions, and beliefs) that are stored inside our fortified bunker are the same reactive behaviors we used as children growing up and also the same behaviors our primary caregivers used on us when we were kids.
We learned well, my friend, and stored up the ammunition just so we could fire our weapons of choice toward the lucky person we love -- the person with whom we chose to spend the rest of our life.
Reactivity can Affect All of Our Relationships
Now, here is a key point to understand about bunkers. Once reactivity is released from the bunker inside the inner circle, it eventually permeates the second ring and finally, the third ring thereby affecting all of our relationships.
I know for myself that I used to have a bunker more fortified than one of those bunkers that protected the shores of Normandy during WWII. I stuffed and hid all of my past wounds, fears, distorted perspectives and unrealistic expectations inside of it. And let me tell you, I had an armory filled with my favorite Relationship Killer WABs.
Okay, now we understand that we have this bunker, what do we do next? How do we stop allowing the negative energy from causing conflict in our relationships in all three areas of our lives? Great question! The answer is we have to learn how to become emotionally intelligent. How do we begin to accomplish this feat?
• Begin by allowing your partner to hold up a mirror to you and do not knock it out of their hands. Choose to listen and not become defensive.
• Look within, crumble, become humble and break through your denials. Choose to own and change, rather than defend and blame.
• Be radically honest with yourself, your partner and own your reactivity. Take absolute personal responsibility without conditions or qualifications.
• Listen at a deep level and allow your partner to have influence. Make a conscious choice to give them the benefit of the doubt.
• Place yourself in your partner's shoes and see the world through their eyes – do not make it about you. Allow yourself to see new perspectives.
• Surrender to the power of awareness, be present in the moment and give unselfishly and unconditionally to your partner. Let go of the pain of the past and anxiety of the future to give without obligations or expectations for anything in return.
• And finally, as always, continue to learn, stretch, grow, mature and change. Be inspired to take massive action no matter what others say or do.
This is how to begin to dismantle your emotional bunker, free yourself from your self-imposed prison and quiet your gremlin. This is how you begin to cross your bridge and achieve the ultimate goal – two peaceful souls who are best friends during the day, lovers at night and partners for life.
So, the question from the journey is: "What do you need to do or stop doing to begin to dismantle your bunker, get out of your own way and continue the journey to become emotionally intelligent?"
Copyright © 2008 by Glenn Cohen. All rights reserved
in all media.
Glenn Cohen is a certified coach and the author of The Journey from "I-TO-WE". He coaches individuals, couples and works with companies across the country. He conducts workshops, speeches and seminars for companies, civic, religious organizations and other associations regarding how to Create Emotionally Intelligent Relationships at home, at work, and within the self. He trains coaches, healthcare professionals, religious counselors, and corporations on the use of his program.
The Chemistry of Love
By Linda Marshall
...love is not an emotion but a physiological drive as powerful as hunger
Phenylethylamine (PEA for short) acts as a "love drug" stimulating feelings of euphoria during the early stage of a relationship. This altered state of infatuation suppresses the part of our brain designed to warn and protect us from danger.
Author, anthropology professor, and human behavior researcher, Helen Fisher, Ph.D., is one of the major researchers in the field of interpersonal chemistry. She has studied romantic love in 170 societies and found it to be a universal phenomenon and bears all the basic characteristics of addiction. In her research, she has found that MRI images of the brain reveal that the cognitive area of our brain actually loses blood when we are in love!
Dr. Fisher's research has revealed that there are different hormones driving sex, romance, and attachment; the three most common aspects of love. Fisher reveals that love is not an emotion but a physiological drive as powerful as hunger. Romantic love is actually a basic drive that has evolved for the purposes of mating and reproduction.
The sex drive is driven by testosterone--a libido-enhancing, energy producing chemical secreted in the testes of males and ovaries of females. On average, the men produce about twenty times more testosterone than women. What do you suppose that means?
In the breathless phase of romantic attraction we are elated, full and overflowing with energy, and obsessed with our love interest, thinking of them almost every waking second and often dreaming of them while we sleep. This is a period of extreme pleasure in which we feel more alive and are more alert; thinking and acting more quickly than usual.
This response is involuntary and enhanced by increased levels of naturally-occurring dopamine and norepinephrine. Novelty of any kind, especially when infatuated in a new relationship, increases levels of these two chemicals in our brains. The elevated activity of these two "love drugs" increases the production of testosterone, linking our attraction to someone with our desire for them sexually. It is a time when sexual tension is overpowering.
An interesting phenomenon that occurs simultaneously is a decrease in serotonin, the chemical that eases tension and produces a sensation of relaxation. Our system is truly excited and experiencing a sustained "high."
During this time we focus our attention on our love interest and everything that occurs between us takes on special meaning. Along with our euphoria commonly comes swings of insecurity and fear that our love interest isn't as interested as we. We develop an emotional dependence upon the other and experience separation anxiety when not in their presence. Our craving for emotional union is intense and difficult to control. We can become possessive as we guard our lover from the intrusion of any outside threat. We are protecting life's greatest prize -- a mating partner.
Fisher states that in general, men are more visually stimulated because their brains are wired to accommodate their search for a woman to give them healthy babies, while the memory part of a woman's brain is wired to accommodate her need to find a man who keeps his promises. And thus this ensures the survival of our species.
And, love changes over time. Eventually the euphoria subsides as we settle into the next phase, attachment, characterized by feelings of security and calm. At this point, oxytocin and vasopressin are the chemicals at play in our bodies. Oxytocin is released during orgasm in both the male and the female. In the brain, both these chemicals are involved in social behavior and bonding. Researchers believe these chemicals are in play in supporting the formation of trust between two people and the bond they experience during sexual activity.
Four Basic Personality Types
Dr. Fisher is the guiding force behind the matching technology of the on-line dating service, Chemistry.com. It has long been known that we tend to be attracted to people similar to ourselves—with the same ethnic, social, religious, educational and economic background. This also extends to our attraction to people with a similar amount of physical attractiveness, a comparable intelligence and parallel attitudes, expectations, values, and interests.
What is only beginning to be known is that the chemicals in our bodies affect our personalities. Dr. Fisher has identified four personality styles that accompany the characteristic dominant level of one of four hormones: dopamine, serotonin, estrogen, and testosterone. These personality styles are also predictive of whom we are more likely to be attracted.
Higher Dopamine: The "Explorer"
Someone with high levels of dopamine Fisher calls an "Explorer." What makes an explorer a desirable partner is their high energy, high creativity, and spontaneity. They tend to be artistic and seek novelty, risk, and pleasure. They are intellectually curious and not easily swayed by the opinions of others. The challenges in relating to an explorer are their propensity toward addiction and their tendency to philander.
Higher Serotonin: The "Builder"
Someone with high levels of serotonin Fisher calls a "Builder." What makes a builder a desirable partner is their calm demeanor and low anxiety. They have a deep attachment to their home and family and are often consistent, loyal, and protective of those they love. They have managerial skill; are sympathetic and cooperative. They work hard and have a lot of common sense. Their patience gives them the ability to complete detailed, painstaking jobs more easily than most people. The challenge in relating to a builder is their propensity to be "right" and to know the "right way" to do things.
Higher Estrogen: The "Negotiator"
Someone with high levels of estrogen Fisher calls a "Negotiator." What makes a negotiator a desirable partner is their idealistic, big picture thinking. They are relational, egalitarian, non-hierarchical, intuitive, flexible, and excel at long-term planning and consensus building. They usually have high verbal and social skills, tending to be networkers who are imaginative, capable of deep empathy, and nurturing. The challenge in relating to a negotiator is their absolute need to establish a deep connection with you.
Higher Testostrone: The "Director"
Someone with high levels of testosterone she calls a "Director." What makes a director a desirable partner is their daring, originality, directness, and inventiveness. They usually are good leaders who are conscious of rank and appropriate behavior. Achieving positions of power and influence often comes easily to them.
They can be very assertive and tough minded, focusing on schedules, rules, and routines. They tend to be competitive and efficient. As an independent thinker, they are skilled at abstract thinking and short-term planning. The challenge in relating to a director is their mental inflexibility and limited social sensitivity.
According to Fisher, Builders are best matched with Explorers, and Directors are best matched with Negotiators. Negotiators, with their flexibility, empathy, and nurturing abilities, are compatible and sought after by all the other personality styles.
This part of Dr. Fisher's work is so new that we learned about them from attending a lecture and at this writing there is little published information about these personality types. We look forward to learning more about her work and sharing with you in the future.
Why is this important?
Conscious Mating requires we understand what motivates us, what we are feeling and why we are feeling it. We are complex creatures driven by primal biological forces as well as our higher cognitive abilities. Successful relationships depends upon our ability to make good long-term partner choices and understanding the chemistry of love enables us to "balance our heart with our head."
Copyright © 2008 Relationship Coaching Institute. All rights reserved.
Linda Marshall is in private practice as a relationship coach specializing in working with couples, both over the telephone and in person. www.RadiantRelating.com
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