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:
Keeping My Opposite Sex BFF a Secret-
Good idea or not?
"I haven't told my boyfriend about ... this."
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.
About three months ago, I met a guy at a party I attended with my boyfriend. We ended up talking for quite a while. He's in a relationship too, but it's ending because she took a job in another state. We exchanged phone numbers, we've been emailing a lot and we both have met for breakfast and lunch several times.
I feel like I have a new best friend. He's so easy to talk to – about everything. We haven't been intimate and no kisses or touching either – but there's definitely strong attraction. I haven't told my boyfriend about any of this. Is it wrong to have friends of the opposite sex that I keep from my boyfriend?
Julie from Georgetown
Jack responds ...
Lies of omission are in fact more hurtful than the spoken lies we utter. Albeit a white lie or something far darker, all have the same effect, and bear the same result -- a break down in trust! Spoken or left un-spoken, lies place us in a position of being "fake" with ourselves and with others.
Your relationship with both your boyfriend and secret pal are floundering in deception. Have you told your pal that you failed to mention meeting him to your boyfriend? So, what's next? Continue the sham in the certainty of being found out eventually – having to defend your actions, or having a conversation with your boyfriend wherein you can explain your action?
Through continuing the deception, the hurt is deeper, and the harm increased when all comes to light. However, there is some good news for all the participants in this triangle. Honest, open discussions (directed by a couples coach) have the potential of uniting each and all of you in a learning experience – to make the best of your situation. Action with integrity, based in love may save your relationships. At the very least, you will come away knowing where your heart and your loyalties are.
Jack Cook | www.CoachJackCook.com | 904.312.0693
Randy responds ...
The answer to your question depends quite a bit on the status and understandings of your primary relationship. For instance, if the quality of your primary relationship is high, and if it has lasted for many years, and if you have an understanding about friends of the opposite sex, then it seems it would be good to share what is going on.
On the other hand, if your relationship with your boyfriend is not that great, or is still pretty new, or you have no agreements with regard to exclusivity, then you are probably better off keeping it from him, at least for now. Depending on some of these factors, it sounds like there is a possibility that this new relationship might be better than the current one. This is one very good reason for not getting into exclusive relationships too soon.
Ultimately I think you should work towards opening up knowledge and understanding with all significant parties so that all parts of your life are integrated. There will always be secrets, of course, but you want to work towards the place where important things can be shared. How to work in this direction, and at what pace, is probably something that coaching could help with.
I recommend always telling the truth, but do not recommend always telling all. What you tell or don't tell should be in keeping with your commitments (which requires judicious making of commitments). Keep in mind that three months is hardly long enough for anyone to be even a good acquaintance, let alone a "best friend"!
Randy Hurlburt | www.PartnersinLoveandCrime.com | 858.455.0799
Rick and Jo ...
I'll cut straight to the chase! If your boyfriend was emailing and meeting another woman for discreet breakfasts and lunches and hiding it from you, how would you feel?
It's time to let your boyfriend know that you have a new friend and that you intend to continue meeting him and emailing him. If that is not your intention, then you must have that conversation with your new friend.
You are not bad and wrong. You are behaving like you are because your hand is wrapped around a cookie … and you can't get your hand out of the jar unless you let go of the cookie. By the way, once you've been honest with both these men, the opening to the cookie jar will expand… but at the moment you are trapped!
Julie if you are looking for your soulmate, then it sounds like you may have made the deadliest dating mistake of all and drifted into a "committed" and exclusive relationship without being confident that your boyfriend is the one.
If you are not looking for a soulmate, well you've still made the same mistake – what we call the mini-marriage. You are dating exclusively and feeling guilty about normal feelings for this new man in your life. The mini-marriage is an unconscious behavior of singles, like lambs to the slaughter, who become exclusive too soon because that's what's expected and what everyone else does!
I recommend you take a small step back from both of these men. Do some work with a coach to identify what your requirements are (these are the deal-breakers, predominantly values-based elements that you must have in your soulmate relationship for it to last). When you're clear on your requirements you'll know if you really want a truly committed relationship right now, and
whether one, both, or neither of these men is a soulmate contender for you. You'll also be clear on how to move forward in a way that honors all three of you.
Rick and Jo Harrison | www.SoulmateSuccess.com | +613.5420.7366
Gina responds ...
It sounds like your relationship with this man is a little more than just platonic. In fact, with strong attraction in the works, it is only a matter of time before you cross that line when you keep meeting him. Remember that infidelity starts long before the first kiss, when the first seeds are planted.
Ask yourself this, "Would this bother me if it was my boyfriend who was engaging in the same behavior with another woman he met at a party?" I also question why are you open to this man. Are you happy in your current relationship? If you are, then it is time to stop seeing the "new" man. If you are not, then consider breaking off your relationship so that you are able to start this new relationship with a clear mind and being conscious.
Gina Daniels | 905.873.4463
Susan responds ...
I hear how connected you feel to this new friend. Whether it is right or wrong depends on your personal definitions as well as your needs and requirements for a relationship. I would encourage you to ask yourself some key questions such as why you feel you wish to keep it a secret and does keeping this a secret honor the level of honesty and integrity you seek for a relationship.
Something else to consider is what the level of commitment you and your boyfriend have in your relationship right now and how you feel about it. One thing that may really open things up is for you to hire a relationship coach to support you as you sort all of this out. Part of what we do as coaches is to help you gain clarity about this very issue.
Susan Ortolano, M.A., CMRC | www.RadiantPathways.com | 818.232.2186
Ann responds ...
If I understood correctly, you have been communicating with your new friend for about three months – ever since you met him at a party. It's great to have such a good friend, and it is possible to remain just friends with someone of the opposite sex. But, because you have hidden it from your boyfriend for quite some time, it cannot continue without someone ultimately getting hurt.
You asked if it is wrong to keep this from your boyfriend. My answer is unequivocally "YES" -- I do believe it is wrong. I imagine you have wondered how you would feel if you learned that your boyfriend was seeing another woman (just a friend) for several months.
Why have you not told your boyfriend? I'm wondering if you're hoping he'll find out – and perhaps break up with you. Surely you know this could happen. The longer you wait, the more it will appear you have something to hide and the less understanding he will be.
You mentioned your friend is breaking up with his girlfriend because she is moving away. Does he plan on dating anyone? How would you feel if he found a new girlfriend? Would you be OK with that? If you would, and he is truly just a friend, you should have no problem telling your boyfriend about him. If he is more than just a friend to you (you have stated there is attraction between you and him), be honest with yourself and him – and with your boyfriend.
Either way, your boyfriend deserves to be told. Hopefully he will be understanding of this friendship. However, because you have not been up front with him, it will be understandable if he is upset and feels betrayed. You may want to seek some coaching to help figure out the best way to present this to him in a way that will preserve his trust while allowing you to keep your new-found friendship, if that is what you hope to accomplish. If you're looking for a way to break up with your boyfriend, coaching will help there as well.
Ann Robbins | www.LifeWorksMatchmaking.com | 954.561.4498
Interview with Don Bailey
This month I interviewed Don Bailey, an RCI relationship coach as well as a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor among his many qualifications. Don shares his view on coaching couples from a Christian perspective.
Tara Kachaturoff: What is the focus of your coaching practice?
Don Bailey: My practice is a combination of counseling and coaching. I am the Counseling Director for a large Protestant church and in that capacity we provide free counseling to our members and the community at large. For this service, the church pays me a small salary and provides a nice office. In addition, I provide coaching as a paid service.
The church allows me to use my office there to conduct this coaching. In order to provide some direction and clarity to the division between counseling and coaching we have chosen the following distinction: Counseling is for those seeking to move from crisis to stability. Coaching is for those who consider themselves stable as an individual or in a relationship, and who wish to move to a higher peak. I allow the client to determine whether they feel they are stable. Sometimes adjustments are required as we get into coaching.
My passion, and therefore my focus, is on marriage. About 70% of my counseling over the past 7 years has been couples or marriage counseling. I am very concerned about the state of marriage in our country and have a great burden to see people once more take commitment seriously – to both enter into the marriage relationship with a careful examination of their commitment and to maintain that commitment through proper attention to and maintenance of their relationship. My coaching efforts are focused on helping singles determine how to choose right and then on helping currently stable married couples improve and grow their marriages to their peak.
Tara: As a relationship coach, what are the three most common issues that you coach couples around?
Don: I consistently seek to insure that couples either have or are willing to work on effective communication and conflict resolution skills. Typically, this also ranks high on their priority list. I find that they can only make progress in other areas if they can converse effectively.
Second, they often feel they have "drifted" apart. They have usually allowed the normal pressures of life to overwhelm them and the marriage maintenance is placed on the back burner while they develop their career, have children, keep up with their activities, and focus on getting lots of "stuff." In the process, the intimacy that existed in the romantic love stage of their relationship is broken. Hopefully, they are attentive enough to see the break before it becomes a crisis.
Lastly, I find couples want to increase the intimacy in their relationship. I must admit that women are typically more of this persuasion, but also find that men become much more willing to be coached in this direction when they see the benefits in the physical side of the relationship. Boys will be boys!
Tara: Good communication is important to creating a successful partnership. How do you help couples develop better communication skills?
Don: I don't believe that good communications happen naturally in most relationships. During the romantic love phase, communications happen much more effectively because of the focus and priority that is placed on the relationship.
Haven't you heard people say, "We used to be able to talk for hours and share everything. Why can't we do that now?" It's because you have found more important things to talk about and you have learned that it isn't safe to share everything. Some of the trust and safety in the relationship has broken down.
I find I must guide them back into patterns of intimacy and communication in which the focus is on listening and understanding for the complete meaning of the words spoken. Through use of required mirroring, as a tool, when they converse in the safety of my office, they learn the value of understanding.
In addition, I use homework exercises which are focused on coming to a solution for a real problem. As they use structured processes for problem solving they learn that it is possible to achieve success in their communications and adopt this as an ongoing pattern.
Tara: Marriage can be challenging at times. Family situations change, issues arise, and we constantly evolve and grow, both as individuals and as couples. What's your advice to couples to help them navigate the many challenges their relationship will undoubtedly encounter over the years?
Don: I believe the answer to the challenges of change in life is to be "conscious" of them. So often they simply stumble through change without any planning. When couples are consciously planning for things such as the introduction of children, changing jobs or careers, geographical moves, loss of loved ones, the empty nest, retirement, etc., they can develop plans that address the specific needs and concerns of both people.
I challenge couples to visit me at least twice per year for a maintenance checkup and for planning for upcoming events. As a coach, I can help them to identify potential trouble spots and prepare for them. When it is a sudden event, I'm only a phone call away and anxious to help.
Tara: What's your advice to couples who feel that divorce might seem like their only option?
Don: Speaking as a Christian coach, I first must examine God's position on this question. In Malachi 2:15-16, God's says, "I hate divorce." God's plan from the time of Adam and Eve was one man and one woman together until death parts them. Most wedding vows still say that. My beliefs interpret that God has allowed some exceptions to this in the case of infidelity or abandonment.
In addition, when God originally allowed Moses to use the bill of divorcement, he indicated that it is, "because of the hardness of men/women's hearts." However in these cases, He did not say it was what He wanted, simply that He would allow it and that consequences may exist.
On a real practical level, I believe that divorce seldom solves the problems. It simply moves them on to a future relationship and brings significant difficulty and lifelong stress upon any children involved in the divorce. Why not get serious about solving the problems in the current relationship. Get a good counselor or coach to assist and commit to working on staying together. However, if divorce is the final choice, do it in a way that minimizes the pain and future implications.
Tara: What do you believe are important points of compatibility or agreement between two people who are considering marriage?
Don: I recently wrote an article on compatibility for my newsletter. In my examination of the definition of the word I found that it is, "the ability to exist together in harmony." That says nothing about being alike; rather, it indicates the ability to deal with our differences. Therefore, I feel couples must clearly understand their requirements in a marriage relationship and see if they can find harmony around them.
If they end up being an unsolvable problem, they may not be able to find harmony. If lack of harmony is evident, don't get married. Divorce and the accompanying emotional and financial pain are too great to risk going ahead.
However, a coach may be able to help them find answers to their seemingly unsolvable problems and thus find harmony. Seek help rather than remain unconscious about major breaks in requirements.
Copyright © 2008 by Don Bailey. All rights reserved.
Don Bailey is the founder of LIFECare Coaching/Counseling. He is an ordained minister, a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor and RCI Licensed Relationship Coach. His passion is to see new love relationships "begin right" and existing ones "reach their peak."www.lifecarecoach.net
Healthy Communication Tips
By Chuck C. Bird, Ph.D., RN, Dip.ABS and Jo-Ann H. Bird, Ph.D., LMHC, Dip.ABS
We often hear people talk about the importance of healthy communication in relationships. But what is healthy communication and how do you do it? First, we want to explain what communication is not.
In our work with couples, we hear many assumptions and beliefs about communication that are unhealthy barriers to deeper connection and intimacy in relationships.
Here are just a few of the unhealthy assumptions we often hear:
1. Agreement = good communication and disagreement = bad communication.
2. My partner would agree if he/she would JUST listen (better).
3. Yelling, or raising my voice, will make my partner listen (better) which will then help them understand and agree with me.
4. Name calling or use of threats is the ONLY WAY to make my partner take notice of me and listen (better) which will then help them understand and agree with me.
5. It is better to not talk about difficult things with my partner so we won't disagree and cause conflict.
6. The concerns or problems I have will just go away on their own.
Do you recognize any of these? Do they sound familiar? If you or your partner have any of these assumptions, then now is the time to challenge those beliefs and do something different that will benefit your relationship.
Here are some healthy basic communication tips you can start using today:
1. First, before you jump right into a discussion, we recommend that you check in with your partner to see if it's a good time to talk. For example, it is typically not a good idea to bring up issues when your partner first walks in the door from work. If it is not a good time, then schedule the time to talk.
2. Focus on ONE issue or concern at a time. Often people start with one issue and then start adding in other issues including things from the past that are sometimes not even related to the main issue. Be careful and mindful of this...it's a very slippery slope!
3. When bringing up an issue or concern to your partner, use "I statements". This allows you to own your feelings and decreases the chance of your partner becoming defensive. For example, say "I felt _________ when you said or did___________."; instead of "YOU made me so (angry, sad, etc)!"
4. If the issue or concern has to do with your partner, focus on their behavior that is problematic. Please do not attack them as a person.
5. Make requests for change, not demands.
6. Try to discuss issues and concerns as they come up or in a timely manner instead of bottling them up and using them for an attack later.
7. Remember that everyone has their own beliefs, thoughts, perceptions, feelings, and "truths" regarding an issue or concern. Thus, when listening to your partner, get curious about their "truth" instead of trying to convince them that your "truth" is more "true" or important.
8. When listening to your partner, remind yourself that you did not (and cannot ever) cause your partner's feelings. Thus, there is no need to get defensive. They are just revealing and expressing their perceptions, feelings and "truths" to you.
9. Ask questions, if needed, to help you understand your partner's perception of the issue/concern.
10. Then once you understand, sum it up and let them know you got it! Remember, understanding their perception and "truth" does NOT mean agreement on your part.
Practice using these tips on daily basis with neutral conversations (i.e. your day at work, your dreams in life, etc.). Please do not wait to try them out during your next argument. Remember the saying, "Practice makes perfect."
Copyright © 2008 by Chuck C. Bird and Jo-Ann H. Bird. All rights reserved in all media.
We are Board Certified Clinical Sexologists and relationship specialists that help couples discover more passion and connection in their relationships. We counsel/coach couples together which offers a unique and balanced male/female perspective and a combined coaching/therapy approach to helping our clients with a variety of relationship and sexual issues/concerns. As a happily married couple, in addition to our advanced education and training in relationship and sexuality issues, our knowledge of relationships also comes from true, real-life experience. Due to our last name and the work we do, we have become known as The Love Birds™.
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