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April 2009

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Conscious Relationship Summit
A Huge Success!

The Conscious Relationship Summit was a huge success.
Thanks to all who participated!
Many of the world's top relationship and personal development experts shared valuable strategies for creating conscious relationships.
We also raised close to $6000 for the following charities that work directly with families and children, helping them create a better life:
  • Infant Crisis Services
  • Rescue Task Force
  • Child Family Health International
  • The Olive Branch for Children
  • YouthBuild USA
    If you missed the Summit, we have great news! You can still access all 35 life changing presentations. The audio recordings will be available for sale beginning May 1st.
    Download all 35 recordings and listen to them at your convenience. Proceeds will go to the 5 charities we support.

    For more information go to:

    Ask Our Coaches:
    How Do You Breakup with Someone?

    "How do I breakup with someone?"

    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,

    How do I break up with someone who has stronger feelings for me than I have for them? This is one of the hardest conversations I have been confronted with. How do I soften the impact on their feelings, while at the same time make it absolutely clear that a relationship with me is not an option?

    Brie from Brisbane

    Hazel responds ...

    If you absolutely know this is not right for you, I would encourage you to be as honest as possible. I believe the song title -- "Breaking up is hard to do" -- and it can be; however, the longer you put off doing this, the more challenging it will be both for you and the other person.

    If someone has strong feelings for you, whatever you say, they are going to feel hurt. Although there's no right or easy way to do this, be as gentle as possible.

    Use phrases like, "as much as I wish this was the right connection for me, I just don't feel the same way you do." You might also say you really care and want them to be with someone who loves them the way they deserve to be loved.

    It's OK to be true to yourself. If this is not right for you, then it wouldn't be right for either of you in the long run. You, too, deserve to have the kind of relationship you truly want.

    Hazel Palache | | 818.972.4415

    Michelle responds...

    I really appreciate that you want to be tactful and spare this person's feelings. The Conscious Dating program teaches its participants that when dating, it's important to create an exit strategy and to memorize it. It's also used to quickly assess whether the person is someone who meets your requirements, needs, and wants, by sorting, scouting, screening, and testing.

    You have not said how long you have been together, nor how serious this relationship has become, but you do indicate that you want to "break up." If you've only had a few dates, you could tell him that you don't think your requirements are the same as his and wish him well as he continues to date others. However, if you've become an exclusive couple, your partner deserves more of an explanation.

    Consider writing out what you want to say and practicing it carefully. When you rehearse, focus on your relationship requirements, making sure to keep blame out of the speech, but rather telling your partner about what you need that is not going to be met in a relationship with him.

    Remain firm, but gentle, as this person may tell you he will change, since you've said he has stronger feelings for you than you do for him. If the chemistry and attraction are not there, you cannot make them appear. Be very clear about your requirements, which are the deal-breakers that you cannot ignore, and without which any relationship would be unworkable.

    Michelle E. Vásquez, MS, LPC | | 714.717.5744

    Darshana responds ...

    Breaking up is only hard to do when one party is harboring guilt or is a people pleaser. Are you clear about your requirements and do you know, in your soul, that this person is not right for you? If so, then staying in the relationship is unhealthy for both of you.

    Delaying the inevitable is dangerous to your emotional well-being. Brie, feelings are going to be hurt no matter how you break the news. More often than not, there is no easy way to tell the truth. In the long run, the truth is the best path, as I am sure you already know.

    How would you like to be told that a relationship with you is not an option? What do you want to say that you are not currently saying? How can you acknowledge the person while stating that you are on a different path and need to pursue that path without them? Thank the person for being who they are while letting them know that you do not share the same feelings for them.

    Dr. Darshana Hawks | | 704.846.0932 x11

    Lori responds ...

    Breaking up can be hard when you know the other person has strong feelings. Being honest is the best approach. A way to soften the blow would be to let him know it would not be fair to either of you to continue when you do not see a future. Be positive when talking and know ahead of time what you are going to say.

    If it applies, talk about a requirement you have that cannot get met or one he has that you cannot meet. When people understand about requirements and how important they are to sustaining a long and happy relationship, it can help with moving on. This approach should soften the hurt by giving a legitimate reason for going your separate ways.

    When you've defined your own requirements, it will be easier to find the perfect person for you. You may want to hire a relationship coach to get some clarity. Working with a coach can help you avoid dating the wrong person.

    Lori Josephs | | 248.529.3375

    Rick and Jo respond ...

    We appreciate your concern for this person; however, you are not responsible for another person's feelings. Keep reminding yourself that you are doing both of you a favor by ending something that has no future.

    Make a time for a brief face-to-face "catch-up." Prepare a script of what to say. Then when you meet, don't beat around the bush, just say your statement. Here's an example from the Conscious Dating Program: "It's been great getting to know you over the past few months. I've learned lots about myself and I appreciate the awareness that you've brought into my life. I've come to realize that we have a different vision and different goals and values, so I don't feel we would be a good match. I wish you much happiness and success finding the right one for you."

    Then leave. Do not stay to console them or justify yourself - that would be sending mixed messages. If they want to talk about it, decline. Request that they do not contact you, for say a week, after which time you'll call them to have another chat to complete whatever there is to say.

    The RCI Conscious Dating Program teaches you to be the chooser of your relationships. Being the chooser means you must un-choose people who do not meet your requirements and needs. Choosing to say "no" to the wrong people will leave you free to say "yes" to your soulmate.

    Rick and Jo Harrison | | +61.3.5420.7366

    Sheryl responds ...

    This is a common issue that comes up. You sound very sure that your feelings will never be stronger than they are right now -- in other words -- that you will not catch up with where your boyfriend is. If you are certain about this, then my advice is to be as honest as possible. When you speak with him, talk about your feelings and what you need that may not be present in your current relationship. Be careful not to say anything about what he may be lacking, etc. As long as you are open, honest and sensitive, this the best way to soften the impact. The bottom line for him is that your relationship will not continue and he has to come to terms with that fact in his own way and in his own time.

    Sheryl Spangler | | 425.522.4180

    Laura responds ...

    Sometimes it's unfortunate that relationships don't work out, other times it's a blessing. Whichever one it is, it will most likely involve hurt or sad feelings from one or both parties. It sounds like you would like to let him down easy in order to make you feel less uncomfortable.

    Here's the reality -- you can't. If you are anything less than direct, you run the risk of sending too weak of a message, thus elongating the painful process. He deserves honesty delivered in a respectful and compassionate way.

    Take some time to write down some thoughts on how you can deliver your message respectfully. You might try dialoging with a trusted friend to see how it sounds. When we say things aloud sometimes they sound different than in our minds. Good luck to you with your task as well as your future.

    Laura Moorman |

    Ann responds ...

    As a former senior executive with a human resources consulting firm, I had to assist many companies in the never-easy task of employee terminations. Breaking up with someone is a similar process.

    Begin with, "As you know ...." This causes the person to acknowledge what you're about to say. Next, state the obvious such as, "As you know, you and I have been seeing each other for X months." Explain what has occurred -- "During that time, I have enjoyed being with you, getting to know you...." State the positive here. Say some nice things about him, but don't exaggerate or patronize him.

    Continue with, "As a result, I have made a decision that you and I do not have what I am hoping to find in a relationship." You may state two or three reasons why at this point in the conversation. Next, and most importantly, clearly state you are ending the relationship. "Consequently, I have decided to ... date other people, stop seeing you, take a break from dating...," whatever fits your situation.

    It's OK to say some encouraging things to him, but don't placate him too much. Remember, it is definitely the right thing to do if you're sure he's not the one for you.

    Select a private time/place to deliver the message, do it gently (but firmly), and allow him to express his feelings. Be prepared for anger, hurt, shock, disappointment. Whatever you do, don't argue your position or justify your decision. Be clear, honest, and prepare for the conversation ahead of time.

    Ann Robbins | | 954.561.4498

    Feature Article:
    Yes! You Can Date as a Single Parent!

    by Ann Robbins

    Single parent -- the two are not mutually exclusive! You can be a great parent and still enjoy the benefits and perks of being single - including having a social life and dating - whether for fun or to find a future life partner.

    Adding children to the mix doesn't have to complicate things, but it does demand awareness, wisdom, and boundary-setting on your part. Here are some things to think about to make the most of your single parent dating experience:

    Are You Ready to Date?

    Before embarking on dating as a single parent, it is important you are ready, willing, and able to date. This means your divorce is final, legal entanglements or financial problems are behind you and custody issues are agreed upon. Support of family and friends is nice to have. Talk to them prior to beginning to date after divorce or becoming widowed. Most often you can find at least one person who is on your side and willing to be there to help if you need it.

    If you're recently divorced, your children should be reasonably adjusted to the divorce and their new life. It is also important that your relationship with your ex will not interfere with your dating. Custody arrangements and schedules should be finalized so you know your availability. If you need a babysitter in order to date, line up a few with whom you're comfortable and you consider reliable. And, most importantly, do the things necessary to ensure your children still feel like a priority.

    Talk With Your Children

    It is recommended you have a conversation with your child(ren) and let them know of your intention to date. If you already started dating, but have not talked with them yet, not to worry. It's not too late --do it now! Let your children know the reasons why you want to date, and most importantly, that you aren't trying to bring another person into their life to replace their mom/dad.

    Understand Your Children's Reactions

    Reactions will vary and at best will probably be ambivalent. Distinguish between their needs and wants and help clarify this for them. They may not WANT you to date because they NEED reassurance that your dating will not take you away from them in a detrimental way. They may have fears about your dating as well, and the more you can clarify and understand their reactions, the better you can cope with them and the more likely they will become accepting of the idea.

    It's Your Life!

    Remember, if your children react strongly and do not want you to date, you have a right (if not an obligation to yourself) to have a social life. It's very important to remember who's in charge (that would be you).

    You can listen to their concerns, but make clear to them that although you appreciate and understand their feelings, they are not decision makers in your life - you are still going to date. While you value their input, you will not allow them to decide what you do, when, and with whom.

    When to Introduce Your Date to Your Children

    Wondering about the best time to introduce your date/s to your children? Typically, not until you're both dating each other exclusively and ready to explore a permanent committed relationship. It is a bad idea, and often destructive, to expose your kids to a revolving door. It's even worse if they become attached to someone and you stop dating them. Or, you date someone they don't like for a month or two, only to break it off anyway.

    This can create confusion, worry, and insecurity for them. Also, do not have dates sleep over when your children are home unless you're exclusive and your children have met and are comfortable with your new partner. They don't have to like him/her; they just have to know him/her. The last thing you want is to have your child meet your man/lady for the first time while he/she is making coffee in your kitchen at 7 a.m.

    Observation is Key

    Be aware and observe your kids once they meet your special someone. If your partner has children, pay attention to those dynamics, too. Notice how they treat your children versus their own. Do you see any red flags such as preferential treatment?

    What is their relationship with their own children? Are your children and theirs compatible? Do they attempt to discipline your children too much or too soon? A general rule of thumb is the biological parent does most of the disciplining and maintains the primary parenting responsibility. Most importantly, evaluate and observe compatibility for the two families from a values perspective.

    Blended Families

    If you date someone with children, do some reading and research on blended families and the issues surrounding them. It's important you and your partner agree on fundamental issues and discuss issues like discipline, boundaries, expectations, etc.

    Because You're Worth It

    All too often, I hear from clients that they don't have time to date. They tell me they're too busy with work, kids, home, and other demands. While I understand busy (I raised five kids and was a single parent for many years), I also believe strongly that if you don't make time for yourself no one will do it for you. Even if you aren't dating someone, you still need a social life that does not include your children. Make yourself a priority - you're worth it.

    Copyright © 2009 by Ann Robbins. All rights reserved in all media.

    Ann Robbins
    Ann Robbins is founder and president of LifeWorks Matchmaking, a professional matchmaking and relationship coaching firm. She is a Certified Professional Matchmaker, a member of the Professional Matchmaking Network through the Matchmaking Institute of New York and a professional Relationship Coach through the Relationship Coaching Institute. 954.561.4498

    Bonus Article:
    Step Dating: Understanding the Challenges

    By Yvonne Kelly

    If you are a single person on the dating scene today, there is an excellent chance you will someday be dating a partner with children. And, of course, if you are already a single parent dating, you will definitely be in a relationship that involves your children and potentially your partner's children.

    The term Step Dating is applied when two single parents date or when a single person dates a single parent because the dynamics have so much in common with living in a stepfamily.
    I will outline two misconceptions about love in step dating relationships and seven of the steps you can take to ensure your best dating experience.

    It is important for single parents and their partners to be aware of step dynamics in order to navigate a successful step dating relationship while also safeguarding the rights and interests of the children.

    If it sounds easy, it isn't; just ask anyone who has been there and they will tell you that there are many myths or misconceptions that lead people astray. And because it can be difficult for partners to talk about sensitive issues that arise, the misconceptions persist and create unnecessary problems for the couple and children involved.

    We will touch on two common themes that tend to trip people up -- both of which revolve around a misunderstanding of the role love plays in step relationships.

    Misconception #1 Expectation that the dating partner will "love" their children

    Biological parents, of course, are not just looking for a potential mate, but are hoping to find someone that could be a suitable stepparent to his or her children. In doing so, their enthusiasm about a new relationship can often translate into expectations that their dating partner will "love" their children.

    This tends to put a lot of pressure on their partner and it is simply not a very realistic expectation. It is very important for people to know that loving the other person's child(ren) is not a prerequisite for a healthy adult relationship or even for a successful step family. As the relationship progresses, the requirements include having a healthy concern for the well-being of your partner's children, ability to understand, respect and protect their rights, and a willingness to serve as a role model and friend to them.

    But the pressure to love another person's biological children in the context of a step dating relationship almost always backfires and actually makes it harder for individuals to get to know and get close to their partner's children. It can also create resentment between the partners if unrealistic expectations go unchecked and unmet.

    Misconception #2 Love will conquer all

    It is a common misconception in dating relationships of all kinds, that love will conquer all. The truth is that almost all couples who enter into step dating relationships, and certainly the majority who go on to make a remarriage commitment, on some level, trust that their love will get them through --and yet the statistics tell us a very different story.

    We have a divorce rate, in second marriages with children, that hovers around 50-60% in Canada and 60-70% in the US. So love, alone, is not saving second marriages from the clutches of separation and divorce.

    When you cite these alarming statistics, people often respond by saying that "those other couples just didn't love each other enough," but WE DO! Being naïve about what is required beyond love in any relationship is a recipe for disaster and even more so in highly complex step relationships.

    Undeniably, love is very important, however learning what you can expect in your relationship, how to plan for it, and how to make good relationship choices will significantly increase your chances of success in step relationships.

    The reality is that step dating relationships and the step families that often result from them are more complex and come loaded with challenges that couples must prepare themselves for, in addition to cultivating and nurturing their love for one another.

    7 Steps for Step Dating Success

    The following seven steps are highly recommended to assist couples in making good relationship decisions and facing challenges they can expect in a step dating relationship.

    1. Get clear on what type of relationship you are looking for, what matters to you most and what you are willing to commit to in a relationship.

    2. Get to know each other and the children involved over a significant period of time. Observe how the children respond and interact within the new relationship.

    3. Learn everything you can about step family dynamics which are alive and well during the step dating phase.

    4. Discover what your roles with each other's children should be at the various stages of relationship development.

    5. Be honest with yourself about whether this is the right relationship for you. Don't be afraid to recognize red flags or warning signs that may be telling you this is not the right relationship for you or for you and your child(ren). Now is the time to be choosy.

    6. Recognize the prevalence and problematic nature of common misconceptions when step dating. Open up the discussions with your partner now. Avoiding these discussions will spell relationships disaster.

    7. If you are finding it difficult to discuss certain things with your partner, seek out someone trained in step dynamics to assist you in having discussions which are necessary if you want to advance the relationship.

    From step dating through to remarriage and second families, couples are required to be aware of what, beyond love, is required to make their relationships work. It begins with being able to balance the feeling aspect of romance and love with an emphasis on knowing what you are looking for in a relationship (your requirements), and making conscious choices that will satisfy your needs and requirements.

    There is a lot at stake for single parents and singles dating single parents. The importance of balancing your head's intentions with your heart's inclinations is undeniably essential.

    Copyright © 2009 by Yvonne Kelly. All rights reserved in all media.

    Yveonne Kelly
    Yvonne Kelly, MSW, RSW, is a Certified Stepfamily Coach and RCI Licensed Relationship Coach. She founded The Step and Blended Family Institute. Yvonne works with step dating couples who have children in the mix, offers Remarriage Preparation, and coaches stepfamilies to achieve successful relationships. and


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