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Ask Our Coaches:
How should I handle a challenging future in-law?
"How do I tell my
girlfriend her mother is
coming on to me and that she won't stop?"
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.
I've been dating a woman (Jennifer - not her real name) for 5 months.
I'm 35 and she's 29. I know she's the woman I want to marry. I haven't
said anything because I plan to date at least a year before proposing.
I don't even bring up the topic of marriage. I love her and I've told
her that. She feels the same. So the relationship is great, with one
exception - her mother.
I have a serious problem
on my hands. What I'm going through could be a scene right out of the
movie, 'The Graduate'. Her mother makes inappropriate comments to me
when Jennifer is not in the room. She's even called me more than a few
times at the office and invited me to family gatherings and told me I
can drop by 'early' before everyone else arrives.
She's come on to me
several times. I've told her I'm not interested. She never gets angry
with my rebuffs, but that doesn't stop her from continuing the
behavior. She's married - to a wealthy, well-known philanthropist in
our community. She's really attractive - she's sexy, in great shape,
well-preserved, and a very young 51--certainly not out of the realm of
someone I 'could' date. But, I'm not interested in her - on any level
-- and the thought of that actually repulses me. I've never given her
any indication that I have any interest in her - none.
How do I tell my
girlfriend her mother is coming on to me and that she won't stop?
Jennifer and her mother are so close. If can't stop her mother's
lecherous behavior I might lose Jennifer. And, what if her father
should find out? What can I do to stop the mother's behavior? How can I
explain this to Jennifer? This could be my future mother-in-law! Am I
in an impossible situation? What's your advice?
You wrote: What can I do to stop the mother's behavior? It's your job
to set and maintain your personal boundary -- not 'stop' Jennifer's
mother's behavior. I know this might sound simplistic, but setting
boundaries with your words and congruent behavior is the essential
skill that is called for in this situation.
First, become willing to honor yourself and set and maintain boundaries
when you are not being treated with respect and regard. Second, decide
what specific words and behaviors you'll use when someone's behavior is
unacceptable, whether you're in the same room or on the phone.
People routinely behave unacceptably with us because we let them. When
we become unavailable for unacceptable behavior (set boundaries),
people will stop.
Example: If you are in
the same room, the moment she makes an inappropriate comment, raise
your right hand, palm facing outward, arm extended out from your
shoulder and say, "Stop, this is unacceptable!" Then turn around and
Example: If you are on the phone and she begins to say things that are
inappropriate, say, "I'm hanging up now; this kind of talk is
unacceptable." Then hang up.
I'm certain this sounds rude or mean. Expect to be uncomfortable when
you first practice setting boundaries. It's an important skill that may
be unfamiliar and one you may not have any practice with. I encourage
you to decide to become willing to learn and practice this important
skill even if it sounds and feels like being rude or disrespectful in
Jackie Black, Ph.D. |
I wouldn't say you
are in an impossible situation. It sounds like you've been diligent in
trying to take care of this on your own. However, at this point I would
strongly suggest having an honest conversation with your girlfriend.
Let her know everything that has happened and how you genuinely feel
Her mother's behavior is
putting you in a very compromising position and it could jeopardize the
relationship. The bottom line is she has a right to know. In addition,
you have a right to have a healthy dating experience.
The next step would be to decide how you and your girlfriend will move
forward. If her mom exercises no change, what will the two of you do?
I believe it's crucial for you to have a plan in place and not just
assume that the behavior will stop. It may not. This may be an area
that calls for professional help. You cannot control her behavior, but
you don't necessarily have to tolerate it either.
Since you are considering
marriage, I'm sure this is an issue you want to have resolved as
quickly as possible. This may be an emotional time for your girlfriend,
so continue to be supportive, but be clear about your boundaries as
Liz Reed| www.JustBelieveCoaching.com
It seems you truly love
"Jennifer," and hopefully she is equally in love with you. It appears
that you have so far been able to handle this situation on your own,
and that is to your credit.
In my mind, the key is that you have only known Jennifer for 5 months.
I wholeheartedly agree with dating for at least a year before
proposing, and it seems to me best to also wait a similar amount of
time to bring up the sensitive subject of her mother.
Right now Jennifer is probably more connected to her mother than she is
to you. My advice is to wait until you feel sure that Jennifer is more
connected to you than to her mother. That would be the time to propose
marriage, if the relationship is still good, and also the time to
discuss with Jennifer the situation with her mom, if it is still a
Since your conversations with her mother are not helping, and if it
continues, then I think you will have to bring Jennifer into your
confidence. At that time Jennifer can say, "Just don't worry about it,
that's how she is," or "I'll take care of it," or "Let's move to
Chicago," or any one of a number of possible solutions. There will be
more solutions available and a greater chance of success if you wait
until it is safe to bring Jennifer into your confidence.
Randy Hurlburt | www.PartnersinLoveandCrime.com
I can see why you would
be concerned. If you are truly serious about wanting to marry your
girlfriend, I would clarify with her mother exactly how you feel. Leave
no room for any misunderstanding regarding the situation. If you make
it clear what your intent is with her daughter (including how you feel
about Jennifer), and that you find it inappropriate for her to come on
to you, she should back off.
Of course, there is a
chance she may not. Your description of her tells me she is really out
of touch. Not only is she married, she is hitting on the man her
daughter is dating. This means she may not have any boundaries, and she
may keep it up. If she continues this behavior after your talk, I would
then approach your girlfriend and tell her what is happening.
You are going to have to
deal with your girlfriend possibly not believing you. She could take
her mother's side. Just be prepared for that. The outcome, no matter
what, will be the right one when you do what is best for you. Stay true
You are in a difficult
position, and hopefully talking to the mother will clear things up.
Just remember that dealing with and ending this situation now is the
best approach. If you really want to marry Jennifer, make sure you are
not presented with this problem for years to come. Good luck!
Josephs | www.MyDatingBlueprint.com
and Jo respond ...
We recommend you follow
standard procedure for dealing with sexual harassment:
First, write down in a
diary some notes that summarize each of the events and continue to do
Tell the mother, in direct language, that her approaches are unwelcome.
If she persists, tell her again and warn her that you will be forced to
discuss the issue with her daughter.
Don't be bluffed. If she's trying it with you, she's tried it before.
In fact it's probably a familiar problem. If she still doesn't back
off, discuss it with Jennifer. Beforehand, write down how you want to
tell her and practice it. Be clear on why you are telling Jennifer --
out of love for her and your regard for her family.
Do not go into a marriage with this matter hidden. You can resolve this
situation with compassion, common sense and dignity. If you do not
address this, it will come back to haunt you in the future! Tread
carefully. There is truth in the saying, "Hell hath no fury like a
woman scorned." If Jennifer turns on you, you'll have had a glimpse of
your likely future with that family and you are better off out of there!
and Jo Harrison | www.SecretsToSoulmateSuccess.com
Social Networking: The Basics
This month, RCI coach
Katherin Scott talks about looking for love online. She discusses what
social networking is, how to get ready to go online, dating
precautions, and also provides helpful tips on what you can do now to
meet the love of your life.
Editor, Relationship Coaching Institute
Can you tell us a little bit about social networking?
Social Networking -- perhaps you've heard of it before but aren't quite
sure what it means. Basically, social networking is the grouping of
individuals who share interests or activities into specific groups or
communities. Most social networking services are web based and provide
a variety of ways for users to interact, such as through email and
instant messaging services, postings and chat rooms.
Social networking has
encouraged new ways for people to communicate and share information.
These online sites are regularly being used by millions of people.
One example of social
networking is the thousands of online dating sites that have sprung up
in the last decade. Much like the personal ads that singles used to
post in local newspapers, online dating ads are now posted online, and
thanks to emerging technology, include pictures, audio, video and all
sorts of information for finding love online.
It's estimated that 40
million Americans use online dating services. That's about 40% of the
adult American single population. It's not just a fad anymore, and it
just might be your ticket to finding happiness.
What should you do to prepare yourself before you network with other
Because there are so many online dating sites, large, small and
boutique, it's important to do your homework before joining any
Be clear. Take your time
to research those sites where the members have similar interests and
values. Know who you are and know who you're looking to meet.
Understand your values, life purpose, temperament, strengths and
weaknesses. If you're not certain about your requirements in a
relationship, hire a relationship coach! RCI relationship coaches are
professionals who can help you achieve your relationship goals.
Spend the time to
understand if you're ready for a committed relationship, and if you
are, stay available and continue to scout out and evaluate potential
partners. If you're not quite prepared to commit, be honest about your
intentions. Focus on your life and date non-exclusively for fun.
Be Yourself. Create your
profile with enough detail so that people will know what you're about
and who you're looking to meet. Let your personality shine through and
let your profile filter prospects for you.
Be Cautious. A lot of
strangers -- yes, strangers -- will be reading your information online.
Use caution when writing your ad and disclose only the appropriate
amount of personal information.
What are the best social networking venues online to meet singles? What
about on-site venues?
I recommend singles post their profiles on two different types of
online dating sites:
#1 A large, general
site such as Match.com, YahooPersonals.com or PlentyOfFish.com, and
#2 A more specific,
boutique site such as Fitness-Singles.com, JDate.com,
SingleParentsMingle.com, or InterracialPassions.com. Believe me, there
are boutique sites for all kinds of people and tastes!
For on-site venues, I
recommend Speed Dating events and local singles groups and clubs, such
as your church's singles group or a hiking club for singles. These
venues will offer you the best success because the members are
pre-qualified as single, available, and share your interests and/or
What are three mistakes that singles make when it comes to social
networking and how can they avoid them?
One key mistake that singles make online is not telling the truth. I'm
not really sure how posting a picture of yourself taken 10 years ago is
going to help you find the love of your life today. Or, how shaving 5
years off your real age, or failing to mention the 60 pounds you've
gained since your picture was taken or the head of hair that's now
somehow vanished will either.
Bottom line - tell the
truth. If you do decide to meet the person you've been corresponding
with, you'll have nothing to hide - or explain - when you meet in
Here's another mistake.
If you're serious about finding the love of your life online, not
posting a picture online is a mistake. According to economists at MIT
and University of Chicago, profiles with photos get over twice as many
emails as profiles without them. Just to be sure, go ahead and put that
photo out there on your profile.
Finally, another mistake
singles make online dating is to post their picture, write an amazing
profile and then just wait for someone to choose them. Take initiative
and responsibility for your outcomes instead of simply reacting to
people who choose you. Go ahead - initiate contact with that cute guy
or gal whose ad made your heart skip a beat! Create what you want in
What types of precautions should singles take when meeting others?
Be Safe. If you both
decide you want to meet, be sure you have exchanged recent photographs,
then talk on the phone first. The phone call is the place to get a feel
for their personality. Make it a sort of pre-date "interview."
How well do they
communicate? Do they listen and seem genuinely interested in your
answers? Do they have a sense of humor? Are they triggering feelings
and responses in you that are reminiscent of past partners that didn't
If the phone call was
acceptable, meeting in-person is the next step. Be sure to always meet
in a public place - no exceptions. And always tell someone where you're
going and how long you plan to be there.
Schedule a short date
that has a built-in end to it, like a cup of coffee or lunch during a
work day. If you're getting along well, you can always extend the time
together, or better yet, schedule a time to meet again.
In your opinion, what's the fastest and easiest way to meet the love of
If you want to find the love of your life fast:
#1 Know your
requirements --your 'must-have's' in a relationship. Do not settle for
the wrong person who just doesn't meet them.
#2 Spend time in
appropriate venues where people are single, of the sex you're
interested in, and who share your values and beliefs. Going to a
quilting class of all married women may be fun, but unless they're
willing to set you up with their husband's single male friends, you'll
be better off choosing a different venue.
#3 Be open. Even though
the goal of finding a life partner may be a serious goal for you, have
fun on the journey! Remember to not take things personally. Re-evaluate
your strategies, if necessary, and update your profile and requirements
as you gain more clarity.
#4 Be focused. Use your
time wisely on the internet and when dating. Have a plan for how you're
going to scout out, sort through, and screen potential partners. Know
how to exit a bad date and a bad relationship.
#5 Persist, persist,
persist. It may take time to meet the love of your life. If you're
having fun and meeting interesting people, keep it up! However, if the
process is getting you down, take a break. Come back at a later time
for a fresh start. Remember to keep things in perspective, be able to
laugh at yourself, and know that a sense of humor is the number one
romantically attractive trait.
2009 by Katherin Scott. All rights reserved in all media.
is an internationally recognized authority on dating and attracting
love. She has devoted her life to the pursuit of love and romance for
the millions of single people who want love in their lives. She coaches
worldwide and regularly conducts seminars and workshops to help people
empower themselves to find love and happiness. www.KatherinScott.com
First Date Dating Tips - Part 2 of 2
Are you getting ready to
go on a first date? Want a hint or two about what to do - or not do?
Our RCI relationship coaches have provided some great tips to help you
make the first date a great one. We're publishing these helpful hints
as part of a two-part series. Part 1 was published in our June 2009
edition of Conscious Dating Singles News.
Editor, Relationship Coaching Institute
Tip #6: You never have a second chance to make a first impression, so
be prepared in three dimensions.
By being set up by a
mutual friend and speaking briefly on the phone, you hopefully already
have some information about your date. However, little from that
two-dimensional introduction will compare to what you'll experience
when you first meet live-and-in-person. That's why it's important to
prepare your presentation.
Be sure to be neatly and
attractively dressed, prepare a couple of current event topics to
discuss, and have two tasteful jokes in your pocket ready-to-go. Feel
free to continue discussing what you learned about your date with your
relationship coach as well. Most importantly, pay attention to what
you're thinking and feeling in all three dimensions (intellectually,
emotionally and chemistry-wise) to help you decide about a second date.
D. Bennett, Ph.D. | www.DoctorLoveCoach.com
Dating Tip #7: Think of the date as though you are
beginning of a new and deep friendship first.
Many men and women behave
as though they are being set up for an arranged marriage that will
transpire the night of the first date! Stop the insanity of creating
self-imposed pressure and stress. Instead, think of your first date as
though you are creating the beginning of a new and deep friendship.
Have no expectations about the outcome.
By making this simple
shift in thinking, you will find yourself naturally being more
confident, comfortable, being yourself, and enjoying the present
moment. Find something good about the experience even if you are simply
getting practice in meeting new people, learning how to have
conversations with different personalities, or just learning how to
have fun in any situation.
Hawks | www.RelationshipSuccessSource.com
| 704.846.0932 x11
Dating Tip #8: Creating a clear intention for a date,
based on sorting
and screening principles, is the secret to success!
Life obeys our
intentions, not our expectations. Creating a clear intention for a
date, based on sorting and screening principles, is the secret to
success! The intentions of a first date are to quickly sort the person
in or out of your future dating plans.
Take the initiative and
commence an exchange of information. Look for signals that let you see
if the person is a viable contender, and also if you are viable for
them! Share about yourself and ask questions to assess whether they
meet your requirements. If you sort them in, set up a next date for
further screening. If you sort them out - don't burn your bridges -
they can become a great contact and advocate for you.
& Jo Harrison | www.SoulmateSuccess.com
Dating Tip #9: Keep it simple and meet for coffee /
tea on your first
date to get them 'wanting more' of you!
The purpose of a first
date is to get to know one another better. Keep it simple and meet for
coffee or tea for a maximum of 30-60 minutes. It's inexpensive,
convenient and public (for safety reasons).
If you don't "click,"
you'll most likely know in 30 minutes. Just finish your coffee, let
them know you enjoyed talking with them and that you don't think the
two of you are a good match.
If you do like each
other, you can easily plan for a follow-up date. By keeping the time
limited, you will leave your date wanting to know more about you and
you'll both be looking forward to your second date.
Scott | www.KatherinScott.com
Tip #10: Consider your date has on a big red bow and no matter how the
date turns out, it is a gift.
You attract everything
that comes into your life and there is a gift in everything you
attract. You both chose to meet so the experience is a gift for both of
Before meeting the
person, clear yourself so there is space to create something positive.
On the date, speak so
that you touch them emotionally -- thereby making a connection. Let the
person know you appreciate meeting them. Whatever the present moment
contains, accept it as if you have chosen it.
Rich | www.marcyrich.com
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Links to Us
Tara Kachaturoff | Editor,
Conscious Dating Newsletter for Singles
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Copyright © 2009
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