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June 2009

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Frankie Doiron
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David Steele
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Tara Kachaturoff
Editor | Conscious Dating News

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Ask Our Coaches:
Dating the Recently Divorced: Good idea or not?

"He's been divorced 5 months....
I don't want to lose him... how long should I wait until I date him?"

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 met a great guy and really want to date him. We're both in our forties and have teen-age children. We get along well and we're both really interested in each other. There's definitely a spark/chemistry. He's been divorced 5 months after a 22-year marriage. We've gone out twice together for lunch.

I want to date him (and he's made it clear he wants to date me), but I am not sure that's the best thing to do given his recent divorce. I'm really drawn to him and I don't want to lose him--he seems like a perfect match. Yes, my heart is over-taking my common sense. He says he's ready to move on and get into a new relationship. And, I'm definitely ready. I've been divorced for several years and want to get married again.

What do you think about me dating him? My friends say it would be a big mistake and that I would be the "rebound girl." I definitely don't want that. So, if I do wait, then how long should I wait until I date him? If I wait, he may meet someone else. What's the best approach to a situation like this? How do you know if and when someone is ready to date when they've experienced a divorce? And what about just taking it slow with him - would that work? What's your advice?

Carolyn from Colorado Springs

Randy responds ...

This problem should not be posed as "date or wait." Instead, the problem should be framed as "how to find an in-between space" that will allow the relationship to grow. I know nothing about this man, but you seem to like him, so I would not count him out just because he is recently divorced. Everyone goes through hard times and that is not reason to avoid them.

However, it does not make sense to rush into this either. "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread." Take your time getting to know each other. Don't invest all your emotions and expectations with him until the relationship passes the test of time.

One of the biggest problems I see is that people jump into exclusive relationships too soon. Then they find out all the things that need fixing and all the things that can't be fixed, and then it is too hard to backtrack.

Dating, when there is a high level of attraction, takes a lot of intestinal fortitude. It is a risk. You need to ask yourself if you can withstand the risk. Assistance from a coach or therapist can help you decide, one step at a time, what is reasonable to do or not do. The path from A to Z is made up of a series of single steps - don't get ahead of yourself!

Randy Hurlburt | | 858.455.0799

Katherin responds...

I believe the timeframe of five months since his divorce isn't the issue. The issue is more about what he has accomplished in terms of healing and personal growth since he and his ex made the decision to split.

Ask yourself: How does he talk about his ex? Has he taken the time to understand what he did to contribute to the health and to the demise of his marriage? Has he learned his life lessons from the marriage, or will he make those same mistakes again? Can he be happy moving into an exclusive relationship with you or does he want to date other women?

There are no guarantees in life or love. Some people make great strides in five months; others don't make any personal progress after five years.

Before your heart (and the chemistry) takes over your logical thinking, make sure he actually meets all of your non-negotiable requirements, that he has done his personal work, and that he has the potential to add value to your life. If you've both done your work and you meet each other's requirements - go for it!

Katherin Scott | | 425.681.2620

Rick and Jo respond ...

Ah the thrill of new love! Feels great -- doesn't it? Enjoy those feelings, yet be very careful to ensure you are making a conscious choice. How long has he been separated from his former wife? This is more important in considering the risk of being a rebound girl than the date his divorce papers got stamped!

It's great that you have not given up and you want to marry again. We're sure you want this one to be your soulmate relationship, so it is critical that you be an angel, not a fool. Do not rush in! Be the chooser. Trust the attraction you feel and proceed carefully. Continue to date him, but date other men, too.

Here is a great way you can maintain contact with him, and develop the awareness, skill and attitude necessary to create a conscious soulmate relationship. Both of you could engage a RCI coach to ensure you are each aware of the critical criteria that you must have in a relationship for it to endure and flourish. At the end of the coaching program, you'll both be clear if you're a match. If yes -- great! If not, then you can support each other to attract your soulmates. Either way it's a "win-win."

Rick and Jo Harrison | | +61.3.5420.7366

Hazel responds ...

This is often a conundrum, however it doesn't mean it can't work; likewise, it doesn't mean you will be the "rebound girl." But, it can be risky! Going out with someone twice for lunch is really not long enough to make an informed decision. At this point, you are still both on your "best behavior."

He was in a long marriage and has been divorced a very short time. Even if it wasn't the greatest relationship, there are emotional ties that might need to be cut.

Right now I'm sure things seems fabulous. However, although the feelings are wonderful, it could also be infatuation at this point and that's often where people make the biggest mistake. They leap before looking. Don't jump because you're afraid he'll meet someone else.

Take your time, go slow and get to know him properly. Spend some quality time together. I would also highly encourage you not to have any kind of sex for the time being. Just because we have feelings doesn't mean we have to act on them. If this is right for you, another few months won't make any difference; it can only make it stronger.

I suggest one of the first things you do is to make sure he meets your relationship requirements. If you haven't already, read David Steele's book, Conscious Dating. It will give you a lot of great insight and help in making decisions. I also encourage you to complete the exercises that are included in the book.

Hazel Palache | | 818.972.4415

Sheryl responds ...

I don't see any reason why you shouldn't go out with him as long as you continue to date others. There isn't enough information to discern where he might be on his path since his divorce, and the length of time since a divorce does not tell the whole story. It's possible there was a long separation prior to divorce or that he had made an emotional break well before the legal break.

A concern in your note is that you have already decided that he could be your "perfect match." Do you know what qualities your perfect match should have? Does he have those qualities? It is important to find out if he does and the only way to do that is to take time to get to know him.

If you haven't done so yet, spend some time thinking about what you require in a relationship. These are the deal breakers -- non-negotiable qualities that you need to be present in order for a relationship to be successful for you. Be objective and pay attention to red flags that come up. Requirements cannot be adjusted to fit a person; they are either met or not. Staying true to your requirements and remaining non-exclusive gives you objectivity while you are getting to know someone. Good luck to you.

Sheryl Spangler | | 704.281.1561

Feature Article:
Being Single - A Golden Opportunity
to Prepare for the Life and Relationship You Want

by Ann Robbins

A client of mine recently said, "I love my life. If I had someone to share it with, that would be great. But, if I don't find him, that's OK too." She is a successful single!

She has put time and energy into herself and her life and has not allowed a yet-to-be-found partner take focus off her goal - to be the best person she can be. She is also relationship ready. She's not looking for someone else to make her happy - she's already happy - truly living her life as a "successful single."

What do You Want?

When is the last time you asked yourself, "What do I want to do, be, and have?" This is not only fun, it's enlightening. Look ahead to the next ten years. Make three lists, with about twenty-five to thirty items in each, of what you want to do, be, and have. And, don't forget the small things.

Your list may include things like, I want to travel, I want to learn to play golf, I want to be a mentor to a child, I want to go back to school, and I want to have a summer home in the mountains. What is standing in your way? What is one thing you could do today to get one step closer? Start small. Do it in manageable steps, one piece at a time. And who knows? Taking golf lessons just might enable you to meet someone special!

Be True to Yourself

Next, examine your values. These are the essence of who you are. They encompass things like integrity, authenticity, balance, wisdom, and passion. Values are what drive us. They govern our decision-making, our life choices, our day-to-day functioning.

When we live our lives in alignment with our values, everything is in sync. Our lives have meaning and purpose. Conversely, when we ignore our values and are living a life that conflicts with our internal navigation system, we get off course and we feel the conflict. It can manifest itself in the form of anxiety, depression, or restlessness, and can even make us ill.

Make a list of your values and pick your top five. Write a definition of each, describing what they mean to you. Do the same thing for your ideal partner. Your partner's values may or may not be exactly the same as yours. Defining realistically what your partner needs to look like - on the inside - will help you determine if someone is right for you.

Relationship Requirements

Now, define your relationship requirements. This is a critical step to clarifying what that relationship must look like. Requirements are not the "nice to haves." They are the things that, if missing, would cause you to walk away from a relationship. Requirements tend to be black and white, and are often referred to as "non-negotiables." For example, if one of your requirements is, "I must have someone who will accept my children as their own," then if this is missing for you, it would cause you to walk away.

Be sure your requirements truly are requirements. Always ask yourself, "If I met a terrific person, but one of these requirements was missing, would I walk away?" If the answer is "yes," it is, indeed, a requirement. Try to keep your list to about five to seven items. If you have more than that, this ideal person probably does not exist. Be sure you're being realistic and that each requirement truly is a concrete non-negotiable.

Knowing your requirements will enable you to quickly assess if a potential partner is right for you. Ask questions early-on, when getting to know someone, to uncover whether your requirements will be met. Check for alignment with your values and the desired values of your partner. This will prevent you from wasting time and learning important things too late.

Your Needs and Wants

Think about the things you need, but don't necessarily require, from a relationship. Begin with your relationship with yourself. Needs typically remain constant, while wants can change over time. You might need to play tennis each week for physical and social enjoyment, and if you skip a week or two, you feel a strong void. You may want a certain racquet, or want to play on a specific court.

The same is true in relationships. Relationship needs are different from your relationship requirements in that needs are negotiable, requirements are not. When one or more of your needs are unmet, it is critical to address it and seek resolution.

Suppose one of the things you feel you need is someone to help you with the household chores. Or, on the emotional side, you need someone who shows affection and expresses love on a daily basis. These things can be negotiated by voicing your concern, clearly discussing expectations, and agreeing on the outcome.

The Dating Game

Date a variety of people on a non-exclusive basis. Enjoy yourself and strive toward living as a "successful single" in alignment with your values and goals. Sort and screen potential partners and learn what they're about and whether they meet your requirements.

Have the courage to walk away if you know someone is not right for you, and never ever talk yourself into a relationship. Listen to your friends. Sometimes, friends and family spot red flags you might choose to ignore. If more than one of your close friends or family doesn't feel good about someone you're dating, pay attention! They may be spotting something you're missing.

Are You the One for Me?

Doing the up-front inner work, defining who you are, and who you'd like to be, what you'd like to do and have, clarifying what you must have from a relationship partner, and not settling for less, are all great steps toward relationship readiness and truly becoming a "successful single." When the 'right one' walks into the room, you'll recognize him/her and you'll be ready!

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:
First Date Dating Tips - Part 1 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 so stay tuned for Part 2 in an upcoming edition of Conscious Dating Singles News.

Tara Kachaturoff
Editor, Relationship Coaching Institute

Dating Tip #1: Let your date get to know you by expressing confident body language

A person's body language speaks volumes! Learn to express confident body language on your dates - especially your first date, as this is a crucial time when first impressions are formed. Confident body language makes you look more attractive and allows your date to feel more comfortable.

What does confident body language look like? A welcoming smile, direct eye contact (more is better), open body language with your body clearly facing towards them and your arms at your sides, not crossed defensively in front of you - these are all signs of open and engaging body language. Also, nod slowly as you listen to your date speak and reach out and touch their arm or hand if you're drawn to them!

Katherin Scott | | 425.681.2620

Dating Tip #2: Find something of positive value that will make it worthwhile to have a second date

Too often people judge a book by its cover and miss out on good opportunities to get to know another person. Nearly everyone has something of value to offer us, so it is healthy to find out what that may be. Don't get trapped in the mind-set of, "I can only date one person, so they must be perfect." You can get to know several people simultaneously, fill your various need "niches," and allow yourself to learn who "the one" is -- slowly. Unless your dating calendar is already very full, you can use this time to cultivate new friends on many levels. A second date is not a commitment to marriage, so don't be too quick to close the book!

Randy Hurlburt | | 858.455.0799

Dating Tip #3: Chemistry may be immediately apparent, but maturity takes time to evaluate

One of the biggest dangers in the dating game is getting too involved too soon. The initial feeling and flutter of "chemistry" may make you want to have more dates, have sex, and think about all sorts of future possibilities. But, the other half of the love equation is "emotional maturity," and this is very important.

The person's ability to listen to your feelings, make and keep commitments, etc., are critical to the success of the relationship. We all tend to put our best foot forward in the beginning, so it's best to wait at least three to six months before getting more heavily involved, and then, make a careful assessment of his or her emotional maturity.

Randy Hurlburt | | 858.455.0799

Dating Tip #4: Turn off your cell phone and pay attention to your date

When you go on your first date, or any date for that matter, it is important that you turn off your cell phone. Your date deserves your undivided attention and should not have to compete with calls, emails or text messages from friends and family members. Besides that, it is rude to take phone calls and send text messages when you are on a date. It sends the message that you are more interested in talking on the phone than being with your date. So, let your friends and family know in advance that you will be unavailable for a few hours and that your cell phone will be turned off.

LaTricia Smith | | 1.888.568.9619

Dating Tip #5: Free your heart, clear your mind

Hopefully, on your date, no unwanted guests will be tagging along! These unwanted tag-alongs could be lingering hurts and unresolved feelings, or judgments, fears, beliefs, attitudes, and/ or fantasies for this date to live up to. Just like you get ready physically for a date, get ready emotionally as well. See if you can allay, soothe or put aside any angst that could sabotage a potentially positive connection.

By working with a relationship coach, you can learn to attract and/or keep the right healthy, loving relationship. Journaling and meditating could help you feel present. To add an upsurge of positive energy, try a few minutes of deep breathing, belly laughing, hearty singing, dancing, drumming, or walking in nature. Enjoy!

Annette Carpien | | 610.428.2755

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Tara Kachaturoff | Editor, Conscious Dating Newsletter for Singles

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