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May 2009

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Ask Our Coaches:
Help! I'm attracted to my girlfriend's sister!

"What do you do when you find you're attracted
to your girlfriend's sister or her best friend?"

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've been dating Jessica (not her real name) for 4 months. We're both in our early thirties, both happen to own businesses which are thriving even in this down economy, and we're both focused on finding the right person for a long-term commitment - marriage and kids - we're both ready for that. It's fun, exciting, and we have a lot in common.

Two months ago, I met her family and was introduced to her other siblings - she has two younger sisters. Great family, parents love me - they're really social, have a lot of gatherings so I'm spending more time at their home now that I've been introduced. I feel like I've found a great second family!

But there's one huge problem. She has a sister who is just 2 years younger - she's single, very sexy, and intelligent - an amazing woman on so many levels. I'm very attracted to her and we really hit it off. I'm finding myself thinking about her all the time and am drawn to her - physically, mentally, and emotionally.

She's not too shy about sharing her interest in me either - as we've had a few chats privately when we've been at some family gatherings. I hate to say this, but I'm just not that into Jessica anymore and I'm afraid it's getting harder and harder for me to hide that fact. I really want her sister.

What's your advice? I want to date her sister, but that can only lead to a disaster. What do you do when you find you're attracted to your girlfriend's sister or even her best friend? I'm sure I'm not the first guy that this has ever happened to, and I'm certain I won't be the last. What should I do?

Paul from Palo Alto

Darshana responds ...

Are you sure the younger sister is totally into you? Do you know if the two sisters have a competitive pattern when it comes to dating and relationships? If you're absolutely certain about not being into Jessica and you feel that her younger sister is more of a match for a lifelong relationship, here are your options:

Option 1: Be noble and honest: Speak to Jessica and let her know what has happened, assuring her that this was by no means intentional. Ask her permission to speak to her parents and younger sister. Then speak to the parents about what has happened and then the sister. Being honest is the best way for your heart and soul to remain intact.

Option 2: Sneak around: Date the sister and not tell anyone. Doing this behind everyone's back certainly will lend itself to more dire consequences than being honest. Neither of you will be in integrity. At some point you will either realize you want to take the relationship further or not. Either way, sneaking around, especially during holidays when family time is expected, will be difficult on the new relationship and cause unnecessary stress.

Option 3: Use time as a tool: You can end it with Jessica nobly, as it sounds like you are headed in that direction anyway. Allow several months to elapse and do not contact anyone in her family for a while. Then initiate contact with the sister and start dating her. Do consider having a conversation with Jessica to let her know you would like to go out with her sister.

Dr. Dar | | 704.846.0932 x11

Liz responds ...

Paul, this is a challenging position to be in. Our feelings often possess so much energy that we find it difficult to keep from acting on them. However, it is possible to shift your focus and exercise your willpower. My suggestion for you is to explore your values and morals on this issue. Seek to balance your head with your heart. Remember, what feels good to us, isn't always the best thing for us.

This could be a sign that your requirements are not being met in the relationship with Jessica. Your requirements are what you must have in order for your relationship to work. If you have not identified your requirements, I would suggest working with a RCI coach. It may also be helpful for you to consider whether your intention is still to be in a committed relationship. If not, that's okay. Just be honest with yourself and your partner.

Liz Reed | | 817.992.0150

Randy responds ...

My suggestion is to continue to enjoy both women as friends, and have a serious private chat with the sister to be sure she wants to date you (no sex!). If so, you can gradually detach from Jessica while having fun with both of them.

Jessica will probably see the writing on the wall, so when you talk to her, which you will need to do, it will not be such a surprise, though she will still be hurt. You might suggest "dating" both of them, in a light-hearted way, which Jessica will likely reject -- but you never know. In this way, she is making the choice.

Keep in mind that there is no guarantee this will succeed with the sister, even if she wants to date you. You don't know her very well. And, for that matter you don't know Jessica very well, after only four months. If you make this change, it should be with full awareness that it is just one more experiment. You do have the right to experiment until you find the person that is right for you -- which may or may not be the sister.

This is a very tricky juggling act, and there is a good chance you will lose both of them in the process. However, if you are clear in your own mind that you are ready to move on from Jessica, then you can take the risk, and be prepared to accept whatever outcome results. Good luck!

Randy Hurlburt | | 858.455.0799

Lori responds ...

You're right. You are not alone in this situation. The first thing to consider doing would be ending your relationship with Jessica. Clearly you cannot move on with someone when you have developed feelings for another person. The fact you have feelings for her sister is a tough situation. No matter what you do, if you pursue her sister, it will hurt Jessica.

My suggestion would be to think long and hard about the consequences of pursuing a relationship with her sister. It is not just what it would do to Jessica, but also, most likely, her family will not approve, which may cause problems for your new relationship.

Consider working with a relationship coach to see what's really going on. Sometimes what is forbidden is what is so attractive about someone. Once it all comes out, and it's no longer a secret, the attraction and excitement may go away. Make sure you are not setting yourself up for that.

Finally, look at your values and vision and see what it is you really want, and if you are ready for a committed relationship. By working with a coach you can make the best decision given your situation. You can also find out more about yourself and grow as a person. Good luck with your decision.

Lori Josephs | | 248.529.3375

Michelle responds ...

I agree with you that dating your girlfriend's sister "can only lead to a disaster." That's thinking about it logically. And yet you are attracted to her -- which is emotional thinking. My first reaction is to say, "Get out! Get out now!"

You're right that this is a huge problem. Here's a scenario you may not have thought of: Think of all the movies out there with a younger sister/best friend who delights in seducing the boyfriend/husband away from her older sister/best friend only to dump him after she's gotten her way and wreaked havoc in her family, destroying the happiness of her sister/best friend and lover in the process.

I have no idea if this is the case, however, it's something to consider. What worries me is that you say she's, "not too shy about sharing her interest in me either." In my mind, this smacks of game-playing and I would proceed with extreme caution.

You also describe your relationship with Jessica, whom you've been dating for only 4 months as "we're both focused on finding the right person for a long-term commitment - marriage ...." That sounds pretty serious.

If you are that easily swayed by another woman, I would challenge you to slow down regarding both women. You may not be ready for any type of relationship right now. Take some time to work on your requirements, needs, and wants instead of trying to date either sister.

Michelle E. Vásquez, MS, LPC | |714.717.5744

Rick and Jo respond ...

Paul, good for you for seeking advice before you leave a trail of destruction in your wake! Beware the misinterpretation of being attracted to someone.

Attraction is important in a relationship, but it does not mean anything other than chemistry. It's nature's way of ensuring the procreation of the human species - but nature doesn't care if you wreak havoc in a family or whether you have a great relationship or a disastrous one.

You have fallen into a common pitfall for many singles. You've been acting committed without being committed. And, being committed is a black and white thing. If you were truly committed to Jessica, you would have shared this problem with her, knowing that your commitment to each other and your commitment to your life purpose, honoring your shared values above all else, will see you through. Right now, it sounds a bit like you want to know how you can have your cake and eat it, too!

Speak to Jessica and tell her you really care about her and her family and that you want to be really clear about what you want to create as a future relationship before proceeding any further down the path to commitment.

Take a step back from Jessica, her sister and her family and work with a RCI coach to get really clear about your life purpose, your vision, and your essential elements for your soulmate relationship. Once you are clear about that, you'll know how to move forward with honor and integrity.

Rick and Jo Harrison | | +61.3.5420.7366

Feature Article:
Soulmates 101

This month, relationship coaches Rick and Jo Harrison, of Soulmate Success, discuss soulmates - what they are, how to know when you've found yours, and what you can do to find and attract your soulmate if you haven't already.

Tara Kachaturoff
Editor, Relationship Coaching Institute

Tara: What is a soulmate?

Rick: There is actually no such word in the dictionary! It's a new word created by connecting "soul" and "mate." There's no definition of soulmate, but a search on the internet will yield lots of definitions. Our personal definition is:

A soulmate is someone who has embarked on a process of self-awareness, who, like you, has realized that there are patterns and beliefs that they follow automatically and which lead them to misery. They have the ability to recognize these limiting patterns and beliefs and choose consciously so they can create the life and relationship that they want. Your soulmate has a life purpose and values that align/resonate with yours. 

Jo: You co-create a vision for your relationship that holds you together through the rough passages, and as your relationship grows, you get to fall in love with each other again and again.

Tara: Some people believe when it comes to "soulmates" there is only ONE person in the world meant for them - that there is only one perfect man or woman who could ever fully complete them, "get them," love them, etc. What are your thoughts on this?

Rick: We do believe there is more than one soulmate out there for each of us. We are all individual pulses of energy and are all connected to, and a part of, the total energy of the universe. Our souls connect us to the totality.

When soulmates connect, the souls that could have been other possibilities innately know about the connection. These former possibilities align with and then support the new soulmate couple and cease being possibilities. We relate to this as a context - not as truth or dogma.

Also, we think it's possible to have business soulmates, sport soulmates, friend soulmates as well as love soulmates.

Jo: A "soulmate" does not complete a person. A "soulmate" is provided to help you learn what you need to know about yourself and to help you grow to be the best "you" that you want to be. A soulmate shares in the setbacks and victories you experience in your personal journey.

Tara: How do you know when you've met your soulmate? How will it be different from meeting someone who is not necessarily your soulmate?

Rick: This may sound like one of those paradoxical responses. When you meet your soulmate there is no attachment or drive to be with them. It's a conscious choice that somehow leads to a deep knowing, so that there is a sense of coming home when you're with this person, even though you may have only been dating for a few months.

Through the conscious co-creation of your relationship (wherein you've shared your personal vision and life purpose, and then co-created the shared vision of your relationship) there is a real soul-felt merging of your futures.

Is there attraction? Yes, absolutely, but the attraction is not the all-consuming kind of attraction that most of us have experienced or continue to experience -- the lust and euphoria that lasts a short time until reality bites!
When I met Jo it was like this: The force of attraction - that instant chemistry hit - was not overpowering, yet I knew the first time we kissed that we could have a great sex life.

Jo: To me it's an unshakeable knowing, a soul connection and recognition, like you have met before - but you actually haven't. It's a kind of love-at-first-sight experience of instantly knowing the soul of another.

Rick: My experience with Jo was that I found myself being a very interested observer of my connection to her, as opposed to being driven to hook up because of hormones and chemicals.

Jo: I realized that Rick's physiology was the complete opposite of what I was usually attracted to. I normally went for guys that were slim and muscular and at least 6ft 3in, with dark hair -- exactly how my father looked! Rick was 6ft and very stocky with the salt 'n pepper look going on.
In my past relationships I had always worried because I knew they weren't for me, even though there was a strong physical attraction. With Rick it was the opposite -- I had this experience of complete peace. I knew on a soul level he was the one for me.

The best part for us is that the physical attraction grows and grows -- which is the opposite of what most other couples experience.

Another thing we noticed was that when looking to the future, we tended to  look at a much bigger picture. We found ourselves focusing on how we were going to impact the quality of life on the planet - and we chose to do so as a unified team. Soulmates can also choose to follow their individual purpose and still be highly supportive of  each other.

Tara: What's the best way to attract your soulmate? And where are the best places where you might find him or her?

Rick: Be clear about your requirements, needs and wants. Design your soulmate relationship with your requirements and needs being met. From there, create your blueprint or "Wanted Poster" so the universe can help you attract your soulmate. Be realistic and responsible about who YOU need to be in order to fulfill your part of that soulmate relationship. Take on the personal development necessary to BE the soulmate that your soulmate is looking for!

Jo: Mindset is critical. I tell my clients "the person you're looking for is looking for you." There is no scarcity unless you say there is. Be the chooser, be accountable for your own growth and fulfillment, and take your time.

You must ensure that your physical environment matches your intention - make sure there is room in your garage for your soulmate's car; leave room in your wardrobe for their clothes; sleep on one side of your bed. If you find yourself resisting these ideas, you may need to work on your limiting beliefs. The best places to find your soulmate are places that are aligned with your values. Rick and I met at a personal development program where we were both contributing to others.

Rick: And you could say, the price of soulmate success is vigilance - or put another way - you need to be present, aware and available so that you don't miss your soulmate (wherever you are) by putting your attention on the wrong person.

Tara: The inability to find a soulmate can seem like the perfect excuse for never committing to anyone. Rather than adopting this limiting thought and behavior, how can singles who have not yet met their "soulmate" enjoy their lives in the meantime - that is - until they find their soulmate?

Jo: Get clear on your life purpose and vision and start living it! Create the space in your life for your soulmate. If you work 70 hours a week, you are sending a very clear message to the universe that you don't have time for your soulmate.

The best way to receive is to give. If you want to be "in love" then be "in love" with yourself and your life. When you create that feeling you become an extremely powerful magnet for your soulmate!

Rick: Like Henry Ford said, "Think you can, think you can't; either way, you'll be right." No one is attracted to resignation or desperation. No one enjoys being with someone who is resigned or desperate or needy. Don't repel your soulmate -- attract him or her!

Be authentic in all that you say and do so that both your spoken and unspoken communication is a true reflection of who you are. When you love the game of life and are happy and fulfilled being single, you will be irresistible!

Copyright © 2009 by Rick and Jo Harrison. All rights reserved in all media.

Rick and Jo Harrison
Rick and Jo Harrison both made classic relationship mistakes before choosing each other as soulmates. They are both Licensed Coaches with RCI and live in Australia. They dovetail their own experiences and their training with Relationship Coaching Institute to empower singles to attract their soulmate. | +61.3.5420.7366

Bonus Article:
7 Keys to Finding Your Soul Mate

By Darshana Hawks

#1 Identify your requirements, needs, and wants.

Do not solicit friends and family to tell you what they are -- do this inner work on your own. If you need to ask your friends and family, then you really do not know yourself well enough to have a relationship yet.

#2 Get clear.

Be clear about the qualities of your mother, father, and other role models in your life who taught you about how to have a relationship, how to communicate, how to manage money/finances, etc. Pay attention to which qualities you are attracting and no longer want to attract versus those which bring out the best in you. Focus on the latter.

#3 Stop the accidental attraction.

The way singles go about attracting their soul mate is by going out until someone pays attention to them and then they go whole hog into that relationship, sticking with it until they realize "this is not the one," or sometimes ending in a marriage that never should have happened. That is what I call accidental attraction.

#4 Start intentional attraction.

Learn how to sort, screen and find your match using a proven process. Take a singles course or enlist private relationship coaching to learn how to intentionally attract your soul mate.

#5 Learn how to communicate.

This is a critical skill to have in order to attract, create and have a sustainable loving relationship. Learn how to communicate when you are stuck, emotional, or hit a wall, etc. Invest less than $20 in the Communication Map and learn some valuable communication tips that you can use in all areas of your life.

#6 Identify and know your core values.

Your core values are deeply embedded and say a lot about the type of person you are. They do not change over time. They do not change depending on who you are with, but instead they consistently center and ground you.

#7 Identify what type of person is a match for you.

This seems to be the most difficult exercise for singles to undertake. Be reasonable. For example: if you love cats and have a few cats that you adore and love, don't invest time in someone who is severely allergic to cats unless you are completely willing to give up your cats and move to a cat-free home for this person. Don't think that the person will magically become completely tolerant and not allergic to cats because you both fell in love.

Being crystal clear about who you are, and what you need and require in a relationship, increases your ability to know who is right for you and who is not. Spend time and invest in educating yourself on how to attract the most important relationship of your life.

Copyright © 2009 by Darshana Hawks. All rights reserved in all media.

Rick and Jo Harrison
Dr. Darshana Hawks, your Relationship Success Expert, is passionate about empowering individuals in having beneficial and loving relationships. Dr. Dar educates you on how to have the most important relationship of your life. Key topics include properly planning, communicating effectively, and setting realistic expectations for your relationship and/or marriage. | 704.846.0932 x11


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