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November 2011

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Conscious Relationship Resources

Conscious Relationship
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Frankie Doiron
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Relationship Coaching Institute

David Steele
David Steele
Relationship Coaching Institute

Tara Kachaturoff - Photo
Tara Kachaturoff
Editor | Partners in Life Couples News

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Are You Ready to End Money Conflicts in Your Relationship Forever?

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- How to Develop an Attitude of Gratitude
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  Ask Our Coaches:
After the Affair: Tell or Do Not Tell?

"I fear that if I tell him, I'll destroy our
marriage of 17 years ...."

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 cheated on my husband and I haven't told him. I've broken it off with the other man – a colleague at work -- and I will never do something like this ever again. It lasted about a month. The colleague has since been promoted and moved to another office across the country. I know what I did was wrong and horrible and I feel guilty and awful. I don't even know why I did it as I reflect on it now.

My husband is a wonderful man and he's been nothing but devoted and good to me. He didn't deserve what I did to him. I fear that if I tell him, I'll destroy our marriage of 17 years and create even more problems. I don't want this to instigate a divorce or hurt my teenage girls. I may even lose him. What should I do? Should I just try to move on as if nothing happened? What's your advice?


Jianny responds …

Yes, confess to a professional, a minister or a solid friend. Look inward and sort out your emotions. You may feel a range of emotions from guilt, fear, and shame to sorrow. Figure out why you cheated. Most women cheat for emotional reasons. They feel lonely, disconnected, distant from their partner, taken for granted, or bored. They also cheat when there isn't enough sexual intimacy, for revenge or to exit the marriage.

Get support and get stable as your husband won't be able to do that for you. Once you have sorted out your feelings and reasons then look at your relationship and decide how to proceed. Sometimes it is only necessary to ask for changes to get things back on track.

Sometimes a confession is necessary. At other times you can make the adjustments without involving your man and let the past stay in the past. An example of the latter is if you have been neglecting yourself and your sex life. Embracing your sensuality and feeling beautiful and sexy doesn't require a man! No matter what you decide to do, don't forget to forgive yourself no matter what the outcome. Forgiveness of self is necessary for healing.

Jianny Adamo | | 1.954.495.4566

Mari responds …

It's obvious you can't move on because of the guilt weighing you down. You say you don't know why you cheated, but your biggest challenge is figuring that out. Before saying or doing anything, take time to analyze this situation and figure out why you did what you did. If your husband is as wonderful as you say he is and undeserving of your actions, figure out what occurred that caused you to cheat. Various reasons, conscious and unconscious, be it fear, anger, anxiety, depression, you name it, cause us to act out.

Delve deeply to comprehend where this behavior came from because if you don't, what will prevent it from happening again? Here and now, take time to forgive yourself. No one is immune from mistakes; we're all fallible. From what you wrote, this issue is eating you up; your husband is bound to have noticed a difference in you and will want a response.

Be prepared to reply with the truth, and the reasons why the infidelity happened. If the issue is such that it requires professional help, be prepared to seek it and reassure your husband that this is not a situation that will happen again

Mari Lyles

Udall responds …

Trish, the affair happened. Acting as though it never happened does not make it go away. In order to move forward, you must examine what led you to the affair. Where is the dissatisfaction in your life? What type of pain are you running from or attempting to cover? Only reflection and working on what led to the affair will help keep you from doing it again.

If you are unsure of why you sought the affair, speak with a counselor to uncover the reason. A successful marriage is built on trust, honesty and open communication -- all of which have been violated when an affair takes place. The truth has a way of coming out. Unfortunately, when and how it comes out does not matter because the pain remains the same. Not talking with your husband allows the energy of the affair to fester and tear away at you as well as at the marriage.

As adults, we are accountable for all actions that we take in life. As a wife and mother (and model for your daughters) accept accountability and give your husband the choice to work with you on building your life together from this point.

Udall DeOleo |

Denise responds …

We all make mistakes in our marriage, some minute, and some great. First, you need to forgive yourself. I am all for honesty in a marriage, however many brief meaningless affairs destroy otherwise good marriages. Telling your spouse will help minimize your guilt, but may destroy the family. Your first priority is to keep the family intact.

In a perfect world of truth, your husband will forgive you and you will build a stronger connection. But the painful truth is that you may risk jeopardizing the lives of your two kids, which is irreparable. If the affair was acted out in a moment of weakness and it is truly over, then I would keep it to myself and seek a professional to help you acclimate back to your family. This is also a great time for you to pour all of your attention into your husband and marriage.

Perhaps this affair has given you a new appreciation for this man. This tryst served a purpose. It is telling you that you may have a physical or emotional need that may not be getting met in your marriage. A relationship coach can guide you through some much needed self discovery.

Denise Wade Ph.D. | | 1.215.913.7997

Dr. Dar responds …

Trying to move on as if nothing happened does not honor your integrity given something major did happen. I am a firm believer in owning our errors, telling the truth, and dealing with the consequences of our choices. You will always carry this guilt in your marriage resulting in emotional costs to you.

The fact is that trust in your marriage broke the day you chose to have the affair. It is now incumbent upon you to restore that trust. It is better to be honest and deal with the consequences than to continue for 17 plus more years holding the guilt or walking on eggshells when you are reminded of your failure during normal life events such as watching a news story about a politician or actress who has had an affair.

I suggest you go to counseling or work with a relationship coach to help you identify what was missing for you that led to an affair and uncover the underlying issues. You can also get support from your coach or counselor to prepare for telling your husband the truth along with deciding how to handle the damage control needed to keep your family intact.

Dr. Dar Hawks | | 1.704.651.8568

Marcy responds …

No one can give you an absolute "yes" or "no" about relating this incident to your husband. This is a decision that can only be determined by you. You have time to tell him – making sure when you do that you have looked at it from all angles and determined it is best to tell. Once you do tell him, you can never take those words back.

Take your time in deciding and use this time to step aside from beating yourself up to continuing the introspection and self discovery you seem to be doing. You cannot change the facts so to move on as if nothing happened is not an option. The options are your attitude, your forgiving and your understanding of the situation.

To paraphrase John Gottman -- infidelity is a symptom and not a cause. There is an absolute reason(s) you had an extra marital relationship. Consider what was creating the emptiness you were experiencing previously, what you were experiencing in life at that moment that made you feel this could be a remedy, fix or solution, and then make a list of what you need to do in your marriage to make you and it fulfilling.

Marcy Rich | | 1.602.573.6406

Feature Article:
Three Keys to Relationship Harmony

By Denise Wade Ph.D.

When you marry or move in together, you and your partner each bring a trunk load of relational fantasies based on movies and fiction, myths, unmet needs, religious and cultural beliefs, and unload them onto the relationship. This is where assumptions, expectations, and shoulds originate. False notions and beliefs about what our relationships should be are rooted in our past.

Try to push back and begin to challenge those assumptions, expectations, and shoulds from your family of origin and younger self that may have served you in past relationships but which do not serve you and your partner now.

Be willing to negotiate a new plan, new goals, and a new outline for your partnership together. Represent your needs, and then represent your partner's needs. Don't assume or expect anything unless you ask for it. Let's look at the following three relationship destroyers that, when addressed with a simple shift, lead to relational harmony.

1. Assumptions

Oftentimes, we presume we are going to live a certain lifestyle when we marry or move in together and keep the home with a certain form of functionality. We presume we will celebrate and uphold certain traditions, have children, spend "x" amount of dollars, have a certain physical relationship, that our parents will come for dinner every weekend or holiday and so on.

We bring these ideas in from our family of origin or from our own vivid imagination. Any lifestyle differences you both bring into the marriage from family of origin or past relationships that you assume your partner will automatically adapt into your joint lifestyle is a potential hot point. Such differences might include rules, monetary spending, cultures, childrearing, or domestic responsibilities. Assumptions are not something we put on ourselves; we assign them to situations. This sets us up for disappointment.

Try this: What am I assuming my partner will accept that he/she has never agreed to? Sit down and co-create a new agreement about your combined life, holidays, spending, domestic chores, children, etc. Remember this is not your parents' home or your spouse's parents' home, it's yours. What will realistically work for your marriage, yourself, and your partner?

2. Expectations

We tend to adapt unrealistic expectations of our partner, some conscious, some unconscious, in an attempt to get our own needs met. This sets us up for disappointment. Assumptions are more about our lifestyle. Expectations are more about our partner.

Try this: Release expectations and make a small shift. With men you want to use the word "shift" instead of "change." If you release your expectations, then you don't set yourself up for disappointment.

What's a more realistic expectation based on your partner's strengths? Is it realistic to expect your partner to discipline four kids if she is quiet and reserved? Is it realistic to expect your partner to clean the bathroom to your specifications if he is naturally disorganized? Is it realistic to expect your partner to be home for dinner if he is in a very demanding career that requires evening meetings? Is it realistic to expect your partner to be solely responsible for child care if she is fully committed with appointments for the day?

Try exchanging expectations for noticing each others' strengths. What can you realistically expect based upon your partner's strengths? Make a request using the phrases "I need" or "how it makes you happy." Most men love to do something they can get credit for. Use the reward system.

3. Should / Should Nots / Suppose To

"Should," "should not," or "suppose to" is actually behind most anger. Assumptions and expectations culminate into shoulds and should nots. When we are angry or disappointed with someone, we are almost always thinking "he should" or "he shouldn't" or "he was supposed to."

"Should" is a judgment and a comparing term. "My husband should be more romantic." Compared to whom? Tom Hanks in You've Got Mail? Be careful not to compare your partner to the neighbor's partner, your sister's partner, etc.

Try this: shift from "Should" to "How" and from "He/She" to "We."


"My husband should make more money."
Shift to How: "How can my husband make more money?"
Shift to We: "How can we make more money?"


"My wife should lose weight."
Shift to How: "How can my wife lose weight?"
Shift to We: "How can we lose weight together or adopt a healthy lifestyle?"


"My partner is not supposed to look at p.orn."
Shift to How: "How can he stop looking at p.orn?"
Shift to We: "How can we adopt a more fulfilling sex life that will satisfy us both?"


Think of a source of recurring conflict or contention in your relationship. What irritates you or hurts you about this? What is the "should" or "should not" behind this? Where is it coming from? Self? Family of origin? Television? Media? Girlfriends? Religion? School? Workplace? Parents? Whose rules are they anyway?

Most assumptions, expectations, and shoulds are actually our own unmet needs surfacing. Ask yourself, "Did I honestly ask for my need to be met or did I just assume this person should know?"

Where are you expecting your partner to make you happy which would better be served by you making yourself happy? Shift to "I need" instead of "he doesn't", "she won't" or "he should." Remember the key to relationship harmony and self empowerment is having realistic expectations based upon your partner's strengths and shifting to "how" and "we."

Fantasy is who you want your partner to be.
Intention is who you think you are.
Expectation is who you think your partner is.
Reality is who you both are.

Copyright © 2011 by Denise Wade, Ph.D. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.

Denise Wade, Ph.D. is devoted to helping committed couples reignite passion and intimacy through awareness of each other's unique sexual and emotional needs. Denise specializes in second marriages and blended families. 1.215.913.7997

Bonus Article:
Tara's 7 Simple
Relationship Success Tips

by Tara Kachaturoff

Sometimes we become so mired in our day-to-day responsibilities that our relationship with our partner suffers. There's so much to do, so much to think about and so little time for any of it. What we give our attention to will grow; what we ignore will wither and die. Our relationships are a continual work in progress, requiring attention and care from both partners.

We want our relationship to thrive. We want to be happy, by ourselves and together. Here are some tips to help you keep what's most important top of mind. While seemingly simple, these tips will serve you and your partner well throughout the years ahead. Working together, you can both be actively engaged in nurturing what you share together. You both win!

7 Relationship Tips

1. Compromise – on some things.

Relationships are a two-way street. You will not always get your way and neither will your partner. It just isn't possible or realistic. Some things call for compromise and only you and your partner will know what those things are. When an issue arises, discuss it, share your views and then reach a conclusion.

When you establish a give and take, you'll find a rhythm which allows you to give a little now because, next time, you know your partner will give a little then. It's never a matter of keeping score; it's just something you do because you work together as partners for the good of the relationship. You know that you want each of you to be fulfilled in getting needs met even if one may need to compromise to make that happen. You do it because you care and love each other. It's that simple.

2. Surface resentments and then let them go.

Is there something that irritates you about your partner -- something boiling over on the backburner? If so, find the right time to surface it and discuss it. Make sure both of you are free of distraction and have the time and energy for conversation. Until you excavate and share underlying resentments, these things will fester and color all other dealings you have with your partner.

Clearing the air of resentments as they occur, rather than waiting for them to build up into seemingly insurmountable issues, will pay dividends in the end. If you can't communicate comfortably with your partner, consider hiring a relationship coach who can help both of you to co-create an environment where you both feel safe sharing. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Your relationship is worth it!

3. Treat your partner like you would treat others.

How do you treat new people you meet? What level of respect do you show them? You wouldn't belittle, name call, or raise your voice at someone you just met so why would you do these things to your partner?

Your behavior in public shouldn't be different from what it is at home. If it is, then it should be better, not worse! Take some time to think about how you treat your partner and then take it up a notch. Your partner deserves the best. And, when you give your best, it's likely you'll have the same reflected back to you. If you have poor interpersonal skills, again, consider engaging the help of a relationship coach who can help both of you communicate more effectively.

4. Make time for your relationship.

People make time for things that are important to them – going to concerts or the movies, reading a book, watching TV, talking on the phone and socializing on Facebook. Why not funnel some of that time into your relationship. Believe me, at the end of your life, you won't be reviewing things wondering why you didn't spend more time sending out tweets or posting trivial status updates to an unknown mass of humanity.

You're not immortal; time stands still for no one. Spend your time focused on what is real and meaningful. Don't wait for something to happen to realize what's truly important in life. If your calendar is where you pencil in all the important things in your life, then pencil in some time with your partner. You'll both be glad you did.

5. All work and no play make for a dull relationship.

Dull is a reality of life. Thankfully you can do something about it. Boring, dull and bland are words that will affect, without a doubt, most relationships at one time or another. That's normal. It's when this persists for a period that is seemingly without end that it can spell disaster.

Contrary to popular belief, relationships do take work (sometimes hard work) and sometimes we have to plan some excitement into them. Planning can be fun. One idea is to plan a weekly or monthly adventure. It can be to visit a new restaurant, to take a short day trip, or to do something that both of you or one of you has never done before. In fact, rather than create New Year Resolutions that will fall quickly by the wayside, why not sit down together on New Year's eve (before partying) and plan out one adventure each month for the upcoming year!

6. Happy partners make for a happy couple.

You'll be a better partner if you have some of your own interests and friends to enjoy on your own – without your partner. It doesn't matter how much in love you are with your partner or if you adore spending every waking moment with him or her. It's just not healthy. And, it puts too much pressure on each of you and the relationship to fulfill every whim and need you both may have.

Each of you has a distinct personal identity – and that needs to be nurtured -- separately. Certainly, you enjoy many activities together as any couple should; but it's important to spend time away from each other so each of you can get other important needs met.

No one wants to be smothered or to feel like they can't have some space and free time to enjoy life as they wish. And don't forget the old adage that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Spend some time apart so you can actually miss each other a bit. It makes coming back together all the more enjoyable.

7. Communicate regularly.

It's so easy to come home from work and bury ourselves in entertainment, more work, or other activities which don't actively involve consciously communicating with our mate – like playing on social media, for example.

No one wants to be in a relationship all alone. Communication is the glue that keeps it all together. We basically have two options when it comes to communicating with our partner – through our physical actions and by speaking with and listening to each other. That's it.

Communication includes many things and it's beyond the common everyday things like asking, "What's on TV tonight" or "Did you see that crazy video on YouTube?" or discussing what happened on last night's latest reality TV spectacle. Real communication is about sharing thoughts and feelings and discussing what's important while giving each other full attention. As M. Scott Peck says, "You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time."

Try it out for yourself

Share these tips with your spouse or significant other. Use them as a basis for further conversation about how you can interact differently with each other for the well-being of your relationship.

Copyright © 2011 by Tara Kachaturoff. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.

Tara Kachaturoff is a Master Certified Coach for Singles. Since 2003, she has coached hundreds of single men and women to create better dating relationships through her onsite and teleseminar courses. Tara is also the newsletter editor for the Relationship Coaching Institute (RCI). Her personal site is

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