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Ask Our Coaches:
Income Reporting --
And, no, I'm not from the IRS
"He told me he wants to know how much money I make...."
This column answers questions submitted by our readers. Submit your questions to Tara@relationshipcoachinginstitute.com who will forward them to our coaches all over the world. Each issue, we'll publish a few answers from our RCI coaches.
I just started dating this guy a month ago. We're both in our late 30s. Things were going great -- at least until last weekend. He told me he wants to know how much money I make so that we can split all expenses based on our relative income levels. I didn't say anything and managed to put him off, but secretly, I was shocked. I've never heard of anything like that and thought it was rude.
I've never had anyone demand that I share that type of personal information. My sister said to get away from this guy -- that he's socially inappropriate. What do you think? Am I missing something or is this what people do nowadays when they date?
Ann responds …
This is a man who likes to keep score. He's a man who expects to be paid back. It sounds like he has a huge need to feel he is being treated fairly and equitably. This may stem from a fear of being taken advantage of.
How much money you make is not the issue. The issue is, can you be with a guy who tallies up everything and then asks for your percentage? If so, does it work both ways? If you invite him to dinner at your place, do you ask him for his fair share of the grocery bill? How about the hot water he uses when he washes his hands before dinner? This type of arrangement can become old – fast.
In a loving relationship, each partner gives to the other because they want to – not because they expect to be paid back. Take a close look at your relationship requirements. Does this work for you?
Red flags you spot in the beginning do not fade over time -- they become more vivid and glaring. Ask yourself, "Can I accept this man exactly as he is?", and, "Would I want my children to grow up to be exactly like him?" If the answer is no, it's best to move on.
Ann Robbins | www.lifeworksmatchmaking.com | 1.954.561.4498
Denise responds ...
Susan, this guy did you a favor, taking the uncomfortable subject of finances and putting it right out there. Being a guy, his brain is programmed for practical solutions, not sensitivity. He does not have the right at this stage to ask about income -- that's Dating 101. He does have the right to ask you to cover your own expenses. If you like other qualities about his character that you've experienced so far then don't write him off. Yes, he should have used a gentler approach or suggested you "go Dutch."
Going forward, have a direct conversation. Minus the lack of social graces, he's, no doubt, a direct kind of guy. If coming from an accounting career, raised in a family that penny-pinched, or burned financially by an ex, then finances will definitely be a nonnegotiable requirement early in a new relationship for him. Clarify if what he wants is to split the bill on all expenses. If, however, he is actually auditing you, prorating the expenditures based on income then I'd suggest the conversation be with yourself. Making this unreasonable demand from you now, how much cheaper will he get as the relationship progresses?
Denise Wade | http://denisewade.relationshipcoach.org | 1.610.639.6627
William responds ...
A place to start evaluating what to think and do in this situation is to get clear about your interest in seeing this person, regardless of this money question. You stated things were going great prior to this point. What does that mean to you? Do YOU (not your sister) want to continue to see "this guy" and figure this out in the process or do you want to let this go and "get away" before you have the chance to get clear and determine what is going on for you in this perfect situation?
Once you choose that, then ask yourself this question, Do you have a known, established set of criteria by which you evaluate how this relationship and person might align (or not) with what you are seeking? Apparently, openness in finances and sharing of funds fairly towards joint expenses hits up against some sort of wall and/or belief for you in regard to being in a relationship and not just with this person. I would suggest you use this as a personal prompt or wake-up call and approach this as a great opportunity to get yourself clear on what you really want in all areas of your relationship.
William Paglia-Scheff | http://billpaglia-scheff.relationshipcoach.org/
Doris responds ...
Explore your relationship money story. Check to see if his suggestion validated an outdated belief about relationships, like thinking you'll be taken advantage of or not supported. Pay close attention to how comfortable you are expressing what you need, want and require.
Although your boyfriend's unusual suggestion may be a red flag, it may not. He could be nursing a wound from a past relationship in which he paid for everything and didn't stand up for himself.
Some men fear that a woman will be a gold digger. One of the happiest couples I know includes a wealthy man who acted poor until he was sure his mate just wanted his heart. She was astounded when she discovered his pocketbook was heavily padded. She laughs, "I just wanted his love." He beams, "She wanted me for me, warts and all."
When you discover your ideal partner, monetary issues will crop up. Generous people with a prosperity consciousness often partner with careful planners who hold onto money with an iron fist. Both individuals receive an opportunity to grow. A relationship coach can help you discover illusions, express your needs and claim your perfect partnership. Be the chooser in every relationship.
Doris Helge, Ph.D. | www.CoachingByDoris.com | 1.360.748.4365
Dr. Dar responds …
I am astounded at how little people these days know about dating etiquette. I would be very alarmed and concerned when a guy asks about financials and sharing income after only one month of dating. This is not normal at all and is a big honking red flag you should pay attention to.
You have every right to be shocked and concerned. If you did not feel comfortable letting him know that this conversation is highly inappropriate and that you are not investing your finances in this relationship after one month of dating, then that is another red flag of bigger issues to come. He may be showing signs of his controlling or dominating nature. This is too big a concern to ignore so I agree with your sister, pass up on this guy and find one who loves, honors, and respects you and your finances! Wishing you the best in life and love.
Dr. Dar | www.DrDar.com | 1.704.846.0932
Randy responds …
First, consider what is behind his request. Often the surface action is a reflection of some deeper meaning. For example, probably both of you have a good idea of the other's income from knowing the nature of your work. Perhaps it's clear to him that you make more than he does, but you have not been contributing to the costs of dating. This could be causing resentment on his part.
The philosophy that "the man should pay for dating" still holds sway with many women, but it is a holdover from days when women didn't work. This outlook contributes to inequality and false expectations with regard to gender roles.
My suggestion: indicate a willingness to pay your share of dating expenses and back it up by offering to take him someplace. This may be all he needs. If it is clear that he makes more than you do, offer to pick up the tab for coffee or ice cream, as a token of your participation. However, if he insists on a detailed accounting at this early stage of dating, then that is inappropriate; tell him so, see what he says, and stop dating him if, indeed, it is a "demand."
Randy Hurlburt | www.PartnersinLoveandCrime.com
Romance for Shy People
by Doris Helge, Ph.D.
When we lack confidence, we avoid social situations that provide the experience we need so we can graduate from "shy" to "sure." We fear rejection, even when there is little risk. This is particularly true when shy people want to attract romance. Although even a strong relationship can fail, those of us who began life as a shy person often want a guarantee before taking a risk.
Good news! Shy people have extraordinary capabilities of developing deep, lasting, intimate, fulfilling relationships. You can attract a more joyful, meaningful relationship than most non-shy people. Why?
You're Shy = You're Special!
If you're shy, you have unique perceptive abilities. This includes special intuitive qualities finely tuned by years of standing back and observing before interacting. You instinctively know who to trust, even if you've been ignoring your extraordinary intuitive abilities. They patiently await your exploration.
When in a partnership, shys are capable of a deeper level of loyalty and love than most extroverts. You may have erected and protected a shield as strong as steel around yourself for many years, struggling to avoid potential rejection. When you finally allow someone to enter your inner circle, you discover how profoundly you are capable of loving a partner. The person who can pierce the roadblocks to your heart is particularly precious to you.
When you discover your perfect partner, this person appreciates the amazing depth of Your Authentic Self. They appreciate ... not harshly judge ... your keen sensitivity. They make positive comments about the rare qualities of a sensitive, shy partner. They value your keen observational skills, sincerity, loyalty and honesty. The person with whom you truly resonate judges you much less than you judge yourself. What a rock of support!
How to Avoid Potential Pitfalls
How do you move forward and gain your perfect partnership? First, avoid the following traps most shys fall into.
Make sure you don't love and care for your partner more than you love and care for yourself. You'll attract a loving relationship when you feel so complete within yourself that you don't need anyone else to make you happy. It's a journey to get to this place. Every tiny step forward is precious. When you are so happy spending time with yourself that you don't know if you want anyone else, voila! They appear.
Be picky! Instead of falling for the first person who asks for your heart, consider each admirer slowly and carefully. The best and most enduring relationships result from close friendships that evolve into romance and then commitment. A thoughtful, gradual progression feels safe and comfortable. Rushing from infatuation into a wannabe relationship is frightening. You create unnecessary pain.
Give your new partner plenty of breathing space. True love respects everyone's needs to be alone, with each other, and with other friends and family. If you notice yourself worrying about your partner skipping out on you, ask yourself questions like:
- "Am I sure there's a reason to worry?"
- "Am I worried because I feel insecure ... or do I have evidence?"
- "Whose voice am I hearing? Is this my inner critic playing an old tape ... or is the comment related to my current relationship?"
If your doubts and fears continue, talk openly with your partner. We're usually surprised to discover they have the same doubts and insecurities that we're feeling. Humans are "mirrors" for each other. We attract people like ourselves so we can resolve our insecurities. If your partner is uncomfortable engaging in deep discussions with you and offering you a reasonable degree of reassurance, they're probably not your ideal partner. Wouldn't you rather avoid pain by discovering this early?
Set personal boundaries and stick to them. Ask for what you want and need instead of assuming people won't treat you with respect.
You don't need anyone else in order to enjoy a happy, fulfilling life. You do require a rich relationship with yourself so you can attract someone who is also whole and complete. Needy people attract needy people, even though we display our insecurities in different ways. People who are more fully developed attract people who are also working on their personal growth issues and traveling the path to wholeness.
Avoid heartache by working on your inner gremlins. We all have insecurities. When you prioritize personal development, you eventually attract people who fill your heart with acceptance and joy. Loving yourself is the relationship that really counts. You are the one person you're guaranteed to spend the rest of your life with.
Be 100 percent your authentic self. If you don't want to socialize, don't. If you don't like a certain activity, be open-minded but truthful. If you want to have a night out with your friends, do that. Other people can only love us if we expose our true selves to them in ways that feel safe and comfortable. Comfort increases over time so take small baby steps without self-judgment.
Avoid comparing yourself to other people. You aren't inside their heads and bodies. Your analysis of how happy or comfortable they are is probably inaccurate. Notice negative self-talk associated with comparing yourself to someone else. Then turn it around. Example:
- "I wish I could be like her. She is and has everything I want."
- Rephrase your statement so it inspires you. Example: "I see what I want in her so I have a clear vision for my future. My clarity will guide me to what I want."
Be cautious about online romances. Shy people often find on-line dating tempting. You may be more comfortable expressing yourself in writing (virtually) than in person but you may not accurately portray yourself. If you really want a genuine relationship, you'll still need to meet someone in physical form. Instead of limiting yourself to a computer romance, explore the real world. Identify people who share your interests and attend relevant events.
Take one small baby step after another so you can discover the world is much more friendly than you thought. It's so much easier to talk to someone who attends a club or association meeting related to your passion than trying to relate to strangers at a singles event designed to connect you with someone who stares at you like you're in a meat market or wants to land a one-night stand. You won't struggle with small talk when the event is organized around a topic that genuinely interests you.
Focus on your strengths and your life purpose. Identify groups worth your precious time and expertise. When you attend groups concerned with your passion and purpose, you're much more comfortable. You know you have something to offer the world. You more quickly build your confidence. That's worth all of the love potions in China.
Claim Your Perfect Partnership
These proven shy-busting strategies will help you shatter the myth that being shy is a disadvantage. You'll avoid unnecessary dating traps. Discover your hidden gifts and talents so you're confident being "The Chooser" in your relationships. Gently and joyfully open the door to a brand new world in which you're rewarded for being 100 percent your authentic self.
Copyright © 2011 by Doris Helge, Ph.D. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.
Doris Helge, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized, licensed RCI Relationship Coach and author, helps you discover Your Authentic Self & enjoy Your Perfect Partner. She is the author of transformational books, like "Transforming Pain Into Power." http://CoachingByDoris.com/FreeRelationshipEbooks. 1.360.748.4365
Compromise Isn't for Dating:
Creating the Relationship 50/50 Line
by Frankie Doiron, CEO & President, Relationship Coaching Institute
While it is important to be authentic when seeking your life mate, don't be tempted to reveal too much of yourself too early, or be too eager to demonstrate a high level of attraction to the person you have just met. This has the potential of causing a relationship imbalance that might never be righted and could put you at a disadvantage. This is not game playing; (which we absolutely DO NOT advocate), it is using logic and common sense to guide you through the emotional/hormonal mind field of the attraction stage.
Your ideal partner is your equal and should not be idealized or put on a pedestal. You deserve an amazing mate. Don't forget it. And don't forget how amazing you are, with all you have to offer a partner.
When you meet someone you find appealing, always keep in mind that chemistry is simply one element in your assessment process to help determine whether they are partner material. Remember you are the "chooser." Bring reason into the equation. Take things slow and steady. A relationship is not a race, and indeed running this race too quickly may mean starting all over again because you didn't take the necessary time to thoroughly screen your partner.
Many singles are all too eager to compromise once they meet a potential partner. They think "S/he has MOST of the qualities I am looking for…am I being too picky? Should I forgo some of my requirements? What about compromise?"
It is definitely NOT advisable to compromise on your relationship requirements. This is where you walk the talk! If you have thoroughly evaluated your requirements, then stick by them. Remember, the questions you asked when you were assessing and testing a requirement: "Is this non-negotiable? Would I need to disengage from a potential partner because this requirement was not met?" If you are waffling on a requirement, go back and re-assess it. Requirements are about the relationship (not the partner) you want; the relationship should be one that will make you happy and fulfilled.
Disassociate your thinking from your current dating partner, and focus on your ideal relationship once again, asking, "If I didn't have this requirement met, would the relationship work for me?"
Stick by your answer. If you need help, get it. Call your coach to discuss the details of the situation and get the clarity you need to make the right choices for you.
The question about compromise often comes up and the answer is always the same – don't compromise your requirements or values when dating, apply the 50/50 rule:
Imagine a line in the sand – call this the Relationship 50/50 line. You and your partner are facing each other with your feet firmly planted on either side of the line.
In order for a relationship to develop and have longevity, both partners need to pull their weight, and contribute equally to the partnership – on a 50/50 basis. If one contributes less, it means that the other will have to pick up the slack and contribute more. This creates imbalance in the relationship and sets up a "Top Dog", "Bottom Dog" relationship dynamic that you will never be able to change.
The "Bottom Dog" is typically infatuated with the Top Dog and is afraid of losing him; she over compensates; compromises on important issues; and walks on egg shells all in the name of staying in the relationship, at all costs.
The "Top Dog" is not as attached (is not really "into" you); takes advantage of the Bottom Dog and will always keep his eyes open for a better-suited and more equal partner. The more the Bottom Dog fawns and accommodates the Top Dog, the less interested and connected he is to her.
Even in a committed relationship, staying toe-to-toe is important, with some exceptions: when a crisis or situation occurs that requires one partner to contribute more than their fair share to the relationship. That is perfectly acceptable as long as it is not for a lengthy period of time, and as long as the other partner is also committed to doing the same, if and when needed.
For example, your partner may experience an illness and lose their job, requiring you to take on a second job as an interim solution to avoid financial hardship. It is a temporary situation that expresses the depth of the partners' commitment to each other and to the success of their relationship.
In a new relationship there is absolutely no reason to compromise and cross the 50% line (note 1). It sets a dangerous precedent, which will ultimately cause a rift in the relationship.
Being in a chooser state of mind when dating, with no expectation of outcome, will help to keep you toe-to-toe on the 50% line. Tip: If your potential mate can't be present and meet you at the 50/50 line at the start of the relationship, run for the hills. They will likely never be able to meet you halfway on anything and probably aren't the partner you deserve.
Note 1: Compromising about issues like where to eat, or where to go on a date is perfectly acceptable and necessary when dating. However, compromising who you are and what you want in a relationship is not in your best interest and doesn't serve your long-term relationship objectives.
Copyright ©2011 by Frankie Doiron and the Relationship Coaching Institute. All rights reserved in all media.
Frankie Doiron is the CEO and President of the Relationship Coaching Institute. After 30 years in various leadership roles in the corporate environment, she leads RCI which is the largest relationship coach training firm in the world. Known for her innovative approach, she's dedicated to helping singles and couples create and maintain loving relationships.
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