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December 2011

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Relationship Coaching Institute

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Frankie Doiron
President & CEO
Relationship Coaching Institute

David Steele
David Steele
Relationship Coaching Institute

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Tara Kachaturoff
Editor | Conscious Dating News

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How to Enjoy the Holiday Season While Single

The Holidays are upon us!

What does the Holiday Season mean to you?  If you see the season as a time to celebrate with loved ones, being single can be a confusing, lonely, and sometimes complicated time of year.

Join RCI coaches Dr. Jackie Black, Jianny Adamo, and Chipo Shambare in this recorded program as they guide you through having a successful holiday season covering holiday-related topics including:

  • How to deal with holiday depression
  • How to start new holiday traditions after a divorce or break-up
  • What is an appropriate gift for that person you are dating?
  • Access the recording here

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Ask Our Coaches: 
Living Together vs Getting
Married: Does It Really Matter?

"What are your thoughts on living together versus getting married?"

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 recently read an article that less and less couples marry each year. What are your thoughts on living together versus getting married? Does it really matter? Is one better than the other?


Patricia responds …

Asking the difference between living together and marriage is a bit like asking the difference between a movie trailer and the actual movie. They have some scenes in common; however, the one is just a part of the other. The heart of marriage is the emotional/spiritual connection and commitment two people make to each other and the growth that enables for both -- not the shared street address.

The real reasons to marry have to do with how we humans commit and what helps us keep growing. In marrying another person, we fundamentally change who we are, our roles in our family, and our deep sense of personal identity. By taking a formal action, with witnesses, we acknowledge this change and strengthen our commitment. Without the formality, the change is more easily reversed and thus not as deep. The lost opportunity is great.

Our public (and legal) commitment really closes the exit behind us and opens the deepest growth opportunities. It gives us the most powerful reason to hang in there with growth, no matter how challenging it may become. The payoff for those who do so is a profound joy and fulfillment not available any other way.

Patricia Drury Sidman | | 1.337.944.9737

Nina responds …

First, discuss if living together versus marriage is right for you and your partner, not if it's right or wrong for others. You can look at all the statistics and personal stories you want, however it's still going to depend on who you are and what each of you wants. Define what marriage really means to both of you. There is little dispute that it's the actual commitment that makes the relationship work long term, not the legal status.

Depending on what you discover, an alternative like a public commitment ceremony might be the answer. If you aren't in agreement, you may have an issue depending on whether marriage is a "requirement" or not. An unmet requirement is a deal breaker in the end so if one of you must be married and the other must not then it's time for you both to look for a partner who meets all of your requirements.

Having your requirements and needs met along with good relationship skills and a strong commitment will be a better predictor of your relationship success either way. Learn more about requirements from any of the many resources listed in this newsletter.

Nina Potter | | 1.651.773.0732

Frances responds …

For a relationship to work, it needs commitment. And commitment does not just mean hanging in there till death do us part. It also means the awareness that relationships need to be worked on and supported and explored and expanded -- that they are opportunities to heal your personal stuff and continue to grow together -- not just left to chance.

There are many studies that show married people have more chance of a sustainable happy relationship, but a couple can be deeply committed to their relationship whether they are married or not.

The ceremony and the piece of paper do not create commitment. However, the very act of getting married tends to get a couple to think a little bit more about what they are getting themselves into and therefore creates a deeper level of commitment. To sum up: Commitment is King – whether married or not.

Frances Amaroux |

Carol responds …

Does it really matter whether you live together or get married? It really depends upon your values, future goals, and whether or not it is a requirement for you to be at peace in a committed relationship. A requirement is a non-negotiable, set by you before entering into a relationship.

If you have chosen your partner wisely, both of you will be in agreement on this extremely important issue. In the article you read, the writer is expressing their perspective of a "supposed trend." Is it really true? If it is or not, it is inconsequential to you. The same is true if you have done your self-discovery work and have defined your relationship requirements. If not, this is a good time to work with your relationship coach and get really clear on your relationship requirements and needs. Moving in together or getting married is not to be taken lightly. Doing your work now will save you from much heartache in the future.

Carol McCarthy | | 1.617.943.1231

Marcy responds …

Living together as well as getting married are choices to be made on an individual basis. The choice, though, should not be a choice between the two since each is an entity onto itself. What you determine best to do depends on what your requirements, needs, values and goals are in addition to what the relationship is and where you are in life.

There are certain things to keep in mind about both of these entities. Marriage entails a commitment that is sanctified to a very high level in most cultures and religions usually indicating a union of two joined for a sacred purpose. As such, marriage is meant to last forever and sustain bumps and valleys. Because of this premise, the exiting process – divorce - can be quite complex logistically and emotionally brutal on many people.

Furthermore, marriage is embraced by much legality including community property, responsibility for partner's debts, and the ability to include spouse on insurance. While living together may not mean a reduction in love, compatibility and devotion, co-habitation exists in an environment that is usually not as demanding or formalized. For many, living together is very much in alignment with their lifestyle.

Marcy Rich | | 1.602.573.6406

Feature Article:
Six Ways To Celebrate Being Single During the Holiday Season

by Denise Wade Ph.D., CMRC

The media bombards us around holiday time with romantic movies that predictably end with the perfect couple finding each other. The advertisements … she looks shocked and adoring as he decorates her finger with a three-carat platinum ring or presents her with a luxury car; the music, dancing, parties, pressure to ring in the New Year with someone special, all seem to spell heightened expectation of finding relational bliss.

Here are some suggestions:

#1 Redefining the word "family" will help you alleviate some anxiety. We are conditioned that holidays are synonymous with family. Today most of us don't reside in the same state or country as our biological relatives.

The family unit is now more diverse and has expanded to include step families, pets, adopted family members, blended families, and non-blood "sisters" or "brothers." Create new traditions with your family of choice. Release any self-imposed pressure, restrictions, or limitations that dictate how or who you spend your holiday with.

#2 Being single affords you the freedom to learn new traditions. Ask friends, co-workers, and neighbors to teach you about their ethnicity, celebrations, and religious traditions this year. Be open to invitations and try new and different foods, gifts, customs, and cultures. The holidays are the perfect time to show an interest without resistance from an unwilling partner.

#3 Volunteer at a homeless shelter, food kitchen, domestic violence shelter, animal rescue, nursing home, or children's hospital. This takes the focus off of you and will most likely broaden your interactions. Bring cookies or treats to pass out to residents. Most organizations are appreciative of the extra help around the holidays. Or start a new tradition collecting money or food for a family in need who may have fallen on hard times.

#4 Although holiday memories conjure up warm feelings of family, visions of family feuds may also dance in your head. Being single during the holiday season allows you more independence and releases you from many unwanted family obligations such as expectations from in-laws. If you've never been married you can celebrate the fact that there won't be stressful interactions with ex-husbands or wives or pressures from a blended family.

#5 Plan an open house for friends. Ask each person to bring a friend, co-worker, neighbor, or even the guy who works the Starbucks drive thru. Think about inviting someone you dated. Maybe he or she wasn't right for you, yet you may feel a connection to another guest at your open house. Ask each guest to bring a hors d'oeuvre and an inexpensive wrapped gift for a Chinese Pollyanna or a white elephant.

A game will serve as an ice-breaker and if your guests participate blindfolded it will add an element of fun. Hire an extended limo to drive the group around to look at festive lights and decorations.

#6 Plan the perfect date night for yourself, something that you wouldn't normally do alone. Make a whole weekend of it. Take yourself to a Broadway show. Check into a spa or retreat. Take that tropical vacation you've always wanted, but were waiting for the right time. Now is the time.

Go skiing and stay at an out-of-state lodge. Or, just pamper yourself with a romantic weekend … bubble baths, a movie, wine, chocolate, small indulgences that celebrate and reflect your own worth back to you.

Buy and gift wrap a personal growth program on audio or a workbook for yourself. Use the holidays to journey through the program and emerge in January with a new understanding of your foundational values, emotional and physical needs, and most of all your non-negotiable relational requirements.

Give yourself permission for a gentle mindset shift. Let go of any and all attachments of meeting a partner for the moment. Turn off your cell phone and computer and no emails or texts for a weekend. This is your time to indulge yourself, develop a relationship with self first, and debunk society's myth that you must have a date for the holiday season. Use this time to start a journal, remove clutter, buy some new lingerie and have the sales clerk gift wrap it for you.

Make a list of goals for 2012 -- personal and professional. List what is working in your life and what isn't serving you anymore. Then release anything that will not move you closer to your 2012 goals. And release anyone who doesn't align with your updated values. This is the time to celebrate your new requirements and needs.

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

Denise Wade, Ph.D., CMRC is devoted to helping women heal from failed relationships through awareness of their own unique sexual and emotional needs. Using gender education she helps women understand men. 1.215.913.7997.

Bonus Article:
Alone for the Holidays?
Stop Whining and Do
Something About It!

by Ann Robbins

It's that time of year again … the time when I see my matchmaking business get really, really busy because it's human nature not to want to be alone on holidays or special occasions. It's completely natural and understandable that many singles are thinking ahead to the new year and, then of course, fast-forwarding to Valentine's Day.

My advice? Slow down … it's not a race. Being alone for the holidays may not be at the top of your to-do list, but if you're hoping you can hurry up and find someone so that you can get that New Year's kiss, think twice. Drop that computer mouse and take a breath. Worry about tomorrow or next week -- not next month.

If you are alone, this is a good time to ask yourself how you can be proactive without rushing into something. How are you meeting people? Are you meeting people? If what you're doing isn't working, it's time to change it up. Consider what you might do differently so you can maximize your chances of meeting new people and, who knows, maybe meeting someone special!

Here are a few ideas to help your days be merry and bright:

Volunteer. At this time of year, agencies that help provide for families, children, seniors, etc. for the holidays are in desperate need of your help. If you volunteer your time to a cause you care about, you just may meet someone who cares about the same things you do – a great first step in finding compatibility. Remember, like attracts like. If you care about something and meet others who share your same passions, you're off to a good start.

Join a Group. Again, if you can find a club or group that is of interest to you, you already have something in common with the group's other members! Whether it's a Sunday bird-watching group or a church Bible-study session – if it interests you, it attracts people who feel the same.

Take a Class. Always wanted to learn to Tango? Now's your chance! Love to paint but don't know oils from pastels? Do something about it! There are many opportunities for adults to learn and have fun doing so! In taking a class of interest to you, you will expand your mind while expanding your social circle.

Learn a New Sport. Golf? Tennis? Scuba? Are you one of those people that has always meant to take lessons? Now is a great time to dust off your clubs and racquet and get moving! You never know who will be on the other side of the putting green.

Break the Routine. Always go to the same Starbucks for your latte? Like to curl up and read in that little corner at Barnes and Noble? You can have your latte and drink it too – but try a new location. Instead of the local places you tend to frequent, try someplace you've never been to. And a little tip -– if you are engaged with your computer and keep your head down, you're sure not to meet anyone. So be approachable.

Attend a Singles Event. Go ahead, make your day! Give it a try. The worst that will happen is you meet no one. The best is yet to be discovered. If you go, don't hang out with a crowd of friends. That's self-defeating. It makes you less approachable because no one wants to risk rejection in front of a crowd.

If you go with friends, don't all sit together and only talk to each other. Mingle, make eye contact with others, dance, and be friendly. And don't forget to smile! It is the single most important indicator that you're interested in someone.

Be Assertive. Network! Try letting people know what you're looking for! Your hair stylist just might know someone who knows someone. Don't be afraid to let others know what you want. Just be sure you know what you want, so you can clearly articulate it.

Learn to Be OK With You. If you don't like to be alone with yourself, why would anyone else want to be alone with you? It may sound flippant, but it is important you're happy with you and are comfortable in your own skin. That person you're looking for will not fix your life and definitely will not make you happy. It's up to you to be happy first … and then, your new flame will simply enhance your already full and joyful life.

If all else fails, call a matchmaker!

Ann Robbins is a Certified Professional Matchmaker and Master Certified Relationship Coach and CEO of LifeWorks Matchmaking LLC. 1.954.561.4498

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