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Ask Our Coaches:
She loves me, she loves me not -- how do you know?
"How do you know when someone no longer loves you?"
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.
How do you know when someone no longer loves you?
Nina responds …
The first place to look is within. Do you no longer love yourself? Your own feelings about you are far more telling than what anyone else feels about you. If you don't love yourself, you won't be able to receive another's love either way.
They may love you, however the form of their love has changed. I know many people who make far better friends than lovers or spouses. Their love is richer, deeper, and more unconditional in the new form when the past form no longer works.
They may love you very much and yet not know how to demonstrate it. A study of Gary Chapman's The 5 Love Languages may give you great insight on whether they are demonstrating their love in their own language rather than yours. This often results in feelings of being unloved and uncared for when it's not the case at all.
Exploring this topic together could lead to better understanding and greater intimacy between you. If you are demonstrating your love for them in their wrong love language, they may be withdrawing because they think you don't care about them. Or, it could just be the hormones are calming down.
Nina Potter | ninapotter.relationshipcoach.org | 1.651.773.0732
Jianny responds …
The short answer is they tell you. They are not available for you. They are not responsive to you. They do not have time for you and, verbally and behaviorally, they communicate they are not interested. For love to flourish, you must be available, responsive and engaged with your partner. In dating, these behaviors may signal the relationship has run its course. At this point it may be wise to say good-bye and set each other free to find a more suitable partner.
Depending on the history and relationship stage the answer will vary. For instance, the above answer is sufficient for new, non-committed love relationships. Yet, in a committed relationship, the behaviors indicated above point to a deeper issue which can usually be resolved if both parties are willing to be safe enough to hear the truth of what is going on in the relationship.
In a committed relationship and in marriage rough patches are to be expected. Love ebbs and flows, creating tension and conflicts that, if resolved, draw the couple closer and deeper in their intimacy. You do not discard this relationship; instead, you push forward to regain the trust and love that has eroded.
Jianny Adamo | www.fearlesslove.net | 1.954.495.4566
Randy responds ...
First, do some detective work.
1. Investigate whether your behavior has turned her off. If so, what can you do to change?
2. Analyze her behavior. Two possibilities exist: (a) she is attracted to you but lacks the skill to demonstrate it; (b) she is not as attracted to you as she once was. This can happen when reality eventually asserts itself over imagination.
It is sometimes difficult to separate (a) from (b), so find and use an assessment tool. A combination of the above factors is possible, even likely. Your course of action depends on the conclusions of your investigation.
If the problem stems mainly from your behavior, then you need to act quickly to change and to demonstrate these changes to her. If the problem stems mainly from her lack of relationship skill, then you will need to exercise patience and creativity in helping her to learn new skills while not crowding her. If the problem stems mainly from insufficient attraction, then probably you can do nothing about it and practicing acceptance is your best bet. Finally, the only way to know for sure if she loves you enough to stay with you is to "wait and see."
Randy Hurlburt | www.PartnersinLoveandCrime.com
Anita responds ...
I wish there were a perfect equation. Truth is, sometimes you "just know." Other times you're completely oblivious. Your partner could prolong the façade of "being together" out of guilt, just to keep feelings from getting hurt. My general answer: Take everything you did for and said to each other when you fell in love, and reverse it.
1. Communication – Before: You two couldn't stop talking. Now: You can't get her to say "boo" without putting elbow grease into it. Conversation is minimal at best and she prefers it that way.
2. Connecting – Before: You'd both carve 30 minutes out of your lunch breaks to meet at the closest café together, then text and email incessantly using every feature and application to stay connected. Now: Four weeks can pass and all you experience is the sound of crickets (and it's not a big deal to her).
3. Sex – Before: It was passionate, lustful, loving, awesome. Now: It's awkward, laboring, pointless or nonexistent.
4. Respect – Before: Consideration, care and appreciation were part and parcel. Now: Zero interest and investment in what matters to you.
In the end, love is only a keeper when there's reciprocity.
Anita Myers | http://thedatinggps.com
Denise responds ...
Let's define what love is, so you can be certain if that is indeed what you and your partner have. After the attraction, lust, and romance phase of a relationship wanes, real committed love can begin.
This is not an automatic, real love must be an intentional decision. The foundation of real love is typically built on commitment, shared values and principles, trust, sex, and friendship.
If one of these basic foundational elements is missing, then most likely it never was love to begin with, and was infatuation or chemistry. If, however, those five relational elements are present, then it is highly likely that the relationship consisted of two people that loved each other.
When one partner no longer loves the other partner, the opposite of that love is not hate; the opposite of that love is indifference. Evidence of indifference is when one partner feels the other partner withdraw emotionally and physically.
Examples of this would be feeling a coldness or callousness from a partner when communicating an issue, no desire for sexual intimacy, lacking support or encouragement, void of anger, hate, and passion, unresponsive to the relationship, and lack of interest or concern for a partner.
Denise Wade Ph.D. | www.sweetharmony.net | 1.215.913.7997
Signs of a Breakup
by Dr. Dar
Romantic relationships are not easy and they regularly end in heartache. If you've never been dumped before, you've been lucky. Most people will get dumped at least once during the course of their lives. When a man wants out of a relationship, he will provide clues and signs of a break up that make his intention obvious.
Women who are new to the dating game may be too naïve to recognize these warning signs. Other women may choose to actively ignore what is staring them in the face, however this only hurts more in the long run. If you know in your heart that the signs he wants to leave are there, your best course of action is to acknowledge the fact. So what are the signs that your man is getting ready to put an end to the relationship?
Signs of a Break Up #1 - Less Quality Time Together
Are you still spending time with your man on a regular basis? If your partner seems to make less time for you than he once did, your relationship could be in trouble and may indicate early signs of a break up. If your man doesn't want to spend time with you, he'll find ways of avoiding your company.
He may stop calling you or sending regular text messages. When you make plans together, he will call and make an excuse to cancel. If you call your man, he may find a reason to get off the phone quickly. A man who does not make time for you definitely doesn't consider you a priority in his life.
Signs of a Break Up #2 - Less Conversation
When a man loves a woman, he is interested in who she is, her thoughts and opinions matter and he wants to know what she's been up to. Furthermore, he will want to share information about his life with her. If the communication between you and your man is minimal, he could be losing interest in you and you could be losing interest in each other indicating warning signs of a break up.
This is especially true if you used to chat together more than you do now. Look out for conversations that comprise of you asking the questions and him supplying disinterested one-word answers.
Signs of a Break Up #3 - Less Physical Touch
If your man loves you, then wanting to hug, kiss and squeeze you will come naturally to him. He will also want to make love to you. Of course, some men are a little shy about expressing their feelings in a physical way. However if your man has become less tactile than he was, he may have stopped finding you sexually attractive.
Signs of a Break Up #4 - Being Excessively Critical
Do you feel that you can't do right for doing wrong when it comes to your relationship? When a man loses interest in a woman, he sees her without the rose-colored glasses. Hence he is more apt to notice flaws in her appearance, actions and personality. If your man often criticizes the way you look, grumbles about the things you do or consistently makes reference to your bad points, he could be getting ready to end the relationship.
Signs You Should Break Up #5 - Friends
Both your friends and his may provide warning signs of a break up if your man is getting ready to leave. Your friends may ask if everything is going well in your relationship. His friends are unlikely to tell you anything, however they make act as though they are uncomfortable whenever you are around. If your man wants out of the relationship, he is also likely to spend a lot more time with his friends than he used to.
Signs of Break Up #6 - The Indirect Approach to Breaking Up
Many men find breaking up with a woman very difficult. Some men are very sensitive and they hate the idea of hurting other people. Other men simply cannot handle any kind of confrontation. Such men are likely to use a more indirect approach if they want to end their romantic relationship. When a man uses the indirect approach, he may bring up specific topics of conversation with the intention of providing you with subtle hints.
For instance, he may start talking about the benefits of freedom and single life. Alternatively he may start to talk about friendship. Watch out for your man telling you he loves being your friend or that he hopes you'll remain on friendly terms regardless of what happens in your relationship.
What to Do to Prevent a Break Up
If your man is preparing to dump you, your instinct will let you know it. Never ignore this internal warning and resist the temptation to persuade him to stay. Instead, walk away from the relationship with your pride intact. Spend time healing and learning from the experience and don't forget to go out and have fun. Remember it is always better to wait for a man who really appreciates all you have to offer than it is to hold on to someone who doesn't care.
Copyright © 2012 by Dr. Darshana Hawks. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.
Dr. Dar, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized Relationship Expert, Author, Speaker, and a Master RCI Licensed Relationship Coach for Singles and Couples. She coaches men and women re-entering the dating scene to find love, moving in together, pre-married, newly-married, and couples who are in crisis, conflict, or experiencing communication problems. www.DrDar.com
It's not about communicating more -- it's about connecting
by Marianne Oehser
Communicating effectively with the significant people in your life is very important. However, several research studies over the past two decades have shown that there is something more fundamental that must be present in our relationships for communication techniques to really work. Without a fundamental emotional connection, all the communicating in the world is not going to make your relationship strong and secure.
What is emotional connection?
What is emotional connection? It is being able to turn to others for emotional support. That is not an immature need to rely on others. It is about being able to give and take emotional support. That is how we build relationships. Even in the corporate world, we have learned that teams are more effective than the "lone ranger."
In her book, Hold Me Tight, Dr. Sue Johnson says that hundreds of studies over the past 20 years have validated the fact that "a sense of secure connection between romantic partners is a key in positive loving relationships and a huge source of strength for individuals in those relationships." Close ties with others are vital to all aspects of our health – mental, emotional, and physical.
What happens when connection is lost?
What happens in a relationship when the connection is lost? When a loved one is emotionally unavailable or unresponsive, we tend to feel anger, sadness, hurt, and, most of all, fear. As human beings we all long for evidence that we are understood and cared about. This is especially true in the significant relationships in our lives.
Dr. Johnson maintains that most fights are protests over the fear of emotional disconnection. She says that "underneath all of the distress, partners are asking each other: 'Can I count on you, depend on you? Do I matter to you? Am I valued and accepted by you?'" The anger, the criticism, and the demands in arguments are really pleas to your loved one to reestablish a sense of safe connection. So when conflict arises, look beneath the surface for what the real message is. Maybe your partner is trying to reconnect.
Even happy couples fight
Even happy couples fight. However, because happy couples have not lost their sense of connection, the arguments are much less likely to spiral out of control. And even if they do, the attempts to repair the situation are more likely to work. If communication stays open in the midst of conflict, partners are more likely to be able to resolve issues, repair hurt feelings and move forward. But this is only possible if the relationship is grounded in the everyday things that build and maintain the connection between the partners.
How is connection built and maintained?
How is connection built and maintained? Dr. John Gottman, considered by many to be one of the foremost relationship experts because of the vast amount of research he has conducted, says that the fundamental unit of emotional communication is what he calls "the bid." He defines it as "a question, a gesture, a look, a touch. It is a simple expression that says 'I feel connected to you.'" You can respond to a bid by either positively or negatively answering your loved one's request for emotion connection.
Here's an example of a dialogue in which one partner wants to have lunch together and the other cannot do it.
Bid: "Can we have lunch today?"
Positive response: "Oh, I'd love to have lunch with you but I really have to finish this report today and it's going to take several more hours. How about tomorrow?" (Feels like you care about me and want to be with me.)
Negative response: "I don't have time. You know I have to finish this report today." (Feels like rejection.)
Relationships are built bid by bid. Fulfilling relationships don't just happen magically. They are the accumulation of substantially more positive than negative responses to our loved one's bid requests.
As relationships grow, the intensity and frequency of bids grows as well. Positive responses are often open-ended questions that ask for more information even about small situations. This sense of curiosity tells your loved one that you are interested and that you care.
Responses are more than just words
Responses are more than just the words that are said. The tone of voice and the level of attention given to the bidder also speak volumes. For example, if a husband asks his wife's opinion about something that is important to him and she continues to multi-task, splitting her attention among several activities including her response to his question, she will appear distracted and he is likely to feel that he doesn't really matter.
If the question comes when she is doing something like preparing dinner, it's probably best if the husband asks for a time that they can discuss his question or she responds by saying that she would love to discuss it and can they do it after dinner. The same thing goes if he is watching his favorite TV program.
There are lots of little every day ways to connect. It is in the little things that you feel that your partner is connected to you in a meaningful way.
Copyright © 2012 by Marianne Oheser. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.
Marianne Oehser is a Certified Relationship Coach for Couples and Singles. She and her husband, Bill, specialize in helping clients work through mid-life transitions such as retirement, empty-nests, single again in mid-life. www.BetweenTwoHearts.org
Couple For Life Resources
RCI has made available 35 recordings of presentations by the world's leading relationship experts. To access these recording from our Conscious Relationship Summit go to: http://www.ConsciousRelationshipSummit.com
For free relationship assessments and resources for couples visit our web site at www.coupleforlife.com
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Links to Us
Tara Kachaturoff | Editor, PartnersInLife.org Couples News Tara@relationshipcoachinginstitute.com
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