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September 2012

In this issue:

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Conscious Relationship Resources

Conscious Relationship
Seminars and Podcast

Frankie Doiron
President & CEO
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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This newsletter is designed especially for YOU if:

  • You have met someone and are wondering if s/he is the "Love of Your Life"
  • You are about to get married and want to co-create a fulfilling life partnership
  • You have a good relationship and want to make it great  


Free Monthly Conscious Relationship Seminar

It's easier than you think to have a drama-free relationship.

Lori Rubenstein

  • Are your "buttons" easily pushed?
  • Do you have trouble trusting others?
  • Do you ever say hurtful things to the people close to you –
    only to regret it later?
  • Do you have trouble maintaining happy relationships?
  • Do you wish you would get along better with the people in your life?
Ready to improve the relationships in your life (or to form a close, happy relationship with someone new?)

Join us September 5, 2012 when RCI Member, Lori Rubenstein will present:

Dump Your Baggage and Move Freely In Love

In this program you will learn how forgiveness is the key to unlock the baggage and a 4-step process that will make it easy for you to get into action right away to see results NOW.

Visit for information on how to join this call.

  Ask Our Coaches:
Making up is hard to do -- or is it?

"...any tips on how to manage the fallout ...?"

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,

What's the best approach to handling a situation when you've made your girlfriend really angry? Do you have any tips on how to manage the fallout and to make up for the wrong without permanently damaging the relationship? We've been dating almost a year and this was our first serious argument and I'm really concerned! Any thoughts?


Nina responds ...

First you need to know that her anger is secondary to her underlying hurt and fear. Your apology will land better if you can identify what her hurt and fear is and address that specifically. Your apology needs to acknowledge your responsibility for any hurtful actions.

Follow up with an intention for alternative action(s) in the situation should it come up in the future. Ask her for feedback on your ideas to see if she is in agreement with it. This will help to ease her fear and start reconnecting you both with a sense of teamwork. Don't make promises you obviously can't keep as that will deepen her distrust.

Start refilling her love bank in the ways you know she responds well to. What makes her feel loved and connected - quality time, receiving gifts or acts of service, words of affirmation or affection? This will help her feel loved again and more connected. I wouldn't attempt this until after you have effectively apologized or it could backfire.

Be patient and love her. Listen with sincere interest, acknowledge her feelings, and then suggest doing something light and fun that you both enjoy.

Nina Potter | | 1.651.773.0732

Mari responds ...

Without knowing any details, a heartfelt "I'm sorry" never went out of style. Even if you didn't create the circumstances that led to the argument, "I'm sorry we had such an ugly argument" is appropriate, followed by "When are you available to discuss this to see how we can resolve our differences?" Contrary to some people's opinions, apologizing is never a sign of weakness, but of strength and maturity.

Also, now is a great time to evaluate not only your relationship and the direction in which it is headed, but also the causes that generated the argument and both you and your girlfriend's reactions that followed the disagreement. If either of you over-reacted, that should also be grounds for discussion.

Remember to go into any discussions with your "listening ears" on and be open to any constructive suggestions of change. This applies to your girlfriend as well. If either of you are unwilling to contemplate changes, big or small, once again, evaluate whether the relationship is one you're content to be in. Good luck.

Mari Lyles | | 1.301.249.5921

Anita responds ...

Bill, I congratulate you! It's your first emotional ride and you stopped to ask for directions. That's noble, honorable, wonderful and rare! You clearly shared what you do want to do (make up for the wrong) and don't want to do (permanently damage the relationship). Clarity of the mind in these moments is key, so you're already off to a great start! "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."

Here are some tips:

#1 There are ups, downs, rights, wrongs, trials and errors given to the best accomplishments and credit goes to the investment of time. Allow her time to heal.

#2 Hold your ego under arrest. Ego gets the best of us when sparks morph into massive emotional destruction. Take notice of your accountability that caused hurt and address them.

#3 Communicate with gratitude. If you're at opposite ends of the opinion pole, what can you still be grateful for that's worth salvaging in your relationship? Reach for it. Communicate using that as your emotional platform.

#4 Listen. Listening is the greatest forgotten tool in love's repair kit. It's the difference in gaining or losing a sale, a friend, a lover, and a life. Listen.

Anita Myers |

Michelle responds ...

This is bound to happen at some point in every relationship. Although I am not sure what the issue is regarding the argument, you should talk to your girlfriend and let her know that you want to discuss it --sooner rather than later and in person!

When you discuss this, let her tell you why she is upset, allow her to speak without interrupting her, and listen to all of her concerns before you speak. This conversation should be had where there will be no distractions and somewhere you can speak openly and freely. After she has told you her issues, then you need to be able to express your feelings and concerns to her.

Chances are there may be a misunderstanding or misinterpretation on one or both of your parts but if you do not talk about it, how will you know? Be prepared for the conversation and try not to let emotions get the best of you which is easier said than done. If you and your girlfriend want your relationship to work out then you must deal with this issue. It may not be easy but in the end your relationship will be stronger because of it.

Michelle Bianco | | 1.855.624.2626

Tara responds ...

Arguments stir up all manner of unsettled energy. It feels uncomfortable, uninviting and it casts an unfortunate feeling over everything. First, allow things to settle. Give her space and give yourself space. Do this both from a physical standpoint as well as with regard to time.

Take a walk, get out of the house, go to another room. Time-wise, allow things to settle for a couple hours or even a couple days depending on the situation. Invite some other things into your environment which will help to balance things out energetically – perhaps a bouquet of flowers, air out the house, or even gently clean a room or two. These things will help you to settle, once again, back into your hearts thereby allowing reconnection to take place.

Next, when both of you feel things have reached a more amenable steady state, ask her when she would feel most comfortable discussing the situation. Once agreed to, sit down in a welcoming environment and talk freely about the situation. Allow her to speak first; listen without interrupting and let her fully express herself. Once she feels heard, apologize and then express your own thoughts and feelings. It's simple, but it works.

Tara Kachaturoff |

Feature Article:
Partners, couple, boyfriends/girlfriend? How to determine your relationship status

by David Steele, MA, LMFT, Founder of Relationship Coaching Institute

Most unmarried or pre-committed couples tend to describe their relationship as "committed," which can mean very different things to each partner. What does it mean to you? What does it mean to your partner? The purpose of this questionnaire is to help you determine the status of your relationship so you can be clear and on the same page with each other.

This is a great exercise to do with your loved one. Each of you should take it separately, then compare answers. Discuss both the points of agreement and disagreement. Whatever the outcome, both of you will have much more clarity about the relationship. From there, you can determine possible next steps to move forward together or, if necessary, to part ways.

Relationship Status Quiz

______ 1. I plan on spending the rest of my life with my partner.

______ 2. I want to be married to my partner.

______ 3. I'm unsure of the future of this relationship.

______ 4. My friends thinks we're a committed couple.

______ 5. My family thinks we're a committed couple.

______ 6. I like our Boyfriend/Girlfriend relationship and am in no hurry to change that.

______ 7. My partner believes we're committed, but I'm not there yet.

______ 8. I'm committed to our relationship, but my partner isn't there yet.

______ 9. We have discussed our future and are on the same page about it.

______ 10. We've discussed commitment but haven't done anything about it.

______ 11. We've taken steps towards commitment (living together, buying property,
having a child, etc) but we have no concrete plans to marry.

______ 12. We've taken steps towards commitment (living together, buying property,
having a child, etc) and have a plan/timeline towards commitment or marriage.

______ 13. I don't believe in commitment and prefer to stay in the relationship as long as it

______ 14. My partner doesn't believe in commitment and prefers to stay in the
relationship as long as it works.

______ 15. We have a made a formal, explicit commitment to each other privately.

______ 16. We have a made a formal, explicit commitment to each other in a ceremony
witnessed by others.

Based upon the above results I define our relationship as:

______ Committed (Lifetime partners)
______ Pre-Marital (Engaged to be married)
______ Pre-Committed (Exclusive, but not yet committed)

Note: If it's clear you should not continue this relationship and you have any difficulty moving on, we strongly suggest showing this checklist to your best friend, close family member, therapist or coach and get the support you need to be The Chooser. You may wish to engage the services of a relationship coach who can help you through discussing these issues in much more depth. To find a coach to work with, visit

Copyright © by David Steele and the Relationship Coaching Institute. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.

Bonus Article:
How to Become a Successful Couple For Life

by David Steele, MA, LMFT, Founder of Relationship Coaching Institute

What does a fulfilling life partnership look like? How does it work? What makes it successful?

Few of us can answer these questions with clarity. Most of us want a fulfilling relationship as a Couple For Life and have little idea of how to create one. Even couples in successful long-term relationships have little insight into why they are successful.

The purpose of this article is to present and explain the primary Relationship Coaching Institute concepts of Vision, Requirements, and Needs, which are critical to a couple becoming successful Couple For Life.

As recently as one generation ago, powerful social and economic pressures brought and kept couples together. For thousands of years marriage was a contract to create an economic unit for the purpose of raising children and ensuring the survival of the species.

Our society has evolved to the point where survival is taken for granted, and higher order needs such as love and emotional fulfillment bring couples together. Unfortunately, while we want to be happy, we do not seem to know exactly what we want, or how to get what we want, as the divorce rate attests.

Three Keys of Successful Relationships

To be a successful Couple For Life in today's world you must (1) be clear about who you are and what you want, (2) make a good partner choice aligned with what you want, and (3) learn how to get what you want. Whether or not you are clear about your Vision, Requirements, and Needs, they all must be satisfied.

Key #1: Your Vision

You have a "Vision" of what you want for your life and your relationship. Like an iceberg, most of your Vision is below the surface waiting to be discovered. Your Vision is a powerful part of you that drives your energy, thoughts, feelings, wants, needs, and choices. You do not "choose" it, and you do not have control over it. Your Vision is an inseparable aspect of who you are, and serves as your inner guidance system driving you toward certain choices and away from other choices.

When your life and relationship is on-track with your Vision you feel content. When an event occurs that is off-track from your Vision, you experience an Issue. You have no more control over this process than you have a choice about your Vision.

For example, if you are unhappy with your career and decide you want to become a lawyer, start law school, and discover you really do not like law; you can try to make yourself like law, but you really have no choice.

While you liked the idea of being a lawyer, you were not clear about your Vision and the reality did not fit for you. It is likely that some aspect of being a lawyer fit your Vision, such as helping people or advocating for justice, and you will need to discover another pathway to fulfilling your career Vision.

When you apply the above to relationships you can see that if you want to be happy you must make choices that fit your Vision. If you make a relationship choice and then discover it does not fit your Vision, your only choice is to be unhappy or leave the relationship. For this reason, being clear about your Vision and what you want is critically important. Since you don't know what you don't know, it is tempting to believe that the part of the iceberg above the surface is enough to go on… until, like the Titanic, you discover the rest the hard way!

Key #2: Your Requirements

The basic criteria necessary to fulfill your Vision are your "Requirements." The test for a Requirement is that the relationship will not work for you if it is missing. Requirements tend to be non-negotiable, and the absence of a single one often results in a failed relationship.

An example of a common Requirement is fidelity, which for many people is non-negotiable; if unmet, the relationship will not work. Requirements commonly involve religion, children, money, lifestyle, values, goals, etc. An unmet requirement is usually an unsolvable problem.

The three main choices in dealing with an unsolvable problem in a relationship are: (1) leave the relationship (common); (2) let go of the Requirement (possible but rare); and (3) negotiate livable solutions (possible but difficult, even with professional intervention).

Key #3: Your Needs

While Requirements are non-negotiable, and tend to be either met or not, Needs can be negotiated, with many possible alternatives.

A Need is easily identified when unmet, because of the resulting "Issue" that is experienced. An Issue is an unmet need. All relationships experience Issues. If Issues are addressed successfully, Needs will be met and the relationship will be successful. The primary reason for relationship conflict is a lack of effective methods for resolving Issues.

Needs are persistent over time. Wants become satiated and change. If a Want is unmet, you can be satisfied with other Wants being met. If a Need is unmet, the resulting Issue cannot be satisfied by any means other than addressing the underlying Need. Wants are the desserts of life, providing pleasure and enjoyment. Needs are the staples of life, providing nutrition for good health. Requirements are akin to the air we breathe and the water we drink, without which we can't survive for very long.

In a relationship there are Functional Needs and Emotional Needs:

Functional Needs are the routine events that must occur for your life to work in a manner that fits your Vision. If any of these events do not occur you experience an Issue, but the relationship can still work for you. Functional needs include expectations about activities of daily living such as chores, meals, routines, parenting, handling money, etc.

Issues arising from Functional Needs are sometimes judged negatively by the partner who does not experience the Issue, resulting in some classic power struggles such as the toilet seat being left up or down, the cap of the toothpaste being on or off, and drinking from the container or cup.

If any of these events create Issues for you, it is because of who you are- your values, standards, and habits- and how you want to live your life. If any of these events are not important to you it is tempting to discount them as Issues. Unfortunately, this results in discounting the needs of the person experiencing the Issue, thereby damaging the relationship. A successful relationship requires negotiating and meeting each other's Functional Needs.

Emotional Needs are the ways in which you feel loved. Today, instead of survival, our core reason for seeking a committed relationship is to love and be loved. We seek to get our Emotional Needs met through our partner, and want him or her to accept the love we want to give.

How you feel loved is highly unique and individual. Most of us are only aware of a fraction of our Emotional Needs. Like the iceberg, most of the ways in which we feel loved are below the surface waiting to be discovered and experienced.

One of the primary values of a committed life partnership that cannot be found in other relationships is the on-going process of getting to know ourselves and our partner at ever-deepening levels, building mutual trust and growing our capacities for connection, emotional intimacy, and giving and receiving love.


To be a successful Couple For Life you must become clear about your Vision, Requirements, and Needs, and learn how to have the relationship you want with your partner.

At Relationship Coaching Institute we have developed simple and highly effective techniques to help you and your partner gain the knowledge and skills needed, and successfully apply them to building the relationship of your dreams together. Please select and contact one of our member coaches to begin the journey to live the life you love with the love of your life.

Copyright © by David Steele and the Relationship Coaching Institute. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.

Couple For Life Resources

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Tara Kachaturoff | Editor, Couples News

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