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September 2012

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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

Tara Kachaturoff - Photo
Tara Kachaturoff
Editor | Conscious Dating News

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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: 
Let's be friends? Possible or not?

"Can you be friends with an ex?"

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,

Can you be friends with an ex? What are the pros and cons?


Nina responds ...

Absolutely you can be friends with an ex and both my partner and I have excellent relationships with ours. That said, it does still take two people to create a relationship so if either party doesn't care to remain friends, it won't happen.

You may need to be patient with a new partner in the beginning because their friends will tell them it's not a good thing for you or her to still be friends. Only the two of you know if that's the case for you.

I believe if you care deeply enough for someone to make them the most important person in your life, then the love you have for them can change form while still being love. Sometimes we choose a person for a partner that should have only been a friend. I see no need to lose a great friendship because of that.

If forgiveness is an issue, then know that forgiving is beneficial for the forgiver, and the forgiven has to forgive themselves. Some people just make better friends than they do lovers or spouses so why not give it a chance?

Nina Potter | | 1.651.773.0732

Mari responds ...

Your question doesn't generate a "one size fits all" response. Managing to stay friends with your ex depends a lot upon the circumstances in which your relationship expired, i.e., who dumped who. That alone is enough to generate some bitterness, no matter how low-key it might come off. Also, staying friends after ending abusive or controlling relationships is really not advisable.

If your relationship didn't fit into any of the above, but was a mutual dissolution, several of the pros are familiarity and comfort. It's great to be able to still communicate with someone who knows your likes and dislikes, your corny off-beat humor and has the same interests as you do.

However, think about these "cons" -- and they're pretty big ones. If this was an intimate, passionate relationship, what do you hope to accomplish by staying friends with your ex? Also, jealousy will certainly come into play at some point if you see your ex with someone else and they appear a tad too happy. Bottom line -- how much do you want to move on? If being friends prevents this, leave a dead horse alone.

Mari Lyles | | 1.301.249.5921

Anita responds ...

I know some who are the greatest of friends after a break up or divorce, and others who'd rather poke their eyes out than to ever consider being friends with their ex. It really takes two to tango.

Sharing intimacy and exposing personal thoughts and feelings toward one another in a love relationship is a profound investment. In order to consider bff-ing your ex, a few things have to fall into place:

#1 Give yourselves a time out. Both parties need to mourn the loss of that type of relationship and the emotional and mental investment made to it.

#2 Keep it platonic. Unless both consider the conscious choice to be "friends with benefits," sexual chemistry loves to interfere with logical decision-making and can thrust (pardon the pun) both right back into a relationship that may only be based on lust, not love.

#3 Establishing emotional and physical boundaries for both parties is essential, so there is a respect that is understood, if there is no intention to create a long-lasting love relationship.

It's possible to be friends with an ex, as long as you're both willing to put the respect and time into creating a new, platonic relationship.

Anita Myers |

Diane and Lewis respond ...

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by getting to the place where you, from your side, can be friends with your ex. To be a friend to your ex means that whatever judgments and bad feelings you may have had about your ex that caused the end of your relationship have been healed. Furthermore, to be a friend to your ex means that you have forgiven her for whatever judgments and bad feelings she may have had about you.

Healing and forgiveness free you up to love again and love more fully. Once you get to that place where you "could" be friends with your ex, you will be able to enjoy the memories of the good times you had together. Also, you will be better able to discover what lessons you can learn from your relationship rather than blaming her for the breakup.

If you do become friends with your ex, you will need to be sensitive to your next girl friend's feelings about the ongoing relationship with your ex (especially in the beginning). Of course, you have no control over what your ex wants and how she will treat you. Proceed without expectations.

Diane and Lewis Denbaum | | 1.800.639.4505

Tara responds ...

Yes, you can be friends with an ex, however there are some things to consider. The best way to approach this is by considering your answers to the following:

Why? Why be friends? What need are you seeking to fulfill by remaining in a relationship, albeit, one that's newly defined? It's important to understand why you won't let go. Also, if you want to attract someone new into your life, it's challenging to do when you're not making any room for her.

Who? Being friends with an ex requires that you both want to sign up for this. Friendship takes two participants who agree to the new "format."

What? Both of you need to be crystal clear on what "being friends" looks like as it can have a myriad of definitions. Make sure you're both using the same dictionary!

When? When do you plan to be friends? After a breakup, the last thing most people want to do is to continue to hang out with the person they just split from. Friends status should only be a consideration after both of you had had an "emotional rest" and healing from whatever it was that separated you in the first place.

Tara Kachaturoff |

Feature Article:
Dating Traps: What you need to know (Part 1 of 2)

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

This is the first of a two-part series on Dating Traps written by David Steele, the founder of the Relationship Coaching Institute. In today's article, we'll cover seven of the fourteen. After reading these, think about how you may have experienced these and what you can do in the future to avoid them.

A "dating trap" is an unconscious relationship choice that results in an unsolvable problem in a relationship. Getting out of the trap often means leaving the relationship.

When you're single, by practicing Conscious Dating you can do a lot more than you realize to avoid these traps and prepare for a lasting and successful relationship.

1. Marketing Trap

You believe that you need to make yourself more appealing to attract and "sell" yourself with an attractive packaging and presentation. When you fall into the Marketing Trap, you fear that nobody wants you as you really are. By "marketing" yourself, you risk disappointment and relationship failure. So when the excitement and promise of the "sizzle" conflicts with the reality of the "steak," one or both of you are left feeling disappointed and angry.

Strategy: Authenticity. You will attract compatible people when you show them who you really are: "Birds of a feather flock together." Just be you. Don't present a fake you.

2. Packaging Trap

You focus on outside packaging – such as someone's body, looks, job, wealth, material possessions and overlook the reality of the person inside. The Packaging Trap is the opposite of the Marketing Trap: instead of seeking to sell yourself with attractive packaging, you focus on the packaging of others.

Strategy: Look beyond the outside packaging to areas of real compatibility. This doesn't mean you should forget about chemistry, but put it into perspective, understanding it is only one element of what you require in a successful relationship.

3. Scarcity Trap

You (unconsciously) believe there is a limited supply of possible partners, and therefore think that you have to take what you can get or be alone. The Scarcity Trap results in relationship failure because there is a temptation to settle for less: you believe you can't get what you really want because there is not enough to go around. Unfortunately it is a self-fulfilling prophecy because when you expect less, you get less. As well, you will always be on the lookout for someone "better"- just in case.

Strategy: Define your first choice of what you really want and persevere. Trust that if you apply yourself you can get what you really want in your life. You must be able to say "No" to what you DON'T want to be available to say "Yes" to what you DO want. You have the power to choose who, what, where, when, and how, and can get what you really want if you make effective choices aligned with your Vision and Requirements.

4. Compatibility Trap

Assuming that if you have fun together and get along well, you are compatible and a committed relationship will work. This results in relationship failure when discovering the vast difference between a fun-focused, recreational dating relationship and a serious, long-term committed relationship. The process and criteria for choosing a recreational relationship needs to be very different from choosing a Life Partner.

Strategy: When you are ready for a Life Partnership, define your Requirements and use them to scout, sort, screen and test potential partners. Do not try to convert a recreational relationship into a committed one, unless 100% of your Requirements are met.

5. Fairytale Trap

Passively expecting your ideal partner to magically appear and live happily ever after without effort on your part. Believing that finding your soul mate will just "happen." This results in disappointment when the frogs that happen to jump into your life don't become princes.

Strategy: Take personal responsibility for your relationship choices and outcomes. Have effective scouting, sorting, and screening strategies. Initiate contact and be the "Chooser," don't simply react to people that choose you.

6. Date-To-Mate Trap

Becoming an "instant couple" as if giving each person you date an extended test drive. Believing that if you develop an exclusive relationship with someone you are dating, a successful committed relationship will eventually happen. Other terms for this are "Serial Monogamy" and the "Mini- Marriage." This approach is a costly use of time and emotional energy. The inertia in this trap is pressure to make the relationship work, attempt to resolve unsolvable problems, and fit a square peg in a round hole because breaking up and being single again is an undesired outcome.

Strategy: Date a variety of people and have fun without being exclusive. When you are ready for a committed relationship define your Requirements and use them as tools to scout, sort, and screen potential partners. Make a careful relationship choice and consciously use a "pre-commitment" period to determine if this is the right relationship for you.

7. Attraction Trap

Making relationship choices based on feelings of attraction. Interpreting a strong physical attraction to someone as a sign that the relationship is a good choice and "meant to be."
This approach results in relationship failure when unsolvable problems surface because you ignored the red flags while infatuated. Unconscious choices usually result in repeating unproductive past patterns. Attraction is like the radar that helps you find your target. But the Attraction Trap occurs when you blindly follow this radar.

Strategy: Balance your attractions by defining your Requirements and use them to scout, sort, and screen potential partners.

"Choose your life's mate carefully. From this one decision will come ninety percent of your happiness or misery."

--H. Jackson Brown, Jr. from "Life's Little Instruction Book"

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

Bonus Article:
How to Get Ready for Love: I'm ready!

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

You're serious about finding the love of your life and you recognize you want love now and you're willing to do something about it. That's a great start!

Many singles who find that love is elusive, are very successful in other areas of their lives. Think about why that is so. If you are successful in your career it is because you applied yourself to the job, you focused on it and you made choices that contributed to your success. Finding your life partner is no different and yet so many people think their ideal mate is going to come knocking on their door without any effort on their part.

Congratulations for making a decision to move forward. You recognize you want love now and you are willing to do something about it. You're not complacent. you understand that finding the love you want means changing old patterns and behaviors. So how do you get started?

How do you get ready for love?

There are 3 aspects to getting Ready – I call them the Triangle Test! They include:

• Identifying your readiness issues
• Knowing what you want, and
• Having a positive attitude and being intentional

#1 Identifying your readiness issues

Ask yourself: What do I want to change? What "baggage" am I carrying that that will hold me back from having the relationship I truly want? Do you need to improve key areas of your life before you will be ready for a relationship? Perhaps it's your financial situation, your health and fitness, or emotional or mental state - especially if you suffer from low self esteem or depression. Maybe you share an apartment with someone you don't get along with and need to change your living conditions.

Once you have identified the changes you need to make, ask yourself what is my plan for affecting change and what are the actions steps I need to take to achieve my goals? This phase is really about cleaning out what isn't working in your life and starting with a fresh slate.

#2 Knowing what you want

Sometimes assessing what you DON'T want –is a good place to start. Look at previous relationships to understand what went wrong and why? What are your key learnings from those relationships? For example, if your last relationship broke up due to differing views about how to manage your finances because you are a careful money manager and your partner was a spendthrift, perhaps one of the traits you want in a future partner might be financial responsibility

Also look at the positive elements of past relationships. This will provide additional clues to determining what you want.

Next, figure out your deal breakers. Be clear on what you MUST have in a relationship including how you expect to be treated by your partner. What is non-negotiable? A good example is children – you can't have half a child – this is a non negotiable requirement, so remember a deal breaker is always black or white.

Examine your values and life vision – what are they? How clear is your vision? How do your values reflect the way you want to live your life? Understanding your life vision and values plays a critical role assessing compatibility with a potential partner. Know that the love of your dreams will honor, cherish, and share your values and vision. You won't need to compromise on core values when you have the right mate.

By the way, recent US studies indicate that 69 % of all marriages fail because the couple had different life visions – this is a crucial insight into what makes a successful partnership.

#3 Having a positive attitude and being intentional

Finally, be happy in your life and with yourself. Be grateful for what you have. Look at life from a half full versus half empty perspective. Live your life as a successful single – don't put your life on hold while you wait for your partner to show up.

Get involved in new activities; pursue your interests. And Have Fun! Believe that love can and will happen for you this year and make the decision to find your soul mate.

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

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