The Relationship Trap You'll
Want To Stay Away From. (It's Not What You
If you're like most people, you've probably gotten
caught up in this relationship trap at least once
in your life--especially if you're a woman...
You worry that you aren't pretty enough, thin
enough, or desirable enough to hold a man and keep
him interested over the long haul.
Well, if that idea hasn't been debunked many
times before, Tiger Woods has blown this myth
straight out of the water and here's why...
Otto was talking to his personal trainer
yesterday while he was working out and of course
the conversation got around to Tiger Woods and his
Monica, his personal trainer, said that the big
question her other clients had was why in the world
Tiger would ever cheat because his wife Erin was so
thin and beautiful.
Why would he go elsewhere when he had such
beauty at home?
Good question isn't it?
A lot of people (especially women) fall into the
trap of thinking that "If I were more attractive, a
better lover, a better whatever that I'd never have
anything to worry about when it comes to my
relationship and my man."
It simply isn't the case with Tiger and his
beautiful wife Elin.
He apparently went elsewhere because beauty
alone wasn't enough to hold him to faithfulness in
Now of course we don't know the inner workings
of his relationship with Elin and we won't claim to
know the real reasons (right or wrong) that drove
Tiger to cheat.
What we do know is that being beautiful and thin
doesn't insure faithfulness over the long haul.
We bring this up because so many women tell us
they're jealous and worry about someone more
beautiful or thin stealing their man away.
We know that keeping a relationship alive,
juicy, connected, loving and monogamous through the
years is so much more.
Recently, we got a copy of T.W. Jackson's book
for people who've just gone through a break up and
want to get back with their partner or
The book is called, "The Magic of Making Up" and
we highly recommend it and we agreed with much of
what he was saying and...
We're paraphrasing here...
He said that men crave admiration and when they
feel they aren't getting it--perhaps like they used
to--they try to find it elsewhere.
He also said that women want to feel appreciated
and praised for who they are--and if they don't
find it in their relationship, they may look for it
in some other place.
Of course, these aren't the only reasons people
cheat or emotionally "drop out" of their
relationships, but they are important ones to pay
attention to if you want to keep yours vital, alive
Much more important than beauty and the size of
When you really get down to it, when you "check
out" of a relationship, in whatever way you choose
to do it, you aren't getting your needs met.
You may not choose to cheat, as Tiger has, but
there are other ways to check out of your
**Allowing yourself to get so busy that there's
no time to connect with each other
**Allowing work to become the most important
thing in your life
**Shutting yourself down from emotional
Even if you consider yourself soul mates when
you first got together, if you don't keep doing the
things that attracted you to each other in the
first place--and looking for new ways to love each
other--chances are your relationship will lose its
specialness over time.
If you quit admiring, appreciating and loving
each other for who you each are-- you leave the
relationship wide open for one or both of you to
seek it elsewhere.
This admiration and appreciation has to be
genuine even while it's mixed with expressing
healthy boundaries and speaking your truth as you
For some, no amount of admiration and
appreciation will keep him (or her) faithful.
That may be true in Tiger's case.
But if you're feeling like your relationship
could use a little spicing up or you may think it's
Turn your attention toward your partner and look
at what you once admired and appreciated about each
Start looking for instances when these traits
re-appear--and then let your partner know how you
You may not want to be the first to start the
appreciation/admiration ball rolling but if you do,
there may be a huge shift that happens that can
change your life forever.
All our best to you,
"When Is Flirting a Good
Whether you're single, married, or in a committed
relationship...The fact is--most of us have done
our share of flirting (even though we may not have
called it that) in our lives.
Flirting can be a good thing for relationships
Flirting is one of the biggest challenges for
couples today and it's also one of the biggest
reasons so many people don't trust their partners
or spouses (even when everything is so good between
the two of them.).
Flirting that's gone too far is also one of the
things we help you solve in our "Relationship Trust
Turnaround" program that is available here...
Relationship Trust Turnaround
When you (or anyone is flirting) even if you
don't recognize your motivation at the time, it's a
way to get some need (s) met.
The question becomes--Is flirting harmful or
The answer is both...
When one of our newsletter subscribers wrote in
to ask us what we thought about flirting, we
thought it was a great topic that many people in
committed relationships have challenges around,
especially when it involves co-workers, friends or
people you meet in social situations.
When it comes to flirting...
It's fun, exciting and we do it all the time in
It creates more passion, more love and more
We call this a good thing.
The dictionary defines flirting as "to behave
amorously without serious intent" and "to deal
lightly." We define flirting as focusing attention
on another person with the intention to get some
need of yours met.
In our opinion, in most cases when you flirt,
you are sending out "feelers" to find out how
receptive the other person is to you and whether
this person will and can give you what you are
Maybe it's just a smile, laugh, a stroke for
your ego, or conversation (it could be sexual
stimulation) that you want--whatever it is, we all
flirt to get something in return whether we know it
or not. It could be that flirting helps you feel
If you are not violating agreements in a
committed relationship and not violating any
boundaries of the person you are flirting with, it
can be healthy and fun. The challenges begin when
agreements are violated and/or the flirting becomes
So what's the difference between flirting and
just being friendly?
When you are being friendly, the intention may
be to connect with the other person on some level
without a sexual agenda or without having a strong
desire for your personal needs to be met--except
for the need for friendship.
When you are flirting, there is an unspoken (or
spoken) need of some kind that you are wanting the
other person to fill.
We both have flirted with other people when we
were single and when we were in our previous
For her, as Susie looks back on those times, she
realizes that she flirted to ultimately get her
previous husband's attention and to feel
attractive. There was a lack within her that moved
her to attract the attention of other men. She was
trying to fill herself up by looking outward to
others instead of finding it within herself.
In hindsight, Otto now understands that he
flirted to get unmet wants and needs met. In many
cases, he didn't even realize what he was doing.He
just thought that he was having some innocent fun
and a good time. Sometimes this flirting turned out
to create some challenges for him that took some
You may find it interesting to know that as in
love and connected as we are, the two of us do not
wear wedding rings. Rings symbolize commitment but
also we think they are meant to be an outward
signal that the person wearing one is unavailable
for a committed or sexual relationship or whatever
the couple has agreed on.
When we made our marriage commitment to each
other, our intention was that we would move through
our lives in such a way that everyone we came in
contact with would know that we were committed to
each other. In other words, the rings wouldn't be
necessary as an outward symbol of our love and
affection for each other.
The point is not to encourage you to throw away
your rings or to not include them in your
commitment to each other if you are in a committed
relationship, but to encourage you to look
underneath at your intentions and motivations for
all of your actions, including flirting.
If flirting is a problem for you, you might want
to ask yourself these questions to help you sort
out what's going on inside you--
- Are there needs and desires within me that
- Are there wants, needs, desires or interests
unfulfilled and missing in my committed
- Why am I flirting, how do I feel when I'm
doing it and what do I want to get out of doing
- Are there some other ways I can get those
If you are in a committed relationship and you
are flirting with others or your partner is
flirting with others and this is causing distance
and disconnection between the two of you, take this
opportunity to focus on your needs and how they can
possibly be filled in ways that strengthen your
relationship instead of possibly destroying it.
So, when is "flirting" a good thing?
It's a "good" thing to flirt with your partner
when you want to build passion, mystery and
intrigue in your relationship.
In our relationship, we "flirt" with each other
all the time. It makes our relationship more
What we've discovered is that flirting can mean
adoration, honoring and can build passion between
two people and can be very healthy. It can also
serve as a wake up call if you are in a committed
relationship and are violating agreements within
The challenge with "flirting" is to always make
sure that it's appropriate to be building passion,
mystery and intrigue with the person that you're
2 Instant Breakthroughs
That Put Life Back into Your Relationship
One of the quickest, sure-fire ways to create more
trust, more connection or more life in your
relationship is to change the way you talk to
yourself and the way you talk to your partner.
One thing we'd like to say right now is...
If you're feeling like your relationship has
lost some of its spark and aliveness--you're not
It's easy to put everything else you have to do
in your life above your relationship. Because after
all, your relationship will still be
Our question to you is--why leave it up to
Take some steps now to put some life into your
relationship--no matter how good or not-so-good you
think it is.
You might believe that change takes a very long
time to happen.
You might believe that to change something in
your life, you peck away at it and eventually
you'll have want you want.
Or you might even believe that change isn't
It's been our experience that change is possible
and it happens in two ways:
1. Yes, it can take a long time to happen or
2. You can do things to create what we call
You can create these "instant breakthroughs" in
any area of your life but since our focus is
We'll tell you about some instant breakthroughs
that are possible in your relationship
Before we give you some ideas on how to do this,
we'll tell you what "instant relationship
An instant relationship breakthrough is one
moment when one or both of you in the relationship
make a shift to do, say or act differently and
there's an opening, a sense of understanding or a
feeling of connection and communion in the
relationship that wasn't there previously.
Even for a moment both people feel it.
To give you an idea of what we're talking about,
here are 2 "Instant Relationship Breakthroughs"
that you can begin practicing right now to make
your relationships even better...
Instant Relationship Breakthrough Idea #1. Make
a definite "yes" or a "no"
We are all constantly making choices, either
consciously or unconsciously, about how we will use
our time, who we will be with, and what we will
All these decisions (or lack of decisiveness)
positively or negatively affect our happiness.
When we don't make a definite "yes" or "no," we
get stuck in "maybe" land and others decide for us
by default how we'll live our lives.
When people get stuck in "maybe" land, they tend
to become angry and resentful but the fact is--THEY
didn't make a choice.
Here's an example of what we're talking
Imagine you and your partner or you and a friend
decide to go to the local movie theater this Friday
night. There are several possible choices of movies
at your theater and you begin talking about what
you'd like to see with your partner or friend.
Imagine that your partner or friend has a strong
preference toward one movie and you'd really like
to see another but you don't say anything.
You give your partner or friend a weak, "maybe"
or "I don't care" and end up seeing the movie they
wanted to see.
Later, you feel resentful and angry because your
partner or friend is so "bossy," you feel this
always happens to you and you never get to see the
movie that you want to see.
If you can relate, you may feel anger and
resentment toward others but what you actually are
feeling is resentment towards yourself for not
having the confidence to go for what you really
It might feel "safer" to not express an opinion
and let others decide for you but in the end, it
A breakthrough moment is when you empower
yourself and express what you want, giving a clear
"yes" or "no" and expressing your desires in a
It may be that you end up seeing the movie your
partner or friend wants to see but in the process
of expressing your choice, you let the other person
really "see" who you are.
You then have the opportunity to decide together
what would be the most pleasurable use of your
You might even make a deal that you take turns
picking the movies.
Whatever it is, there is choice.
Here's a short technique we call "Yes or No" to
help you make decisions from your heart and
"Yes or No" is a way of discerning your
emotions--a measurement tool for gauging what
you're feeling and making quicker decisions on how
you want to run your life.
It also helps you to get unstuck.
So how do you know whether a decision you are
faced with is a "yes" or a "no"?
1. When someone asks you to do something or a
choice is before you, take a moment to quiet
yourself and breathe.
2. Check in with how you are feeling inside.
To practice this, think of a definite "yes" in
your life, something you are absolutely certain
It might be "I'm a great dancer" or "I'm a good
cook" or even "I have green eyes."
When you think of the "yes," what do you feel
inside your body?
Where do you feel it?
When there's a "yes" for Otto, he feels a
strength inside himself and a sense of
Now think of a definite "no" in your life. What
does it feel like in your body?
When there's a "no" for both of us, there's a
sinking and heaviness in our solar plexus and
This feeling may be somewhere else for you and
it might not be a sinking feeling or heaviness.
It might be a dull ache or feeling of being
Whenever we are faced with a decision, if we
take the time to go within, we can feel whether
something is a "yes" or a "no."
By doing this, we bypass the wishy-washy place
of being stuck in "maybe."
This doesn't just apply to making decisions
about which movie to see.
We invite you to do this exercise to help you be
clearer in your communication on a regular basis
about all the things in your life.
When you do, you will be clear about who you are
and what you are feeling so there's no chance of
assumptions being created that get in the way of
connecting with others.
Instant Relationship Breakthrough Idea #2. The
power of making completions that have kept you from
moving forward in your life and relationships.
Most of us have an awareness of things that have
been left unsaid that needed to be said or things
that needed to be done that weren't done.
If you need to do a completion about anyone or
anything in your life, it can be a breakthrough
moment for you and the other person.
Pam took one of our courses and told us later
that she had made two completions that by doing
them, she was moving forward to having what she
wanted in her life.
She returned all of one man's things that were
left at her house, including a computer, several
months after they had broken off their
She also decided to break it off with a married
man she'd been seeing every now and then for
These things from a former lover and the
relationship that wasn't going anywhere were
holding her back from being with someone who could
love her the way she wanted to be loved.
Completions aren't always as dramatic as Pam's
but they always free up energy for something more
wonderful and powerful in our lives.
On television the other day, we saw an interview
with a couple who had been married 40 years. When
asked how they kept their spark, they said that
they never go to bed mad at each other.
That's a great example of a completion--of not
allowing resentments to build--of saying unsaid
words that may be getting in the way of a great
connection with your partner.
We all have ways we can make completions in our
lives that will free up energy so that we can have
what we want. Anything left unsaid is an
Challenges or problems in the bedroom are almost
always about unspoken truths, withheld emotions and
Try these instant breakthroughs in your
relationship and see what happens.
Instant breakthroughs work.
A change for the better can really happen in
your relationship right now.
One Big Way We Avoid
Fights (and How You Can Too...)
"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" is an
often quoted line from the famous philosopher
Friedrich Nietzsche that unfortunately also
describes a way that many people live their
While we know that sometimes you get into
situations you'd rather not be in...
...And it may be helpful to look at these
situations and realize (as a coping tool) that if
something doesn't kill you, it may make you
We're not sure that's the best way to go through
We'll explain because...,
This is especially true in our intimate
relationships after the first rush of intense
attraction-- or the "honeymoon period"-- starts
This is when those differences that never seemed
to bother us before start bothering us big
Arguments and fights can happen next because
we're so wanting things to be the way they used to
be (or even better) and we think that if our
partner can see our point of view--everything will
Well, it usually doesn't work that way.
In fact, it can just get worse because you each
get in a groove and keep repeating the same
argument over and over--with the same result.
But it doesn't have to be this way and it
doesn't have to end up with one person giving in to
the other's way.
If you don't see eye to eye with your partner or
anyone else who's close to you and it ends up in an
argument or fight, you're certainly not alone.
The two of us have had our share of
misunderstandings and arguments and they might have
gone on and on but we learned a few things.
One of those is how to avoid conflicts (or at
least when they come up, how to get resolution and
re-connected more quickly).
Here's our story...
In the first years of our marriage and life as
business partners, we struggled with how to deal
with finances--even though we were soul mates and
very deeply connected.
Otto has always been a "spender-type" and Susie,
a "saver-type"--and we've certainly driven each
other crazy over this one big difference over the
One particular big problem was over the word
You start a business--you create a
That was according to Susie who had been the
library director at a university for a number of
years and was used to creating and working with
But not to Otto.
He would get really upset, feel restricted and
angry--even when the word was spoken and our
spender/saver difference seemed to really get out
It wasn't until Otto looked at why he was so
triggered by the word and told Susie about it that
we started to soften around this issue.
He had worked as an ad/sales representative for
radio stations for many years and budget to him
meant that someone on high was dictating to him
what he could and couldn't do. Budget meant
When Susie could understand where Otto was
coming from and when Otto could understand how a
budget that he helped to create could be useful, we
could get on the same page with the idea.
The important shift for us came when Otto
realized that a budget could be a guideline for
success and when Susie realized that what Otto
really wanted was the freedom to create and expand
our business in powerful ways.
We started listening to each other and could
actually appreciate where we each were coming
from--and stay open to new possibilities.
We decided not to use the word "budget" (we used
"plan" instead). And then after several years, Otto
realized that the word "budget" didn't have a
charge for him anymore.
And we actually began working together to create
our finances the way we wanted them to be.
For this to work, we had to give up our
pre-conceived notions of how it "should" be or how
it was in our previous lives.
We had to start from scratch to finally
understand one another and move forward
In your relationship, if there's an issue that
comes up again and again, take the time and gather
the courage to get out of your destructive
Stop what you've been doing and saying and start
all over in your mind.
Pretend you have had your mind swept of all
previous thoughts around this topic and start
Start over and listen to each other--not a
regurgitation of your favorite argument but rather
talk about your motivation and feelings.
Of course you each need to take some time to
identify exactly what the feeling is underneath
your strong belief and stand.
Otto had to get to his feeling of restriction
and be willing to share it with Susie in order for
us to understand one another.
Susie had to be willing to not get defensive but
This is incredibly powerful and it works.
Both of you need to do this and if your partner
isn't interested, try it anyway.
If your partner wants to keep holding on to
being right and is emotionally abusive, it may be
time to consider if this relationship is one you
want to stay in.
As always, if you are being physically abused,
get help and leave now. After you are safe, you can
find out if he is willing to get help and if things
Arguments and fights don't have to come between
the two of you.
And you certainly don't have to use them to make
you "strong" as Nietzsche said.
You can be joyful and loving in your
relationships--and still learn to be strong.
Love and Physical
Affection--2 Ideas For Getting More
Question from a Reader:
"My biggest frustration in my relationship is
that whenever I become even a little needy, I find
my partner withdrawing.
"If I point this out, he is sweet and makes an
effort but his natural instinct is to withdraw.
"Also, I want more physical affection other than
love-making. I find that he is less touchy feely
"How do I make my man more responsive--
physically and emotionally?
"It's important for me to overcome this obstacle
so I can give as much as I want without feeling
that I too need to withhold in the relationship in
order to have more control/balance--which I know is
not healthy because it takes away from the
spontaneity in our relationship.
"Also it makes me feel unloved, which I know is
not the case."
If there's one question we hear over and over,
it's the one our reader asks...
"How do I make my man more responsive--
physically and emotionally?"
And although we do hear it occasionally from
men, we primarily hear it from women and here's
All the research we've read (including our own
informal research) suggests that men have had a few
handicaps when it comes to being emotionally and
physically responsive when it doesn't involve the
act of making love.
Now of course, we're not talking about ALL men
and we're not making excuses for them.
But because of upbringing, life experiences and
what most (if not all) cultures teach what being a
Boys are taught in so many ways NOT to be
emotionally and physically responsive in loving
ways (as girls are generally taught), especially
toward the opposite gender.
Many family cultures reinforce the idea that
"too" much physical touch (outside of the "act"
itself) and emotion is not the norm and is even
unacceptable if you're going to be part of that
This goes for males and females.
What all of this does is create vast differences
in expectations between two people (even
same-gender couples) as to what each finds
desirable and natural when it comes to sharing
themselves with each other in this way.
In other words, one person can be comfortable
and actually want a certain level of physical touch
and emotional sharing in the relationship--and the
other person has a very different level of
comfort--even shying away from it.
Is this an impossible situation?
If you're the one who wants more affection and
emotional sharing outside the bedroom, do you just
have to accept that you'll never get it and stay
Do you have to keep asking for what you want and
constantly feel needy?
Before we answer those questions, we want to
talk a little about the idea of feeling needy.
If this describes you at times in your
relationship (and most of us can relate to feeling
needy at sometime in our lives)...
We invite you to take a close look at what
happens when you become needy.
Define your brand of neediness.
For right now (we'll get to your partner later),
forget about what he or she is doing or not doing
and just focus on you.
What are you telling yourself about your partner
or about yourself?
Are these thoughts true?
Do you tell yourself that your partner SHOULD
understand what you need?
Do you tell yourself that your partner doesn't
love you, even though you know that he or she
What stories are you spinning in your mind at
these times? Are they true?
Is it that you've had a bad day at work and you
want some comfort right now because you feel very
alone and unloved?
Is it that something else happened to make you
feel not so good about yourself and you want some
assurance that you are loved?
What's your behavior?
Step back and look at yourself and what you do
in those times.
Do you call your partner--and keep calling him
or her until you get an answer--and then become
angry and withdraw because he or she wasn't
Do you withhold in the relationship in order to
have more control and balance as our Reader
described--and if so, is it working?
If you become "needy," you NEED something and
are expecting someone else to fill that need in a
You need the other person to act in a certain
way in order for you to feel good.
How is it that you want the other person to act
so you can feel good?
While it would be great if the other person
complies and gives you what you want, as our Reader
told us, it isn't satisfying and doesn't fill her
need when he reacts to her request.
She senses that his natural reaction is not to
come closer to her in those times and that he's
"sweet" (translate that to wants to please her) but
it's not what she wants
The problem with neediness is that the other
person's reaction to it is NEVER what we want.
The other person either withdraws, gets angry or
tries to satisfy the need but somehow fails
miserably and it's not good enough.
So what can you do if you're stuck in this type
Is it hopeless?
Here are some ideas...
1. Take a breath and stop yourself from doing
what you normally would do when you feel needy.
Get to the real cause of your feelings.
Find out what you "need" in that moment and
really look within to see if you might be able to
fill that need yourself in some other way.
If your neediness is brought on by untrue
thoughts and stories you're telling yourself, then
be honest with yourself and change those
Reaching toward someone else for love and
comfort out of neediness can be like reaching for
chocolate, ice cream or alcohol in times of
We THINK the comfort, the touching, the
chocolate will help ease whatever is going on--and
it may for a very short time--but in the long run,
The only thing that really DOES help is dealing
honestly with a situation-- and that means looking
2. When you aren't in the throes of neediness,
invite your partner to talk about the pattern that
you both play out.
Stay engaged even though it's tough and you are
tempted to withdraw--or whatever you do.
Be willing to truly listen without getting
defensive when your partner shares what he or she
is feeling in those times.
You might ask yourself and your partner if this
is a relatively recent pattern-- beginning after
something happened between the two of you--or if
this is how it's always been.
Talking about the "elephant" that is still
hanging around and listening to each other can help
you stop all of this withdrawing.
Your willingness to listen without getting your
hackles up (even if you think you don't have
"hackles") or withdraw will set the stage for more
and deeper sharing and trust between the two of
3. Decide what kinds of agreements you both are
willing to make around what each of you want.
If your partner isn't as touchy-feely and you
want more, is there a way to get both your needs
Be creative and be specific.
Maybe a time each day that's just for the two of
you--and it might be that you spend 10 minutes
rubbing each other's feet or backs--or even sitting
close to one another.
The point is to figure out what you each want in
your relationship, strip away your previous
patterns that sabotage you getting what you
want--and then take steps that you both want to
take toward what you want.
If he or she is unwilling to even talk about it
with you, then keep practicing opening but also
know that this may not be the partner for you.
There's a big difference between coming toward
someone with neediness and lack-- and with radiance
Our wish for you is that the two of you practice
dropping your defenses and going for the
This almost never works in
Oddly enough, there's a relationship strategy that
almost every tries at one time or another that they
think will make things better but almost never
Talk about a communication challenge-this is
certainly one of the biggest!
Here's what frequently happens...
When we are in a relationship with someone
(especially our intimate partner or spouse) and we
get triggered or upset, the first thing that
usually happens is that we shut down to the other
person in some way or another.
Some of us get mad or just peeved and some of us
withdraw, either agreeing to something we don't
want or disagreeing but withdrawing our energy.
However you shut down, the outcome is still the
When you shut down emotionally or energetically,
you are nowhere close to coming together on an
agreement and a way to proceed to resolve the
difference when this happens.
No matter how insignificant the issue,
resentment can build and continue to separate you
from the love and connection that you both may
You start doing what we call "talking on
eggshells," not really saying what you mean because
irritation seems to be a constant between you.
So what can you do when this happens?
How can you learn to say what you mean when it's
important to do so and it's difficult to do so?
We created some great new strategies to help you
with this and many other important communication
issues that you can find learn about at
http://www.StopTalkingOnEggshells.com but here's
what we can tell you right now about it...
Although it may seem like the complete opposite
of what you might want to do or what might feel
natural to do-- one of the best things you can do
when you're having a difficult moment in your
relationship or marriage is to open, even when it's
difficult to do it.
You'll hear us saying this a lot but it's so
true and worth repeating--
Everything you do either moves you closer to or
further from the love that you really want. It's
the choices you make in every moment that make the
difference whether you keep a relationship alive or
And, opening is a choice that you can make.
So how do you open up when you're triggered and
feel closed, angry, or withdrawn toward the other
Here are 3 tips to help you to open so that the
two of you can begin to come to a resolution about
whatever differences you might be
1. Own your stories-What is it you are telling
yourself about this situation? Are you holding on
to being right? Take a moment and listen in on what
you are saying to yourself about this situation.
Ask yourself what it would mean to get your way or
if you didn't get your way. What are you telling
yourself being right or getting your way will
2. Remember that you love or even like this
person-What is your desire with this relationship?
If it's connection and love, then bring your
thoughts back to why you love this person, even
though you may both be at odds at the moment.
Remember that you aren't always at odds (even
though you may think you are at the moment) and
bring your mind and heart back to times when you
were on the same page.
3. Share and listen with love-What is it that
you want to share from your heart? Be curious about
what you want and also what the other wants. Know
that you both have choice and listen and share from
that feeling of wide openness.
Opening when you are triggered is a choice. You
can stay stuck in negativity, possibly harming your
relationship and certainly making your life
miserable-or you can choose to open to maybe
another alternative or way of doing things.
The choice is love or distance. Which do you
Why It Pays To NOT Be
Honest In Relationships
What a double-edged sword the truth can be!
We all say we want to be "truthful" and to be
told the truth..
Or do we really?
If we're really honest with ourselves about our
relationships, when it comes down to it, the
"truth" we usually want to hear is the one we agree
The "truth" is that in most relationships--
One or both of you dance around the truth or
omit things that are important to you because you
don't think your partner will like them or will get
When you do this, you are putting up walls to
intimacy and barriers to deeper connection--no
doubt about it.
But you don't want to hurt the other person with
So what we ALL do to greater or lessor degrees
in our relationships is to NOT tell the "whole"
truth with the people in our lives and most
importantly-- we don't usually want them to tell us
the whole truth either--especially if it's
uncomfortable to hear it.
If everybody was completely honest (judgments
included) in ALL their communication, it might just
be too painful.
So, what we're saying is...
If we're really honest with ourselves, there's a
payoff for not being completely honest in our
We get to make sure we don't hurt anyone and
they won't hurt us as well.
But is this NOT being completely honest good or
bad for creating close, connected
This leads us to a question around this topic
that we're guessing you can identify with--because
we've coped with this one ourselves and it's also a
question that many of our "Relationship
Breakthrough" Coaching clients have had as
Question from a Reader:
"How do you keep honesty and intimacy in
relationships without becoming upset when told the
We all know that it's a piece of cake to be
honest with someone or to really hear what another
person says if you think the message is something
you both agree with and neither one of you finds
It's EASY to be truthful.
But what if you have to tell someone something
that might be upsetting or even make that person
And what if someone tells you something that
you'd rather not hear or believe?
Not as comfortable to tell or hear the truth,
It's the way many of us are made up--to not want
to be hurtful and to get along.
But what happens when we disagree with
someone--someone we love--or he or she disagrees
Some of us hint at the truth or completely
ignore it, hoping that it will go away without ever
letting the other person know how we really
feel--just to keep the peace or any other
When this happens, what it really does is push
the two of you further from love, intimacy and
When the two of us first came together, we made
an agreement that we would be totally honest with
each other so that we could keep our passion and
We had both done it the other way and knew that
it didn't work so we wanted to be sure we didn't
make that same mistake twice.
It sounded like a good agreement but when we
started putting it into practice, it wasn't as easy
as it seemed--even though there was and is great
love between us.
Like a lot of people, it took a lot of courage
to find out what was true inside us and then to say
that truth so that the other could hear it.
And hearing it was another story...
When faced with being told something
uncomfortable about ourselves, what you might
imagine happened to us too...
We got defensive and either shut down, got
quiet, withdrew or got angry and sarcastic.
Pretty typical response, right?
When faced with the "truth" that we didn't
necessarily agree with, we fell into old
patterns--just like most people--even though we had
made this wonderful agreement.
What did we do to get out of our old habits and
do it differently?
Here are some ways we learned to stay open to
each other, even when it's been tough, so that we
could build our trust, connection and
1. Recognize that you have a "story" and your
partner has a "story"--and that's what they both
We all have very different ways of viewing the
world and if we are to be in relationships with
each other--especially intimate ones--we have to
stop expecting that we'll all think exactly alike
all of the time.
It just isn't so.
When you recognize that you have a viewpoint
that might be different from the other person's
that is made up of very different life experiences,
you can be a little more open to just finding out
what makes them tick--instead of trying to defend
yourself and your ideas.
2. Recognize that you always have choice. Just
because your partner says something about you or
something that he or she thinks has to happen or
not happen--you still have choice.
We defend when we think we don't have
When the two of us remembered that very simple
idea, we stopped being so defensive and could
listen to one another at a deeper level.
3. Listen to hear if you can find any truth to
what's being said, even though it might be painful
There have been times when Susie would say
something to Otto (or to someone else) and she
didn't realize that sometimes her comments sounded
"bossy" and "controlling."
When it was pointed out to her, of course she
would get defensive.
Because of our agreement, she learned how to
stop herself by taking some deep breaths and
stopping the words she normally said in
In her mind, she learned to rewind the tape of
the incident. Usually she could see how her
comments could have been taken that way, although
that wasn't her intention.
When she thought about it... and located that
truth, she said one of the "Magic Words" or phrases
that we teach. She said..."You are right. I can see
how you might feel that way although it wasn't my
And then she told Otto (or the other person)
what she was feeling when she said those "bossy"
words and used that particular tone of voice.
She was honest about what was inside her and
what she was feeling.
Each time the two of us share in this way, we
create deeper intimacy and truth between us.
We've found that it all starts with stopping
yourself from what you habitually do when you feel
threatened, treated wrongly or misunderstood.
In doing this, we in no way suggest that you are
to become someone's "door-mat."
It's really just the opposite when you stop
yourself from getting muddled in defensiveness,
anger or fear.
We've found that when you do change from your
old habits, you are able to speak more clearly,
understand one another and create deeper love
between the two of you.
So does it pay to not be honest in your
It pays if you want to remain distant from
If you want to create more passion, intimacy and
3 Ways to Get Your Needs
Met in Your Relationship or Marriage
Question from a Reader: "[My problem
is] my husband's inability to take the
initiative in our relationship, to find what I
like/want. He is unable to make me feel like a
woman. I feel needed not loved.
"Is this his personality and can he change or is
what we have now all there will ever be?
"If my needs cannot be met, I think I will try
to leave this marriage again. I agreed to stay if
things change. He believes he has changed
dramatically, but he is even more insecure now.
"Why is it that it is mostly women who look for
information to solve these problems? Men need to be
made aware of how we feel, and start doing
something about it.
"My husband admitted he knew I was unhappy but
did not see divorce as an option. How long did he
think a relationship could go on like this?"
Our Comments: Wow! We really hear
You, like a lot of other women, are tired of
doing ALL the work on the relationship.
You want him to step up to the plate and and you
feel like it's not happening.
You say he's unable to make you feel like a
woman and you feel NEEDED not loved!
And he may not have a clue how to go about
giving you what you want--let alone think of doing
it on his own.
Now of course by answering this woman's
question, we are in no way implying that ALL men
are like this--not being able to give the women
they love what they want.
But what we do know from research--ours and
others--as a broad generalization, (and we do mean
broad) women are theones who are more interested in
personal growth and making their relationships
Women by in large are the ones who will lead
their partners to therapy, coaching or relationship
books and courses.
Again, as a generalization, men tend to seek out
relationship help only when the relationship is
falling apart and will end very soon if they don't
do something quickly.
Why is this?
Could be the way men and women are biologically
wired differently but it's also programming from an
early age about what it means to be in an intimate
Our reader's husband might fall into this
To him, "needing" someone and being needed
To this woman, that's not enough.
Many years ago, one of our teachers said
Women marry men hoping they'll change. Men marry
women hoping they won't.
If this woman is like many others, we're
guessing that when the two of them were first
together, her feeling that he NEEDED her was
enough--or at least she thought it might change
into something deeper as the years went on.
She saw potential in him and in the relationship
and there's certainly nothing wrong with that if
that was true for them.
But what happens is usually this...
As the years passed, she discovered that a
relationship could be much more-- and being loved
and loving is more than just being needed.
But her husband didn't necessarily get that
information. He was comfortable with the way their
relationship was and didn't necessarily want it to
So can someone (man or woman) change or is this
part of his or her personality and can't be
Our take on this question is this...
Anyone can change but the person has to have the
desire, motivation and skill to do it.
And you have to speak the same language.
By that, we mean that you have to learn to
listen deeply to each other without getting
defensive and to talk honestly about your wants and
You have to give up judgments and open your
hearts to each other so you can understand where
you are each coming from.
We'll give you an example from our own life to
explain what we mean...
From the beginning of our relationship, both of
us have had a strong desire to keep it passionate,
alive and growing as the years go by.
So we've both had strong desires to grow--and
keep growing together.
But that doesn't mean we've always been able to
understand each other and talk to each other
without getting triggered.
We had to learn to stop the stories in our heads
that may or may not be true.
We had to learn to ask when we were unclear
before we just assumed that we knew the other's
It might be a tone of voice that meant one thing
to Otto and another to Susie.
We each had to learn to recognize what we do
when we are triggered and defensive and take a step
out of it when it happens.
So what does all of this have to do with our
reader's situation and question?
We share what we've had to learn to more clearly
point the way to how to learn to love someone more
Yes, you can learn how to love someone more
deeply even if you've never been taught how.
And we all have specific ways that we want to be
Here are a few suggestions for how our reader
can get her needs met, as well as any couple who
wants to increase the love in their
1. Make a list of what being loved and feeling
like a woman or man mean to you. Be very specific
and let your partner know--but skip the blame.
Find specific examples to point to that will
help your partner understand what you want--maybe
something he or she did "right."
We're all different and we all have different
definitions of what being loved means.
Does it mean more touching or love- making,
demonstrations of a desire to be with you more, or
listening to you so that there's true
Susie knows she's loved because Otto shows her
in many ways that she is important to him.
He doesn't just say it. He lives it.
Last Friday evening, we went to a restaurant
with a few of our friends.
After dinner was over and we were all sitting
around the table talking, Susie told Otto that she
was tired, the music was loud and she was ready to
He "felt" into her, into himself and listened to
Otto realized that he wasn't attached to staying
at the restaurant and saw and felt that Susie was
ready to go home.
He didn't ask questions or make a comment. He
simply looked at her and agreed.
In that moment, Susie felt a deep recognition
that he was very present with her, she was deeply
loved and her wishes were being respected by
Does that mean Susie always gets her way?
Of course not.
It just means that we've agreed that loving and
being loved means listening and feeling deeply into
the other and into ourselves before we
automatically react from old patterns.
2. Be willing to open to the idea that your
partner might be changing. It just might not be in
the way you want.
If your partner thinks he's changed, with an
open heart, ask him how he has changed without
blaming him for not being who you want him to
Listen and observe first.
The woman who sent us her question said that her
husband seemed even more insecure.
When she senses him feeling insecure, she can
open her heart and invite him to open up to
We're not saying that his changes may be enough
for her or in any way what she wants.
We are saying that for anyone to make changes,
he or she has to feel that there is acknowledgment
for the changes that are being made along the
Something like this...
"I can see that you are making an effort to
One woman is in therapy with her husband and was
focusing so much on what their relationship wasn't
that she missed the changes he was making in
Shift your focus to looking for the
changes--whether they are exactly what you think
they should be or not.
Acknowledge him for what he Is doing and not
what he's not doing.
3. Discover what you both want in your
The two of you may not want the same type of
relationship--or you may.
The problem is that your partner may not choose
to open himself or herself to the relationship that
In the end, we all make choices about how we
want to live our lives and your two viewpoints may
not be a close enough match for how you want to
But if the desire is there for both of you to
follow a similar path and you both learn the skills
that will take you to the relationship you want, it
just might be possible.
2 Ways to Create
"Automatic Attraction" in Your Relationship...
Wouldn't it be great if you could wave a magic wand
and the person you most want to be attracted to you
(especially your current partner, spouse or lover)
is head over heels in love with you and you really
feel it at deep level?
Whether you're currently in a relationship or
Wouldn't that be pretty wonderful?
Well--unfortunately, there is no "magic wand"
that we know of.
But we do know some ways to create what we call
We're going to share some of them here
One of those ways is to use the right words in
the right ways--words that create "automatic
attraction," more trust and the feeling of being
loved, honored and appreciated in your most
The right words really can make ALL the
difference in your communication and
So what is "automatic attraction" and how do you
It might sound complicated but it really
One of our teachers explained it this way...
In order to create what you want in your life,
you have to set up the conditions so that what you
want happens automatically.
We'll use weight loss as an example for how to
do this and then we'll give you an example about
relationships to further bring the point
While we're certainly not experts on weight
loss-- we can tell you that if you want to lose
weight, it's just like what you have to do to
create an outstanding relationship.
You can do it much easier if you start doing
things that make it "automatic."
If you set up conditions like these--
Going to the gym and working out with a trainer
3 days a week, doing 30 minutes of exercise on the
other days, eating smaller portions, and not eating
sweets and certain other foods--you'll probably
If you do those things (or whatever conditions
you put in place) and keep doing them, it's almost
automatic that you will lose weight.
How about relationships?
We think one of the biggest keys to creating a
long-lasting, close relationship is keeping
attraction alive between the two of you.
And if your perfect partner hasn't come into
your life, you may be looking for that attraction
or "spark" that tells you that he or she is "the
one" when you meet someone new.
So attraction is big--whether you're single or
in a relationship with someone.
As we were thinking about attraction and setting
up conditions for making it automatic, we asked
ourselves how we do it in our relationship.
What do we do to keep our attraction alive
throughout the years and make it almost seem
Here are some of the "conditions" we've set in
place that continues to keep us attracted to each
other that you can use whether you're with someone
right now or not...
(These things may seem pretty simple but don't
be deceived into thinking that they aren't powerful
to keep attraction alive and well!)
1. Greet each other as if we are very special to
one another (which we are).
This isn't always easy and sometimes we (like a
lot of people) forget to greet each other as if the
other is special.
Here's an example for you to see how the
smallest of things can make the biggest of
differences in the love and connection...
The other day Otto was out running errandsand he
called Susie to ask if she wanted anything from the
When he called, she was preoccupied and when she
saw it was him on caller ID, she just said "yeah"
in a dead-pan voice as she answered the phone.
Otto felt like he was treated worse than a
stranger and all he said was...
"I'll call back."
Then he hung up the phone and immediately called
back a 2nd time...
Susie got the message loud and clear.
When she answered the second time, she spoke in
such a way that he knew he was special.
This seems like such a small thing but it's so
Now you tell us...
Which promotes automatic attraction-- a cold,
distant "yeah" when your spouse or partner
or a warm, loving greeting?
We AND you both know the answer.
It's the warm, loving greeting.
And the weird thing about this is...
The warm, loving greeting certainly isn't fake
and doesn't take any longer to do.
What we're encouraging you to do is...
Set up the condition that you remember that your
beloved is your beloved--no matter how busy or
preoccupied you are.
And if you are not currently with a partner,
treat a loved one in the same way we're talking
You'll be amazed what happens in your life.
Another thing you can do to start creating
"automatic attraction" is...
2. Stop yourself before you make up untrue
stories about your beloved (or anyone else you want
to attract to you) and just listen.
It's so easy to fall into the "bad" habit of
viewing everyone, especially your loved ones, from
And when you do that, you make up stories that
may or may not be true about what he or she is
thinking and feeling.
Even if you're very much in love and consider
yourselves "soul mates," you can't possibly assume
to know what your partner is thinking and
Attraction stops when you start assuming.
When you start assuming, the other person either
withdraws or gets angry.
So which do you want?
Your beloved or another to come toward you or to
pull away from you?
Learning to listen without an agenda is one
condition to put in place that will bring you
Listening without an agenda just takes a little
practice and telling your mind to be quiet now and
just pay attention to the other person.
It's also telling yourself that you still have
choice even though you are listening to someone
Creating conditions that will set the stage for
automatic attraction is not as impossible as it may
Does it ensure that your relationship will be
exactly what you want?
...Like maybe you want more romance and your
partner doesn't seem to want it?
Well, remember we said that we don't have a
magic wand--but you certainly aren't out anything
if you start thinking about this idea and trying
out setting some conditions.
Who knows--the results might be better than you
The Women Men Adore... And
Never Want To leave
If you're a man.who is curious about your role in
making sure your woman is the woman you adore and
won't ever want to leave--then we have a very
special recommendation for you that WILL change
your relationship and life with your woman for the
Recently, we met Dr. Bob Grant and he's a
licensed relationship counselor from the Atlanta,
Not only does Bob have an amazingly successful
therapy practice... but he's also written an
amazing book that we highly recommend.
His book is called...
"The Woman Men Adore...and Never Want to
If there's one thing we've heard a lot from our
women readers it's how to keep their partners
We have to tell you that we were blown away by
Bob's ideas and the way he explains them in this
He gives practical strategies, tips and ways to
move yourself from where you are now to becoming
the woman your man truly adores and never wants to
We loved this book.
We read it cover to cover and found it to be
refreshing and amazing.
In his book, "The Women Men Adore... And Never
Want To Leave," Bob seems to have an uncanny way of
saying things that make getting what you want in
your relationships easy (and that's a good
This book is unique in how it helps you
understand how a man reacts inside when someone he
loves is in pain.
It also explains why some women unconsciously
"drive away good men or continually pick
This book is not only written by a man, from a
male point of view, but also from the point of view
of a counselor.
Here's what another reader wrote: "...this book
is a Godsend."
In our opinion, this book deserves not just one
reading, but many and here's the best part...
When you download a copy of Bob's book--."How to
Be the Woman Men Adore and Never Want to Leave..."
...You also get a personal phone consultation with
Bob personally about your situation. THAT is
All our best to you.
Who's the "problem" in
If you're like most people, your answer is probably
pretty quick and definite...Your partner!
Question from a Reader:
"I am certain that my husband is the 'Problem'
in our marriage because of the way he communicates
negatively and messes things up and he is certain
that I am the 'Problem' in the relationship.
"How do we find out 'who' is causing the bad
communication, but I need to know who is causing it
because I only get upset at the way my husband
talks or handles our problems and not at the actual
"How do we find out who is causing the problem
even though I know we shouldn't put the blame on
each other, but I'm certain our relationship would
be better if my husband handled things
What a wonderful question!
We don't care how "enlightened" and "together"
At some point in your life and in some
relationship (maybe more than one), you've had this
very same thought.
You may or may not have voiced it--but you sure
We know because we've certainly been there--
even in our own relationship!
This thought we're talking about is...
"If only he (or she) would do this (or stop
doing this), everything would be okay!"
Well, if you've ever had this thought, there's
good news and there's bad news.
The good news is that because we all have
different experiences and approach life
differently, it's pretty "normal" for couples (even
those deeply in love) to look at the other person
as being the problem in their relationship.
What happens most of the time is...
If things don't seem "right" in your
communication or relationship, you then start
looking for all the possible reasons why.
When you start running down all the possible
reasons, your mind (which loves to attach to
stories) finds a story it can believe, attach to
and hold on to and guess what?
It's just like looking for the robber who just
robbed the bank--you, anyone or the police would
naturally assume that the person who just fled the
bank as the alarm was going off was the robber.
Just like when there's a problem in our
relationships-- we first look at ourselves and say
"I didn't do it". or "I'm not the problem" because
what we said or did makes logical sense--to us.
When we figure out that we couldn't have had
anything (or not much) to do with a communication
breakdown, we naturally start looking at the people
we're in relationship with and think...
If I'm NOT the problem, then it must be my
partner, spouse or lover.
We rationalize--they're the one that's causing
Or so we think.
This is a scenario that plays out over and over
in almost every relationship and it's what we call
the "blame game."
Since it's so normal--it's very "fixable."
The bad news is that in order to "fix" the
problem, one or both of you have to let go.
It's like you're both holding onto a rope, with
your feet firmly planted, bodies tensed and pulling
with all of your might in two different
No chance of getting the connection and love you
want when this is going on!
In fact, just the opposite happens.
You get further apart.
It's not uncommon for one person to get tired of
pulling so hard and just give up--letting the rope
go or giving in.
While they might have let go of the rope or
given in, they have not let go of anger, resentment
and the feeling of being right.
So even though one person "wins," no one really
wins because the two of you never truly come
together and re-connect.
And if you both won't let go of the rope,
holding on for dear life, it's just as painful for
each of you.
So what do you do when there's a stand-off and
you don't know what to do?
The two of us remember a particular situation
that used to come up between us again and
Like our Reader, Susie thought the way Otto
communicated was the problem.
You guessed it...
Otto thought the way Susie communicated was the
Here's the way it usually worked...
Susie: "Otto's tone of voice was condescending
and makes me feel like I am stupid."
Otto: "Susie's controlling and she makes me feel
like it always has to be her way."
It didn't matter who started it or what the
particular problem was, it was a stand-off and both
of us felt like we were "right."
So how did we get out of it?
First of all, it's never easy to stop doing what
you are used to doing.
Old patterns are automatic and rule us whether
we like to admit it or not.
So we're not saying it's easy to get out of your
or our blame game.
What we are saying is that you have to find a
way to communicate what's going on within you or
what's important to you without blaming that other
And here's the thing...To get out of it, you
have to want connection more.
It just takes one to let go of the rope--but let
go of it without anger and bitterness.
So the first thing the two of us did, that we
recommend you do, is to change your question.
Change your question from "who" to "what."
Instead of "who said this" or "who did this,"
shift your attention to "what" is coming up inside
for both of you.
You might be saying, "I might be able to do this
but my partner won't"--and you might be right or
you might not be.
All it takes is for you to stop blaming what he
or she is saying or doing and admit what thoughts
you are having about YOU.
Separate them out from what the other person
said or did.
In other words, own them because if you're
really honest, they were there all the time.
In our situation, we saw that no one could MAKE
us feel a certain way--and that was a huge
Then we told each other the thoughts and
feelings that were underneath our reactions.
When we started listening to each other, we
quickly realized that how we appeared to the other
person didn't match how we were feeling.
Susie didn't feel "controlling" even though she
may have come off that way and Otto wasn't feeling
superior, even though his voice sounded that way to
We began to understand each other a little
We began to understand what we each do
automatically when we're triggered--and how that is
perceived by the other person.
And this was NOT how we thought we were coming
We realized how we played off each other to
create our particular stalemate--how we both
"puffed" ourselves up when we felt like we were in
danger of not getting our way.
Even though it was all an illusion!
Was this a deal-breaker in our relationship?
Maybe not a deal-breaker but it certainly could
have destroyed our relationship if we had allowed
it to stay that way.
So one great question to ask yourself is one we
heard a very wise person ask...
"How are you setting it up for this person to
behave in ways you don't like?"
Hint--look at your reaction when you get
triggered from your partner's point of view even
though you might not think you're doing
If you start answering this question for
yourself and making some new choices, you'll see
your blame game start to dissolve.
And you'll see your love and connection deepen
right before your eyes.
How To Deal With
Disagreements in Relationships
It's a fact.
Disagreements happen in relationships....
There's nothing new about this.
The challenge is...
What do you do when you have a disagreement or
difference of opinion with someone?
One thing you DON'T want to do is what we call
"talk on eggshells".
Here's one of the BIG communication questions
many people have asked us over the years...
What do you do to work through disagreements
when they happen so you can work through the
challenge AND keep or regain your connection-- even
when you have a difference of opinion?
This is such a great question and...
Believe it or not--what you do in the split
second that you feel a disconnection with another
person, especially your loved ones, will determine
how long you stay disconnected and distant--and if
you ever feel truly close again.
Take a second right now and think about a time
when you felt triggered or disconnected from a
What did you do?
Rewind the tape of the incident in your mind and
slow it down so you can really see it.
We're guessing that unless you're really highly
evolved and very self-aware, your initial reaction
was one of three responses in some form or the
Fight, flight or freeze
And you might have different reactions in
different situations with different people but
there's probably one of these that you can
pin-point that happens inside you more often.
Do you see which reaction you have most of the
We want to tell you which reactions the two of
us have fallen into most of the time and how we
work through any problems, challenges or
misunderstandings that come up because of these
Consider using our example we're about to share
to help you change any negative patterns in your
relationship that happen when challenges come up
In the past, when we have had misunderstandings
and disagreements, Otto's habitual pattern has been
to come toward Susie with a lot of intensity.
His physical body and mind races--his voice gets
louder and his energy intensifies.
He becomes overpowering and pushing toward her
because that's his unconscious way of getting what
But of course it doesn't work that way!
On the other hand, Susie's knee-jerk, habitual
response is to leave--to walk out of the room, to
leave the situation.
As with most people, our responses were formed
long before our current relationship.
When we looked at our previous relationships, we
had similar reactions when things got tough with
our previous partners.
It's just that in our relationship, we decided
together that we couldn't have the relationship we
wanted and still act out from our habitual
We decided we had to learn to "stay."
We had to learn how to identify what we each do
that takes us away from connection when we're upset
and find a way to listen to and understand each
other to find a solution to the situation.
As time has gone on--and with practice--Otto's
gotten better at noticing when he's pushing and his
intensity is "over the top."
Susie has gotten better at feeling the urge to
run when things get tough. She's learned to calm
her body and her mind so she can listen and speak
from her heart.
To help our situation, Otto's agreed to calm
down his intense energy when Susie makes a downward
motion with her hand--as in turning down the volume
on a stereo--in an open, loving way.
And then we do everything we can to stay open to
each other and talk until we understand each
other's motivation and point of view so we can feel
the connection we love again.
Here are some ideas for you to try if you want
to get out of your habitual ways and reconnect
quicker and more easily when you feel at odds with
1. Recognize what you do that takes you further
from what you want.
It takes courage to do this and then change
it--especially if your partner isn't buying into
any of this.
But you know what?
If you hang on to what you always do, nothing
2. Breathe when you notice you've gone into that
At first, you may not be so good at catching
yourself because the habit is so ingrained in
But if you keep at it, you'll begin to realize
when you get the urge to leave, fight or when you
3. Bring yourself into the present situation and
commit to staying present to what's in front of
Of course if you are in a dangerous
situation--if the other person is a real threat to
you, either emotionally or physically, don't stay
but get help as soon as possible.
If possible, both of you commit to "staying"
with the process of listening and understanding one
another--when you're not in the situation.
If your partner doesn't agree, you can still
commit to yourself to learn how to stay open to
listening and speaking your truth.
This doesn't mean that you agree with the
person. It may mean that you set some loving
boundary for yourself.
But it does mean that you are more conscious and
able to respond from a centered place than from
your habitual responses.
4. If you or your partner need to calm down and
you can't do it in that moment, agree to come back
together at a later time to discuss this issue.
Sometimes it's just impossible to get anywhere
when emotions are high.
Just be clear when you're going to come back
together and don't be tempted to sweep the issue
under the rug, hoping it will go away if you ignore
It probably won't but will only get bigger.
We invite you to learn how to stay in the moment
so you can get new understandings of your partner
and of yourself.
After all, that's where the growth and
Talk to you again soon...
Relationship Tip: What to do
Having the "right" words and knowing how to say
them in an important relationship situation is
critical to getting what you want in a
What do you do when you're in a relationship
that's got some aspect to it that's "OK" but you
find that you're still wanting more?
No matter what that one part is...
You're got to be able to identify what it is you
want more of and to think that it's possible to get
We know what it's like...
Maybe you're like the person who wrote us
today--who had worked through her jealousy but
she's frustrated because she can't get her partner
to share his feelings with her.
Maybe you and your partner have the same fight
over and over and you can't seem to agree--but a
lot of your relationship is good.
Maybe you love each other and you don't want to
leave but sometimes you wonder just who this person
is and why you are with him or her.
If you can relate, we know what you mean because
we've been there.
We were there most of the time in both of our
We know what it feels like to love someone and
your relationship to be "okay" but you want
something more--but maybe don't know what it is or
how to go about getting it.
Our question to you is this...
Are you feeding and expanding your relationship
And another important question for you is...
Do you believe that more is possible for you in
your relationship or marriage?
For most people, the sad truth is that they
DON"T believe more is possible and that's why they
settle for mediocrity.
Today, we watched a great online video by one of
our favorite teachers Tony Robbins about what keeps
you from succeeding in what you want.
He said that success usually happens when people
hit rock bottom and they say to themselves that
they are sick of this--and then they start changing
They start doing the "rituals"--1 thing a day or
1 thing a week--to follow-through to get to their
These rituals become "musts" and not
More importantly, they changed the way they
thought of their potential for success in their
Okay, so let's translate this to your
If you have an "okay" or "not-too-bad" marriage
or relationship, you probably haven't hit rock
bottom and you may or may not be at the point where
you're saying to yourself, "I'm sick of this!"
We're suggesting that even though you may not be
at that point (and great if you aren't because it
can be pretty traumatic if you are)--we invite you
to consider making a shift in what you see your
potential in your relationship to be.
Take action from the place inside you that you
can see the potential for what you want--and it you
don't know what that is, go search for it.
When we were first together, we didn't have a
clue what we wanted for our relationship. We just
knew that we wanted something deeper, more
passionate, and more connected than we had in our
We had to see the potential for something
Separately, before we got together, we read Gary
Zukav's "Seat of the Soul," among other
books that started us creating our vision for what
is possible in relationships.
From that point, we continually expand this
vision--and that's part of the magic that keeps us
loving and growing together over the years.
So in this area of our lives, we've been able to
do as Tony explained...
We saw and felt the potential of a great
relationship, we took action toward it, we got
results which re-enforced beliefs that it is
Now, what we do every day is to be constantly
looking for evidence of how great the other is
while at the same time be looking outside ourselves
for new models and ideas of how to expand our love
and connection beyond the level it is now (which is
So what if you're in a situation like the woman
who contacted us...
What if your partner doesn't express his
emotions to your satisfaction or you can't talk to
one another or the thrill is gone--and you don't
want to leave?
Here are some ideas...
1. First off, commit to an expanded vision of
what's possible for you in relationship.
Where do you find that vision if all you've seen
so far is relationships that are just okay or even
Start reading books that will stimulate the
potential for more inside you and maybe even inside
Don't be depressed that it isn't happening right
now for you.
Just get that picture for what you want and
start feeling even a glimmer inside you that it is
2. Take action toward your goal
Actually do what Tony Robbins suggests about
creating "rituals" every week or every day.
Ask yourself-- "What continual actions can take
me toward what I want."
You might decide to practice appreciating your
partner 3 times every day in a genuine way.
You might decide to have a date night every week
and stick to it.
3. Watch for results.
Be on the look out for results that you can
point to--no matter how small--that show that you
are moving toward your goal.
Many of us have the unfortunate habit of looking
at the glass half empty and not half full. In other
words, we see and focus on what's wrong rather than
notice what's going right.
If you want more of what's going right, start
acknowledging that something IS going right!
4. As you move along in this process, notice how
your beliefs change for what's possible.
It's a cycle that can either propel you toward
what you want or keep you mired in what you don't
The choice is really yours.
We invite you this week to expand what you think
your potential is for your life and for your
We invite you to expand your ideas of having
greater love in your life.
Talk to you again soon...
Loss of Libido, Love,
Commitment & What To Do When It's Gone and You
Want To Get It Back
Question from a Reader: "I have a question
which possibly reflects other relationships &
hope you may have some suggestions.
"We are a couple married about 7 years, both in
our mid 50s. My first wife passed away 10 years
ago, my current wife had a 20 year marriage which
she chose to end, then a 7-year relationship which
she was left behind.
"We have no children living with us from either
of our earlier marriages & we are very much in
"My problem is however the loss of her libido.
We had a fully satisfying physical side to our
courtship & early married years, but over the
past 2 - 3 years her desire has dwindled to
"I am not interested in going outside the
marriage for satisfaction. We have talked this over
repeatedly but despite her wishing to be my mate in
the fullest sense, there has been no regular
positive reaction to my approaches.
"I am not demanding. I believe I am fully
understanding. If anything, I take the earliest
signs of her discomfort & back off without
further pushing my desire.
"I love this woman & she loves me. Is there
anything you think can help?"
Our Comments: Thanks for your
question--And you are so right!
You are one of many living with the same
question--There's love--but how do you deal with
your partner's lower libido?
And it's a very frustrating situation.
You don't want to leave or go outside the
You just want to have that special, intimate
connection that you used to have with your
Since we don't have a special crystal ball that
shows us exactly what's going on in your
relationship, we can't say for sure but here are
some possible reasons for lower libido that other
people have expressed and some suggestions for what
to do about it...
1. Physical issues. Anything from
physical aches and pains of any kind to sometimes
painful menopausal symptoms can kill desire.
As a body's chemistry changes, there may not be
enough build up to the actual love-making
act--which can be a contributing factor to lower
What used to be instant, may now take some time
and loving attention.
The fear of experiencing physical pain while
making love can certainly keep you from fully
participating in love-making that used to come so
Of course, certain prescriptions drugs can have
a physical effect on libido also.
2. Emotional issues. Whether you are a
man or a woman--unfinished business and unresolved
emotions and issues from this relationship or past
relationships can come between the two of you and
make love-making impossible.
They can come up at any time too. Even if things
have gone along really well for many years, those
old ghosts can come up unexpectantly and stay until
they are dealt with and put to rest.
There can also be a feeling of lack of safety
and trust in the relationship (or in life or in the
other person)--and opening yourself to physical
intimacy may not be possible because of the
protective shield you put up.
A big emotional issue that can put an end to
desire is the gradual end of connection and
intimacy OUTSIDE the bedroom.
Many couples simply stop opening to each other
in that way and keeping their love alive.
They rely on coming together every now and then
for physical love-making--when it fits into both
You can't keep desire alive that way!
3. Mental issues. Negative self-talk can
certainly kill libido--whether it be "My body is
changing and I'm not as attractive as I once was"
or "I'm too old (too fat, too plain) to be
You might even have the reoccurring thought that
you don't want to disappoint your partner--that
you're not _________enough (fill in the blank)--so
why even try.
Of course these aren't the ONLY reasons that a
person's libido can change over time.
Our culture says that older people have less
desire as the years go by and that desire lessens
(and dies) between two people as the years go
We get brainwashed.
We don't believe it!
There are too many exceptions to that "rule" to
make it absolutely "true" for everyone's
It doesn't have to be that way.
Here's one final possibility why libido is
4. The sexual polarity is gone. This idea
of "sexual polarity" is way bigger and more complex
than we can completely go into here but here's a
quick explanation of this idea...
Otto once attended a workshop by David Deida
where he said that "Sexual attraction is based on
sexual polarity, the force of passion that arcs
between masculine and feminine poles."
What this essentially means is...
Just like the battery in your car or the
electrical outlet in your home has both positive
and negative poles that create an electrical flow--
In the same way, masculine and feminine poles
between people create the flow sexual polarity.
If the energy of both people has "evened out"
and is the same-- then that "arc" that causes
passion and the spark will no longer be there.
Libido is one of the first things to go when
So let's back up and we'll give some tips on
regaining the spark in your relationship...
1. Ask with an open heart--"What would you
like in this situation?" This is one of those
phrases that can gently open the other person to
share his or her inner thoughts and desires.
If you are the one whose partner seems to have
less desire than you want, it's time to create a
safe space for listening to your partner--allowing
him or her to speak what's truly in their
heart--without judging or retreating.
Don't get defensive--Just listen with love and
really take in what's being said. It will give you
a clue what the next step needs to be for the two
Then ask if your partner is willing to hear your
ideas and if so, share what vision you have for the
two of you and for your relationship.
If you are the person whose desire seems lower
than your partner's, be willing to search inside
yourself for what you are feeling. Don't hide it
from yourself or your partner.
Be willing to share what is real for you and
also be willing to listen.
We know this might take courage.
It doesn't mean you have to do anything to
satisfy your partner's needs, but if you want to
stay in a relationship that grows, you will need to
truly listen to what's in your partner's heart and
also what's in your own.
2. Create a mutual commitment. From what
you both learned from each other, create a
commitment around your intimate relationship.
It might be that you read some books that will
help you both "get on the same page" and put some
life back into your relationship.
There are many tasteful books out there and it
can even be fun to go to a bookstore to browse
But both of you have to WANT to re-ignite
That's why making a loving commitment to each
other is so important.
And that commitment can be as simple as spending
15 minutes each day just sitting holding hands or
looking into each other's eyes.
3. Start slow but don't retreat. When
there's a difference in desire, it's really
important to take some steps back and start slow
with each other.
It's equally important to not retreat at the
first sign of discomfort or unease.
You might think you're being "kind" but
"retreating" can feel very lonely to both of
If you think you are "pushing" your desire, how
about a reframe?
How about reframing it to finding a way that you
both can feel comfortable connecting
If you are both committed to regaining the
passion that once was (could even look very
different), it's helpful if part of your commitment
to each is to not run away or retreat.
We're not saying to ignore boundaries or the
other person's wishes.
We're saying to start slow--by making eye
contact, connecting and touching only (non-private
parts to begin with)--and when "discomfort" comes
up, to stay.
We use this idea in our own relationship.
What "staying" means to us is this...As soon as
a person feels discomfort or whatever the feeling
is that comes up to kill intimacy and desire--go
inside (without beating yourself up) and simply
feel what's there.
It may be that words need to be said or not.
The other person can ask the question we gave
you earlier--"What would you like right now?"--and
then wait for a answer.
It might be to simply be held.
In those times, make the commitment to come
toward each other rather than away from.
You do this with love, understanding and
Our final words of advice are...If you love each
other, don't give up. Back up, start over and open
yourselves to what's there right now and what can
Is This a Relationship Red
"Back in late December of last year I met this
wonderful man, we began dating, all went well and
he proposed marriage to me for next year.
"However, there is a co-worker that recently
sent him a txt message to his personal phone saying
"At the beginning of our relationship one of his
friends told me she was happy I was in his life
because the person he was dating previous to me was
not being too nice to him.
"His friend also told me his previous girlfriend
was this woman from work that sent him the
"How should I deal with this? I trust him but
something is nudging me behind my head. I told him
he should tell her not to txt him. And to keep it
"Also, when you trust, does that mean I can't
check his phone? Does trust mean surrender? Because
if it is then this will be a challenge."
Thanks so much for your question!
It does seem that ex's and old "friends" pop up
when you least expect them--and can certainly throw
a monkey wrench into your relationship.
Without knowing the truth of the situation, on
the surface, we certainly agree that a phone
message of "nite-nite" seems very intimate and
certainly not one that an ex (and co-worker) should
be sending someone who is in a committed
And this IS a red flag to be paid attention
And it is completely appropriate for you to tell
him your boundaries and what you want.
But there may be other red flags that you may
not be aware of...
Here's something to make sure you do...
1. Get the full story before you speak Of
course we don't know the entire story and we don't
know how much conversation there was on this topic
with your fiance--What we do know is that issuing a
"command" that someone has to do something without
listening to the other person usually doesn't
work--Even though it's usually the knee-jerk
reaction that a lot of us would have in a similar
It usually pushes the other person away (and we
know from past experience.)
In this situation--if you haven't found out how
he feels about her, have that talk.
Just listen to him talk about her and then tell
him how this message sounds to you and how you feel
about this kind of communication with her.
In other words, tell him how it makes you
feel--and what you want.
Something like--"When you get messages like this
from your ex, I feel that you want to be with her
more than me--and I feel like you aren't committed
to being with just me."
Then see if he's willing to make an agreement
with you about her.
If he's not, then you really need to pay
attention to the red flag and reconsider your
Remember, commands are no way to begin a
marriage or more deeply committed relationship
that's filled with love, connection, communication
2. Trust does not mean surrender and it also
doesn't mean spying. Even though you say that
you trust your fiance, your actions show otherwise
and at some level you really don't trust him if
you're checking his cell phone for calls or text
messages from other women.
So it's better for your relationship if you
admit even to yourself that the two of you need to
focus on building trust with each other.
This lack of trust is a red flag for the health
of your relationship--
Something to pay attention to.
Next, we don't know if these "nudges" you're
getting are from past experiences with other
partners you've had or if you're getting clear
signals that your fiance isn't as he seems to
Part of learning to trust each other is
separating the past from the present.
So start there to discover where your mistrust
is coming from.
If it's coming from the past, learn how to let
go of the past .
If your "nudges" are clearly about what your
current partner is doing or not doing, get those
nudges on paper and look at them.
The more specific the better--and decide what
needs to be addressed and what doesn't.
Does trust mean surrender?
The dictionary says that surrender means "yield
to the power of another."
That's certainly NOT what we mean when we talk
In a close, connected relationship, trust is a
It's creating a bond, one moment at a time,
where you each believe that both of you will honor
your agreements and act in integrity to keep those
agreements, keeping the health of the relationship
And trust is NOT checking your partner's cell
phone to catch him doing something you fear he
might be doing.
If you trust each other, you don't have the urge
or the need to check out what might be hidden in
personal email or cell phones.
Does that mean you NEVER check your partner's
If you have reason to suspect your partner is
cheating on you and you want proof, it might be a
way to get the proof you need to validate your
But we also know that spying can be very
It can take the place of communicating honestly,
creating agreements and following through on
learning how to trust one another.
3. Decide what you want more of and
communicate that. In these kinds of situations,
it's tempting to simply talk about what you don't
want--for this woman to not text him any more of
these types of messages.
But there's probably something more.
If you look more deeply at your relationship,
there's probably something you'd like more
of--maybe it's more time together, more fun
together, deeper friendship, more love-making,
When you talk about this with your partner,
don't put him on the defensive but rather be
specific about ways that the two of you could
create more of what you want.
It's also important to get a buy-in from him--to
find out if he wants the same things.
While saying what you DON'T want is important,
it's just as important or even more so to say what
you do want.
So pay attention to red flags--but look at all
of them and take some proactive steps to create the
kind of relationship that you really
Funny and scary.
Last night, we happened to watch the 2007 comedy
"Knocked Up" and because we've been looking at the
"magic words" that keep couples together and
actually create more love and happiness--we were
really aware of the words the characters said to
The movie was both funny and scary...
It was funny because it was so over-the-top in
its depiction of all the characters in this comedy
about two people having a baby who probably
shouldn't be having one.
The movie was scary because as relationships
coaches we noticed that ...
Even though both of the main couples ended up
"living happily ever after," we couldn't figure out
WHY because of the way they talked to one another
during the story.
They wouldn't have a chance in real life because
of all of the name-calling and character
assassination that was used--probably for the
It was funny but it was also sad.
They were just plain cruel to one another!
Unless they stopped their cruelty and started
using more loving words and try to understand each
other (which we did see somewhat in the couple who
got "knocked up")--their relationship wouldn't
stand a chance over the long-haul.
We know that this is entertainment but...
We also know that too many people reenact these
scenarios all the time--and their relationships end
because of it.
In case you can relate (and we all can), here
are 5 more Communication No-No's for you to add to
this list of the ones we included before.
Here are 5 things you don't want to say to your
partner, spouse or lover if you want to have a
close connected relationship...
1. "Do it yourself!" When your partner
asks you to do something, and you have unspoken
grievances that you've been holding against him or
her--you may find yourself saying with anger--"Do
It may have nothing to do with that request but
it may have everything to do with what you have
left unsaid from the past.
If you find yourself saying this phrase and when
you stop yourself and go inside you find that
there's unfinished business from the past, take a
step back and tell your partner what's really going
on and how you feel.
Separate out the current request or
question--like "Did you iron my shirts?" or "It's
your turn to pick up the kids tonight after
work"--from your feelings of being taken for
granted or whatever they may be.
Address those feelings but first address what's
been asked of you--that's separate--with either a
yes or a no.
It may not feel like a separate request but the
more you address each circumstance instead of
lumping all "transgressions" together, the clearer
your communication will be.
2. "You're not as good as.." When you are
angry, frustrated or exasperated with your partner,
it's tempting to compare him or her to your ex or
maybe another man or woman.
If your partner isn't particularly good at
cooking as your mother or as good of a handy-man as
your brother or your ex, your partner probably
already knows this.
You don't have to say it and rub it in.
So often, we say this kind of phrase to feel
superior because of what we perceive we're not
getting in the relationship.
We play a one-upmanship game in our
Putting your partner down will only create more
of what you don't want.
Instead, create more of what you DO want.
3. "You can't be trusted to..." If you've
asked your partner to do something and he or she
doesn't do it the way you wanted, this phrase may
slip out of your mouth in exasperation.
This phrase destroys trust and is a self-
Instead, address the specific action that needs
attention and again, don't make it a slam on his or
4. "Why didn't you just..." When you use
this phrase, you are not listening to the other
person to find out what happened so that you can
understand from his or her point of view.
Again, you are making yourself and your way
You are shutting off all further communication
because there is no response when the obvious
implication is that the other person didn't "do it
right" or "screwed up."
5 "You're so ______" Fill in the blank
with whatever derogatory adjective that comes to
mind about your partner when you are angry or upset
with him or her.
In your anger, labeling your partner in this way
completely closes down any way that the two of you
can find a solution to the situation.
When you use this phrase, the usual response is
either withdrawal or lashing out at you, assigning
you equally damaging labels.
It's a no-win situation when you get into this
cycle that can last for days or never end.
What we know is that words can either heal or
The words we use, either consciously or
unconsciously, can have lasting effects that most
of us have no idea about the impact they've made on
Our advice--choose your words wisely and with
Don't spread any more hate--even if you are in
pain--because all it does is just increase
Choose love instead.
5 Tips For Getting Past
Anger & Misunderstandings
Okay, we admit it...
The two of us really mis-communicated over the
weekend about something that left us feeling angry
and distant from each other.
The situation was filled with misunderstanding,
assumptions, unspoken meanings--and habitual
responses that were more about the past than about
Since we were putting the finishing touches on
our "Magic Relationship Words" book, we had
an immediate reminder of what to do and what to say
to reconnect with each other--and to find a way to
understand one another.
We're telling you about what happened to us for
First, to show you that it's "normal" to not
communicate at your best from time to time--(we
were both very tired that evening) and...
There are easy ways to either avoid those
disconnections that truly strain your relationship
or reconnect more quickly when they happen.
What happens when YOU get triggered by your
- Do you get defensive and critical of him or
- Do you get silent and withdraw?
- Do you get sarcastic and angry?
We all have certain automatic responses that
happen when we get triggered.
Relationship researcher and psychologist John
Gottman says that an early warning sign of a
marriage in trouble is one where there's constant,
According to Gottman, in a healthy relationship,
both people feel like they can voice complaints but
the danger comes when those complaints are voiced
in anger and become consistent attacks on the
He goes on to say that criticism laden with
contempt (usually expressed in the tone of voice
and angry expression) is particularly destructive
to the relationship.
In order to create better communication and a
happier relationship, the challenge is to become
aware of your habitual response when you're
triggered--and then choose a better one.
When you make the choice to step out of your
usual way of being, you can also choose words that
help both of you open to new possibilities instead
of staying stuck in the same old path.
Here are some suggestions about how to move out
of your old communication patterns and make other,
healthier choices for your relationship...
1. Get in touch with what you are
feeling. In our situation, because Susie was
tired, she just blurted out something that felt
like a command to Otto (which is something he
doesn't appreciate from anyone.)
Susie wasn't able in that instant to tune into
what she was feeling but later, she was.
Later, when we were discussing what happened, we
each tuned into our feelings so that we could
express what was really going on inside.
Whether you tune into your feelings as soon as
you get that twinge in your gut or tightening in
your chest (and that's something to work toward) or
you tune in later--Make sure that you don't skip
2. Find the words that will open you and your
partner to pave the way to understanding and
connection with one another. You might say
something like this..."I'd like to talk about what
happened and I'd like to share what I felt at the
time. Would you listen to me and then I'll listen
to how you felt?"
3. Take responsibility for how you may have
contributed to the situation. What the two of
us most wanted was to be understood--and you
probably want to be also when mis-understandings
When you take responsibility, you can see how
the other person may have reacted the way he or she
did--especially if you understand each other's
"I can see how you could have interpreted my
response as a command which is really not how I
intended it to be."
4. Be willing to learn some ways to let go of
your habitual responses that no longer bring you
want you want.
5. Always be willing to go back to your
intentions for your relationship and your
commitments both with each other and in your
One of our commitments to each other is to
always be willing to NOT run away and to be willing
to work through any challenges we may have--even if
it seems difficult to do in the moment.
Our wish for you is that you find ways to create
more ease and happiness in your relationships--and
part of that is creating new ways of
communicating-- even when it's tough.
We invite you to practice some of our
suggestions this week--and see what happens!
Have you ever compared
yourself to another person?
If you're human--and honest--you probably answered
The truth is that we all have compared ourselves
to others--in lesser or greater degrees at sometime
in our lives.
Comparing ourselves to another seems to be part
of the human experience--usually not the most
Our comparisons are usually to help us feel
superior to someone else or inferior--although much
is done on an unconscious level.
When there are relationship challenges like
jealousy and trust issues, comparisons to others
usually end up making us feel less than and not
enough--and even though we know they don't
We can't seem to stop doing them.
Today, we received a message from a woman who
thanked us for our advice and told us that her
relationship is "stronger and they are more open
and honest with each other" because of it.
The problem is--Even though her partner is no
longer in contact with his ex's, she finds that she
compares herself to them anyway.
She makes herself miserable and she can't stop,
even though she knows that it's not healthy for her
This "comparison disease" that she suffers from
is certainly not unique to her or to her
We're guessing that you can identify to a
certain extent (we all can) to what she's
So, how can you stop?
We love Dr. Wayne Dyer's new book "Excuses
Begone!" where he talks about how to change
lifelong, self-defeating thinking habits.
We think that contracting the "comparison
disease" may fall into the category of an excuse
and here's why...
In saying this, we're certainly NOT belittling
this woman's problem or making her wrong.
We've certainly had some self-defeating thinking
habits and continue to do it from time to
time--that would fall under the category of
Here's our take on it...
When you are comparing yourself to others and
always come up short, you are focusing outside
yourself and what you are NOT instead of what you
We use phrases like these to keep us from what
- "I'm not as pretty (or good-looking)
- "I'm not as smart as..."
- "I'm not as young as..."
- "I'm not as thin as..."
- "I don't make as much money as..."
This type of thinking is an "excuse." It's a way
to stay small and not take risks.
Comparisons like these are also great ways to
end up being like or having the negative experience
that you fear or doubt.
Now of course, much of this mental gymnastics
that goes on when we're comparing ourselves to
others is unconscious and from habit.
When the two of us first got together, our age
difference caught us up in the "comparison
Since Susie is 16 years older than Otto, she
compared herself to women his age and of course,
came up short in her mind.
Otto started thinking about the future,
comparing the then present to 20 years down the
road--what our relationship (and bodies) might look
like when Susie is in her 70's and he, in his
We realized that we had to both stop making
these comparisons if we wanted to create the kind
of relationship that we wanted to create.
If we hadn't stopped, our relationship wouldn't
have had a chance to grow and go on to be as
incredible as it is now.
How do you stop making these comparisons that so
often work to your disadvantage in creating the
relationships and life you want?
Here are a few ideas...
1. Become aware that you are doing it.
Awareness is the first step in making any change.
Believe it or not, your comparisons start losing
their power over you when you start noticing them
when they come up.
Notice them from an objective place.
You can even say something like this to
yourself--"Isn't that interesting? I'm comparing
myself to my partner's ex and he's not even in
contact with her."
It's like you're talking to yourself but instead
of agreeing with your fears, you're actually just
stating a fact.
2. Choose love not fear. Even though you
may not realize it and it may even sound silly, it
might be out of your comfort level to commit to
creating a close, connected loving
relationship--one without drama and pain.
In the beginning of our relationship, it was far
easier for Susie to believe that Otto would leave
her for someone younger than to go for what she
wanted--and create it with him.
In other words, fear got in her way.
But in our case, we chose to risk going for
it--going for love--and you can too.
3. Stay in the present moment--not the past
or the future. We've said this many times--the
present moment is all we have.
If you really stopped to think about it, most of
your pain (and ours as well) is the result of
living in the past or the future.
When your thoughts lapse into worrying about
what happened in the past--maybe about your
partner's ex's--or fear of what might happen in the
future, bring yourself gently back to the present
You can remind yourself by grounding yourself
and saying something like this...
"It's 3pm, Friday afternoon, I'm sitting in my
office and I have work in front of me."
"I'm sitting in front of my partner and we're
having a good time right now."
Getting over the "Comparison Disease" involves
focusing on you and your thoughts.
When you find that you are tempted to compare
yourself unfavorably to others, stop
yourself--focus instead on what's in front of you
in this present moment and on love, not fear.
To change any habitual thought, it takes one
moment at a time.
Be kind to yourself.
Communication No-No's for
Couples Who Want to Connect...
Have you ever said something that after you said
it, you wished you could have "taken it back"?
Or maybe you (or your partner) said one thing
that was the "last straw" and a relationship ended
or was severely damaged because of it?
The good news is that we all have done
this--sometimes intentional but many times from old
family "tapes" that we've accessed
The "better" news is that it doesn't have to
ever happen again.
As we've been working on our new book and audio
project called "Magic Relationship Words," that
will be released soon, we've been not only focused
on the "magic" words to use to create open, loving
communication but we've also looked at what NOT to
Here are 5 communication no-no's for couples who
want to connect ..(No, they aren't "new" but we all
could stand to be reminded not to use them!)
1. "It's all your fault!" Placing all the
blame for something that happened onto someone
else, even if you are irritated or upset with them,
is a recipe for disaster.
The other person gets defensive and you are no
where in finding a resolution or way out of the
Take your share of responsibility for what
happens in your life--no more and no less.
Your contentious situation will soften if you
2. "You should..." or "You have to..." No
one likes being told what they "should" or "have
Inflicting guilt is one way to get someone to do
something that you want them to--but it always
backfires when you least expect it to.
The other person may (or may not) do what you
want but there could be passive aggressive action
tied to it or even some sabotage mixed in.
Make a request and ask the other person's
thoughts and opinions.
You'll get a lot further if you do.
3. "You always" or "You never" Anytime
you find that you are making a global statement
like these with words like "always" and "never,"
you can bet that if you look hard enough, you'll be
able to find instances when the statement WASN'T
It's tempting to use "always" and "never" to
emphasize how "bad" the other person is and how
exasperated you are.
But when you over-embellish by using these
phrases, you set yourself up to just get more of
what you don't want.
The other person either feels so badly that he
or she shrinks further into a defeatist attitude
(which is probably what you don't want) or he or
she feels like there's no pleasing you, and stops
Probably not what you want either.
So instead of global statements, be specific
about the concern and what you want.
4. "How could you after all I've ever done
for you?" This is a great guilt-inducing phrase
and one that parents love to use with their
kids--but also with spouses and intimate
It can be spoken or many times it's
unspoken--which can be just as damaging because the
other person has no clue why you are cold, distant
When this is spoken (or unspoken), there is an
unspoken barter system that's been violated and the
other person may not even be aware that such a
system was in place.
In other words, something like this might be the
assumption that's made...
"I'll make love with you (or take care of our
children, etc) if you be kind to my parents (or
stay sober or faithful.)"
Again, leave the drama out of it and
specifically address the problem and what you
5. "You're such a _____." Fill in the
blank with whatever you might be tempted to call
your partner at times-- a slob, a pack-rat, a mess,
a liar, a prude, a s*e*x* maniac, a lazy bum,
Name-calling might make you feel better in the
moment but doesn't help your situation.
We know we sound like a broken record but skip
the drama--and what comes out of your mouth from
habit (maybe it's what you heard people in your
family call each other.)
Just address and deal with the current situation
without making it worse, saying what's true for you
and what you'd like.
Name-calling makes openness between two people
pretty impossible so don't unconsciously shoot
yourself in the foot before you even get started in
trying to find a resolution to an issue.
We invite you this week to listen to yourself
and to others to see if you hear any of these
If you do, stop the action and take a different
course toward love and connection.
Talk to you again soon...
The physical attraction
is gone-- how to get it back
What if the physical attraction in your
relationship or marriage used to be there--but now
You love him (or her) but you can't help but
wonder just where did the physical attraction
It used to be there but now you find you're just
pretending or worse yet, you're numb and maybe
But the fact is--you do care and you want that
What do you do to get that romance, intimacy and
physical attraction back?
Question from a Reader:
"I used to be incredibly attracted to my
husband! Of course we all age and he is doing so
much faster than I am although we are only 18
months apart. Currently, he is 47 and I am 46. I
love him, he is such a great guy, but I feel so
discouraged with my lack of physical attraction to
him. How can I get that back?"
Losing attraction for your partner can certainly
be the so-called elephant in the living room...
You're afraid to talk about it because you don't
want to hurt his feelings but you know that he
knows and senses how you feel--and he's hurt
You love him but where did the attraction go
that used to be so strong?
He could have changed...
- more stressed out from work
- overweight and out of shape
- seemingly less interested in s*e*x and in
- seems old and acts old
While all (or some of that) could be true, the
real reason you aren't physically attracted to him
anymore is that something shifted in your mind.
It might surprise you to know but all the
experts tell us that love, passion and desire is
concocted in your mind.
It's your thoughts and your stories about your
husband that determine how attracted you are to
him, especially if you were extremely attracted to
him at one time.
Just think about it....
Have you ever thought one way about something
and then because your thoughts changed about
it--thought another way about it?
It might be something simple like this example
about baseball from our relationship...
It used to really get on Susie's nerves when
Otto watched his favorite baseball team--the
Cincinnati Reds--on television.
This is because when he did this, it took her
back to when she was a young girl and her father
"monopolized" the family's only tv set to watch the
Cincinnati Reds baseball games.
It wasn't until her desire to be with Otto
trumped her annoyance that she began to watch the
games with him.
Not only did she start watching the games with
Otto but over time, she went from being repulsed by
the idea to actually growing to enjoy them as she
learned more about the game.
To her surprise, now, she's actually interested
in finding out how Otto's favorite team (and now
hers) is doing--which she absolutely thought would
So what did happen?
She's telling herself a different story about
the Reds now.
And that's how you start to get your attraction
back--you tell yourself a different story than the
one you're telling yourself now.
Do you lie to yourself?
No--but you do start looking for ways that he is
attractive to you--even if they are small ways.
It might be his smile or it might be the curve
of his face--or another part of his body.
It might be the way he reacts to your children
or to your animals.
Find some ways to look at him a little
Here's something else that might be going
Polarity between the two of you could be
Polarity is the delicious clash of masculine and
feminine energies that when they come together,
they almost combust.
After years of being together, friendship may be
the primary bond that holds the two of you
together--above everything else.
While we love it that you love him and that he's
a great guy, there's no juice in that.
You want to get the juice flowing again, don't
It may sound obvious, but we suggest you try
some things to spice up your romance.
Something we do almost all of the time to keep
romance in our relationship strong and growing
is... We "flirt" with each other a lot.
We know we're breaking the "rules" for two
people who work together but we don't care.
Flirting is one of those things that keeps the
flame burning hot between the two of us.
Everybody has their own way of flirting and if
you're like most couples that had a certain spark
and attraction in the beginning, we're sure that
flirting is something you did.
Maybe you flirted with each other a little bit
or maybe a lot but chances are you did it.
The thing is you just have to remember how you
did it when your attraction was strong and start
We're sure that if you put your mind to it,
And when you remember, start doing it again,
even though you may feel a little awkward at
Figure out what your level of commitment is to
finding that spark between the two of you
And then talk to your husband about how you'd
like to amp up the romance between you--without
making him wrong.
What man would take offense if his partner came
to him in an open way--ready and willing to explore
ways to get closer?
Not many, we're guessing.
Of course, you have to make the choice if this
is what you want--and then start doing the things
that will rekindle your passion for each other.
We realize that when it comes to attraction,
sometimes it's either there or it isn't there--and
no amount of energy can change that.
But if it was there before, you have a far
better chance of uncovering it again if you learn
how to open yourself to the possibility that it
just might still be there.
Like a lot of things in relationships--the
tendencies are to look outside yourself for the
answers--but rekindling the attraction oddly enough
starts with you.
Talk to you again soon.
Ever Said The WRONG
Have you ever said something to someone (like your
partner) that you immediately knew was just the
WRONG thing to say?
Have you ever used words in a certain tone of
voice, that as soon as you said them, you just KNEW
that they weren't what you meant to say or should
You probably also knew that you may have done
some real damage that you already regretted.
Have you ever felt hurt by what someone else has
said and you didn't know how to tell them without
causing even more distance and anger?
If you answered "yes" to any of the above
questions, you're certainly not alone.
We've all said things in ways we've
What came out of our mouths just seemed to slip
out by its own accord.
It usually wasn't premeditated.
It just came out.
And, we've all been hurt by what someone else
has said or how they've said it--and we've either
regretted our response or we felt powerless to do
anything about what was said.
Again, if you've felt this way, you aren't
All you have to do to understand why so many
relationships and marriages end in separation or
divorce is to listen to the words people use when
they communicate with each other.
Their communication is filled with put-downs,
assumptions, accusations, and defensiveness--which
escalate as each person adds to it.
There's usually no clear way out of
But it doesn't have to be this way.
We've done all these things we just mentioned
too at some point in our relationship and life and
let us tell you, there are some definite strategies
for saying the "right thing" when communicating
with someone close to you.
We'll give you some ideas that will certainly
help in a moment but one thing that's for sure
If you've ever wanted a more heart-felt way of
relating, especially when things are
You see, we feel so passionately about bringing
this information to you because these words,
phrases, and questions are true communication
difference-makers that can determine the quality,
happiness and connection of not just your intimate
relationship or marriage but all your other
relationships as well.
They can be the difference between whether
someone opens and listens to you or closes up, gets
mad or just ignores you.
But, we're not going to keep you in
Here are a few ideas right now that can help
1. Create a "Magic Words"
If you've had problems with communication with a
certain person, we're going to take a wild stab at
your mindset about that person?
- "I'm right--You're wrong" attitude
- Cautious, guarded and closed
- Want some revenge
While you may feel you are completely justified
in your mind to keep these attitudes going--and you
may feel a sense of satisfaction in a weird sort of
way keeping them, nothing will change if you hold
your focus in that direction.
If you really want to change your communication
so that there's more ease, love and connection,
you'll want to adopt a "Magic Words" mindset.
Here's what a "Magic words" mindset
- Open to wanting what's best for you as well
as what's best for the other person
- Open to hearing and understanding a
different point of view (that doesn't mean you
have to agree with it or adopt it)
- Open to the possibility that you can find a
way to understand each other
- Remembering that you love this person
- Stopping the untrue stories that swirl
around in your head
Get yourself in this mindset by breathing,
moving your attention inside you to your heart area
instead of listening to your chattering mind.
Let go of trying to control the other
person--because ultimately, you really can't.
"Magic words" are not about control. They are
about opening to each other so that you can
understand one another.
2. Notice your tone of voice.
So often, the words you use do not necessarily
cause the separation but it's the way you say
It's your tone of voice which can be mocking,
sarcastic or sharp that can push the other person
away just as if the words themselves were the
Even if you don't think you were mocking,
sarcastic or sharp, the other person may get that
Because your tone of voice usually doesn't lie,
your true feelings can seep through without you
even being aware of it.
A simple example of this might be...
If you use the words "I'm sorry" but what you
really want to say is something like
"None of this would have happened if you had
done what I told you to do."
The other person will be able to pick up from
your tone of voice that you truly aren't sorry--and
that you have other words to say.
So before you communicate about a touchy issue,
get in touch with your true feelings and say them
in a heart-felt way--without sarcasm.
Sarcasm just masks what a person feels he or she
can't say to another.
So drop the sarcasm and say how you're feeling
in a way that the other person can hear.
In this case, you could say something like
this...(only if you can get to a place inside you
where you mean it)
"I'm sorry that this ended up this way for the
two of us. Do you have any ideas how we can repair
the damage and move on?"
3. Notice what's happening in your
Your tight jaw will give away your true feelings
every time. It's one of the many places in your
body that is a signal for you to notice an
attitude, belief or intention that you might need
to look at.
If you start to speak and you feel tightness in
any part of your body, take a moment and remember
to breathe and relax that part of your body before
See if you can recognize what attitude, belief
or intention wants your attention.
It's been said that more than 96% of
communication is done non-verbally. If you just
start to notice your interactions with others,
you'll know that's true.
When you pay attention to what's happening in
your body before you speak and take some measures
to figure out why you closed, you'll start to see a
big difference in how you relate to others as you
start to open to them.
One way to learn how to communicate better
involves looking at your attitudes, your beliefs,
and your intentions by way of your body language--
as well as the words you use.
Become aware and conscious of your thoughts and
your words and watch how your relationships get
Talk to you again soon...
Is It Brains, Beauty (or
Here's what we want you to do...
Imagine just for a moment that you are the
contestant in a new TV game show about
relationships and we'll be the hosts...
Since you've decided to play along, here's our
question for you...
What do you think is the single most important
feature desired in a s*e*x*u*a*l or Intimate
partner by BOTH men and women?
Or Something else?
Beauty is a good answer because after all, we
ALL want an attractive or good-looking partner,
Intelligence is a good answer because who
doesn't want a partner who is smart, can figure
things out and have the intelligence to work with
you to create the best life possible for the two of
you (and your family, if you have kids.)
Some people might also think status is the most
important feature in attracting a relationship
partner or in the one you have.
After all, isn't the success you have in life
and the future you create for yourself and your
family affected greatly by status?
Of course it is...
But when it comes to the #1 single most
important feature in a relationship, there is one
thing that trumps, beauty, brains, social status
and everything else in the desirability area of
relationships and attraction.
So, what is it that trumps all the things we
The answer may surprise you...
It certainly surprised us when we first read
about this study about what people (and couples)
want in relationships...
And it just might have a huge impact on your
relationship or your future relationship!
The answer is...(Drum Roll Please) ...
In researcher David Buss's study of global
s*e*x*u*a*l preferences he found that "kindness"
was the single most important feature desired by
both men and women in every one of the 37 cultures
Kindness ranked above intelligence, above
beauty, and above status.
When we think about kindness, we don't mean just
being nice--or what Susie's long-time friend's
mother always used to tell her daughter--"Be
There are pitfalls in "being nice" and "being
pleasant" when there are strong emotions that are
being pushed down and not expressed.
You can wear a veneer of "niceness" and
"pleasantness" that usually doesn't fool
anyone--and usually catches up with you.
If you're pushing down feelings of anger to not
"rock the boat" and keep your relationship on an
even keel, it's inevitable that they come out in
Maybe impatience with your kids or your
co-workers or maybe distance and separation from
So when we talk about kindness, it's not
If both men and women from all around the world
rank kindness as the most desired attribute in an
intimate partner, what does it mean?
While we can't speak for those people in the
study, we can speak from the experience of our own
partnership and the experiences of the people we
encounter in our Breakthrough Coaching
Here are a few examples of what we mean by
"kindness"--to yourself and to others...
1. Learning how to speak your truth in a way
that your partner can hear--without blame but
rather from a place inside you that is the core of
who you are.
If you learn this skill, you bypass the
incessant stories that are make up and assumptions
that are created that lead to misunderstandings and
When you withhold your truth, you are really
withdrawing and shutting down who you really are
from your partner.
When you express your truth from a place inside
you that is real, it doesn't have to be done in
anger--as it usually is if you think you can't get
your way otherwise.
When you learn how to speak from the certainty
of that core place inside you, it can be from
kindness even though it might be a subject that
used to cause contention.
2. Looking at your patterns to see where you
might be kinder to your partner.
When you are with your partner for many years,
the tendency is to take him or her for granted.
And the first thing that goes when that happens
is simple kindness.
Ask yourself how you greet your partner when he
or she comes home in the evening--or you come
Do you not even make eye contact but immediately
launch into what has to be done that
evening--dinner, cart the kids to practices,
grocery shop, problems at work?
If you have fallen into this trap, climb out now
and start looking up from what you are doing when
your partner enters the room or comes in the
door--or you come in the door.
Feel inside yourself for the feeling of gladness
to see him or her--no matter what happened in your
day--and express it in your way.
This is kindness.
When the two of us were together for awhile,
Susie started falling into the habit of treating
Otto like she had treated her ex-husband.
As she talked to him, she would continue
whatever she was doing--not giving him her full
When he pointed out what she was doing, we made
some agreements that we've kept since that
We greet each other--verbally and
physically--when one of us returns home-- and when
we talk to one another, we give the conversation
our full attention.
Sometimes we're better at it than others but
that piece of kindness and respect does a lot to
keep our love and connection alive and growing.
3. Remembering why you love your partner, even
when it's tough.
So often we hear from people who live in
relationships that are anything but kind.
These people describe unjust treatment but also
say they love each other.
This isn't love.
Sometimes the most loving thing you can do is
not put up with mistreatment.
Sometimes love is remembering why the two of you
love each other and then acting from that
Kindness to us is a starting place and an
important ingredient in building and rebuilding
trust and connection.
It doesn't mean giving over your power.
In fact, it means just the opposite.
Our wish for you is that you experience and give
kindness in a new way to strengthen your trust and
love for each other.
Talk to you again soon...
The 5 Relationship
The 5 relationship roadblocks and how any one
these 5 "blocks" could be keeping you from
having the love and relationship you want.
Question... Did you know that any
relationship challenge you'll ever have will come
down to a problem with one of these five
As we've been working with people from all over
the world to help them create the lives and
relationships they really want--
One thing's clear...If you don't have the love
you want and the kind of relationship you
There's a block in one or more of these
- Your Thoughts
- Your Beliefs
- Your Attitudes
- Your Actions
- Your Strategies
Everything else is just the details.
You can always trace any challenge back to one
of these areas and here's a practical example to
Someone wrote to us recently and asked us...
"How can you stop thinking about the past and
only think about the good things you and your
partner have now?"
This is an excellent question and one we'll
answer in this way...
The person who wrote to us didn't say whether it
was 'their' past together or the past before
getting together that they couldn't stop thinking
negatively about so with that being said...
Here are our thoughts...
In this situation, If you can't stop thinking
about the past (and it's causing challenges in the
relationship) then one of two things is going
Either you aren't questioning the validity of a
few thoughts and they seem to trigger you and keep
you have unhealed issues from your past or
current relationship that need to be identified,
looked at squarely and healed before they destroy
your relationship or marriage.
If you think about it, this person's situation
is no different from anything you might be going
through now or in the future.
It goes back to one of those five issues we
To help you with any relationship challenge,
question, issue or concern, here are some powerful
questions to ask yourself to help you determine
where the problem is and how you can heal and
- Are the things I'm thinking about this
situation actually true or are they things I'm
only worried or concerned about figments of my
- What are the beliefs I hold that could be
contributing negatively to this situation?
- Are these beliefs I hold moving me closer to
or further from the love, passion and connection
- What attitudes do I have that are
contributing to this situation?
- What beliefs do I have that are contributing
to this situation?
- Are the things I've done been helpful in
this situation or have they taken me further
from what I want?
- Is there a better or different strategy I
could try in this situation to help us work
through this situation?
As you know from reading this newsletter, we're
huge fans of the power questions in making big
changes and shifts in your life.
The questions above are just a few and you're
certainly encouraged to come up with your own
questions to help you make shifts in your
relationships and life.
So, what do all these questions have to do with
removing roadblocks to what you want?
Most people tend to think (erroneously) that the
problems of life are 'out there" instead of "in
here" or inside you.
If you are having challenges in your
relationships (or any aspect of your life for that
matter), asking yourself the right questions and
being open to new answers is a powerful strategy to
use for making shifts for the better.
Asking yourself the right questions and being
open to the answer also requires you to take
personal responsibility for what you are creating
in your relationships and life.
This "taking personal responsibility" is, in our
opinion, something that we need much more of in a
world where nearly everyone wants to point the
finger outward and place blame elsewhere.
We believe that you are the creator of your
Not someone else. It's you.
Please understand that we're NOT saying that
there isn't a God, creator or higher power that
created all of us and our world. That's not what
we're saying at all.
What we are saying is this-- not taking
responsibility for what happens in our lives is
definitely a barrier to connection with the people
in our lives.
And taking responsibility does not mean
What we have discovered is this: When we take
responsibility for our lives and everything in
them-- the problems, issues and challenges we have
seem to start working themselves out.
And "taking responsibility" means looking for
the blocks in your thinking, your beliefs, your
attitudes, your actions and your strategies--and
then doing one thing to move toward what you
You might want to challenge your negative
thoughts about the past when they come up and bring
yourself into the present.
You might want to change your belief about
yourself--that what happened in the past will
happen in the future.
If you have the belief that you can't say what
you want for fear of what your partner will say,
think, feel or how they'll react.
You might want to create an attitude of being
grateful for what you have right now instead of one
of fearing loss.
You might want to identify an action that you
could take--like learning some new ways to
You might want to learn a new strategy that will
move you more toward what you want.
Whatever you decide to do, we invite you to take
some action to create more ease, love and
connection in your relationships by looking at
what's holding you back--and then doing something
Talk to you again soon
& Otto Collins
and Otto Collins are spiritual and life partners
who are committed to helping others create
outstanding relationships of all kinds. They
regularly write, speak and conduct workshops and
seminars on love, relationships and personal and
spiritual growth to audiences all across the USA.
They are the creators of the "Relationship Toolkit"
which has helped people in over a dozen countries
improve their relationships. It includes a video
Partnerships plus two
and Relationship Success
Relationship Quotes Worth a Million
Dollars! You can also
read more articles like these and subscribe to
their weekly newsletter on love and relationships
by visiting their web site at www.collinspartners.com
new E-book Should You Stay or Should You Go?
has just been released and is now available
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