Coupling Connection - Dr. Jenn Oikle
Coupling Connection - Dr. Jenn Oikle

Welcome to RelationSmarts!

A Dating, Mating and Relating E-Newsletter

July 18, 2006

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Tips and Tools for an Extraordinary Relationship
Coupling Connetion - Relationship Quizzes
Coupling Connetion - Successful Relating
Coupling Connetion - Romantic Rituals
Coupling Connetion - Passion Perks
Coupling Connetion - Reading List
Coupling Connetion - Book Reviews

Every other week, we'll be delivering smart and fresh relating tips. We know you are busy, so let these quick ideas inspire you to create your ideal relationship! Each edition will include helpful information in these three categories:

  • Dating – tips on finding and keeping the perfect partner
  • Mating – take the Passion Perks challenge and perk up your love life!
  • Relating – tips on making your connection Extraordinary

Be sure to scroll down and check out news of note and announcements for singles and couples! We'll be keeping you abreast of relationship happenings you may find useful.

RelationTip: Remember, information is only good if you USE it. Research shows that if you don't use a new piece of information within two weeks, you won't ever use it! So if you want an extraordinary relationship, try something new today!


Dating: Falling into the Same Dating Trap?

Here is an excellent poem that serves as an insightful self assessment of your life and your dating style. Where are you?

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost…I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in…it’s a habit.
My eyes are open
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.

Action Step: Recognize yourself in one of these chapters? I sure did! It took me many years to get to chapter five! But it sure is a nice place to be. The journey from chapter one to chapter five requires increasing levels of personal insight and willingness to take responsibility for your own actions. Take a hard look at your behaviors. Get to know where you are in terms of your dating style and do what you can to get to chapter five!

Relation Strategy: Until you get to Chapter Five, outside guidance can be very helpful. In fact, helping you walk down a completely different relationship street is what Coupling Connection specializes in!! The Relationship Readiness Inventory is designed to help people stuck in chapters one and two, while group and individual coaching is excellent for helping people negotiate chapters 3 and 4. Wish you were at chapter 5? Take advantage of the Summer Sizzle Specials!!


Mating: Your Body Is A Wonderland!

Lack of comfort with your body's shape or size ruins a lot of potentially great sex lives! This is especially true for women- with our culture's obsessive focus on impossible standards of beauty. But woman who are body conscious should take note- recently a major women's magazine conducted a survey that showed pics of several celebrities at their thinnest and their normal weight. They asked both men and women to select the weight at which the celebrity was most attractive.

Interestingly, almost exclusively, men rated the normal weight pic as more attractive than the skinny ones. And perhaps more importantly, more women picked the skinny pics! Ah Ha! Women ARE tougher on their assessment of appearance than men.

What's the lesson? Stop obsessing about your body and enjoy it! "Yea, sure", you say. "That's easy to do when you are a "normal" weighted celebrity who's still thinner than everyone you know." I know, I know. But here's the thing- men really aren't picking your body apart with a fine toothed comb the way you do. They aren't wishing you'd pile on long-armed footsie pajamas to cover up that bit of cellulite that you can't stand!

Just the opposite in fact! Men are visual creatures. Nature designed them to get turned on by the naked female form- in all of it's shapes and sizes. They really would rather you stop covering up and proudly show them what you've got- perfect or not!! Confidence is the sexiest aphrodisiac of all.

So- what's it gonna take for you to get confident? If you really need to lose a few pounds and get fit- by all means do it, but don't let that get in the way of your man enjoying your body in the meantime. Access to the naked YOU is one of the prime perks to a long term committed relationship- so find some ways to minimize your discomfort and maximize yours and his pleasure.

Passion Perks Challenge: Experiment to find ways to increase your comfort with exposure factor! Tips:

- Highlight your best feature- Only cover up what you really can't bear to show.

- Take advantage of lighting- use soft light, such as candles or fun colored light bulbs. I like the red or blue ones. Everyone looks better in muted light!

- Find some sexy lingerie that makes YOU feel attractive- it doesn't have to show all.

- Ditch the sweats and tees. Try wearing something more revealing just hanging around the house. Surprise him when he comes home- wear something you don't usually put on.

Relation Tip: If you've been coming to bed in clothes from head to toe for so long that you can't remember where your racy little numbers are, chances are your beau's stopped looking at you as his Numero Uno Sex Object. That's bad because it opens up the door for his ogling all the other woman out there today who really are scantily clad. You don't have to run around baring chest, stomach, and thighs to regain the status of his favorite naked female, but you may have to do some reminding of why you're one hot little number. And relationships that retain romance and passion are the ones that really last. So DO get his attention.


Relating: Slaying the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse! Part 4: StoneWalling

In the previous three issues, we began a discussion of the four behaviors that will most damage your relationship. Engage in any of these four on a regular basis and I can guarantee you are unhappy and may be on the path toward divorce!

I hope that in the past month, you've been slaying Criticism, Defensiveness, and Contempt. Now, we're slaying the final Horseman: Stonewalling.

Stonewalling occurs when the listener withdraws from the interaction. Often this occurs by the listener obviously withdrawing by leaving the room and refusing to talk. However, it also occurs when the listener mentally "checks out" and is no longer a willing participant. Usually there are lots of nonverbal cues, such as lack of eye contact and stony expression. The speaker gets the sense that they are talking to a stone wall- hence Stonewalling.

For the speaker- stonewalling is a very aversive experience. Typically, men stonewall more than women, although this is by no means always the case. However, men find conflict more aversive than women and show greater physiological arousal during conflict than women. Thus, they often use withdrawal as a way to self-soothe, or reduce feelings of tension, anger, anxiety, etc. And whether it is the man or woman partner, it is part of the viscous cycle of pursue-withdraw that many couples get stuck in.

Action Step: Recognize that Stonewalling is a way to protect yourself, but it comes with a high cost to the relationship. Thus, it is a sign that the conflict has become too hot to handle. That means it is time to take a break! Instead of just leaving the room or sitting there and refusing to participate- you can tell your partner that you are too upset to talk constructively about the issue right now and that you are going to take at least a 20 min break. It takes about 20 min for your body to relax again- IF you don't keep thinking upsetting thoughts.

Relation Tip: Be sure you are specific with your partner about when you will be willing to resume the conversation- this is what helps your partner be willing to disengage from the discussion- they can trust that the conversation will continue later, and likely be more successful.

Relation Tip: If your partner is the one Stonewalling- you can initiate the time out. Let your partner know that since the conversation isn't going in a helpful direction, it's time to take a break. Ask them when they would be willing to continue the talk. Try to remember that when your partner withdraws- they are not trying to infuriate you, but rather, they are trying to find a way to manage the conflict.

* Are you noticing that your relationship has a few too many Horseman to be cozy? Relationship coaching can help you banish those Horseman and help you feel closer to your partner than ever before! We also offer the "Building a Strong Relationship House" Inventory based on Dr. Gottman's work. It will help pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses in your relationship so you can turn it from ordinary into extraordinary. Special in July: $65, for you and your partner!


NEWS: For Singles

Workshop for Singles: Dating or Being Single in the 21st Century
Presented by Beth Anderson,
owner of Cottonwood Connection (a Denver singles event and service company)

When: Friday, July 28th at 6:00pm-8:30pm
at the Cottonwood Connection office
355 South Teller St., Ste. 200
Lakewood, CO 80226
Cost: Free of charge
Call 303 424-2300 or email Beth at to RSVP. You may also check our website at

Beth Anderson has been observing singles for many years now and the biggest challenge singles face is “it is hard to meet people.” Almost every single person feels this is the case and then gets discouraged or downtrodden in their endeavor and stops trying. This workshop will delve into why singles struggle so much in meeting people. We will also talk about how the dynamics of dating and being single has changed tremendously in the last few decades. Beth will also offer creative ideas on how to overcome these obstacles singles face in this day and age of dating. She finds the single life fascinating and thrives on learning everyday how to support singles and help them create the life they want. This workshop is an interactive and fun way to learn more about how to be successful in one of the most important aspects of your life, love and connection.


Summer Sizzle Specials!

It's summer and now is the time to create the relationship of your dreams. Why not spark e a little summertime romance in your life? You deserve it!

Purchase a 6 pack of 45 min coaching calls and save! Normally priced at $270. Save $15 per call and pay only $180!

Complete the Relationship Readiness Inventory. Normally priced at $65. Save $20 and pay only $45.

Internet Dating Profile Creation. Save$$$.

Now through the end of August! Put some summer sizzle into your life!!


News: For Couples

In his new book Stumbling on Happiness, Dan Gilbert has this to say:

"When we have an experience- hearing a particular sonata, making love with a particular person, watching the sun set from a particular window-- on successive occasions, we quickly begin to adapt to it, and the experience yields less pleasure each time. Psychologists call this habituation, economists call it declining marginal utility, and the rest of us call it MARRIAGE."

Ouch!! That's a pessimistic view of long term relationships. But, this concept- which is also referred to as the Hedonic Treadmill- is real. It totally stinks, but it's very real. This means that even things we REALLY enjoy, become less enjoyable over time- simply because we GET USED TO IT. Thus, even if you are eating chocolate, it may soon start to feel like you are that little gerbil going round and round on his treadmill wheel- getting nowhere and becoming horribly bored.

What does this mean for your relationship? You've got to spice it up, keep it changing, keep them guessing, add novel tastes, touches, textures, sounds, and sights to keep your love alive. Left on it's own- love has a way of simply fading away. Don't let that happen to you! And check out his book for more tips on increasing your happiness.


*NEW* Couples Workshop

Hot Monogamy

It can be tough to keep the love alive over time, especially with busy schedules, work and financial stress, and children! But with the right attitudes and skills, everyone can keep the passion burning. Come learn how to deepen your connection, increase your intimate passion, and protect your commitment from infidelity. Leave with tools to revitalize your love. Email for more info.


* Have you tried a tip or tool from the Relation Smarts E-newsletter? We want to hear about it!? Let us know what your experience was like. Did it improve your connection? Or no? Email us! *

Do you have a topic, idea, question, or concern you'd like to have addressed in an upcoming newsletter? Email us!

Know someone who could use a little RelationSmarts? Feel free to forward the newsletter to family and friends!

May your relationships bring you the happiness you deserve,

Jennifer Oikle, Ph.D.

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