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Are your relationships with your friends, colleagues and loved ones everything you want them to be? Are differences of opinion, varying up-bringings and long established habits getting in the way of a great relationship? Whether you’re looking to improve communication with a spouse, have better interactions with a colleague or beloved friend, or find a little guidance in how to deal with your children, The Option Institute has a relationship course designed just for you.


Relationship Trouble-Issues We Face

While many of us voice our strong desire to be involved in a love relationship, we often complain about them once we get them. For some, we experience a series of difficult relationships. For others, we live in a marriage or life partnership that feels like hard work. And there are some of us who are involved in long-term love relationships that we are satisfied with but wish to take to an even deeper, closer, more caring and honest level. In many cases, it seems that people are confused and unsure about relationships, and this leads to some predictable outcomes. Consider the following, reported by:

  • The average life span of a live-in relationship is three years.
  • 55% of wives and 70% of husbands who admitted being unfaithful reported that their spouses did not know of the affair.
  • 50% of all first marriages, 70% of second marriages, 90% of subsequent marriages will end up in divorce.
  • Even in happy marriages, more than 80% of the time, it is the wife who raises marital issues while the husband tries to avoid discussing them.
  • Only 10% of people who leave marriages end up marrying the person with whom they had an affair.
  • In an argument when your heart rate goes over 100 beats a minute, you are incapable of hearing what your partner is trying to tell you.

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How The Option Institute Can Help

Relationship issues are often described as entities in and of themselves, to be navigated by those involved.

We don’t believe there is any such thing as a relationship issue.

Our first relationship advice principle is: What others call relationship issues are simply two individuals, each having his/her own issues and thus being unhappy, judgmental or unloving with his/her partner.

So, instead of helping you fix an amorphous “relationship issue,” we can help you to look at your own fears, hurts, and concerns-and help your partner look at his/hers.

A controversial idea: your partner doesn’t make you unhappy (no matter what he/she does).

Sound hard to swallow? We don’t blame you. We have been schooled repeatedly to believe that our happiness lies in the hands of others, particularly those of our lover. Much of the relationship advice we receive is predicated on this idea. This has set us up to experience love relationships marked by blame, distress and attempts at manipulation.

However, it is possible to approach relationships from a new perspective. In fact, if your partner can’t make you unhappy, it follows that you can’t make him/her unhappy. And that also means that you can’t make each other happy.

This is good news! This means that you have the power to decide how you feel regardless of what your partner does, and it also means that you are not to blame if your partner gets upset with you.

Some might see this as a license to be “harsh” or “callous.” We have seen the exact opposite. When individuals in a couple begin to take ownership for their own feelings and their own experiences, the door swings open for limitless expressions of love and affection without conditions, without blaming and without attempts at manipulation.

We can show you how to make such a love relationship a reality for you and your partner.

Therefore, our second relationship advice principle is: Take ownership for your emotional experience, and allow your partner the opportunity to take ownership for his/hers.

Are you still waiting to get all that you really want from your love relationship? Let us help you get the type of relationship you’ve always dreamed of. One of our strongest areas is facilitating total authenticity in communication, which we see as the absolute key to a deep and satisfying relationship.

In fact, the website ran a survey on their website (124 respondents, 85% of whom were women) and found that when respondents were asked to rank the importance of “honesty and complete trust” in a relationship on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the most important, 87% answered with the number 5.

And yet, many of us have difficulty making this happen in our own relationships. On the same survey, when respondents were asked to: “Tell me how you feel about the communication process in your current (or most recent) relationship?”

  • 30% responded, “It’s perfect. It’s very relaxed and open. My partner and I can talk about anything.”
  • However, even more people (37%) responded, “It’s strained, and I don’t really know how that happened. It doesn’t seem to take much before we find ourselves fighting, sometimes over really simple things.”
  • And 24% responded, “It’s impossible. It seems we never talk about anything but the necessities, and when we actually try to have a real conversation, we end up arguing or on completely different pages.”

This brings the total number who characterized their communication as “strained” or “impossible” to 61%-a clear majority.

Moreover, when asked what they would like to change about the communication in their relationship, by far the most-62%-said “openness.” (“Less judgmental” came in third.)

We can help you with this issue, and it doesn’t have to be painful.

Quite the contrary: It can be done playfully and with caring. For instance, our “Principles of Happy Negotiation,” offered in the CouplesCourse, can provide you and your partner with an easy, meaningful and fun method of negotiating for what each of you wants from the other in the relationship.

Not surprisingly, our third relationship advice principle is: Prioritize authentic communication first and foremost.

These are the most basic tools to begin with. With other tools into which we delve in detail in our programs, you can truly create, with your lover, the relationship you’ve always wanted but might have been afraid to hope for.

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Option Institute Programs for Relationships


Does your relationship seem like a lot of hard work? Or, are you and your partner completely on autopilot? Perhaps you have a great relationship that others envy, but still want more. No matter where your relationship is, Couples Course can help you make it richer, more loving and more rewarding. Taught primarily by The Option Institute founders, Barry (Bears) Neil Kaufman and Samahria Lyte Kaufman, the course is built on a simple yet profound concept: your partner doesn’t make you happy or unhappy. You have the power to decide how you feel, regardless of what your partner does! Imagine a relationship liberated from the blame game. No more “You don’t care”, “You hurt me”, “You don’t appreciate me”. When partners take ownership of their own feelings and experiences, the door swings open for limitless expressions of love and affection – without conditions, without blame and without manipulation.

Radical Authenticity

What would it mean to live authentically? Without masks? Without explanations? Without playing the game of being who we should be, rather than who we sincerely are? Are you ready to become completely congruent inside and out, the same person no matter whom you’re with, no matter where you are? If so, then you’re ready for what many consider to be our most provocative, engaging and experiential training program, Radical Authenticity. Radical Authenticity will enable you to claim, trust, and be your real self – without embarrassment or regret. Learn how to stand tall and stay true to yourself in the face of opposition and criticism. Create opportunities to be accepted and embraced for who you really are. Build sincere, enduring relationships where you can be yourself and invite others to do the same.

Parenting Solution

Have you ever wished that children came with an instruction manual? Has what looked natural and easy from a distance become complex and difficult viewed close up? Have your kids’ challenges and unhappiness left you feeling inept, inadequate and unhappy yourself? Whether your child is a preschooler throwing temper tantrums, a seven year old bouncing off the walls, a teenager pushing the envelope, or a grown adult with children of his own, Parenting Solution can help you put the joy back in parenting! You’ll acquire the keys to parenting with clarity and ease.

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Personal Stories: Building Positive Relationships

CouplesCourse gave me all I expected and more. I learned to peel away layers of amassed ‘stuff’ and, more importantly, learned the methods to continue doing so for the rest of my life. We were able to take risks because of the warm, loving and safe environment, and those risks brought us greater and more sustained intimacy than ever before. I am truly excited about the prospect of spending the rest of my life with my wife exploring and becoming more intimate every day. Thank you!

Bob Alcorn, Mediator/Investor, New Jersey

It might seem trite to say that CouplesCourse saved our marriage, but here I am making that exact statement. In one brief week, we learned how to use powerful attitudinal shifts and practical techniques that have now become part of our marriage. It is now stronger, more energetic and more peaceful than we could ever have imagined.

Andy T., Surgeon, Tennessee

I came to CouplesCourse in a good relationship. Through the exercises, we made it a better relationship. We take away tools to make it a great relationship. The session on happy negotiation alone was worth the price of the program. I am grateful to have been able to participate in a program so well thought out by people who know and can teach relationship skills, which anyone can adopt to their advantage.

Robert V., Retired, California

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