All Relationships

Our lives all revolve around relationships and whether they’re functioning or not.  We put a short introduction explaining the general idea of each category and what you can expect to find there. To see how others are doing or the problems and solutions they are discussing click on a link below:

Date Smart! 





We’re often asked how two men who followed completely different paths ended up being friends and co-authors of an introspective and exciting book on relationships. To give you a clear picture, we’ll introduce ourselves individually, share a little about our diverse backgrounds, explain how we became experts on relationships and show you how we combined our skills and knowledge to become a dynamic team for educating people about finding and maintaining healthy relationships.


I’m the product of a healthy upbringing and had a wonderful childhood filled with friends, family, fun, and laughter. Back then people made time for those important to them. I’ve personally been exposed to mainly relationships that have sustained. My parents were loving, caring, and hard working. They had been married for 50 years when my father, Marvin, passed away. He was my coach, role model, and best friend. He passed on to me his charismatic personality, ability to entertain, and the gift of uniting total strangers who quickly became fast friends. He taught me to treat others with dignity and that everyone is a friend until proven otherwise. I never saw him refuse to help a person in need, regardless of whether they could repay him. 

My mother, Vivian, was a registered nurse for over 30 years. In 1977 a stroke left her semi-paralyzed and unable to communicate. She fought her way back from near death and regained her speech and mobility, which inspired me. She eventually became crippled by arthritis but the twinkle in her eyes and the smile on her lips remained. My mother is the strongest person I have ever known. She worked hard to give our family the best life possible and raised me to be a man of character. She taught me unconditional love, tough love, commitment to what I do, and the ethic of never giving up. She won’t know that I wrote this book, but she gave me the courage to write it.

After graduation, I wanted to have a strong impact on college students and became a college administrator. Did I expect to become a “Dating Doctor?” No, but life has a way of developing twists and turns as it takes you along for the ride. While working as Student Activities Director at a private college in Cincinnati, I developed an affinity for public speaking and was asked to do it regularly both on and off campus. The Director of Orientation, my dear friend Sally Watson (who passed away prematurely) walked into my office one day and said, “Coleman, you’re remotely charismatic and understanding. Why don’t you put together a program on relationships and we’ll make it part of Orientation.” I obliged and designed what has been known for the past 15 years as the Creative Dating program. I thank her up in heaven to this day.

I later moved to a suburb of Cincinnati called Loveland. Yes, Loveland. Since I was leading more and more seminars on relationships, it was suggested in a joking manner that I was becoming the “Dating Doctor of Loveland.” The name stuck and The Cincinnati Enquirer ran my advice column for several years. Later, the Press Papers and Single’s Magazine picked me up.

My columns now appear in dozens of newspapers and magazines nationwide. I was fortunate to be named the top speaker in the nation on several occasions and my web site,, receives thousands of hits per day from people asking for and receiving my best advice on relationships and life. All of the writing, speaking, and interacting with others, along with God’s blessing, has sharpened my skills and provided me with a solid foundation and the insight to help others help themselves.


I’m the product of parents who were each divorced once before. My father lost both of his parents before the age of 17 and grew up very poor. His intelligence and drive to finish college early for financial reasons enabled him to graduate with his Law Degree by the age of 26. My mother grew up in a wealthy family but her father died when she was 17. My father was a practicing attorney and my mother raised her children, having held a variety of jobs over the years. A few years into their marriage, my father’s brother and law partner passed away and he lost the desire to practice law. So he started what would eventually become one of the nation’s largest commercial contract cleaning companies.  To get the business started my mother sold the jobs and cleaning supplies while my father cleaned them. They were married for eight years before I was born. My older sisters from my mother’s first marriage had moved out by the time I was six, so I was raised as an only child.

Both of my parents had a problem with alcohol, so I was genetically inclined to an alcoholic disposition right out of the gates. While my father’s companies were growing rapidly, my parents provided me with many luxuries. But my alcohol and drug addiction, as well as their difficulties, caused extreme conflicts at home. My parent’s drinking made their behavior abusive and controlling. It was compounded by my own daily drug and alcohol addiction, which began at a very early age.  In high school I was athletic but my academic abilities deteriorated quickly. By the time I was 16 there wasn’t a day that I wasn’t under the influence of some mind altering substance. I ran away, opting to deal drugs and engage in illegal activities throughout the country.

Like most addicts and alcoholics my disease was chronic, progressive and ultimately fatal. By 19 I had been living on my own for three years by dealing drugs, weapons, and stolen goods. I’d been in 8 motorcycle accidents and was arrested for 8 felony counts and 6 misdemeanors, facing 120 years in jail. One night I stood at home in front of a mirror and believe God gave me 10 seconds of sanity.  I saw the clear signs of an addict and considered that I might have a problem so I decided to stop using for one day. By the third day I knew I needed serious help.  With the exception of one relapse shortly after treatment concluded, I have been clean and sober since February 1, 1981. 

 My first year of sobriety was painfully exciting. I got heavily involved in volunteer work, speaking at schools about my usage and recovery. But an administrator from Children’s Services who was in the audience during a lecture noticed my “gift of gab” and that people related to my personal story as well as my ability to relay the important aspects of recovery. She offered me a job as a consultant with the Department of Human Services designing sobriety classes and lecturing on drug and alcohol addiction to foster care parents, adoption parents, and case workers. I trained at the expense of the agency and eventually was licensed by several states as a Certified Chemical Dependency Counselor, eventually at the highest level. Within a year I completed my certifications and training and qualified as an expert witness in addiction and its related issues for the courts.

 I also became a certified, registered hypnotherapist and used those skills with my clinical knowledge to address and resolve relationship addiction and abusive relationships. After seventeen years of practice and literally thousands of clients, I have learned more than all the book knowledge available. There is no substitute for experience.


Dave’s Side: One night while preparing for my talk radio program which aired in 1996, I entered the studio early and overheard a guest on the show before mine. During the break he introduced himself as Rick Doyle. We had lunch a few weeks later and I discovered that the groups and seminars Rick designed and was running for women recovering from unhealthy relationships was a perfect complement to my dating doctor material. We realized that we had a great deal to learn from one another and could make a formidable team. Before beginning a partnership, we went through a natural process of becoming friends. I discovered that Rick’s history was so vastly different from mine. As healthy and “normal” as my upbringing was, Rick’s was quite the opposite. Our strength together as a team has come from our diversity of backgrounds.  

Rick’s Side: A year before I retired from active practice, I met Dave Coleman at his radio show. I sensed that Dave’s extraordinary communication skills, stage presence and unique insights into relationships and dating when combined with my therapeutic knowledge and skills would result in a perfect partnership. While I specialize in the causes and conditions of unhealthy, abusive, and dysfunctional relationships, Dave’s knowledge and expertise is geared toward helping people to enjoy life and achieve long-term success in relationships once their underlying issues are resolved. I hounded him for two years to write a book and finally showed up at his door one evening and insisted we begin writing Date Smart! It worked!



We knew from experience that a large number of people were either involved in unhappy, unhealthy, and unsuccessful relationships, or had given up on being involved in a positive one at all. We felt strongly that a comprehensive, yet light-hearted book that addressed the causes and conditions for these failures and offered simple, practical solutions would greatly benefit many of you. 

Our goal is to help you become the person you desire to be and to attract and maintain the love that you want and need in your life. The layout of the book is simple. Chapters one through four contain assessments and exercises to help you pinpoint specific aspects of your personality and character that have caused you to pick poorly, remain in unhealthy relationships, or sabotage healthy ones. Not everyone will relate to every exercise. While we strongly encourage you to complete all the assessments and exercises, understand that we’re including tools for our general audience and some may not apply directly to you. Be objective and don’t pass over all of them if you feel that one particular piece doesn’t speak directly to you. The next one probably will. Keep in mind that the solutions will follow and each chapter and exercise builds upon the previous one.

In chapter five, we’ll show you that the lack of success in your relationship isn’t all your fault. Societal, cultural, and systemic influences play a large part in your relationship failures. Chapter six provides solutions to resolving the core issues you’ll identify in chapters one through four and gives you tools to build a healthy relationship with an available person. It’s not just enough to start a relationship. You must understand its evolution, key characteristics, and how to nurture and maintain it for long-term success. This will be covered in Chapter Seven. Chapters eight and nine focus on developing and maintaining long-term stability and romance as well as exercises to enhance, strengthen, or end a relationship, no matter what condition it’s in. 

Our primary focus for the book is not to fix you. We intend to ruin your dysfunction by making you alert and aware of the causes and conditions that set you up to fail. When they become obvious, you’ll no longer do what you used to and can practice the new, healthy behavior learned in this book. Repeated failure in relationships, whether short or long-term, can be brutally painful in some cases. That’s why we kept our sense of humor as we wrote this. While we cover serious subjects, we’ve found that laughter and coming to a realization that you’re not alone can help lift any loneliness you may feel. As you turn the pages, some of you may open up emotional floodgates and be tempted to put the book aside prematurely. If we’re bringing up that kind of emotion, it means that we’re identifying what needs to be changed. The solutions will be next. Please read this book to its conclusion. If you follow the directions and suggestions without deviation for a period of at least six months and don’t see a 180 degree turnaround, we’ll gladly refund your previous misery!

If the book is too painful at times to get through on your own, we strongly encourage going through it with a qualified therapist. The book includes our personal insights, our experiences, and exercises we’ve created. However, we sometimes quote other people and have included information from a variety of proven sources to give you a well-rounded picture of how to achieve relationship success. We believe this book will be a powerful tool for making the changes needed, to give you confidence and courage to make them, and to allow you to achieve the type of relationship you deserve and desire.

Like others who’ve read Date Smart! you’ll probably make a checklist of those you know who can benefit from reading it. Helping someone put a stop to revolving door relationships to improve their quality of life is one of the best gifts you can give someone you care about.

Our schedules no longer allow us to meet every person individually or answer each question we receive, but we encourage you to sponsor or attend our live seminars as well as encourage your favorite newspaper or magazine to carry our column. If you follow our suggestions to the best of your ability, Date Smart! may be the last self-help book on relationships you’ll ever need.


This topic will be as wide as it is deep or, in some cases, shallow.  Couples and their strengths and weaknesses run hot and cold, high and low and are as varied as the individuals that make up the relationship.  Couples who stay together, play together, fight together, make up together, struggle, celebrate, laugh, cry, love, sacrifice, get frustrated and numb just to name a few of the swings and sways of being a pair. From bad habits to bad breath to great saves and ultimate shared moments they redefine a portion of themselves as individuals to become one for minutes, hours, years and a lucky few, even decades.  Many couples have children and with the combined personalities influence the next generation of individuals.  Along with the appropriate, healthy input and values passed to those children they will become equipped to engage with a healthy partner as well.  We hope that this part of the blog will give everyone involved with a significant other and the problems that come from or within that unique relationship a place to interact and explore growth, change, solutions and much more.  Singles have different issues without the dynamics that come with long term relationships. Newlyweds deciding chores, duties and responsibilities have so much to discover and work out to mesh two individual lives into one.  This is where successful ‘old timers’ could offer shortcuts and compromises so that new couples could greatly benefit from their lessons hopefully quicker and less painfully than they had to learn themselves.


Never easy, never popular but let’s face the music and accept that the notes turned sour.  Divorce is and will always be an uncoupling.  A loss of a relationship or even a generic term used by singles and significant other long term couples as the termination of that relationship with or without proper closure.  Married or cohabiting the end of a partnership even a business relationship can be as painful or provide as much relief as a divorce and we want to look at its causes, conditions and conclusions.  So much of our life we have become accustomed to instant gratification and disposable items and we have transitioned our base attitudes and acceptance that termination of things are just fine and almost expected.  As a result we rarely develop the decision making skills, values or tools for avoiding these devastating results before they happen and frequently repeat our mistakes going right into the next bad relationship with little, if any, lessons learned from the previous failure.  I’ve been married X times is now a standard and how many ex’s you list is likely to fill too many spaces.  Add children to the mix and it’s now painful and frequently agonizing beyond what your own pain threshold may be.  Recovering with lessons learned to improve your next pick and prevent prior mistakes resolves things that may have contributed to the failed relationships of the past and can lead to better relationships in the future.  Whether we’ve been down the divorce road ourselves, destroyed a relationship of many years or just disintegrated over time lacking a plan to refresh the relationship before it is too late, we all have something to share.  Everyone has opened doors they wish they hadn’t, closed doors badly, had regrets and wished they had done something differently in any given relationship.  It’s called being human.  The difference and what we hope to investigate is how to dramatically improve the relationships we have and develop in the future.    


This is a road every person on the planet can connect with in some way, shape or form. There is a pretty good chance that most of us fall into one of 3 categories; unless you were hatched and dropped onto a deserted island, you had at least one parent or parental surrogate. You might be a parent or are thinking about or about to become a parent. Whether you are the child (even as adults we are still our parents children), are a parent or kids are a desired or forthcoming event this is an endless topic with a wealth of interesting stories that we hope are as much fun to read as they are to share.  Some of us had the nearly perfect parents while others swore that they would never be like their mom or dad.  Some of us had too much discipline and some of us little or no discipline.  Parenting is sharing the pieces of ourselves, the ingredients that will be the foundation of the next generation.  Sometimes we are good cooks, sometimes not so good.  Many of us have great tools and skills and are natural teachers while others, usually thru no fault of their own, should ever be allowed in the kitchen.  Parenting should be viewed as a case by case basis, with an open mind and extreme diversity.   We will all find things, ideas and ways to improve what we are and what we pass on.  Children in some ways are like a blank computer and what we put into that system is what will come out.  Children are resilient as well as fragile.  Be nice to your computer and be nice to each other on here!  These pages are supposed to be fun, heartfelt, educational and a source for you, please remember that we are all entitled to our opinions and feelings and not everyone is going to agree on how it should be done.  Take what you can use, play nice and speak the truth.


Post(s) written by Rick Doyle and Dave Coleman (*see note for more information about Dave Coleman) 

*Special thank you for co-writing this article goes to Dave Coleman AKA The Dating Doctor. Dave and I wrote Date Smart! back in Jan.  2000. 

The publication rights have now reverted over to us equally and, with Dave’s permission, I have edited the book and modernized some of the ideas we originally wrote.  The book, Date Smart!, is still available through some stores and you can contact Random House to request the book be reprinted.  With enough demand they might just contact Dave and I to republish and possibly write another one.  We are basically giving you the book to read in posts and encourage you to visit both Dave’s website and of course all parts of our website Neither the posts nor the book are in any way to be republished or sold or used without our express specific written permission and all posts are copyrighted and protected (ISBN-10: 0761521739,ISBN-13: 978-0761521730). Dave and I have written a number of articles together as well and so this serves as the byline.  A huge thank you to Dave for sharing both our efforts and time to write what we hope are insightful, intriguing and informative articles that we share the creative collaboration and credit for working on over a number of years.

You can contact Rick by posting or by emailing askrickhead [at] topicisland [dot] com or read posts at Ask Rickhead


you can write Dave at: