Are you still looking for “the one” that you can settle down and live happily ever after with? Is marriage or a non-formalized equivalent thereof part of that plan? It might not be your best choice, says Gary Douglas, founder of Access Consciousness™ and best selling author. His latest book is Divorceless Relationship, which debunks this myth and many more.
The ideal of marriage you have been dreaming about? It was a product of the church and it was originally designed to make sure your progeny would inherit your wealth. Of course, it means a lot more than that to most people right now, and therein lies the rub. “When it becomes ‘meaningful,’” says Douglas, “then it becomes something that drives you crazy.”
We desire marriage because we have been programmed to desire it. “The whole thing of shooting for marriage or relationship is usually about programming,” says Douglas. “You are programmed to go from childhood to getting a job to getting married, and that is not choice.”
Douglas has a different idea. “Would you really like to stay with the same person for long periods of time? Is there anybody you want to spend all your time with?” he asks.
Because most of the creative people he works with cannot truthfully answer yes to those questions, he proposes relationship that you commit to for only 8 weeks. “Here is another way you could do relationship,” he says. “You could go to the other person and say, ‘I’d really like to have a relationship with you. Can I move in with you for 8 weeks and after that we’ll know if we want to be together longer, but plan on me leaving in 8 weeks.’”
That 56 night stand (8 weeks times 7 days/week, get it?) is short enough that most people can maintain their gratitude for it. It’s the business that sets in after that that doesn’t interest them. “You like the romance but you don’t like the washing clothes and washing dishes part,” notes Douglas.
Eight weeks is the length of time most people can maintain total presence, Douglas says. After that the pheromones stop and so does the sex. “Don’t stay after 8 weeks because you think you will get sex continuously,” he warns. “After 8 weeks the sex will quit. That’s just the way it works. An infinite being would have a long-term relationship for what reason?”
A psychology professor once asked his classes to estimate how much of their time they would like to spend with someone they were madly in love with. The majority of answers were in the neighborhood of 75 per cent or more.
“Do you really want to spend 18 hours a day with anyone?” asks Douglas. “How many of your work colleagues, who you spend most of your day with, do you see after work?” Douglas asks. “In reality, 2 ½ hours a day is enough to spend with anybody.” Could it be the programming Douglas refers to that’s creating this illusion of what we’re really looking for?
If you really wish to have a marriage that works, or a long-term partnership, Douglas recommends being willing to change every day. In most relationships, people try to stay in the box of what they think the other person wants.” This gets boring after about 2 days, Douglas observes.
In contrast to that, “Partners who are continuously willing to change have amazing communion together.”
“These are people who are always willing to change, always willing to see what else they can conquer, what else they can change, and what else they can be. These people are fun to be with because at the end of the day they are different people. Who you wake up with and who you go to bed with are two different people.”
If you don’t have a partnership with someone like this, Douglas warns, someone will be leaving. If you try to keep the person you’re with from leaving you, then the person who will leave the relationship is you.
The “eight week relationship” and many other unique approaches to successful relationships are featured in Gary Douglas’s latest book, The Divorceless Relationship, available from amazon.com and the shop on his website.