Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Ninety Day Plan

I love spreading the word about good new ideas in personal development. This one's courtesy of my friend Charley Ferrer, a wonderful American therapist whom I met at the World Conference of Sexology in Montreal in 2005. Charley suggests that, rather than wobbling about whether a new partner is The One for you - and particularly if you find yourself either treading on eggshells for fear you'll lose him (or her) - you simply put together a Ninety Day Plan. which is guaranteed to sort the wheat from the chaff, and the viable relationships from the ones that are never going to work.

Here's how to do it.

1: When you get together a new partner, make a judgment first whether they are obviously a 'no'no' - continuing track record of alcoholism, drug abuse, violence or infidelity. If you know they are - or if at any time you discover that they are - end the relationship immediately.

2: If there are no obvious danger signs, then make a commitment that for Ninety Days, you are going to commit to this person as if the relationship was going to work. Let them know that is what you're doing and that you're not going to back out before that period or over. (Also let them know that this doesn't mean you are assuming you will marry them or have their babies, just that you're theirs for three months.)

3: Now relax. Be kind, generous, loving and caring, without worrying whether it's being returned - give and take may even out over time. Don't worry or wobble - again even if there are slight glitches, love takes a while to bed down. Hang on in there, and give it time to develop.

4: But also, be authentic. Be open, honest, the real you without trying to impress or win your partner over. If you think something, say it. If you want something, say so. If you have an impulse to do something, do it. Within reason (no truly bad behaviour) do what you feel like.The Ninety Day Plan gives you the stability to do this.

5: At the end of the ninety days, take audit. Are you disillusioned with your partner? If so, then walk away - but don't reproach yourself; you have absolutely given it your best shot. Is your partner disillusioned with you? If he is, then best for him to walk away now rather than do it years down the line when you're married or pregnant.

But if you are both happy, then this is good. He has seen the real you and he knows who you really are. That means you have a really solid and hopeful basis to go forward - for the next Ninety Days.

If after four sets of Ninety Days, things are getting better and better, you'll probably find that nice things will happen - like you'll move in together or buy a ring!

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