Recently, we were contacted by another news agency and asked about Relationship Contracts and what we thought about their place in toady’s litigious society.
The question of relationship contracts, their purpose and usefulness has as many answers as it does the couples who use such documents. Every contract will be different in structure and content as well as the context in which it is to be utilized.
So, the question is, are relationship contracts useful? In a word, yes. If a couple feels the need to protect themselves while exploring a relationship or entering into a commitment, such as engagement or marriage, then a contract can be of benefit. I would suggest that both parties need to be comfortable with the idea and present in crafting the document.
In many cases, people feel a great sense of relief knowing that assets are no longer in question and only the relationship is left to enjoy. Moving forward can be easier and more practical for couple with such needs or issues.
On the other side, a contract can cause a barrier to be erected between a couple. If one partner wants the protection and the other has never considered it, there can be quite a problem dealing with the reasoning and actual asset protection. Think through what a contract will do the relationship and choose whether it’s even worth the conversation.
And this brings me to the real rub of the argument. Why do you need a relationship contract? Now, before you snap out an answer, consider the REAL reason behind it. Follow me here and see if this makes sense at all. Here are a few explanations:
- My last partner left me
- I had a friend go through a bad divorce
- My parents are concerned about their wealth
- I am expecting a large inheritance
- My lawyer says…
But drill down to the real issue behind such a document. It is only there to protect one person from another. Really? And we are calling this a relationship contract. I feel an argument could be made that there is no relationship at all because there is no trust. And without trust there can never be a solid, beneficial relationship.
So, rather than ask if a relationship contract is the right thing for us, ask why we need it and where does that distrust come from? The issue is not in the contract.
If two people can discuss the concerns they each have regarding trust, then they can begin to structure and create their relationship.
And does a contract deal with the distrust? Absolutely not! Moreover, it reinforces the distrust by both parties agreeing that the issue is truly there and present. The contract does not remove the problem, it magnifies it!
If you enter into a partnership fearing the worst, just expect it to happen. The contract does nothing more than structure how you are going to end the partnership.
Consider that the open wound of distrust is present and the contract is an insufficient bandage on the festering sore. It covers it over, but the injury remains. Repair the wound and the relationship can thrive. But ignore it and the sickness will seep throughout the entire body of the relationship.
Do you need a relationship contract or do you need a real relationship? You get to choose…
Love with no shame and ask with no fear