Now now, I can already see your horrified expression as you eagerly and curiously await to find out more. "He did what?" you may be exclaiming at the screen, and yes, you read it right. My ex made me sign a relationship contract with an actual real-life witness.
Let me explain: My ex and I met under unusual circumstances. We started out as platonic friends and gradually, over the course of one summer, I ended up in a relationship with one of his close childhood friends whom I'd met through him.
It quickly ended, and I found myself drawn back to the comfort of my friend and him to me. We couldn't keep our hands off each other. The attraction was there, but due to to my own recent breakup, I assumed it to be nothing more than a casual "friends with benefits" situation.
That is, until one night in a bar, he got so unbelievably jealous when a strange man tried to dance with me that it almost resulted in a fist fight. The next time we went out again, I casually joked that I could dance with whomever I damn well pleased, and he'd keep his temper under control if he ever wished to see me again. Two vodkas down, and I was feeling like the fierce and sassy independent woman I like to think I am.
He apologized and explained it was just his protectiveness over me. My response?
"I can do whatever I want, it's not as if I've signed a contract."
And how did he respond? He quickly drew up one on his phone there and then in the middle of a crowded bar. I laughed. I was flattered, and as I certainly liked him back, I agreed to be his girlfriend then and there on the spot.
The next morning, as I awoke to my cute new boyfriend, he got out my laptop to make it official. I thought he was joking. I thought the contract on the phone was a cute gesture, but he wasn't playing around.
He wrote out an official "Relationship Contract," complete with lists of dos and don'ts. Sex regulations. Date nights. Christmas and birthday expectations. I couldn't believe what was happening. I'd always known him to be a little bit controlling, but this was ridiculous.
1. We agree not to engage in any sexual activity or physical pleasure with anyone other than each other. Hugging others is allowable, so long as there are no erections present.
2. We agree to keep no secrets from one another. Should one ask for any information, it must be given truthfully and without hesitation. We agree to talk every day via text message, phone or face to face, regardless of a) fights or anger and b) laziness.
3. We agree to see each other at least two times a week depending on location to. This may entail the following: movie watching, dinner, coffee, sleeping, drinking, hanging with others, etc. Commitments made to careers may occasionally impede. If that is the case and it is absolutely necessary, once a week will be acceptable.
4. We agree to share intercourse at least once a day unless distance or the female partner's period impedes with such activities.
5. We agree to practice safe sex. If impregnation occurs, both partners agree to consider all options unless it was previously planned or a mutual agreement is met.
6. We agree that presents are mandatory on: birthdays, Valentine's Day, Christmas and — if mutually agreed — anniversaries.
7. We agree not to intentionally argue with or pick fights with one another.
8. We agree that if the night is spent together, whoever is the first to rise the morning after must prepare or retrieve coffee for the both to enjoy in bed together.
9. We agree to try to make each other happy and always help one another to the best of our ability.
10. We agree that if the contract is terminated, we will still remain friends, given that no partners violated clause one.
I was in shock and utter disbelief at the situation. I kept expecting him to burst into a fit of laughter and exclaim, "Gotcha!" But no, this wasn't a joke. There was no hidden camera, and as far as I'm aware, "Punk'd" hasn't made a new episode in a few years.
So we printed out the contract and signed, with a witness signature from my housemate to make it feel even more real and intimidating.
Maybe I had already ignored two majorly obvious warning signs, his jealous temper and his controlling nature, but regardless, I progressed with the relationship hopeful. And the contract? Well, it worked for a while. We saw each other regularly. We talked even when we fought. Our sex life was more than acceptable, and I enjoyed nice coffee most mornings in bed.
It shouldn't have been a shock to me that he broke the contract first. He tried to seek forgiveness with the purchase of a new Zara handbag (I must have missed this part of the contract), but for the best, the relationship didn't work out.
Maybe in an ideal world and in a less controlling environment, a relationship contract may work. It could save a lot of stupid and petty arguments. But, it won't work a miracle.
Relationships take work, time and effort, and yes, a contract may be nice to fall back on. But nothing is ever set in stone. So maybe it didn't work out that time. But, I'm hopeful for the next time round.
And in case you were wondering, no, we didn't remain friends after the contract was terminated. He did violate cause one.