On the heels of Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan‘s recent romantic merger, after the media exhumed the famous quality-time contract she made him sign before she moved to Palo Alto to continue their courtship, the New York Times is reporting that more and more couples are turning to relationship contracts for security in the practical aspects of love.
The contracts — sometimes drawn up with a lawyer, sometimes not — aren’t exactly a prenuptial agreement, the Times says. Sometimes the “requirements” veer toward emotional expectations or divvying up chores rather than assets.
Cohabitation agreements are now also used by heterosexual couples who may not envision marriage. An agreement might stipulate, for example, that if one partner sets aside graduate studies to work to support the other while finishing up school, then eventually they must reverse roles.
“The issues haven’t changed, but how we’re framing them has,” said Paul Hokemeyer, a Manhattan therapist. “Women are saying: ‘I have a place in the world. I won’t just wait around and expect you to be kind and generous. Let’s nail this down.’ ”
One big plus about this modern convention: Simply talking about possible relationship issues can head off tension at the pass, the story’s experts say. So, if you stipulate now that your guy is expected to do the dishes if you cook, and vice versa, it’ll supposedly translate into fewer fights over kitchen responsibilities in the future.
What do you think: Is a “relationship contract” smart? Unromantic? Ultimately unenforceable? Or a little bit of all three?
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