Millennials and the Relationship Contract

Did someone say relationship contract? Yes, it’s really a thing! A relationship contract is a document that gets written up and signed by (usually) two people within an intimate relationship. It’s not legally binding in any way, but it is a great way to start an open and honest conversation about the wants and needs in a relationship.

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The first relationship contract most people remember is from the popular sitcom, The Big Bang Theory. If you’re not familiar with the show, Sheldon drafts a 31-page document outlining the duties, responsibilities, and expectations of his relationship with his girlfriend, Amy. The agreement serves as their guiding light through disagreements and holds them both accountable. Though at first the agreement was one-sided, Amy ended up adding to the agreement so they could arrive at a mutually beneficial relationship contract.

Millennials are drafting their own relationship contracts

Younger folks tend to have higher expectations for their relationships. The contract serves as a litmus test that helps young couples define standards for one another. What do these contracts typically include? While length may vary the typical themes included include:

  • Honesty

  • Awareness of Partner’s needs

  • Communication

  • Alignment of intentions

  • Consequences

These may include some hard and fast rules depending on the couple drafting it, but keep in mind to try and be flexible. Time can change original intentions and the relationship may further develop from a simple contract to one that includes more long-term decisions like engagement, marriage, or children.

What do you think about relationship contracts?

Have you been a part of a relationship contract? What was your experience? Did this approach work for you and your partner?