B.  Do Contracts Foster Negative Attitudes?

     Some people argue that couples just beginning their relationships
should not be forced to consider such unpleasant things
as conditions for divorce and child-support.
Thinking about such details might change you from loving partners
into business partners, each trying to get the best of the bargain.

     But if you take a longer view, seeing your relationship as a whole,
you will realize that it is much better to face these issues in advance
than to have to fight about them later if your love goes bad.
If you can't face decisions about diapers in the abstract,
while you are still feeling wonderful about each other,
how will you deal with such matters when you confront them in reality?

     If your relationship really has a firm foundation,
it should not take long to negotiate at least a preliminary agreement
answering the Questions raised in this book.
The good will at the beginning of a relationship
is a much better atmosphere for such discussions
than the ill-will that often comes after living together
without an understanding of how to handle finances and housework.

     If you cannot agree about such matters even in the abstract,
then you should probably consider a different kind of relationship,
for instance, one in which you do not live together:
You live the practical parts of your lives according to your personal choices,
without having to negotiate a common pattern agreeable to both of you.
If you see practical differences on the horizon,
you can devise a relationship that avoids such problems
rather than forcing yourselves into uncomfortable compromises.

     If you already have unresolved issues, creating a new relationship contract
might be a good way to get beyond those hostile feelings.
Instead of ending the relationship because of your problems,
it might be possible to create a new pattern for yourselves
that avoids the problems of earlier attempts.
And one of the major problems of your first relationship
might have been the lack of clear understandings about critical issues.
A new contract with the same partners
might be better than each person starting over again with someone new.
In this case, relationship contracts will be a way to overcome
negative attitudes that have developed because you lacked
a common vision of how your relationship was going to operate.
DO CONTRACTS FOSTER NEGATIVE ATTITUDES?                   by James Park                  177

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Designer Marriage: Write Your Own Relationship Contract

Created December 23, 2009; Revised

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