What Is a Relationship Contract Agreement? 

A relationship contract agreement is a document signed by two or more close people to document the rules agreed to govern the relationship. By documenting these rules in writing, the parties to the agreement can have a very frank dialogue on what their needs are and what are the acceptable behaviors in a relationship. Rules exist in all types of relationships, with or without relationship agreements in any case. This helps to translate unwritten rules of the relationship into something that is acceptable and clearly understood by the parties. 

Relationship agreement may be helpful whether you are in a long-term monogamous relationship, open relationship, short term friends with benefits relationship, platonic relationship, or even one-off sexual relationship. The parties can agree on what is fair and reasonable—how each party will be treated and whether there are any personal deal breakers. These are purely based on the personal values of each party and no judgement should be placed on these preferences. 

Generally, a relationship agreement is considered a “social contract” and is not meant to be legally binding. In fact, for relationship agreements with explicit sexual context, they may be regarded as unenforceable, immoral, or even illegal in certain common law jurisdictions. Hence, a relationship agreement can be seen as clear evidence on the willingness of the parties to engage in certain activities or be treated in a certain way. 

What Is the Importance of Having a Relationship Contract Agreement? 

All married and unmarried couples are advised to be in possession of a relationship agreement because these types of contracts cover properties, investments, and other vital issues. Having a relationship contract would help couples in not allowing a third party to influence their relationship in a negative manner. However, friendships and relationships with others are very necessary; they are subordinate to the importance of the relationship. 

Couples are recommended to have a clear and better understanding that each of them belongs to a certain family, and each one of them must respect and protect the interests of the whole family. There must be a lot of clarity on the family unit because it reflects the wishes and desires of a couple. A relationship contract directs individuals on how they should relate with the extended family and guidelines to follow when a conflict of interest happens or seem to occur.

Types of Relationships:

On the forms of the relationship contract agreement, these can differ depending on the types of relationship the people are in. The following are the main ones:

Long-Term Monogamous Relationship Agreement This is essentially a love contract between a couple. Some of the most common things people include in this agreement are respective responsibilities—which is how the partners will be responsible for themselves and each other about things like happiness, health, professional development, emotional growth, and personal development; treatment—treat each other with respect by being clear on how you would or would not like to be treated; independence—find the right balance between independence, care, and intimacy and know how much time you need to spend with your respective friends or even your time alone; privacy—this is related to independence like how much personal space or privacy should each person have, is it necessary to you give the passwords of your devices to your spouse, or is there a need to enable the GPS tracker on your phone; honesty—this is how to be transparent and honest about what matters in your relationship yet, respect each other’s privacy, so, being honest will help avoid conflicts, frustrations, and unnecessary internal resentment; disputes resolution—how to minimize or resolve disputes in a relationship by certain rules like never shout at each other, never go to bed angry, and just treat each other with respect; household chores—agree on who should do what like frequency of each chore that needs to be done, whether to do it on a rotational basis; sex—many long-term relationships turn from passionate initially to platonic and sexless so, it would be good to agree on a regular schedule to keep the romance on; and penalties—agree on the consequences and penalties on breach of the relationship agreement despite not being legally enforceable.Short Term, Friends with Benefits, or Open Relationship Agreement This is an agreement to have a casual sex/relationship without any emotional connection. Although it can be a little awkward, the parties should express frankly their needs and desires from the beginning without getting into the muddy waters of a real relationship. The parties can agree on a series of issues in advance and set very clear boundaries on what can and cannot be done. Here are some things that people put into this agreement: exclusivity—if the relationship is meant to be exclusive or an open relationship there is the need to define “exclusivity” like does it mean that the parties are free to date but cannot sleep with other people; safety—it is a good idea for both parties to check for any sexually transmitted disease before entering into the relationship and regularly after the relationship commenced because protection is recommended even in an exclusive relationship to avoid the risk of STD and pregnancy; boundaries—it is important to set boundaries in such a relationship, both inside the bedroom and outside: inside the bedroom, you can have well-behaved sex with your special friend or be more selfish and do what is satisfying for you, so long as it is clear what you and your partner’s bottom lines are; outside the bedroom, one may want to agree on not to visit each other’s home or workplace without the permission of the other party; term—how long will the relationship last means you should probably set a fixed period to avoid being too attached for too long; and emotional attachment—having “no strings attached” may sound easy at first, but once you start making love, the empathy center in your brain comes into play, and people may start developing emotions for one another, with this, you need to discuss what happened and the big rules are broken.One-off Relationship Agreement One might think it is a bit over the top to require the parties to sign an agreement for a one-off relationship (whether it is a one-night stand or a paid relationship). There are few reasons for signing a one-off relationship agreement: set boundaries for the activities—the good thing is that you can be completely selfish and do what is satisfying for you (since it is one-off), you just need to agree on what the bottom lines are and stick to it; and evidence of consent—protect you and your partner in this era of “me-too”. Remember, this agreement is not legally enforceable or maybe even illegal in some jurisdictions, but it is good evidence to show that both parties consented to the act should any dispute arises.Workplace Relationship Agreement This is principally used to demonstrate to the employer how to adhere to the company’s employment policy, avoid any conflict of interest, and favoritism in the workplace. This is different from the agreements mentioned above and is designed for two people in a romantic relationship that are working together. It will be provided to the employer to give some comfort in relation to potential sexual harassment or unfair dismissal claims.

What Are the 5 Rules to a Great Relationship? 

There are no particular rules for relationships, but, as emotional beings, these are the expected things to remember when being committed to a person: 

Stay Faithful

Stay faithful to the person you choose to be with. This should go without saying, but it really needs to be said. If you truly love your partner and want them in your life, then, give them all of you and do not live a life of secrets. There is almost nothing worse than being cheated on by the person you love. Stay true and enjoy the love you have with your partner. 

Do Not Flirt with Others 

Being hit on by the opposite sex can make you feel good about yourself but, it can be a trap going somewhere bad if you decide to flirt back. You might think it is innocent and there is no harm in it, but over time it can be an issue. They will become conditioned that this type of behavior is fine. Also, consider that allowing someone to flirt with you is not showing respect to your partner. Within your control, be true to your partner and leave situations where you or your partner are being disrespected. 

Make Your Partner Feel Wanted 

Your partner is there to support you; to be your biggest cheerleader. Asking for help makes a person feel like they are needed. They want to give advice and help out. It makes them feel like they are making a difference in your life. This exchange between the two of you can bring you closer together and relieve some of the burdens of everyday life. 

Respect Your Partner 

Everyone has different opinions, likes, and dislikes. Respect is imperative in a healthy relationship. Respecting the differences between you and your partner can make the bond stronger. You should feel comfortable with your partner to share your thoughts, values, and beliefs. 

Make Time 

Making time for each other is important to a loving and healthy relationship. It is great to reconnect and share a simple story about how your day went or just talk about some ideas and thoughts about anything. It can be as easy as just sitting down and enjoying a cup of tea together. Make time for each other to build that strong foundation between you both. 

What to Know Before Signing a Relationship Contract Agreement? 

Each individual in a serious relationship is much concerned with their assets or wealth because these documents assist in defining the guidelines or limitations of a relationship. Therefore, this type of a social contract should be signed in presence of a legal practitioner. There are issues to put into consideration before signing such an agreement, they include the following: 

You should write your issues separately; this is to ensure that the contract does not reflect on one partner’s wishes. Before signing a relationship contract you should know what goes in the contract and what should not be allowed to be in the contract.  

Decide whether or not you want a relationship contract, always take time in decision making regarding the contract and ask at the right time, you should define the seriousness of the contract, you must be open, trustworthy and honesty. 

Always take charge of the hard tasks, because the relationship contracts assist in avoiding arguments regarding division of the house chores and responsibilities. The major ideas of relationship contract are to solve any form of conflict and to prevent them from reoccurring. It may be tiresome but it will make life easier and enjoyable.  

Each couple should decide on a deadline in order to avoid sliding into marriage, this done by adding an expiration date to your contract. As that particular date comes, you can freely agree on the procedures to add in your relationship. This is the reason why relationship contracts should be formulated at the early stages of the relationship. 

Once you have agreed on what to include in your contract, you should print it, put a date on it, and sign it. You can either frame it as a way of symbolizing your commitment to each other or you can hide it. 

Steps to Include in a Relationship Contract Agreement:

The things to include in relationship agreements are quite a lot and differ from each other but depend on your relationship, future objectives, and past Events. Here are some of the issues that a couple should include in a relationship contract:

  • Step 1: Property and Finances Details

    It sought to cover all the properties including those you had before you started the relationship and properties gained by both of you.

  • Step 2: Property Inherited or Gained as a Result of Gifts in During the Relationship

    Any property given to a couple is legally owned by two of you. This involves gifts received from a commitment occasion, anniversary party, or received from a friend or relative either to one of you or both you.

  • Step 3: Expenses

    The contract should cover how you should or you would like to handle your expenses. This may include how you will sub-divide your daily utilities, the cost of food and laundry, just to mention a few.

  • Step 4: Separation or Death

    It is advisable to include a short description of what might happen if there happen to be a separation or one of you passes away. In case a separation occurs, you may wish to share equally the property you gained when you together or according to each other’s contributions. Upon death, the wealth remains in the hands of the living partner.

  • Step 5: Dispute Resolution

    All relationship agreements should include all means that will be used in conflict resolutions. In recent years couples used to go courts to resolve disagreements. Nowadays, couples are advised to use other means in solving disputes, such as mediation and arbitration if mediation seems to fail.


Is a relationship contract legally binding?

Unlike a traditional prenup, a relationship contract agreement is generally not legally binding, and deals primarily with how to create and maintain a relationship, rather than the financial fallout when one ends.

Why does every couple need a relationship contract?

A couple contract is not designed to tackle specific challenges. Rather, it is designed to help couples map out and agree on what really matters to them over the long-term. Having this explicit agreement makes it easier for couples to navigate the many transitions they will face across their working lives together.

What are the three stages of a contractual relationship?

First, an offer is made that contains all of the necessary and relevant terms of the contract. Next, another party agrees to, or accepts the offer. Lastly, after the offer is accepted, something of value is exchanged between the parties involved in the contract—this is called consideration.

A relationship contract is a tool for couples to express their needs and work together to craft the parameters of their own different relationship roadmap: including anything and everything from health and housework, to sex and intimacy. It is not going to solve all problems, you will probably find some areas more uncomfortable to talk about than others. For instance, sex and finances, are common sticking points for some. But the great part of a relationship contract is that it provides a safe space for you to voice hard-to-discuss wants or fears that might otherwise just go assumed, unsaid, or even unresolved. There is a lot of possibilities in that.