Yes, This Is a Real-Life Open Relationship Contract

Love ain't what it used to be. These days, the idea of embarking on an open relationship is becoming increasingly common for couples — although, perhaps not necessarily normal. The entire concept — for the uninitiated — is that partners remain emotionally loyal to each other but engage in the occasional (or perhaps regular) extracurricular sexual encounter. It's an untraditional arrangement that works perfectly well for certain couples, but may in fact create more headaches than romance for others.

This is why ground rules are usually needed, and when it comes to establishing parameters, nothing tops the contract a friend of mine received when he and his partner experimented with an open relationship six years ago. Thankfully, my friend granted me full permission to post it here for your entertainment. And no, the "friend" is not me. It's a shame because I would love to take full ownership of this story. Nevertheless, this document truly calls the notion of "open" into question.

Craziness, after the jump.

Our Relationship Rules (01-11-2008)

SCHEDULING

Your boyfriend comes first; plans with him have the highest priority. Without a single complaint, you will reschedule prior plans with others upon your boyfriend's request to accommodate plans involving the two of you.

WEEKNIGHTS

If you suspect that you will not make it home by 7:00PM on a weeknight, you will tell your boyfriend before you leave work 1) all the reasons why you may not be home by that time, and 2) the time you expect to get home. If something comes up while you are on your way home that delays you from getting there by 7:00PM or the other time you already told your boyfriend, you must call him by that time to let him know 1) all the reasons for the delay, and 2) the new time you expect to get home. In the event that he does not answer your call, you will 1) leave a voicemail with an explanation of the situation, including a new estimated time of return, and 2) send him a similarly explanatory text message.

CURFEW

You may not stay out past 4:30AM without your boyfriend's prior approval. If it becomes dangerous to return home by 4:30AM, you must call your boyfriend by that time, even if he is likely to be asleep at the time of your call. In the event that he does not answer your call, you will 1) leave a voicemail with an explanation of the situation, including a new estimated time of return, and 2) send him a similarly explanatory text message.

COMMUNICATION (WITH YOUR BOYFRIEND)

You may not leave without telling your boyfriend 1) where you are going and 2) the time you expect to get home; if he asks, you must also tell him with whom you are meeting. *If you are out and your boyfriend contacts you and asks*, you *will* tell him 1) where you are and 2) with whom you are interacting. *If, anytime after you return home, your boyfriend asks*, you *will* tell him 1) where you went and 2) with whom you interacted. *Unless asked*, you will *not* tell your boyfriend if you plan to act, are acting, or acted as if you are in an open relationship. If you suspect that your boyfriend has broken any rules or crossed a line that makes you feel angry, sad, betrayed, disrespected, or anything else you don't like feeling, you will find some way to discuss the event and/or your feelings with him; it is not acceptable to break the same rule yourself to "make it even/fair" or retaliate in any other way.

COMMUNICATION (ABOUT YOUR BOYFRIEND)

You must, both on and offline, indicate that you have a boyfriend, however, you may indicate that the relationship is "complicated/fucking weird."

REAL-WORLD INTERACTION WITH OTHERS (WHEN YOUR BOYFRIEND IS PRESENT)

You are to interact with others as if you are in a 100% closed relationship.

REAL-WORLD INTERACTION WITH OTHERS (AT HOME)

You are to interact with others as if you are in a 100% closed relationship.

REAL-WORLD INTERACTION WITH OTHERS (NOT AT HOME)

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You may not touch the clothed or unclothed bathing suit area (the area between ones waist and knees) of anyone other than your boyfriend. (AKA no rubbing anyone's happy place.)

You may not touch anyone other than your boyfriend with your unclothed bathing suit area. (AKA no penis tag.)

You may not view the unclothed bathing suit area of anyone other than your boyfriend.* (AKA no being stripped for.)

You may not allow anyone other than your boyfriend to touch your clothed or unclothed bathing suit area. (AKA no getting your happy place rubbed.)

You may not allow yourself to be touched by the unclothed bathing suit area of anyone other than your boyfriend. (AKA no penis tag.)

You may not allow anyone other than your boyfriend to view your unclothed bathing suit area. (AKA no stripping.)

You and everyone with whom you interact must always be wearing more than just underwear.**

If someone with whom you are interacting breaks any of these rules, you must leave their company immediately.

Everything else is allowed.

*Professional strippers who you don't know are allowed.

**When swimming, at the beach, or in a hot tub, a bathing suit is acceptable; more is unnecessary and less is not allowed.

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TELEPHONE INTERACTION WITH OTHERS

You may not participate in any form of phone sex, including but not limited to any discussion of what one enjoys sexually or descriptions of touching. Other than that, no topics are off-limits when talking on the phone with others.

ONLINE INTERACTION WITH OTHERS

You may not participate in any form of cyber sex (IM, video, etc.), including but not limited to any discussion of what one enjoys sexually or descriptions of touching. Also, no sending or knowingly accepting photos of unclothed bathing suit areas. Other than that, no topics are off-limits when interacting with others online.

MODIFYING THESE RULES

If you find that you wish that any of these rules were different or didn't exist, you will initiate a discussion with your boyfriend about modifying or eliminating them.

Needless to say, my friend tore up the contract and dumped the guy.

This post previously appeared on B-Side Blog. Republished with permission.

Image via Valerie Everett/Flickr