Contracts and Agreements Legal Terms and Definitions Glossary
Healthy relationships start with a healthy self image. the table what they have in their repertoire - or as the video below terms it "background. same kind of person over and over who will in fact break their trust again, reinforcing the .. Listen, really listen and try to reach mutual agreement on the issues. Tradition has broken down significantly in the industrialized west over the last century, While these areas of agreement do tend to be present in healthy marriages, we Background factors play a minor role in determining marriage success. If a cohabiting relationship breaks down there is very little protection for A living together agreement lets you agree things in a fair way at the.
Call it your family of origin or where you came from, but all of your trust issues stem from how you grew up and the experiences that you had. Then lump in all that happened since you grew up and you begin to see the picture forming.
Let's say that someone grew up in a chaotic household where there was a lot of violence and lack of personal boundaries. Let's add to that some scenes that perhaps a child should not have been privy too or some inappropriate ways to deal with anger or stress. Let's call this fictional character Person A. On the other hand, let's think of someone who grew up in an environment where nothing was ever said in an angry manner and relationships always seemed "solid.
Let's call this fictional character Person B. As you can probably imagine, both of these situations could and would most definitely generate trust issues for either person. Consciously or subconsciously, somewhere along the way, there is going to be some expectation in the back of the person's mind that "the other shoe is going to drop" and their world is going to be tilted off its axis.
Self Esteem and Self Confidence Everyone on the planet has triggers. Some are so minor that we don't even know they exist. Other people have severe triggers that can temporarily put them into a deer in the headlights situation where they overreact. The extreme of this spectrum is PTSD. The most important factor if you got down to the bottom of trust problems is whether both parties actually trust themselves. That's right - it's not really about trusting completely the other person. It's about trusting themselves and their reaction to something the other person does or says.
Or how they will handle themselves in any given situation. People who do not trust themselves or have good self esteem or self confidence automatically set themselves up for trust problems. Trusting the wrong people has become a habit and they continually seek out the same kind of person over and over who will in fact break their trust again, reinforcing the idea that they knew it - they couldn't trust anyone.
For example, several participants described how their prior experiences in monogamous relationships led them, for one reason or another, to open or desire to open their current relationship and allow sex with outside partners. Not everyone described the same pattern. Coming from the opposite direction, one participant described his prior experience in open relationships and expressed his desire to close his current relationship which was open.
Agreement negotiation usually involved a mix of the following three scenarios: Clarifying a current agreement often happened at the beginning of the relationship, immediately after a break, or both. Opening a monogamous agreement usually took the form of gradually adding conditions that allowed one or both partners to have sex with outside partners. An example of one such condition was allowing threesomes i. Renegotiating a broken agreement typically involved making a previously implicit agreement more explicit, adding a new agreement to existing ones, creating an entirely new agreement because the broken was effectively annulled, or some combination thereof.
Agreement Types Agreement types reported by participants fell along a continuum of more closed to more open, with considerable overlap. Thinking of agreements types as existing on a continuum, rather than in discrete categories, not only captures the individual meanings participants assigned to their agreements, but also the shifts that many couples reported experiencing over time.
For example, some couples reported having an open relationship, but only for threesomes. Similarly, other couples reported having threesomes yet described their agreements using the vocabulary of a closed or monogamous relationship. One participant described it thusly: It was not uncommon for these couples to associate feelings of love and commitment to their monogamous agreement when they described it.
It is important to understand, however, that closed agreements did not necessarily foreclose outside sexual encounters.
On the contrary, a few couples who reported closed or monogamous agreements allowed some form of sex with outside partners. One particularly striking example of this was reported by a couple where one partner worked as a masseur. Both partners described their monogamous agreement as being explicitly understood. Partner 2, the masseur, made it clear from the beginning of their relationship that his job had an erotic component to it whereby he sometimes masturbated his clients.
He maintained that this did not affect their monogamous agreement because masturbating his clients was part of his job and, as such, did not constitute outside sex or a break in the agreement. He described his thought process on the issue: Like when the massage is happening, if I'm just massaging the person and the person is receiving the pleasure, that's fine. But if the pleasure starts to extend over to me, like if I start to get sexually involved personally with the client, then that's different altogether.
As a construct, closed or monogamous agreements continued to hold currency for many couples, even for those who were not necessarily exclusive sexually. Several couples who permitted outside sex in one form or another used the vocabulary of monogamy when discussing their agreements. For this participant, being monogamous in nearly every other aspect of his relationship e. Even though these couples allowed some degree of outside sex, the idea and label of monogamy remained an important fixture in their relationships and agreements.
Most of those couples described agreements that were neither completely closed nor completely open, testifying to the overlap and fluidity of the different types of agreements reported by participants.
What distinguished them, however, were the conditions couples placed on whether or not sex with outside partners was allowed and how those conditions limited sexual behavior. Two conditions emerged most frequently: Several couples described agreements that allowed threesomes.
For most of these couples, sex with a third person was something they only did together and many of them made a point of qualifying it. One couple reported explicit rules to this effect. One participant said of his agreements regarding threesomes: So one rule is that we will do it together…. We both should agree on the person we would like to be with us. And then safe sex, we have very safe sex. We are more into jerking off, touching the body, licking the body, but not sucking or rimming and things like that.
Sometimes we kiss the person. We like to kiss, but that's the most we do.
How to Resolve Trust Issues in a Relationship
And we let the person know that we are a couple, we are together, and we have our rules. That's so the person who joins us knows what's going on. They had clear conditions or rules, including agreeing on who the third person would be and the types of sexual behaviors that they would do together, that limited sex with outside partners.
No other outside sex was allowed for this couple. Many other couples reported agreements that addressed the importance of separating physical from emotional intimacy with outside partners. Couples with this condition prioritized their relationship together by forbidding emotional connections with outside partners.
For another couple, allowing outside sex on the condition that they separated physical from emotional intimacy was an integral part of how they accepted sex as a natural part of their adult lives. And there are differences between sex and intimacy, making love.
It can be two different things. So within the relationship it's understood that if one happens then that's all it would be. For these participants, sex with outside partners was only a physical, sexual expression, and because of their agreement to separate that from emotional intimacy their partners were not threatened by it. Other conditions that limited sex with outside partners emerged less frequently, such as the request one participant made to his partner that they not have sex with friends or past lovers.
The condition of separating physical from emotional intimacy with outside sex partners was central to how these participants reconciled their desire for sex with outside partners with their need or desire for a meaningful connection to and relationship with their primary partners. Unlike the majority of couples with agreements that allowed sex with outside partners and who placed conditions that limited outside sex in some way, a small number of couples did not report any conditions that would limit sex with outside partners.
Importantly, however, this should not suggest that their agreements were condition-less. The conditions reported by these couples instead focused on the requirement that there be honesty, respect, or discretion around having sex with outside partners.
Outside that, these couples placed no other conditions on the sex they had with outside partners, and these arrangements seemed to work for these couples. For some couples with open agreements, discretion meant they did not want to know or talk about outside sex.
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One participant was succinct: However, not all couples with open agreements felt this way. Two participants reported discussing the sex they had outside their relationship with their partners. The other said he enjoyed hearing about the sex his partner had outside the relationship and that hearing about it turned him on.
For those couples who chose to discuss outside sexual encounters, communication and honesty were central parts of their agreements and provided an additional level of security and intimacy. Discrepant agreements occurred when both partners reported agreements that were different enough so that there was little to no overlap in what their reported agreement was and what sexual behavior it allowed. For example, in one couple, Partner 1 said that sex with outside partners was not allowed, although if his partner wanted to open the relationship, he was amenable to discussing the possibility.
Interestingly, both partners not only described discrepant agreements about whether or not they allowed sex with outside partners, they also described different attitudes towards discussing outside partners: Thus, discrepancies sometimes appeared in multiple aspects of the same agreement.
Parity Alongside understanding the types of agreements reported by participants was the issue of whether there was parity in those agreements. Parity was defined as both partners understanding their agreement in the same way and behaving accordingly.
During the analysis, parity was examined alongside the issue of whether agreements were understood implicitly or explicitly. This was done to gain a more nuanced view of how participants understood their agreements and to see what effect parity and explicitness had on the agreement and the relationship more broadly.
Explicit agreements were defined as verbal conversations between partners about whether or not to allow sex with outside partners and how to handle it if it was allowed. Implicit agreements were defined as mutual understandings between partners about whether or not to allow sex with outside partners that may not have been articulated directly.
After examining both parity and explicitness, it became clear that parity was linked with feelings of equity towards the agreement and the relationship more generally and that couples did not necessarily associate beneficial feelings towards their relationship with whether or not their agreement was explicitly understood.
In this regard, parity may be more important to the relationship, and to adhering to the agreement, than simply having an agreement that is explicit. In other words, how couples understood their agreements and how they behaved relative to them was just as important, if not more so, as having articulated the agreement and its boundaries explicitly.
The following couple illustrates this point well. Both partners reported having a monogamous agreement and described it as being implicitly understood.
That's never really happened. Both partners' comments demonstrated parity regarding what the agreement was and what expectations went along with it. No, no sex with other people. Neither partner reported breaking the agreement or suspecting the other partner of breaking it. Later in the interview, however, Partner 1 added that if he had ongoing suspicions, he would reconsider whether the relationship was right for him.
If it would continue, if it was something that was consistent and I knew about it, then I guess I would have to end the relationship. Several couples, similar to the one above, did not report having explicit agreements or explicit conversations about their agreements.
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These couples approached their agreements from the point of view that they could work even without being explicitly articulated. In this vein, one participant said that he felt the more explicit his agreement was the more mechanical it became. Yet, as the above couple shows, having an implicit agreement did not negatively impact the way they understood their agreement or their reported level of satisfaction and adherence.
While parity was not necessarily problematic for many couples, non-parity presented potential for miscommunication and distrust. One such couple reported having a monogamous agreement; however, whereas one partner said it was explicitly understood, the other partner said it was an assumption that his partner made of their relationship.
There's an assumed agreement that we are in a committed relationship…. Yeah, a committed and monogamous relationship. And it's interesting that he didn't ask me exactly what I thought about it. I didn't have a way to express my own feelings about it. Just having sex with someone, even if very brief, I tend to want it or to desire it. Here, communication difficulties have contributed to discrepancies and a misunderstanding of the agreement, sexual behavior that falls outside of the agreement, and increased HIV transmission risk.
In sum, the agreement types reported by couples covered a wide range of sexual behaviors, some of which permitted sex with outside partners and some of which did not. On the surface, sexual agreements seemed relatively straightforward. However, once examined in the context of the everyday lives of the couples, agreements quickly grew in depth and complexity. Monogamous agreements sometimes permitted sex with outside partners in some form and open agreements often had conditions that limited sex outside the relationship in some manner.
Finally, parity, where both partners reported understanding their agreement in the same way, may have been more important when considering agreement satisfaction and adherence than simply the explicitness of the agreement. Motivations for Having an Agreement Couples were motivated to have agreements for a variety of reasons, such as trusting and loving each other and giving their relationships structure and meaning. Importantly, however, findings showed that couples were not primarily motivated to have agreements in an effort to reduce HIV transmission risk.
When HIV prevention was discussed in the context of agreements, many couples simply assumed safe sex without defining what that meant in terms of each partner's sexual behavior. Rather, most couples discussed their agreements in the context of their relationships.
For example, trusting that one's partner would adhere to an agreement brought some couples closer together. Trusting one's partner either to be monogamous or to adhere to the agreement to be safe with outside partners was a primary factor supporting the relationship for concordant negative couples. These couples were acutely aware that, if trust i. The relationship itself would also likely be negatively impacted. Many, like the following couple, reported feeling good that their relationship had such a deep level of trust.
And your level of trust with this person that is so strong. And you're putting so much on the line: You're putting your health, your life, on the line that there's a real sense of strength that comes to the relationship for doing it, when you do something like that. So like I say, it elevated it to a new level of trust because obviously we have to trust one another.
If we're going to be sexually active outside of the relationship, we have to trust each other not to be bringing STIs into the relationship, or HIV, or endangering one another in any way. Instead, they drew from their trust of one another a source of strength and pride in their relationship. For some couples in monogamous relationships, trust was heightened by an additional agreement, or clause, to tell each other—no matter what—if either partner broke the agreement by having sex with an outside partner.
We found that some couples who were fully committed to monogamy and who had no intention of breaking their agreement insisted that, if a break ever happened, they would tell their partner, no matter how difficult. This clause may have provided an additional level of trust in the relationship because no couple who had it reported a break in their monogamous agreement. Relationship Structure Couples were also motivated to have agreements because they provided structure to the relationship i.
At a time when same-sex relationships are not acknowledged legally or approved of socially, and most gay couples lack role models for their relationships regardless of whether they are closed or open, many of the couples sought and found structure for their relationships in their agreements. Participants reported that having an agreement helped them know where they stood with their partners and made them feel more secure in their relationships.
Discussing the condition that he and his partner would separate physical from emotional intimacy when having sex with outside partners, one participant said that his agreement made him feel secure because he knew his relationship was not in jeopardy. Sexual Satisfaction Some couples were motivated by the sexual benefits to having an agreement.
For example, one couple felt their agreement brought them closer together sexually because it helped facilitate their need for sexual satisfaction. Others reported that their open agreements made sex between them more intimate because it was an expression of both physical and emotional intimacy.
Still others were titillated by the thought of their partner having sex with someone else. Many couples who engaged in threesomes explained that bringing in an outsider added vigor and excitement to their sexual relationship.
One participant with such an agreement said: I think it's nice because, of course, we all have fantasies and, in the relationship, it works very well…. And when you go out to places. One partner with an open agreement said: If they separate, whether after five, 10 or even 30 years, partner A has no right to personal maintenance from partner B even if she has always been supported financially. Partner A also has no legal right to a share of the property, even if he or she has contributed to the mortgage or paid in other ways, such as staying at home to care for the children.
So, unless partner B voluntarily agrees to a settlement, partner A could become homeless unless she can afford to go to court — see the box, right, on the case of Pamela Curran and even then there's only a limited chance of success.
Therefore it can cost an enormous amount of money to fight it out in court. Again, if one partner wants to challenge this in court, it is likely to be costly and there is no guarantee they will win. Despite the Law Commission making recommendations in that the rights of cohabiting partners upon separation should be increased, nothing much has changed.
The current government indicated in that it had no plans to act on the proposed reforms. As the law stands, the only solution for cohabiting couples who want legal protection should they split up is either to marry or enter a civil partnership, or to draw up a cohabitation agreement, otherwise known as a living together agreement or "no nup".
So what is a cohabition agreement? It can also cover how you will support your children, over and above any legal requirements to maintain them, as well as how you would deal with bank accounts, debts, and joint purchases such as a car.
The agreement can also be used to set out how you and your partner will manage your day-to-day finances while you live together, such as how much each contributes to rent or mortgage and bills, and whether you will take out life insurance on each other. Isn't that a bit unromantic?
Maybe, but being realistic when you first get together can save emotional and financial heartache in the future. A living together agreement lets you agree things in a fair way at the outset without the pressures that can arise if a relationship breaks down.