Engaged couple creates a relationship ‘contract’ in which unacceptable behaviour

“I say, ‘contract’ and then we can return to a natural, peaceful state,” says the 40-year-old coach Trish Barillas.

When Trish Barillas’ fiancee, Charlie Sandlan, is the risk of getting on her nerves, for example, by chewing loudly protest girls’ night, or destruction of her new favorite hip-hop song she can exit in a word.

“I say, ‘contract’ and then we can return to a natural, peaceful state,” says the 40-year-old coach.

Barillas and Sandlan, who are together for a year and a half, have a relationship contract — a cleverly-designed, 22-item pact, when identifying their wishes and pet peeves.

Break the conditions, Barillas says, and they take a critical look at their courtship.


The Chelsea pair, which is now in progress prepared by their pact just 15 days after their first date. Sandlan, 48, had read about them online and brought the idea with Barillas during driving. She was immediately on board.

“Relationships are messy and confusing,” says Barillas. “Contracts are reliable — very clear and concrete.”

Control-loving New York couples to jump on board with prenups for dating, that the layout of everything from sex targets off-limits fight strategies for non-marketable personal peculiarities. Lovers who sign on the dotted line claim that the contracts encouraging rational boundary setting, fighting fair, and compromise.

For Barillas, that means the start of her day on a less-than-ideal note. “I hate NPR,” she says. But Sandlan keeps playing in the background when he is ready for his day.

“So it is agreed that] in the morning, he has to listen to NPR for at least 20 minutes,” she says. For the well-being of the couple, Barillas says, “I agreed.”

Also, she has given him in football Sunday, two date nights per week and a daily conversation — with a duration of at least five minutes.

“Normally, I would have felt suffocated” by that much contact, ” she says. But the agreement helped to take the edge off. “This is just what he wants [not] about something I did wrong.”


In addition, she says, Sandlan has equally important concessions for her: He is contractually obligated to the support of her annual trips with her best buds, to let her pay for things once in a while, and yes, to work on not chewing loudly.

Relationship therapists say that the contracts, such as Barillas and Sandlan’s may be useful — depending on how they are written.

“A long laundry list of annoyances in the form of contractual obligations will not repair the relationship,” says Jean Fitzpatrick, a Murray Hill, on the basis of a marriage counselor who is working on similar agreements with its customers, usually during the marriage counseling. She is of the opinion that the trend in the direction of dating contracts probably comes from young couples who want to split tasks other than the generation of their parents did.

The “emotional prenups” Fitzpatrick works with her clients focus on the issues that give rise to a return of the support, such as a conflict or someone is not doing their part of the tasks.


But some think that a breach is not even worth it to renegotiate. For Amy Chan, a 37-year-old Chelsea resident, a relationship contract dispute was reason enough to call it quits.

“It didn’t work because we couldn’t agree on our terms,” said Chan, who runs a retreat called Refresh break-up Bootcamp for women who are trying to recover from a bad split. She felt for her ex, “everything had a disclaimer or an ‘outside,’ ” for him to weasel out of his responsibilities and the promises he had made for her.

For more, continue reading this article in The New York Post.

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