Relationships Simplified

Why can’t we have relationship contracts – similar to phone contracts: two years and then an upgrade, asks Amina Ahmed

Are you in a relationship? Are you single? Or have you been married to someone for so long that you don’t even want to think about how many years of your life you’ve wasted? Either way, are you one of the thousands of people who are sick of their love life?

I know I am.

It always starts off so wonderfully. There are chocolates and roses, kisses and hugs. His voice is the first you want you hear when you get up in the morning and the last as you nod off at night. When you’re not with him you’re longing – everything else become insignificant. Suddenly your world revolves around him. You fall behind in your work but there’s no irritation, no worries, no disappointment. In his arms you find peace.

Then you hit the one-year mark. You find yourself remembering the past year and all the cute moments when he was so romantic, so in love with you. You wish he would be the same but over time he’s changed; you can’t quite say how he’s changed but he has. That attention, that love, has died like a battery and you try to recharge it by giving him even more love but it has the opposite effect. Instead of realising how important he is to you and loving you back, he distances himself from you. The more you give, the less he returns and soon it becomes a one-sided relationship.

As you celebrate (or try to celebrate) your second anniversary, you find yourself reading relationship books. My favourite one: Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. How many of us poor women have read that book, going ‘yes, yes’, and ‘that sounds just like him’? We try to use the tips in the book but does it work?

A relationship has to be two-sided. It doesn’t matter how much effort you put into it, if your partner doesn’t care, it won’t work. And now even though you really despise him, even though he makes you upset and makes you cry literally every night, you stay.

Well here’s a solution: relationship contracts. Just like mobile contracts. Detail your specification; keep in mind what you want, search for a partner similar to you so you can spend the next two years happily and wala: relationship problems are over.

As one young man says to me: “If you feel psychologically trapped but you don’t love them, if you feel confused and stay with them just because it’s easy to, it [relationship contracts] will save you a lot of pain.”

Cheated on and dumped by his girlfriend of five years, this 25-year-old could have benefited from a contract: instead of staying with a woman who obviously didn’t deserve the love he gave her, he would have had to leave. Simple.

However, some people doubt that a time-limited contract would work – they feel that emotions cannot be regulated in this way.

Dele Oluwayomi (30), recently came out of a relationship because “it ran its course…the mistake is people are not educated in a relationship.”

I agree.

“A contract is like stopping someone from going to the toilet – you can’t control that and you can’t control emotions,” he says.

True. Emotions are not easily controlled – when you’re in love, you’re in love and nothing can break that link you have with your partner. However, people need a push, an incentive to move on, to leave the person behind and to realise their own worth. It would make them think to themselves: do I really want to stay with this person for the rest of my life? Do I want to actually extend my contract (yes, you can do that) and maybe sign a marriage contract instead.

Kauser Ali who has been married for quite some time now might have benefited from such a contract:  “While your partner might become a virus, this might have created mini viruses known as children and if you try to remove these your whole system will crash down. If you want an upgrade, wait for paradise, that’s the only place you can get one: with no strings attached,” she says.

To avoid such a situation, she and others could use a contract to their advantage: use the two years to be really sure about what they want in life and then take on a life-long commitment.

Would such a contract help you? Leave a comment and let us all know!

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