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-   -   It isn't an agreement if it is not written and signed.. (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=40713)

Precious1 02-16-2013 01:35 AM

It isn't an agreement if it is not written and signed..
 
I once wrote, "In any relationship, communication, fidelity/keeping agreements, and honesty are what are ultimately most important. A big part of the communication is understanding what your agreements are and what everyone's expectations are - whether those agreements are verbal or written. Assumptions just don't cut it."

Except now I feel the need to amend it that verbal agreements don't cut it either. Now I want them written, signed, and dated.

Why? My (very recent) ex today informed me that I was cheating all along, that our "don't ask, don't tell, be discreet" while we were married never existed. He had affirmed this twice during counseling, once twenty years ago and again two years ago, and now denies ever uttering such a preposterous idea. Not sure if he really believes it or is just saying it to hurt me. Either way, had it been written and signed by the two of us, he never could have denied it.

When I started my relationship with my current partner, I created a relationship agreement, with idea that we write it together and revisit it every six months and more as needed. He poo-pooed it. But now, I think he realizes the value in it, or at least my need for one. I started the draft from researching both poly and BDSM agreements online. I wonder what form it will eventually take.

I don't know if I will ever take a second partner again, but whether living poly or mono.. written will be the way I roll.

polychronopolous 02-16-2013 02:19 AM

I don't mean at all to bad-mouth your desire for written rules, boundaries, or other agreements, I am just wondering what it will ultimately give you. An agreement is only valid, where not legally binding, as long as both parties agree to uphold the terms of the agreement. In such a case it makes little difference whether the agreement was written or verbal.

The example you used of your ex is a perfect illustration. Assuming he was aware -and come on he was aware- of the mutually agreed upon boundaries, it was still a meaningless contract as it was based on an honor system with a dishonorable person. (Or at least someone who chose to act dishonorably) Whether written or verbal there is no guarantee of either partners behavior if, or when, one of the participants simply decides not to honor the agreement.

At that point the only thing you have is the possibility to pull out a document, point to section A. line 2.B. and call the other person a damn liar. While that might grant you a second of righteous indignation, it really does nothing to change the situation you are in.

I guess what I am saying is that, in my mind, there is no greater sense of security in a written document than there is in a verbal agreement. I could understand if someone lacked the capicity to understand what it was you were trying to express, but then would they understand the written contract if they were just that thick?


Phoenix.

ThatGirlInGray 02-16-2013 02:48 AM

Some people may honestly not remember all the details they agreed to.

Some people may stop arguing/punishing their partner if it can be proved in writing that they agreed to something.

Some people may gain a greater understanding of exactly what they're agreeing to if they see it in black and white and are asked to sign it.

And for those in legal relationships, proof in writing that one was NOT "cheating" in the usual sense of the word could come in quite handy during a divorce settlement if the other decides to start lying.

It won't always help, and it won't always prevent ugly situations. But it's one of those things that doesn't hurt to have.

LovingRadiance 02-16-2013 03:09 AM

I found it necessary for it to be written as well.

My reason isn't the honorable/dishonorable issue.

The issue was that we are ALL ADD. Every single person in our household and honest to goodness-we would walk away from an agreement-completely forgetting things we sincerely agreed to.
That led to some NASTY hurt feelings when actions were taken that were not in alignment with our agreement (including what was or was not considered "using protection" for sex with others).

Since we put it in writing-we are always free to broach the topic of revisiting it and making changes, but it ensures that we all have a copy to reference about our agreements and know what we've agreed to.

polychronopolous 02-16-2013 03:20 AM

TGIG, good point. I still find it hard to believe anyone could inadvertently miss such a major detail. I suppose the aha moment would be when your partner sits down for the signing and, after a quiet pause, yells out " We talked about THAT??" Now we know we have a communication problem. At the same time I can't imagine the "lets open our relationship up with a DADT policy" happening while I am in the livingroom dusting the ceiling fan and my partner is doing dishes in the kitchen. Any life changing agreements should be discussed in great detail with the expectation of receiving feedback and discussing further until all involved have made informed decisions. But hey, I am a talker. Maybe not everyone likes to beat their horse to the desired consistency. :P

Phoenix.

Marcus 02-16-2013 03:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Precious1 (Post 184781)
Either way, had it been written and signed by the two of us, he never could have denied it.

Do you believe that if you held up a written agreement to DADT during his breakup speech that he would have changed his mind? I mean, was that actually the problem? Does he have some neurological condition and just needs to be reminded every few days of the fundamental makeup of his romantic relationship? I'm going to step out onto a limb and say that the lack of written formal contract was not the catalyst for your relationship ending.

Precious1 02-18-2013 04:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Marcus (Post 184853)
I'm going to step out onto a limb and say that the lack of written formal contract was not the catalyst for your relationship ending.

While off topic to the thread, you are correct.

LovingRadiance said
Quote:

My reason isn't the honorable/dishonorable issue.
and
Quote:

Since we put it in writing-we are always free to broach the topic of revisiting it and making changes, but it ensures that we all have a copy to reference about our agreements and know what we've agreed to.
I couldn't have said it better. My example for denying agreeing to poly is an extreme example. Something much smaller may be an understanding such as "I will let you know when my plans to come home for the night need to be canceled and why, preferably at least two days in advance, or when I become aware of the need to reschedule", and then discussing together not only the understanding, but also *WHY* one or the other feels the need for it.

One person may have different agreements with different partners, as long as those agreements don't conflict with each other. In the example above, I may desire to have the info, while his OSO might be more "go with the flow" and not need that in an agreement.


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