Life & StyleSex and relationships

New relationship? Try a couples contract this time.

When you start a new relationship, you definitely don’t want to repeat mistakes you’ve made before.

For this reason, The Couples Contract has been developed. 

Over the years, we all have had learning experiences within relationships. Maybe we learn what we like or don’t like in terms of a night on the town. Perhaps we discover our bedroom boundaries and vow to do better with future relationships. With age comes wisdom, we can hope, and a new contract seeks to assist with opening the lines of communication and fostering better relationships. 

Entrepreneur Patrick Frank

Designed and released by Forbes 30 Under 30 entrepreneur Patrick Frank, the Couples Contract hopes to help couples strengthen their bond and form healthier relationships. Growing up as a child of divorce, Frank always considered a strongly rooted relationship to be a lifelong goal of his own.  By guiding couples through a series of topics and talking points, he hopes to pass that dream on to others.

“What I found is that if one side of the relationship has this understanding and the other doesn’t, it is not possible to have a successful and thriving relationship,” says Frank.  A handful of unsuccessful relationships led him to do a deep dive into what makes relationships ultimately thrive. What he found was that it all came back to strong communication and clear expectations. Having written business contracts in the course of his career, the idea came to apply the clear, written expectations found in a business agreement to romantic partnerships. 

How It Works

The way the contract works is simple yet effective. Each partner writes down their expectations and desires. The Couples Contract covers many topics that may be important to couples who are just starting or who would like to improve communication in an already established relationship. The contract addresses light issues like pet ownership to heavier matters such as religion and everything in between. 

Why It Matters 

Whether your relationship is brand new or you’ve been together for a while, everyone could use help with communicating needs and desires. One can’t possibly know everything there is to know about who their partner is and what they want from life and love. The Couples Contract takes the difficulty out of opening the lines of communication. It acts as a conversation starter, leading a couple through the topics large and small as a way of sparking dialogue that can strengthen your bond. 

“I have found that communication is always the most important aspect for any relationship, and this is our way of playing a part in helping couples get on the same page in theirs,” says creator Patrick Frank. 

Keep It Light, But Keep Communicating

The Couples Contract is not a legally binding, prenuptial-agreement type document. On the contrary, it sets out to be a fun, “date night” activity that also serves a purpose. The website declares that the contract is “Fun, serious or anything in between…but it starts conversations”, which is the project’s primary purpose: discussion. Communication can be problematic in the beginning of a relationship when you are still in the mindset of impressing and perhaps shielding your new partner from anything you believe may cause conflict in your burgeoning relationship. The Couples Contract allows couples to cut out any rigamarole expected from younger relationships and get right down to the nitty-gritty of what they want and expect. This is especially useful for people 40 or over who have been through the mess of dating and relationships in their twenties and thirties. For people who are thinking, “Enough with the messing around, let’s get down to business with how we really feel and what our expectations really are!”, The Couples Contract is perfect.

Delegation and Respities 

One of the toughest parts of navigating a relationship is the delegation of responsibilities, especially within a long-term partnership where the partners live together. The Couples Contract helps with this delegation of tasks, opening the lines of communication for preferences and wishes to be heard before fights erupt from miscommunication.

Goal Setting 

The Couples Contract also allows space for goal setting. Setting aside time to chat about plans for the future after going over the intricate individual topics covered in The Couples Contract lets you tie everything up nicely with a common objective in your partnership.

Thousands Helped, Thousands to Go 

The Couples Contract has already helped thousands of couples open up the lines of communication in their relationship and find common ground. Patrick Frank finds the different ways the contract is used to be one of the most interesting parts of his journey as founder. “We have had individuals use it when they were exploring a new sexuality,” he says, “They used it as a way to be comfortable with the change knowing that there was some structure of expectations of the journey they were on”

Happy contract users sing the praises of The Couples Contract on their website, with feedback like “Literally took all of our difficult conversations and made them easy to talk about”.

That hits at the core of the mission for The Couples Contract: make something that may be viewed as a roadblock in relationships into something easy, engaging, and fun! 

Information about The Couples Contract and other tools for a successful relationship can be found at
This article was originally published on our sister site, Queer Forty.

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