real life

This is what an 'Open Relationship Contract' looks like.

“Yes, we love each other. And emotionally, we get everything we need from each other. But we would also like to sleep with other people.”

If you’re in an open relationship, saying that is easy. The hard part comes with actually executing the plan. How do you decide on rules? How do you decide on boundaries? Are there any boundaries?

A lot of couples who decide to try out open relationships use ‘Open Relationship Contracts’. It’s basically where you sit down and decide on the ground rules so there’s no confusion and (in theory) nobody gets hurt.

There’s probably some great contracts out there. There’s probably some couples for whom this system works brilliantly.

This is not one of those contracts.

The open relationship contract featured on Jezebel today is an example of what happens when open relationships go horribly, horribly wrong.

Clearly, the man who wrote this contract either had no idea what ‘open relationship’ meant, or knew what it meant but was obviously uncomfortable with it.

There are some rules that seem fair enough.

For example:

“You must, both on and offline, indicate that you have a boyfriend, however, you may indicate that the relationship is ‘complicated/fucking weird.'”

That seems reasonable. Or:

“If, anytime after you return home, your boyfriend asks*, you *will* tell him 1) where you went and 2) with whom you interacted. *Unless asked*, you will *not* tell your boyfriend if you plan to act, are acting, or acted as if you are in an open relationship.”

So he wants to know details. If he can handle it, that seems okay.

But then, the contract takes a bizarre, controlling ‘I’m actually not really okay with this’ turn:

“Your boyfriend comes first; plans with him have the highest priority. Without a single complaint, you will reschedule prior plans with others upon your boyfriend’s request to accommodate plans involving the two of you.”

Ah, what?

“You may not stay out past 4:30AM without your boyfriend’s prior approval.”


“You may not leave without telling your boyfriend 1) where you are going and 2) the time you expect to get home; if he asks, you must also tell him with whom you are meeting.”

Say what now?

“If something comes up while you are on your way home that delays you from getting there by 7:00PM or the other time you already told your boyfriend, you must call him by that time to let him know 1) all the reasons for the delay, and 2) the new time you expect to get home.”


And then there’s this bizarre rule, which seems to defeat the purpose of having an open relationship at all:

“You may not touch the clothed or unclothed bathing suit area (the area between ones waist and knees) of anyone other than your boyfriend. (AKA no rubbing anyone’s happy place.)”

So yeah. Wow. This really is an example of what not to put in an Open Relationship Contract.

Originally published on B-Side Blog, the author says this was the open relationship contract for a friend a few years ago. Needless to say, the friend exited the relationship fairly quickly. Read the full contract on Jezebel right here.

So, this all begs the question – would you ever agree to an open relationship, and if you would, what rules would you put in your contract?