DO YOU HAVE A “RELATIONSHIP RESPECT CONTRACT”?
Every couple, whether they realize it or not, establishes a contract of behavior when they decide to become involved. Have you examined yours? Here the items that MUST be present for your relationship to have the emotional safety you need–to make the relationship truly solid and truly intimate.
What is a Relationship Respect Contract?
All couples have contracts. It doesn’t matter if they are legally married and have some document from the county to prove it, or not. There is still a contract, written or unwritten, implicit or explicit. For example, most couples I know have a contract known as the “don’t you dare sleep with someone else or you will be dead meat” contract. It usually doesn’t even need to be stated, but they both know it.
But couples who are in trouble or who accidentally generate hurt and insecurity need to establish a contract so that both parties are crystal clear about what they need from each other and what they expect from each other.
RELATIONSHIP RESPECT CONTRACT
We agree to participate in couples’ therapy and recognize that this therapy will only have a chance to be successful if none of the following behaviors take place:
1. No incidents of direct physical abuse or violence.
2. No direct or implied threats of physical abuse or violence (to self, other, or property).
3. No direct or implied threats to behave in a way that would be extremely harmful to the other person (such as exposing personal secrets).
4. No physical restrictions on either party’s freedom of movement.
5. No significant property destruction as an expression of aggression.
6. No threats to leave the relationship (except for temporary “timeouts” to defuse a tense situation).
7. No pattern of extreme verbal put-downs, or character assassinations, or other humiliating acts.
8. No acts of infidelity or behaviors which suggest infidelity.
9. No pattern of lying or deception.
10. No pattern of abusing alcohol or drugs.
Both parties also agree to make all reasonable efforts to focus the therapy sessions on building the positive aspects of the relationship rather than using the session as an opportunity to simply report the bad behavior of the other party.
Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE). Available for both women and men
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Anger Management Specialists