Just two weeks after meeting on Tinder, an Atlanta college student drew up a 17-page ‘relationship contract’ with her boyfriend in which she outlined expectations for their coupling — including a ‘romantic gesture’ every two weeks.
Annie Wright, 21, had previously been in a toxic relationship, and she wanted things to be better this time around with Michael Head, 23.
So two weeks after the pair met last October and decided to be exclusive, she jokingly suggested a contract to lay ‘some serious ground rules’ for their romance — and when Michael agreed, she got to work outlining relationship objectives, boundaries, and acceptable behaviors.
Falling in love: Annie Wright, 21, and Michael Head, 23, met on Tinder last October
Making it official: Annie had previously been in a toxic relationship and wanted to lay ‘ground rules’ for this one, so she jokingly suggested a contract — and Michael agreed
Goals: They worked on the contract together, writing out their relationship objectives
Annie was newly out of a relationship in which her ‘boundaries of mine were crossed’ and not looking for anything serious when she met Michael and went on their first date, a dog walk.
‘It was a fluke that I met him. I was going on three Tinder dates a week to go out there and meet people,’ she said.
But she knew there was something special between them and was determined that it would last.
‘I met him and was like “I will make this work.” They say you meet someone and you’re like, “Wow, this is the person,”‘ she said.
‘I had that moment with Michael where I was looking at him and he was everything I could ever have wanted in a partner, but at that stage in my life I wasn’t at that point mentally,’ she said.
When Michael said that he wanted them to date exclusively, Annie went into business mode.
Give and take: Annie’s love language is gifts, so Michael buys her flowers when he goes to the gas station; because his is quality time, she accompanies him to the gym
‘We printed out of terms and conditions, I went over to his place, we sat on either end of the bed and read them out loud,’ she recalled
The contract buts a ban on ‘ignoring each other,’ as well as weighing in on who the other should or should not have friendships with
‘In order to be ready for that, we had to lay some serious ground rules,’ she said. ‘I made the idea [about the contract] as a joke then he said, “No, seriously. We can do that and talk about it.”‘
Annie figured that if she wrote out her boundaries, there’d be less risk that Michael would cross them.
Michael, who is pre-law, was game for making it official.
So Annie and Michael each drew up individual contracts ‘and came together like on The Apprentice and presented them.’
‘We printed out of terms and conditions, I went over to his place, we sat on either end of the bed and read them out loud,’ she recalled.
They settled on the final document on November 2.
The first page outlines the objectives for the relationship, including honesty, communication, awareness of partner’s needs, and clarity and alignment in your intentions.
Communication: Annie figured if her boundaries were written out, they’d be harder to cross
Written in: It also says that though Michael is ‘traditional’ and likes to pay for dates, this is not ‘realistic’ all the time, and Annie will pay for her meals that are not dates
Success: Ultimately, Annie said the contract has been ‘a game changer’ and ‘the best thing ever,’ and she would recommend it to other couples
In a section titled ‘boundaries, Annie had Michael acknowledge that it is OK for her to say no to things, and that if he chooses ‘to do something for [her] that negatively impacts [his] schooling, sleep schedule, relationships,’ it is not Annie’s responsibility.
The contract buts a ban on ‘ignoring each other,’ as well as weighing in on who the other should or should not have friendships with.
It also says that though Michael is ‘traditional’ and likes to pay for dates, this is not ‘realistic’ all the time, and Annie will pay for her meals that are not dates.
‘We talked about love languages. He was the one who brought it up. It helped to outline ways we feel appreciated,’ said Annie.
Because Annie thinks ‘small romantic gestures go a long way,’ she requested that he do something — like buy flowers or plan a date — every two weeks to a month, and she would return the favor.
‘I don’t think he’d think to give me gifts but now every time he goes to a gas station, he gets me flowers,’ she went on.
‘He likes quality time, so I wake up and go to the gym with him. Even though most of the time I’m doing nothing, he enjoys chit-chatting,’ she said.
Revisit: Now as they approach their one-year anniversary, they plan to revisit the document and rewrite it
‘We’re partners in this. We’re agreeing to tackle life together and this is our game plan for doing it,’ she said
‘I don’t like it when people pry — I’ll talk when I’m ready and I like to get my words together. That’s something I wrote in there,’ she went on.
‘The biggest one was approaching issues. We agreed not to approach issues with blame. It could be partially his fault and partially me being sensitive, or him being sensitive and partially my tone,’ she said. ‘We don’t treat issues like one person is to blame ever.’
Ultimately, Annie said the contract has been ‘a game changer’ and ‘the best thing ever,’ and she would recommend it to other couples — so she has shared it on TikTok, where it has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.
‘I highly recommend it. I’m surprised more people don’t do it,’ she said.
‘We treat our relationship almost like a business interaction. We deal with conflict like partners in business would. We sit down and treat it more like we’re partners in life and love is an added bonus,’ she explained.
Now as they approach their one-year anniversary, they plan to revisit the document and rewrite it.
‘I bet he writes “I want you to take your shoes off when you come into my apartment” because I always forget that,’ Annie said.
‘We’re partners in this. We’re agreeing to tackle life together and this is our game plan for doing it,’ she said.