It’s time again for Shortcuts. For every question, I’ll give my advice in three sentences or less, because sometimes the answer to a person’s question is so obvious and the need to hear it so great, being as clear and frank as possible is simply the best way to go. Today we discuss signing “cohabitation contracts,” wedding invitation etiquette (’tis the season!), and setting boundaries with exes.
His parents are exceptionally well-off and are buying him a condo that we’re both going to live in. We’ve gone over this many times and we’re going to set up a system where I pay him equity into the condo, making me a part owner. Our condo search was quicker than expected and we’re in the process of getting the contract finalized. At the beginning of the search, we also agreed to have a contract about our situation, stipulating things like my right to live in the place in case of something bad happening (break up, death) and what happens if we get married. We both agree to the terms, but I want a lawyer friend to look it over and make sure we’ve crossed our T’s and there aren’t gaping holes or conditions that wouldn’t stand up in court. I’m not a lawyer but my boyfriend is and doesn’t want anyone else to get in the middle of our business.
The main reason we’re doing this is so that we can bypass marriage at the moment but he’s worried that I don’t trust him and that’s why I’m doing this. I do trust him, but I don’t trust an angry ex-boyfriend or a dead boyfriend’s parents. In those horrible situations, the last thing I’d want to do is fight about money or get kicked out. I realize this isn’t the most romantic situation, but I only agreed to buying a condo with this contract and it seems like he keeps trying to postpone it. We have a few weeks to back out without paying any money, so I want to know – am I being crazy by wanting a lawyer to look at this? Is there a way I can do that and still show him I trust him? Is this too complicated and should we wait until we’re married to buy a condo? However, that might be a long, long time from now and we live in a city that has extraordinarily high rent. — Partner in Acrimony
For the love of God, have a lawyer look at the contract! If your boyfriend is afraid a legal, binding contract means you don’t trust him, then remind your lawyer boyfriend that a marriage is a legal, binding contract, too. And if you sign a contract to protect yourself now, don’t balk if you two decide to get married and he wants you to sign a pre-nup to protect his family’s wealth.
You don’t need to invite Dan, although now that you’ve already asked for his address, he may have been tipped off and could be expecting an invitation, which really would be a slight if he doesn’t receive one. At this point, tell Brenda you don’t want him to feel obligated to come or give a gift considering he doesn’t even know your daughter and ask her whether he would feel offended if you extended an invitation to his mother and sister but not to him. As for her griping about having the wedding being where the bride and groom actually live, that’s just ridiculous.
After declaring me too boisterous/free-spirited for us to work in a long-term romantic relationship, my ex finally called it quits. however, we still at least text every day and he’s still extremely affectionate. After about two weeks of being broken up, I asked him to label our relationship (i.e. “friends,” “friends +,” etc.), to which he replied, “Only people with bad communication need to use labels — our communication is great.”
Clearly, I disagree with him. I would like a label so I know the limits and boundaries I don’t particularly want to share him with another woman, but I don’t just want to be his booty-call either. Should I switch my tactic from asking for a label to asking for boundaries? Or should I withdraw completely and just act like we’re merely acquaintances? — Newly Broken
You’re broken up, so the label you’re looking for is “exes” and the boundary you’re seeking is “stay away!” No good can come from fraternizing with a guy whom you don’t want to share with other woman and who no longer wants to be your boyfriend. MOA.
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