The “Relationship Bill of Rights” sounds like something out of a legal drama on HBO. This story, however, begins with my friend Alexandra, who wanted a traditional happily-ever-after.
Alexandra had been dating Stephan, a globe-trotting entrepreneur who lived between Europe and the United States.
On paper, it seemed like a perfect match. A few months into their nascent relationship, other issues came to the surface.
“He wants me to be in an open relationship,” said Alexandra.
She was very upset.
“He even gave me this book, which explains open relationships.”
With that statement, Alexandra handed over a well-worn, thick copy of “More than Two.”
Though I’ve heard of and read books about the virtues of polyamory, I’d never seen a guide on HOW to do it.
Over the following weeks, I began thumbing through the book in the evenings after work.
My eyes, exhausted after days of staring at screens, should have glazed over the pages. Instead, the book was gripping.
The Relationship Bill of Rights enables Happy, Harmonious Relationships
Authors Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert explain relationships, in easy, accommodating language. Their goal is to guide us through managing relationships with two or more people.
What results is a book that feels like a guide for all relationships. It remains one of the best books I’ve ever read on building better relationship skills.
In the book, they describe a “Relationship Bill of Rights”. This document defines each partner’s rights in any intimate relationship.
A Guide to Intercultural Relationships
Most of my readers are dating men of different nationalities. Our students usually marry a partner from another culture and background. Using this list can help you set healthy boundaries from Day One. It can also form the foundation of an on-going conversation on emotional connection. This lets each partner feel safe and secure inside the relationship. It also gives you a common language to discuss any problems that may come up along the way.
This list is so simple, straightforward, and easy to understand. You can use it to discuss your wants and needs with any potential partner.
The Relationship Bill of Rights
by Eve Rickert & Franklin Veaux
You have the right, without shame, blame or guilt:
In all intimate relationships:
to be free from coercion, violence and intimidation. This includes violence such as destroying property, or hitting the wall near you. It also includes any other acts of violence not specifically directed at your person.
to choose the level of involvement and intimacy you want
to revoke consent to any form of intimacy at any time
to be told the truth
to say no to requests
to hold and express differing points of view
to feel all your emotions
to set boundaries concerning your privacy needs
to set clear limits on the obligations you will make
to seek balance between what you give to the relationship and what is given back to you
to know that your partner will work with you to resolve problems that arise
to choose whether you want a monogamous or polyamorous relationship
to grow and change
to make mistakes
to end a relationship
Perhaps the only downside is that this list is not on Page 1 of the book. It might have helped my friend Alexandra avoid heartbreak before it happened.
My favourite item is the right to “be told the truth”. It sounds so simple, and I love that it’s stated loud and clear on this list.
I’d love to hear – which of these items surprised you most? Have you used any of the above in a relationship so far?