“Let’s Get Married If We’re Still Single at 30” And Other Silly Pacts People Make

August 24, 2017  |  
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Fans of the movie “My Best Friend’s Wedding” are very familiar with the old, “If we’re both single by this age, let’s get married” pact. But for the younger readers who didn’t see this (classic!) film, this pact involves two platonic friends who agree to marry each other if they haven’t found anyone else to marry by a certain age. People make a lot of pacts like these. It gives them some sense of stability by way of a backup plan, in case things don’t go their ideal way. These pacts can pertain to marriage, career plans, retirement plans, having children and much more. But do they work? Can you really rig the system of life such that if you don’t find your happy ending the organic way (aka with a whole lot of patience), you can just skip to the end? Here are silly pacts people make about love, children and more.

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If we’re not married by 30…

Let’s start with the scenario in “My Best Friend’s Wedding.” This scenario is based on the idea that if you’re not married by 30, you never will be. It also relies on the idea that nobody will want to marry you after 30, but at least your best friend will. It also implies that you’ll know yourself and what you want so completely by 30, that if you haven’t yet found it, you never will. And you’ve already seen everything that’s out there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why it doesn’t work

The age in this scenario should be bumped to 40. Can’t we all agree by now that we just start to understand ourselves, let alone what we need in a partner, in our late twenties/early thirties? It’s a miracle if someone does find the love of their life by the age of 30! But most of us are still in our formative years, dating around and getting to know ourselves. And finally, even if you wait until you’re 40, you can’t just turn on a switch and be sexually attracted to your best friend. If you could, don’t you think you would have done that a long time ago? He’d obviously be the best person to date.

 

 

 

 

 

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You’ll be my sperm donor if…

Many women have a backup father if finding a co-parent in the more traditional way doesn’t pan out. While a woman may not want to marry her best friend if she’s single at 40, she may want to have some of his sperm. He’s a great guy: attractive, intelligent and healthy. If she can’t find a great partner, at least she can create a perfect little baby!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why it doesn’t work

So here’s what happens when you use your friend’s sperm and have a child through in vitro fertilization: you wind up meeting a man you actually want to be with, later, and it gets really complicated. Now you just have a kid with some other man? What if your new romantic partner wants to get married and have kids? Is he co-parenting with your best friend (aka the sperm donor?) You suddenly have a weird throuple situation on your hands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Let’s move to the middle of nowhere…

Couples make this pact a lot: the “Let’s just move to the middle of nowhere and be in nature if our careers don’t work out by age X.” In other words, you’re willing to swap money and prestige for a simple life in the mountains or on the beach. That’s a good trade in your eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why it doesn’t work

When the designated age hits, you and/or your partner could be at all sorts of stages in your career. Maybe yours just isn’t taking off, and you’re ready to pack up and head for the green hills. Meanwhile, your partner’s career is just beginning to take off. Sure she hasn’t “made it,” based on the terms of your pact, but making it is around the corner. She won’t want to pack up and leave now. Things will never be as simple as, “Well. Neither of our careers made any progress in a decade so let’s bail.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Let’s all retire in a big house together

So you, your partner and another couple get along really well. They’re your favorite couple’s friends! You could hang out all of the time. You love to vacation together. That must mean you’d love to live together one day, right? You could buy two houses on one plot of land and just have a little commune together. You pick out a place and time (age 60, Boulder, Colorado), and make the pact.

 

 

 

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Why it doesn’t work

You’re not going to want to party at age 60 the way you do now. You’ll want peace and quiet. You’ll want privacy. You won’t want to have dinner with another couple every single night. Furthermore, it’s hard enough for two people’s lives to go on a similar enough track to follow through with this plan. Now you need four people’s lives to stay on a similar track to get here. That rarely occurs. One couple gets divorced or doesn’t get along as well as they used to. One person starts a business that requires them to stay in one place forever. This little foursome utopia probably won’t come to fruition.

 

 

 

 

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We can multi-couple co-parent, like a village

This is an extension/subsection of the foursome utopia. But this one revolves around co-parenting. They say it takes a village to raise a child, so you think you, your partner and the other couple you adore could be that village. You agree to A) have kids at the same time and B) Live next door to each other, so you can always help each other with co-parenting.

 

 

 

 

 

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Why it doesn’t work

No matter how eye-to-eye you see things with this other couple now, that will all change once you have kids. It’s easy to get along when the life and well-being of a tiny human aren’t at stake. You will not be as comfortable passing off parenting judgment calls to another couple as you think you will be. Nor will you want to be held accountable for the rearing of another couple’s child. The whole scenario is more stressful than it is helpful.

 

 

 

 

 

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Instead of divorce, we can become swingers

Today, you and your partner are happily in love. You never think you would be headed for divorce, so you can safely make this little pact in which you agree, “If we become unhappy or want to be unfaithful, rather than get a divorce, we’ll just become swingers.” Mmhmm. Sure you will.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why it doesn’t work

It is very uncommon that both individuals are equally content with the idea of their partner having sex with somebody else. It’s all fun and games in theory, but if your partner came to you one day and wanted to transition from being monogamous to swingers, it would hit you like a ton of bricks. People can’t just change their nature like that, overnight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I’ll tell you I’m unhappy rather than cheat

Again, this is a pact made in happy and stable times. When you make it, you can’t imagine ever wanting to cheat on your partner, or your partner wanting to cheat on you. So you agree, “If either of us has the urge to cheat, we’ll just tell the other person and work on our issues/split up instead of cheating.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Why it doesn’t work

A lot of times, when someone cheats, it’s because they think that’s what’s best for everyone. Whether they have children and don’t want to break up the family, or don’t think their spouse could survive on their own, they believe they’re doing what’s best for everybody by cheating rather than splitting up the relationship. By the time cheating occurs, the communication has broken down really far. This idealistic, “Hey I’m unhappy and rather than cheating I wanted to tell you” conversation just doesn’t happen.

 

 

 

 

 

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I’ll tell you if your partner is cheating, and visa versa

You and your best friend promise that you’ll tell one another if their spouse is cheating on them. You want to have your friend’s back, and you want her to have yours. It seems simple enough, right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Why it doesn’t work

For the same reason your spouse may not tell you he’s cheating, your friend may not tell you your spouse is cheating: she thinks it’s in everyone’s best interest that you don’t find out. Your friend could know things about your mental stability, financial situation or family that make her truly feel it’s better you’re being cheated on than you get a divorce. Deciding to tell someone this type of life-altering piece of information is much easier said than done.

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