Friday, 5 December 2008

The Domestic Partnership

I am now formally declaring that I have given up on love in the romantic sense, but not on love in the platonic and more enduring sense.

Applications for the vacancy of a Domestic Partner - a cross between a housemate, critical friend and business partner - are invited.

Sex and fidelity are optional, ie neither compulsory nor prohibited. Each "transaction" is deemed to be a one-off so that both parties are kept on their toes. There would be no assumption that either party would be spending, for example, St Valentine's Day with each other as a matter of course.

So few people like this idea that the person, male or female, who says to me "My word, this is just the sort of relationship I have been looking for all my life!" without a hint of irony or sarcasm, would probably be The One.

Domestic Partnership - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domestic_partnership

34 comments:

Infobulb said...

Hmmmm....now this is an interesting method to find a spouse. And I thought I was desperate :-T

If it works, I may try it myself. Keep me updated Anne :-)

Andromeda said...

It is not so much a spouse as a "quasi spouse" since what I propose is an ALTERNATIVE too marriage. The Domestic Partnership is not so much marriage as "cohabitation with a BUSINESS partner (with whom one may or may not embark upon the joint enterprise of having children and bringing them up TOGETHER).

I won't know if it works until it is tried out! Compiling a list of interested enquirers would be a start, so they can later be matched up with each other.

Anyone who is single, sensible and decent is invited to give me his or her MINIMUM requirements for a domestic partner.

Infobulb said...

Well...I'm single, not too indecent and sensible (most of the time).

Call it marriage, domestic partnership, common law relationship, all these are labels which are made-up. The concept is the same, which you described.

I would cautiously volunteer myself as a "test subject" :-O

Don't have too many requirements, but we can "invest" in a dozen or so offsprings, a meaningful and fulfilling 60+ years, and creating "value" for other humans. Now that sounds like a cool enterprise!!

Andromeda said...

May I suggest anyone who is interested leave a comment with their contact details.

AGE - decade born will do
OCCUPATION
LOCATION

stating whether:

Fussy eater?
Vegetarian?
Dog-owner?

Applications displaying erudition, elegance, economy of expression will be received with delight.

Andromeda said...

My response to William is yes, I am still looking.

If you are not already a member of www.1party4all.co.uk, please join, vote and get in touch with me there.

Mention Domestic Partnership in your profile, vote and comment on it so I can look you up later.

Shining Armour said...

Repacing marriage with DP's is not the aim of the exercise. It is the exercise itself which is all important. All people seem to talk about is RESULTS or END PRODUCTS - DP instead of marriage - " NO SEX BEFORE LOVE " is another end product. This is ok for creating sensation but nobody is going to suddenly switch like a robot.

Our understanding of the human being is mostly body and very little mind and spirit or soul. We do exercises for physical health but none for emotional health.

Andromeda said...

I had thought the idea would appeal to the not sex-obsessed but still-looking singleton, male or female. Sex is not prohibited, please understand. Only optional, ie not compulsory. Since that is so for one partner, it is only fair that the other be allowed to look elsewhere without jeopardising the relationship.

It is more in the spirit of fairness that this term is stipulated, and in acknowledgment of the natural interests of most men.

Most women are not that interested in sex. The sensible ones of previous generations see the dispensation of sex to certain carefully chosen men as a means to an end. The clever ones do not sleep around because it would be like a drug-dealer consuming his own "stock" and the road to perdition.

Women give of sexual favours like confetti and this turns men into foxes in a chicken house.

I like to think I could live quite harmoniously with someone who shared my interests. My disinclination to offer sex to attract the attention of just anyone who cannot imagine wanting to have anything to do with me if there is no physical relationship in prospect remains a sensible one, in my opinion.

It would also appeal to the self-interest of a person who wants a live-in business partner for the rest of the time when sex is not required or desired.

Shining Armour said...

It is perhaps an unfortunate fact that Mother Nature provided young men with a powerful dose of testosterone, presumably to ensure that they have strong sex drive in order to repopulate the species. So I expect someone like you to have a hard time. It is only ther enlightened of the male population who realise that obsession with sex is a purely animal instinct and does not take account of our finer sensitivities or emotions. If we put sensitivities and emotions first - we are on the right track -but how many men have worked this out?

Andromeda said...

It is only inevitable that Mother Nature turbo charges the male of the species with their sex drive.

In more sensible times, women would choose the man who is best able to protect and provide for her.

Since the stigma of single motherhood no longer exists and we live in a cradle to grave welfare state, women have begun to use men as sperm donors to provide for them means of obtaining accommodation at the taxpayers' expense rather than finding a husband for themseves.

In short, the problem is nothing to do with the natural order, but everything to do with the political order.

I would be perfectly happy to have sex with a man I admired and trusted to be a good provider and protector. What I get is the curious phenomenon of men telling me they are (a) horny (b) skint, yet expecting me to stay interested!

grimble said...

Andromeda, you're clearly operating on a fairly elevated intellectual plane, but unfortunately I feel you have to jump down amongst the dense foliage of basic yet unavoidable facts for a short time, to help the rest of us truly understand your concept/proposal.

You mention matching up interested enquirers - so are you seeking this 'domestic partnership' for yourself, or are you looking to create this between interested others? If it's for yourself, then I'm afraid whether you like it or not you're going to have to offer up at least a few juicy morsels of a factual nature about yourself as a person.

I'm really not sure how anyone can express any meaningful interest not knowing whether you're in your 20's or 70's for example - and whether YOU are a vegetarian or dog lover!

Time to allow at least one of the veils to drift lazily to the ground, methinks!

Andromeda said...

The answer to Grimble is that I seek to interest others in the Domestic Partnership AS A CONCEPT, while being myself not averse to having one myself.

So far no response from a female has yet been received. Presumably it is because the current arrangements for them are quite satisfactory and it would be irrational for them to want fewer rights than they already have.

There is however the distinct possibility that many women are pricing themselves out of the market.

In answer to Grimble's other question, I am what is called middle aged, and was born in the 60s.

I am considered attractive, articulate, charming even, and have many male and female admirers. Please also note that I would not automatically reject applications from women, but I suspect that they would hate the idea of optional fidelity more than men would hate the idea of optional sex.

The purpose of the Domestic Partnership is to save time, and dispense with the ritual of pretending to be better than we are.

The goal is to know the worst, as soon as possible, so that time is not wasted. (You will understand if you have already kissed a certain number of frogs!)

I am neither a vegetarian or a dog-lover. In fact, I would even go so far as to say I am definitely prejudiced against dog-owners, but won't be so rude as to say DOG-OWNERS NEED NOT APPLY.

Actually, please apply anyway, so I can put you in touch with someone else who doesn't share my aversion, should the opportunity arise.

grimble said...

You really fascinate me Anne, and this is an intriguing concept... but I'm concerned that in reality it may founder due to our old friend sex. I just can't see how the 'optional sex' element would work particularly if straight men are involved.

A man will instantly find you physically attractive or not - if yes I can't imagine many men willingly living under your roof without wanting to sleep with you on a regular basis. And if not, then sex is no longer 'optional' but off the menu entirely.

Of course you might choose a gay man in which case the purely domestic side of things might be considerably more harmonious, but whether you'd happily tolerate him bringing his lovers home is an issue which might stretch your tolerance!

You mention being open to offers from women, so presumably you're comfortable with the possibility of sleeping with women, whether gay or bisexual (maybe you have done so in the past, or are just interested in the concept) - but many of the same issues arise as with straight men. If you're straight however, I really can't see a Partnership with another straight woman working either.

Take sex out of the equation and I can see the advantages of the type of relationship you envisage. However unless you yourself are to some degree asexual, and/or you find an asexual partner, I foresee domestic bliss being comprehensively undermined by sexual tension. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

Andromeda said...

Your points are of course unanswerable. Any red blooded male I allow under my roof would eventually succeed in bedding me if he possessed the right attributes of skill, courage, determination and the ability to bribe me with gifts, holidays, dinners, shopping trips, entertainment and hospitality, as well as protection and provision. However, you would be surprised at the ones who interpret OPTIONAL sex to mean NO sex, without for one moment thinking that they may yet succeed even in the face of a determined MAYBE! What is wrong with men these days? Must we women ALWAYS make the first move?

A very attractive girlfriend (platonic) confided to me that she was sick and tired of always making the first move. (She had to or she would never get anywhere. This is because she prefers men her age and we all know that younger men just sit around looking pretty expecting women to ask them out.) It may also be that she is so attractive that men automatically assume that she is already spoken for, and so don't even try because of their fear of rejection.

Being a woman I can take or leave sex. That is my good fortune, I suppose.

grimble said...

I'm very sorry to hear of the dating travails of your very attractive friend - if you'd care to pass on a photo and her phone number I'll ensure she never has to sit in watching EastEnders ever again! It's not clear if you're saying she has to make the first move in asking for a date, or indicating she'd like to go to bed, or both. If it's the latter, it's fair to say that men are generally terrified of suggesting sex for the first time if they're not 100% sure because of the perceived humiliation of being turned down, or in the case of an ill-judged lunge being accused of being a potential rapist.

From a male perspective, much as we love women, they can be exasperating creatures in the dating realm since most women SAY they're looking for a nice, decent, 'steady' bloke… then are less than enthusiastic when confronted with one - meanwhile swooning at the first smarmy, shallow 'pretty boy' who appears within half a mile. It is true to say that most intelligent, attractive women ARE in relationships (on the basis that most men aren't complete idiots, and snap them up as soon as they appear!), and the average man - on seeing someone like your friend - will immediately think she's taken and/or 'out of his league'.

I see your ego is hardly in need of massaging since you're confident that any "red-blooded" male will be straining at the leash to jump into bed with you…. intriguing! I hope you'll accept without taking personal offence the intellectual point that it's amazing how easily women slip into the habit of trading access to their erogenous zones for "gifts, holidays, dinners, shopping trips, entertainment and hospitality, as well as protection and provision". This certainly chimes with most 'lonely hearts' ads, where - strip away the euphemisms - and you discover that most men are seeking sex and most women are seeking financial security!

I'm not sure I accept your protestation that you can 'take or leave sex' at face value - there's a very persistent sexual theme running through your postings, and I suspect your desires are rather more insistent than you care to elaborate. Good news of course for those of us who might meet you at some point in the future! And speaking for myself, I'm always more than happy to make the first move, whether in dating or propositioning - as long as I feel I'm receiving signals of a fairly unequivocal nature!!

Andromeda said...

My dear Grimble,

My attractive girlfriend reading this will be quite to cross that you might think for a moment that she would ever watch EASTENDERS. I will have you know that she is a violinist who gave up a legal career for music. She is educated and cultured, feminine and charming.

I believe what she meant about making the first move concerns what a woman does to make the man think that the move came from him FIRST, ie that he was the chooser, not her. It may merely consist of smiling at him and then looking away when he returns her smile and suchlike mating rituals or striking up an innocent conversation on a matter unrelated to mating. I cannot see her asking for dates and propositing men in the way that you suggest at all, and am almost offended on her behalf.

I did not mean to seem arrogant when I said that any red-blooded male who shares the same roof with me would be irresistibly attracted. I am merely assuming a degree of Friendship, Compatibilty and Companionship that would be the minimum required for one to even consider a domestic partnership with another. I do not wish to cast a slur on your sex, but it was a man who told me that men are really not that fussy and will more or less accept almost any opportunity offered if the woman in question is not actually repulsive.

I certainly do not deny that virtually all men seek sex and virtually all women seek financial provision.

What I am hoping to achieve through the concept of the Domestic Partnership is to prevent either from rearing their ugly heads until a degree of friendship and compatibility has been established, whereupon sex and financial provision would naturally follow or not follow, if the parties do not require it.

As for my desires that you believe could be insistent, I do not deny their existence nor their potential to be insistent. What I do doubt however is whether I shall ever meet a man capable of making me desire him!

grimble said...

As you may discover more for yourself at some point, I'm afraid I do have a rather dry sense of humour, so absolutely no aspersions were intended to be cast in the direction of your friend who sounds more delightful by the minute! However you would be amazed at the numbers of those who appear firmly anchored in the more rarified regions of intellectual aspiration who harbour guilty secrets in relation to a particular "trash TV" habit!! And before you rush to conclusions - no, I'm not among them.

In relation to the rather indiscriminate nature of many men's search for physical comfort, you'll be glad to know that there are a substantial number of us who are in fact extremely choosy! Incidentally nothing is quite as sexy as intelligence...

Jeff Marshall said...

Andromeda said...´Must we women ALWAYS make the first move?´

Women need not make the first move.

But they can always perform a useful service by indicating - in ways they know best & that men are capable of grasping - they are amenable to such a move being made.

Andromeda said...

When men say in their bitterness and misogyny say to me that all women are whores, my response is invariably this: "That is because all men are punters".

When physical intimacy takes place between a man and a woman, two things follow:

1) the familiarity of contempt becomes an ever-present danger

2) one or both of the parties expect the other to be better than they are, eg more successful, more generous, more devoted and demand exclusivity. Bitterness, disappointment and the end of the friendship will be the result, impoverishing both parties.

If physical intimacy is neither urgent nor irresistible for either party, then it is the greatest folly to embark upon such a thing. Feeling that physical intimacy ought to have taken place, bearing in mind the length of a relationship and the opportunity afforded, is NOT a sufficient reason. It would be like eating when one is not even hungry.

Of course I am not claiming that I never eat when I am not hungry, simply for the pleasure of eating, but it seems reckless and immoral to do something for the sake of doing something, when it involves needlessly jeopardising a friendship for something one didn't even particularly want in the first place!

I think I am particularly fortunate in having male friends whose company I enjoy purely for friendship's sake. I like to think that there are men for whom my company is reason enough to wish to spend time time with me.

Were, unbeknownst to me, any male friend to have a carnal motive in mind, then I would suggest they resort to the usual method of bribery, eg fine dining, holidays, jewellery etc, over a sustained period of time!

Jeff Marshall said...

You appear to believe that sexual relationships basically turn women into whores and men into punters.

Well, perhaps.

I agree with your comments about male-female friendship, though.

I am quite certain there are men for whom your company is sufficent reason for their wishing to spend time with you.

Dawn Raider said...

Are Apollonian and Dionysian love really separable? Intellectually perhaps but in reality, probably not.

Andromeda said...

My response to Dawn Raider:

Passion and "in-love"ness eventually settle into something more comfortable, routine and sustainable, so the answer is that platonic and passionate love need not be separated by some sort of surgical exercise of the mind that you seem to be suggesting. As long as the couple continue living together amicably, which is the stated purpose of the domestic partnership, then both parties are getting what they want.

It may not be for those who are only on their first serious relationship. However, for those who are middle-aged, property-owning, and no longer all that fussy, it might be the very thing.

It would be a very interesting social experiment to see whether domestic partnerships are on the whole more long-lived than marriage or civil partnerships!

Grimble said...

There's no point in us getting bogged down in discussion of DP - I admire your chutzpah in believing you can overturn the general consensus on the ordering of human relations which has prevailed (admittedly with some substantial variations over a period of time) for several millennia. As you know, I think it possesses all the intellectual rigour of Marx's theories… but as with Marx I fear it fails to take into account the messy and perverse nature of the human psyche, plus it lacks a primary driver to match that in conventional relationships - our old friend xse (anag.).

Andromeda said...

But, Grimble, don't you see? I thought you had. It is really a device to protect the assets of the male partner. Sex and fidelity are OPTIONAL, ie not prohibted or compulsory. I am not suggesting for a moment that people will not be indulging themselves in that way under a DP, but that the terms are clearer and more honest, for both parties. I may tout the idea to a divorce lawyer or two. You probably know that the pre-nup is not a valid legal instrument to limit one's marital liabilities when there is a post-nup situation. It is a device designed for getting round this problem.

Grimble said...

I do see - I just know what human beings are like! Without sounding too much like Ron Davies on Clapham Common, it all comes down to badgering. It doesn't matter what a piece of paper says, you'll get one partner (usually the male but not always) badgering the other for sex, and one (usually the female) badgering the other for fidelity. Sorry, I know this kind of argument must frustrate you intensely, but I honestly think it's the fatal flaw in your otherwise beautifully thought-through theory!! It's a bit like in my own professional sphere - there are often what appear at first sight to be obvious gaps in the market, things you think "why hasn't someone done that?". But invariably there's some secondary factor which doesn't take away the need for the product, it just makes it unfeasible to make/market/sell.

Andromeda said...

I don't think you do see, but that is probably because you are a not a lawyer. It doesn't matter if one badgers the other for sex and the other for fidelity. IF the partnership contract explicitly states that these demands fall outside the remit of contract, then there is no penalty as far as the DP contract is concerned, because no one is at fault if there is no sex or fidelity. If it becomes unbearable, then the DP is dissolved because it becomes intolerable for a DP to be constantly badgered for sex or fidelity. The one who badgers will be the one deemed to be at fault. In a no-fault divorce situation, the wealthier partner loses out, whatever happens. In a DP situation, whoever is at fault loses out.

dinosaur senior said...

DPs avoid expensive divorce settlements by explicitly excluding sex from the contract.

However in divorce situations, even cohabitation, I believe (although I may be mistaken) can be treated as a de facto form of marriage by the courts in the event of a split.

What if one DP subsequently decides she or he wishes to terminate the arrangement, after a long period, say, and tries to obtain the other´s assets. What protection would a DP provide?

Surely, none.

It would have no more force in English law than a pre-nup - which, as you point out, is frequently not upheld in a post-nup situation.

DPs would therefore provide no legal protection against the possibility of one partner attempting to exploit the other in the event of a break up.

The DP would be treated by the courts - at best - as just another form of cohabitation.

Andromeda said...

In response to Dinosaur Senior's comment that a DP would provide no protection if one DPartner subsequently decides she or he wishes to terminate the arrangement and obtain the other´s assets, because the law would look upon such an arrangement as cohabitation, may I respectfully disagree.

The law ought to look upon it as an attempt by one housemate/room-mate/flatmate to seize another's assets, which is not so easy. As I have said before sex and fidelity are EXPLICITLY excluded from the contract.

That is, IF there is a contract. Were this contract to exist, it would be treated as evidence of an intention by both parties to exclude the liabilities of cohabitation or marriage. Voila!

Obviously, if there is no such contract, then the asset-stripping can proceed in the usual way.

dinosaur senior said...

If sex and fidelity are EXPLICITLY excluded from the contract, then I am afraid I remain somewhat puzzled by the view you also expressed that sex in such a relationship might be ´optional´.

Options is options - it seems to me - and exclusions is exclusions.

I do - though - take your point that both partners will, at least, have demonstrated an explicit WISH to avoid the liabilities of cohabitation and marriage.

This may have the effect of persuading the judge.

Let us hope so!

Andromeda said...

With the greatest respect to Dinosaur Senior, may I point out that if you have excluded the obligation of sex and fidelity AS WELL AS the prohibition of having sex and insisting upon fidelity, what is left is, I submit, OPTIONAL!

In short, whichever you choose, ie prohibition or obligation, it is neutral on its effect on the Domestic Partnership.

To put it another way, it is irrelevant and cannot be taken into account when deciding the apportionment of property, should this arise, when and if the Domestic Partnership is terminated. Breach of other terms (to be made on ad hoc basis according to the needs of the parties) may be taken into account, but not the ones of sex and fidelity.

The parties bring what is theirs into the DP and take away what is theirs when it is terminated in both their lifetimes and upon death.

I trust this is now clear!

Plenty of scope for the charging of lawyers' fees in the drafting of DP contracts and wills, I would have thought.

Max McCoy said...

Reading all these comments about the pros and cons of a "domestic partnership" makes me shake my head at the benightedness of people.

Both parties -- The folks who are arguing against this form of "couple-life" and the person who is trying to assure them that this is the way to go in the new age -- are missing the point...NO arrangement can work if the individuals involved in a relationship are insincere.

Marriages fail NOT b/c of stupid laws (although the marriage/divorce laws in the western world are imbecilic and need to be scrapped) - but because PEOPLE are not honest with each other and try to deceive one another.

Marriages are successful when people REALLY love each other -- and No, it's not just about sex. And if they're out to get others, than even informal relationships can't work.

I know folks who just can't commit to somebody and it's best if they live alone for the rest of their lives. Others know how to compromise and "make it work".

Anyway, I don't want to go on a rant here....just want to emphasize that whether it's the age-old tradition of marriage or some new form of partnership, it can only function if people are serious about having a healthy affinity with their partners. Otherwise, everything's gonna be a mess, sex or no sex.

dinosaur senior said...

With the greatest respect to you as well, Madam!

I must say domestic partnerships I have heard about tended to concentrate on such routine matters as wills, inheritance and property.

I have never before seen one that tries to position the role of sex, so to speak, managing to place it both on and off the menu at the same time.

You seem to romanticize the concept of a DP and de-romanticize it at the same time.

Andromeda said...

In response to Dinosaur Senior, Romance is just the icing on the cake, if there is to be a cake (of domestic partnership).

Romance - that ephemeral thing - ought not be the criteria for a sharing a roof. The sine qua non for the DP would be a workable friendship and common goals.

One contracts for THE LEAST that is acceptable, rather than demand the Ideal and Impossible.

In short, romance, like sex and fidelity, falls OUTSIDE the remit of the DP contract. There would be nothing to prevent its existence and flourishing, if things are working well in the DP.

Andrew said...

It seems to me that this is merely the sort of thing that happens anyway - once the hullaballoo of hearts, flowers and so forth is over. After all, it's possible to be "in love" only for a short time, lest you go completely mental, and what comes afterwards? Of course, romantics want to dress domestic bliss in a party-frock and make other people sick, but Darby and Joan are really only doing this.

Andromeda said...

Yes, Andrew, it is what people already do.

The purpose of the DP is to define the ABSOLUTE MINIMUM from a relationship that most people want, which in my opinion is getting along with the person you live with.

Simple enough, you would have thought, but it seems many ex couples do not share this view!

What is required is a practical, minimal, clearly-defined contract so that you know what you want and negotiate with another to see if they can give you what it is you want.

Most people cannot bear to negotiate such things with a partner they are already in love with, and merely hope for the best.

Others do not know themselves what it is they want.

This concept is meant to serve as a talking point, when it is discussed just as a concept, to concentrate people's minds.

It hopes to furnish those who are single and looking with a chat-up line, eg

Have you heard of the Domestic Partnership?

What do you think?

Would you ever consider such a thing?

What would be your ideal Domestic Partner?

without having to sleep with anyone or part with any money!