Denver Bar Association
February 2001
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Cupid’s Covenant

by Andrew J. McClurg


A fill-in-the-blank contract for your next meaningless relationship
By Andrew J. McClurg
Reprinted from the ABA Journal

With Valentine’s Day looming, it’s a good time to get some legal perspective on the whole relationship thing, especially the breaking-up part. We need to face the fact that despite our hopelessly unrealistic expectations, most relationships don’t last.

Breaking up has serious consequences for both parties that need to be considered in advance, while equal bargaining power still exists. Never enter into a relationship unless both parties have executed the Relationship Termination Agreement.

The Contract

The undersigned prospective lovebird, being of sound mind but probably not for long, enters into the following agreement to govern his/her respective rights and responsibilities in the event of a partnership dissolution:

  1. I agree not to go around babbling embarrassing secrets and quirks you once confessed to me in strict confidence on the silly assumption that I wasn’t going to someday hate your guts. Breach of this paragraph shall constitute tortious interference with prospective advantageous relationships.

  2. Within 10 days following the contract termination, I covenant to place 25 melodramatic phone calls to you, at least half of which shall occur late at night while I am intoxicated. Just to remind you that Istill have strong feelings for you, at least five of these calls shall qualify as harassment under applicable law.

  3. I shall retain any and all cards, gifts and other items of endearment supplied during the contract term for one full calendar year, at which time I may dissolve them in sulfuric acid. I shall reread all cards on at least five occasions, and hereby bind myself to feel nostalgic, wistful and wonder whether we made a mistake on each such occasion.

  4. When asked why the contract was terminated, I shall falsely represent: "It was a mutual decision. We’re still good friends."

  5. Upon breakup, you shall return all items of personal property belonging to me, with immediate attention to any video tapes made during the course of said contract.

  6. It is understood that the next person I date shall be less attractive than you and that this provision shall be strictly construed against the datee. I agree not to date your best friends, even though I think a couple of them are really hot.

  7. Friends shall be split as follows: _____ is my friend. Do not even attempt to speak to him/her, as he/she is subject to an express condition subsequent to curse you loudly in the event of a contract breach. _____ can be your friend, since I’ve always found him/her affected and annoying. Other mutual acquaintances are my friends on (specify one) odd/even numbered calendar dates, alternate weekends and every other major holiday.

  8. I agree not to hang out on your turf, including but not limited to your front porch and the alley behind your house, especially while on a date.

  9. I covenant not to refer to any future contracting party as "Puppytoes," "Yum-Yum" or (add appropriate pet name here).

  10. I shall have the option of temporarily resuming the contract on at least two occasions after the break-up, at least one of which shall be initiated by a romantic chance encounter, preferably at someone’s wedding. It is understood that these contract renewals will be for short periods and end badly.

Signed, with love (subject to change without notice).

Andrew J. McClurg is a law professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. His legal humor column—"Harmless Error"—appears monthly in the American Bar Association Journal. "Cupid's Covenant" originally appeared in the February 2000 ABA Journal and is reprinted with permission.



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