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'Love Contracts' Growing In Popularity

MIAMI (CBSMiami) — So-called "love contracts" between couples, or written agreements that detail specific promises partners make to each other in a relationship, are growing in popularity but they may not have any legal standing.

"I promised that our date night is gonna be a weekend date and our sex life stays active," said Toni Mantus. "It's nice to have a contract and say, 'Look, we did agree to this.'"

Mantus and Gregg Sullivan said they hired an attorney to draft their contract, which breaks down how much time they'll devote to shared hobbies and how often they will have sex. Sullivan said he even made promises about how much weight he can gain and how many times he'll visit the gym.

"I do that for myself to be the best man I can be for her," said Sullivan.

Attorney Ann Margaret Carrozza calls the contract a blueprint for where couples want to go.

"We're seeing the evolution of so called lifestyle clauses which really answer the questions of 'What do we want the marriage to be like, what types of activities are we going to be engaging in and where are we going on vacation'."

Gracie Landes, marriage and family therapist, said agreements like this are growing in popularity with unmarried and married couples. You can even buy agreements online.

The contracts don't just outline sex but they can also stipulate cuddle time, hobby sharing and even mandating date night.

"After a few years, maybe they have kids," said Landes. "They feel like they're just too busy to be sexual, so it can be very helpful to set up an expectation that they're going to have time to be intimate on a regular basis."

For many, a loss of spontaneity is a big concern but experts say there are other bonuses.

"I have found there can be a lot of joy in having structure and knowing what's going to happen," said Landes.

However, sex therapist Suzanne Pelka said promising sex isn't always what it's cracked up to be.

"The more they feel like they're doing this out of obligation, the less likely they're going to want to have sex with you and the less good the sex is gonna be," said Pelka. "It's really this false sense of control that we have because we don't know what's gonna happen tomorrow."

So what happens when one person doesn't hold up their end of the bargain?

"If someone wants a sex schedule, two times a week, or three times a week, I can't take that agreement into a courtroom and ask that it be enforced," said Carrozza.

In the end, a person can't take the "love contracts" to court if one half of a couple falls short of something they said they would do. Experts say the agreements are not actually legally binding; they're really more symbolic to help bind the ties of the couples who opt for them.

"You can't do that in a prenuptial agreement and if you want a side agreement between the two of you, that's fine, but you're potentially jeopardizing the entire agreement." said attorney Brian Kramer.

Kathie and Paul Atkins, who have been married for 33 years, said they don't feel comfortable inking their intimacy.

"I personally wouldn't want to be held to a piece of paper to make him want to be with me," said Kathie.

"I think if you feel the need to draw up a contract it's because you haven't taken the time to earn the other person's trust," said Paul.

But the contract may have some benefits for other couples.

"These agreements are so wonderful, it says here you go for the rest of my life, you can count on this,"
said Sullivan.

According to experts, couples who enter into these agreements stick to them making more people sign on the dotted line.

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