您现在的位置: 纽约时报中英文网 >> 纽约时报中英文版 >> 文化 >> 正文

爱情保鲜的秘方:和TA签一份亲密关系合同

更新时间:2017-6-27 18:49:22 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

To Stay in Love, Sign on the Dotted Line
爱情保鲜的秘方:和TA签一份亲密关系合同

A few months ago my boyfriend and I poured ourselves two beers and opened our laptops. It was time to review the terms of our relationship contract.

几个月前,我和男朋友给自己倒上两杯啤酒,打开我们的笔记本电脑。又到了审核我们的亲密关系合同的时候了。

Did we want to make changes? As Mark and I went through each category, we agreed to two minor swaps: my Tuesday dog walk for his Saturday one, and having me clean the kitchen counters and him take over the bathtub.

我们想做什么改变吗?在浏览各项类目的时候,我和马克同意进行两项小小的交换:我周二遛狗,他周六遛狗,我负责维持厨房台面的清洁,他则负责打扫浴缸。

The latest version of “Mark and Mandy’s Relationship Contract,” a four-page, single-spaced document that we sign and date, will last for exactly 12 months, after which we have the option to revise and renew it, as we’ve done twice before. The contract spells out everything from sex to chores to finances to our expectations for the future. And I love it.

最新版本的“马克与曼迪的亲密关系合同”是一份单行间距打印的四页文件,有效期为12个月整,末尾有我们的签名,并注明了日期,之后我们有权选择修订或续签,就像我们前两次所做的那样。这份合同涉及几乎所有事项,从性事、家务活,到财务问题,再到我们对未来的预期。我很喜欢它。

Writing a relationship contract may sound calculating or unromantic, but every relationship is contractual; we’re just making the terms more explicit. It reminds us that love isn’t something that happens to us — it’s something we’re making together. After all, this approach brought us together in the first place.

写一份亲密关系合同,听起来可能有些精于算计或不够浪漫,但每段亲密关系其实都是带有契约性质的;我们只不过把这些条款变得更明确了。它提醒我们,爱情不是随随便便发生在我们身上的事——而是我们在一起成就的事。毕竟,最初正是这种方式让我们走到了一起。

Two and a half years ago, I wrote a Modern Love column about how Mark and I had spent our first date trying a psychological experiment that used 36 questions to help two strangers fall in love. That experience helped us to think about love not as luck or fate, but as the practice of really bothering to know someone, and allowing that person to know you. Being intentional about love seems to suit us well.

两年半前,我为“摩登情爱”写过一篇专栏文章,讲述我和马克在第一次约会时尝试一项心理学实验的经历,那项实验用36个问题帮助两个陌生人坠入爱河。那个实验让我们觉得爱情不是运气或命运,而是一种实践:你要真的费心去了解某人,也允许这个人来了解你。在爱情这件事上刻意努力,这种方式似乎很适合我们。

In the past, expecting a relationship to work simply because the people involved loved each other had failed me. I spent my 20s with a man who knew exactly what he wanted and how he wanted to be. All I had wanted was for him to love me.

过去,我期待一段亲密关系仅仅因为彼此相爱就能维持,这种方式在我身上失败了。20多岁的时候,我一直和一个确切知道自己要什么、也知道自己想成为什么人的男人在一起。而我想要的,只是让他爱我。

We were together for almost a decade, and in that time I somehow lost track of my own habits and preferences. If I wanted to split the grocery bill, he suggested I buy only things we both liked. If I wanted to spend weekends together, I could go skiing with him and his friends. And so I did. I made my life look like his.

我们在一起近十年,这期间我不知怎么失去了自己的习惯和偏好。如果我想平摊日用品开销,他便会建议我只买我们都喜欢的东西。如果我想周末和他在一起,那就得跟他和他的朋友一起滑雪。我就这么做了。我让自己的生活看起来跟他的生活一样。

It wasn’t until I moved out that I began to see that there hadn’t been room for me in my relationship. And not merely because my ex hadn’t offered it — it had never occurred to me to ask. I was in love, and love meant making compromises, right? But what if I had loved him too much?

直到搬出去,我才开始明白,这段关系当中没有我的空间。这不仅是因为我的前男友没有提供这种空间——我自己也从来没想过去要求这些。我恋爱了,而爱就意味着妥协,对吧?但如果我爱他太多怎么办?

Years earlier I had read Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own” and thought I understood it, but I hadn’t. At 20, I gave myself over to love, and it wasn’t until the relationship ended, when I was 29, that I discovered what it meant to fully inhabit my days and the spaciousness of my own mind. It was such a joy to find that my time was mine, along with every decision from what to cook to when to go to bed.

多年前,我曾经读过弗吉尼亚·伍尔夫(Virginia Woolf)的《一个人的房间》(A Room of One’s Own),当时我觉得自己看懂了,其实并没有。在20岁的年纪,我放手让自己去爱,直到那段关系终结。到了29岁,我明白了完全享有自己的时间意味着什么,知道了我内心的想法有多么丰富。发现时间完全属于自己,从什么时候做饭到什么时候睡觉,这一切都可以由自己决定,这真让人开心。

I resolved that in my next relationship I would love more moderately, keeping more of me for myself.

我决定在下一段亲密关系中爱得更适度一些,把更多的自我留给自己。

When I met Mark, he fit into my life so easily it surprised me. My friends liked him. My dog, Roscoe, yelped with happiness at the sight of him. But when we started talking about living together, I was wary.

遇到马克后,他轻松地融入了我的生活,这让我非常吃惊。我的朋友们都喜欢他。我养的狗罗斯科(Roscoe)一看到他就高兴地叫起来。但是当我们开始讨论同居时,我有些谨慎。

I worried that the minutiae of domesticity would change us into petty creatures who bickered over laundry. More than that, I worried I might lose myself again, to a man and a relationship, overtaken by those old ideas about how love conquers all.

我担心家庭生活的细枝末节会把我们变成小气的人,会为洗衣服这种事吵嘴。更重要的是,我担心自己可能会再次在一个男人面前、在一段亲密关系当中迷失自己,被爱情战胜一切的旧观念吞噬。

Mark had his own reservations. “I don’t want to do it just because it’s what we’re supposed to do,” he said. “I only want to live together if it’ll make our lives better.”

马克也有自己的顾虑。“我不想仅仅因为我们应该这么做,所以才这么做,”他说。“除非这能让我们的生活变得更好,否则没有必要住在一起。”

We spent weeks anxiously enumerating the pros and cons of cohabitation.

我们花了几周时间,焦虑地列举同居的优点和缺点。

Months earlier we had come across a book — “The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels” — that recommends short-term marriage contracts. We liked the idea and realized we could take this approach to living together.

几个月前,我偶然看到一本书——《“我愿意”新解:为怀疑者、现实主义者和叛逆者重塑婚姻》(The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels)——其中建议签订短期的婚姻合同。我们喜欢这个主意,也意识到我们可以用这种方式一起生活。

Many of us don’t notice the ways romantic love acts as an organizing force in our lives, but it is powerful. Some use the term “relationship escalator” to describe the way we tend to follow familiar scripts as we proceed in a relationship, from casual dating to cohabitation to marriage and family. These scripts that tell us what love should look like are so ubiquitous they sometimes seem invisible.

我们当中有许多人注意不到浪漫爱情在生活中扮演着一种规划组织的力量,但它其实很强大。有些人用“亲密关系自动扶梯”这个词来形容亲密关系的发展,我们倾向于依照熟悉的剧本,从轻松的约会到同居,到迈入婚姻和组成家庭。这些剧本告诉我们爱情应该是什么样,它们如此普遍,以致于我们有时候注意不到它们。

In my last relationship, I had spent a lot of time worrying about whether we were moving up the escalator. I wasn’t even sure what I wanted, but trying to figure that out through conversation seemed terrifying. Instead, I picked fights, about money or chores or how to spend the weekend. If I was angry, it was somehow easier to be honest.

在上一段亲密关系中,我经常担心我们是否在随着自动扶梯上升。我甚至不确定自己想要什么,也没有试图通过看似很可怕的对话搞清楚这一点。相反,我会就金钱、家务活或如何过周末等问题挑起争执。如果我发怒,是因为那样多少会更容易做到诚实。

With Mark, I wanted to do better.

和马克在一起时,我想要做得更好。

Our contract addresses much of what must be negotiated in any relationship, especially when cohabitating. It begins with our reasons for being together: “We aspire to help each other be more ethically-minded and generous friends, community members and global citizens.” I know it sounds idealistic, but I’ve had relationships that left me feeling lonely and small. This time I wanted to be more intentional about looking outward as much as we look in.

我们的合同涉及在任何亲密关系中都必须协商的大多数问题,尤其是在同居的时候。开头是我们在一起的原因:“我们渴望彼此协助,成为更有道德意识、更宽宏大量的朋友、社区成员和全球公民。”我知道这听起来有点理想主义,但我曾经经历过让我感觉孤独和渺小的亲密关系。这一次,我希望在审视我们内部关系的同时,也更加自觉地对外部世界给予同样的关注。

The terms range from the familiar (“We will take care of each other when one of us is sick”) to the fanciful (“If we’re both sick, it’s all up to the dog”). In fact, Roscoe gets an entire section, detailing his walking schedules, vet visits and even how sweet we think he is.

条款中有常见的内容(“我们会在其中一人生病的时候照顾对方”),也有不太现实的(“如果我们都病了,那就全靠狗了”)。实际上,罗斯科占据了一整块内容,其中详述了遛它的时间,带他去看兽医的安排,甚至包括我们觉得他有多可爱。

We have a houseguest section (guests can stay for up to two weeks but must be mutually vetted) and an item that deals with Mark’s sweaty running clothes (“He agrees to hang these up in the spare room or on the back of the bathroom door but he wants Mandy to know that this may be a fairly common occurrence”).

有一部分是关于住家客人的(客人最多可以住两周,但必须经过双方考察),还有一项条款是关于如何处理马克浸透汗水的运动服(“他同意将其挂在闲置房间或浴室门后,但他希望曼迪知道,这种情况可能相当常见”)。

We agree to split the bill when eating out with one exception: “Special meals (date night, celebrations, etc.) will not be split so one person can treat the other.”

我们同意外出吃饭时分摊帐单,但有一个例外:“特别大餐(约会的晚上、庆祝活动等)不会分摊账单,由一个人请另一个人吃饭。”

It was important to me to eat breakfast together because this was something my family did growing up, so we put that in writing. It’s amazing how empowering this can feel: to name your desires or insecurities, however small, and make space for them. It’s such a simple thing, but it wasn’t easy. I wasn’t used to knowing what I wanted in a relationship, much less saying it aloud. Now, I have to do both.

对我来说,一起吃早餐是很重要的,因为我小时候家里就是这样,所以我们把这一项落实到了合同里。具体说出你的欲望或不安,不管它们有多不值一提,然后为它们留出空间,这么做所带来的自主的感觉真是让人惊叹。这听起来很简单,但并不容易做到。过去,我在一段关系中往往并不知道自己想要什么,更不用说大声把它说出来。现在,我两件事都必须做。

We wanted to take nothing for granted, which has meant having the kinds of conversations I previously avoided.

我们不想把一切都视为理所当然,这意味着要进行我之前避免的那种对话。

Our contract isn’t infallible, or the solution to every problem. But it acknowledges that we each have desires that deserve to be named and recognized.

我们的合同不是绝对有效的,也不可能解决所有的问题。但是它承认了,我们两人都有值得被道出和认可的欲望。

As we concluded the recent renewal of our contract, Mark typed a new heading near the end: Marriage. “So what do you think?” he asked, sitting back as if he had just asked where I want to get takeout.

在我们即将完成最近这次续签合同时,马克在快到结尾的地方打上了一个新的标题:婚姻。“你怎么想?”他身子向后一靠问道,好像只是在问我想叫什么外卖。

I stared into my beer. This wasn’t the first time we had talked about marriage, but now, with the contract open, it felt official. I squirmed, knowing that part of me wanted to say, “Let’s do it,” while another part wanted to reject the institution altogether and do love and commitment on our own terms.

我盯着面前的啤酒。这不是我们第一次谈到婚姻这个话题,但现在正在谈合同,因此感觉非常正式。我有点局促不安,觉得有一部分的自我想说:“结吧”,另一部分自我又想完全抗拒这种成规,想以自己的方式去爱,去做出承诺。

“What would marriage offer us that we don’t already have?” I asked.

“婚姻能带来什么我们现在还没有的东西?”我问。

“Good question,” he said.

“这是个好问题,”他说。

“It would be nice to hear our friends make funny and heartwarming speeches about us,” I told him. “But I don’t really want to plan a wedding, or pay for it.”

“听朋友们发表有关我们的、有趣又暖心的致辞,倒是很不错,”我告诉他。“但我不太想筹划一场婚礼,也不想花这个钱。”

He agreed. And yet, we like this thing we have created.

他表示同意。不过,我们喜欢我们创造出来的这个东西。

I know that a lifetime commitment is supposed to involve a surprise proposal, a tearful acceptance and a Facebook slide show of happy selfies. But if it’s the rest of our lives, I want us to think it through, together.

我知道一生的承诺应该包含一次让人惊喜的求婚,含泪接受,以及在Facebook上展示的快乐自拍幻灯秀。但如果这涉及我们的余生,我希望我们能一起考虑清楚。

Finally Mark typed: “We agree that marriage is an ongoing topic of conversation.”

最终,马克在电脑上打出:“我们一致认为,婚姻是一个需要继续讨论的话题。”

It seemed a trivial thing to put in writing, but talking — instead of just waiting and wondering — has been a relief to us both.

这看起来似乎是很小的事,不值得写下来,但对我们两人而言,讨论——而非等待和猜测——一直都是解决问题的办法。

As I type this, Mark is out for a run and the dog is snoring at a volume that is inordinately sweet, and I am at home in the spaciousness of my own mind. I have failed at my goal of loving more moderately, but for the first time in my life I feel as if there is room for me in my relationship, and space for us to decide exactly how we want to practice love.

在我敲下这些字的时候,马克出去跑步了,狗在打鼾,声调可爱极了,而我在家里,在自己的脑海中畅游。我没能达成爱得更适度这个目标,但在人生中,我第一次感到,我在亲密关系中有了自己的空间,有了让我们能够具体决定如何去实践爱的空间。

It may look as though we’re riding the relationship escalator, but I prefer to think we’re taking the stairs.

看起来或许像是我们正乘着亲密关系的自动扶梯徐徐上升,但我觉得我们更像是在自己爬楼梯。

“全文请访问纽约时报中文网,本文发表于纽约时报中文网(http://cn.nytimes.com),版权归纽约时报公司所有。任何单位及个人未经许可,不得擅自转载或翻译。订阅纽约时报中文网新闻电邮:http://nytcn.me/subscription/”

相关文章列表