Part 5/5: Review to Nurture or Exit

Part 5/5: Review to Nurture or Exit

Read Part 4/5

After you’ve made your selection, Guillotine Dating turns into a Guillotine Relationship and it is time for maintenance. Here we talk about our way of maintaining a relationship with relationship contracts, review sessions, and the decision to nurture or exit. This is the maintenance phase where you give the relationship your all.

Relationship Contract

The success of a Guillotine relationship relies greatly on drafting and maintaining a relationship contract. “Contract” is the name we have for ours, but you can call yours whatever makes sense for you as a couple (constitution, outline, guideline, template, agreement, etc.). Whatever you call it, this is simply a word document with proactive transparency galore! 

Why a dating contract?

The relationship contract creates a space for mutual ownership of your goals, wants, needs, and wishes as a couple. This helps to reduce the amount of assumptions, unmet needs, limbo, and anything that comes with lack of proper communication. Sometimes the process of drafting this document together helps reveal hidden compatibility to celebrate, and divergences to also celebrate or otherwise address.

What’s in a dating contract?

Would you like some examples of what to include in your contract? Stay tuned! These are just suggestions based on our personal experience, but you can honestly put anything you want in your contract. If you think about something and it’s of any importance at all to either one of you, please put it in the contract to be safe. The more you write, the more you can come to agreements, and the more conflicts and resentments you get to avoid. The contract writing activity shouldn’t be to the detriment of anyone, it should be supportive of you both.

Review Sessions

Review sessions make the contract more effective. The more complex and the more committed your relationship is, the more extensive reviews are needed. The review session is not a score card activity, it’s an opportunity for both partners to evaluate what is going well or not so well. This is the time for compliments and constructive criticism. The purpose of the review session changes based on your couple dynamic and your goals. Below are just some examples of types of reviews and their purpose.

  • Contract Improvement session: As you get to know each other better, it helps to make revisions based on new insights you have on each other and your dynamic. 
  • Rapid review session: we (Alice and Steven) have had review sessions that only lasted 3 minutes because we were still in agreement and everything was going smoothly according to our original plan. We both were comfortable with the relationship as is, but needed to quickly check with the other.
  • Emergency session: we (Alice and Steven) have also had 2 to 3 hour long emergency review sessions to amend how we resolve conflicts because we noticed some unpleasant patterns in how we handled disagreements. 
  • Timeline review session: As time goes by, checking your timeline will show you where you stand compared to your original plan. This way you can adjust the plan or adjust your pace if needed. The goal is to be on the same page and have it in writing as a reference.  
  • Epiphany session: did you discover something about yourself or learned something new you want to try in the relationship? Then it’s time for a review!

As you can see there are no rules about the frequency or duration of these meetings. These are just suggestions, so do whatever works for you. When you draft the original contract, create a tentative review schedule so you both don’t forget. As time goes by, see what cadence works best for you.

Nurture or Exit

After some time you have enough data about your relationship to decide if you will continue to nurture it or exit. Although it's not always the case, sometimes the answer is obvious. For example if you discover lethal irreparable red flags in the middle of your relationship, please run! On the other hand, please enjoy your relationship as long as it feels right in the moment and it’s headed in the right direction at a comfortable pace. With that being said, if you’re unsure and you need a little nudge in either direction, keep reading.

  • Gratitude: If you followed the 37% rule and made a selection, take some time to feel gratitude for each other. Don’t ever forget the effort you went through in Parts 1 through 4 to arrive at your selection. Think about the times when you longed for someone similar to your current partner and dwell in the fact that you found each other.
  • Introspect: Take some time to be alone or with someone you trust and get in an objective mindset to review your core wants and needs. Go through Part 1 again if it helps. If things still don’t feel right after your introspection, don’t push it. It might be hard to end things, but you will thank yourself later.
  • Exit: If you have truly exhausted all mending options, it’s okay to end things. After all, the goal of guillotine dating is to find a fulfilling relationship. If there are no chances of making a guillotine relationship fulfilling through open communication or professional counseling, it might be time to go your separate ways. 
  • It’s okay: If you do decide to end things, don’t beat yourself up. You aren’t a fortune teller and sometimes the only way to know for sure is to get in a relationship. Guillotine dating is simply about dating more efficiently and accelerating the process of gauging compatibility. It’s very possible that despite all the precautions we teach here, you end up with someone who isn’t right for you. Just think about how much longer it would take to discover your incompatibilities without all the Guillotine questions!
  • Lesson learned! The best thing about a Guillotine Relationship is that if it ever ends, it’s a great experience to keep in your repertoire. A failed guillotine relationship is nothing but lessons on how be better at dating. 
  • The pain: In my experience, Guillotine breakups can be extremely painful because of the special bond you create with your intentional conversations. Nonetheless, after you recover, you are more resilient, more graceful, and overall better armed for the next one. Roll up your sleeves to start a new search at Part 3. If you take this process seriously, please know that we believe in you and we are there for you if you ever want to talk.

That's it for the 5 part process!

Stay tuned for a series of articles about relationship contracts.