This story--the one I plan to tell in a series of columns for YourTango over the next few months--is about the life that Carrie and I now live together. Or rather, the life that we'll be living together very soon: Much to my surprise, we got engaged recently, and I still regret that I didn't somehow manage to capture the look on my mother's face when I first tried explaining to her what it was, exactly, that we had in mind.
Because we aren't getting married. Not exactly. But we do both want to be partners for life, for reasons that are both romantic and practical. And we want to celebrate that decision, just as couples who've chosen a more standard arrangement, and a more standard future, want to celebrate theirs. So we're having a wedding, although we've been referring to it lately as a Life Partner Ceremony, regardless of the fact that “Life Partner" sounds flaky and New Age-y. And since our partnership won't be legally recognized by the state, and because Carrie is a co-owner of her family's business, and because I'm in the process of starting a business of my own, we've spent a lot of time wondering how to keep things simple and uncomplicated in the case of a break-up. Eventually, we both decided that the smartest thing to do would be to simply start a business together, which would at least transform half of our partnership into a legal entity.
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Carrie is the left-brained half of the couple, and so she worked out all the details with a lawyer: We'll be creating a holdings company, which won't actually do anything--it will simply exist as a sort of alternative savings account. The rules we've set forth are simple: In the instance of a break-up, Carrie would get nothing that belonged to me before the holdings company was formed, and I would get nothing that had previously belonged to her. We'll make deposits into the company's account only when we make a profit on a project that we've worked on together, like a real estate flip, or a writing job.
Naturally, we're both hopeful that our business will never have to be split. And yet we're doing our very best to be proactive and realistic. And yes, just like Carrie's relationship with Michael, ours is an open relationship, although we've managed to tread very lightly around that privilege so far. And yes, we do realize just how self-important and precious this partnership probably looks to those of you who've spent many long, hard years working to improve upon your own marriages. But as we've stayed up late at night and laughed with each other about the incredible ridiculousness and the incredible seriousness of what it is that we're about to do, we've come to realize just how proud we are of ourselves for at least trying to improve upon that mousetrap known as modern marriage.
And of course, whether or not that wheel becomes something we manage to reinvent remains to be seen. I hope you'll choose to come along for the ride.
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(So to speak.)
Dan Eldridge is a Lonely Planet guidebook writer, the author of Moon Handbooks Pittsburgh (Avalon Travel), and the publisher of Young Pioneers, a magazine about creative entrepreneurs. He lives in Philadelphia, and his website is pioneercontent.com.