firebus's picture

Kristina suggested this at a party recently.

Everyone should be given one veto in their lifetime that they can use to break up a relationship they think is particularly awful.

Interventions don't always work. And sometimes they cause hard feelings.

I'm pretty sure that everyone can identify a relationship they know of that someone should have stopped.

On the flip side, it's possible that if this rule was enacted, all relationships would be vetoed, ie. there's always at least one person who would veto any relationship.

Some additional rules that were suggested:

  1. You can't ever be in a relationship with anyone whose relationship you vetoed (no self-serving stalker vetos)
  2. You can't veto the relationship of someone in your immediate family ("immediate family" being equivalent to whichever relations are named in the law against incest in your municipality)
  3. A government body is required to track the usage of vetoes, to make sure they aren't used twice, and to determine who vetoed first if multiple vetoes are thrown
  4. Two vetoes are required to end a relationship, not just one (that would prevent Dean from selfishly vetoing my semi-marriage on his own)
  5. You can only veto people you know (that way I can't swap my veto with yours to work around rule #1
  6. Vetos can be pooled (for example, all four of us could go in on a veto for a mutual friend, then we're only out 0.25 of a veto apiece, allowing us to strike again in the future...


firebus's picture


I realized last night, right before I fell asleep, that Dean wouldn't have vetoed my semi-marriage after all because there are other relationships he would have vetoed first.

So perhaps the worst case scenario of the veto society can be averted...


Anything that needs that many rules to govern it (and that's just the ones you thought up already) is a terrible idea.

But, instead of a veto, what about like "a report card" that anonymously tallies the cumulative opinions of everyone outside your relationship (with notes), and everyone gets to submit one review per quarter/year/etc.

Or maybe it's like a dating website, but instead of signing up to make matches, you sign up to toss in your two cents on other peoples' couplings.

I guess the thing that's bugging me about the idea of a veto, is that it is historically a counter balance/last resort that occurs after a general vote/decision making process... And without formalizing that first, somehow the veto is just too crappy.

Also, give some thought to the idea that the need for a veto is based on the failure of traditional 1-to-1 pairings in being perfect. Not sure how this veto would affect people who loosely couple, have alternative relationship structures, etc.

In the "magical force that makes relationships better" sense, it seems more effective to be able to maybe just have like a prospectus of a relationship, that everyone gets to see... That way, if those in the relationship are turning a blind eye to their fucked up communication style, and least they know what they're ignoring, and all their friends know that they're doing it. And it could scale out to non-romantic relationships, even to employment and other non-person 'relationships'.

I guess I just disagree with the basic premise - the outsider may "know" the relationship should be stopped, but that knowledge isn't always right, or even based on accurate intel. What the outsider really wants is to feel (perhaps anonymously) that they got their two cents in, and were GENUINELY HEARD, and maybe get to see the result improve their friends' lives. Maybe.

But, in a nutshell, whatever it is has to be both fair, and not come with a rulebook for how/when it can be used.

Like, maybe, an arch you can walk through every so often that shouts what's wrong with you. Go for the Pandora's box effect, where you leave it up to the couple to walk through together, or listen to each other's assessments. It could be a whole thing "yeah, they just got married... but they didn't walk through the arch... DUH-DUH-DUHNNNNNN!"

But, show this to like a quorum of Europeans, and if they don't say your idea sounds very American, maybe there is merit on some level. But, less rules please!

firebus's picture

Pretend you are European

And tell me what you think the EC version of this system would look like?

Powered by Drupal - Design by Artinet - Amazon Affiliate