Apr 04, 2018


Applying Free Agency to Relationships


One of the hardest things in life, right up there with trying to care about the Commonwealth Games, is ending a relationship.

It’s difficult for all involved. The tears, the sense that you’ll never love again and the remembering you used their Netflix and will now have to get your own account.

Technology seemed to offer a solution but unfortunately, society frowns on breaking up with someone via an Instagram post, even if the post is of a two really cute cats walking in separate directions.

Luckily, as with most things in life, sport has provided the answer through the system of free agency.

Free agency has been introduced across many sports, like the AFL and NRL, to provide a system to free players from a type of indentured slavery.

It, therefore, lends itself to personal relationships.

It takes the heat out of an awkward and emotional situation through a pre-agreed process.

If it can work for sport, it can work for relationships, after all, sport if a lot more important and emotional.

This idea is not without precedent. The AFL rookie list, where clubs can have a player while not officially having them in their senior team, is a perfect description of how most Tinder relationships work.

So how could the system work?

Length of time served

In Free Agency, how long you’ve been at a club determines whether you can walk straight out or whether your current club can match any offer put to you.

For example, if you have been with your club for seven years, you can field offers from other clubs. Your current club can match these offers though, and you have to stay. This is known as being a restricted free agent.

A player who’s been with a club for more than ten years is an unrestricted free agent and can just go to the club of their choosing.

How it Applies in Relationships:

Clearly, seven years and ten years is too long. This is the 21st century. We simply don’t have the attention spans for that sort of nonsense.

Therefore, the following timelines will apply to new relationships:

Restricted Free Agent- six months

Unrestricted Free Agent- 12 months

And the timelines for marriages:

Restricted Free Agent- five years.

Unrestricted Free Agent- seven years (breathing new life into the seven-year itch).

At any of these points, both parties may decide they don’t want to test free agency.

This is a good thing, the relationship will continue with both parties, as sitting down with someone and telling them you’re not going to test free agency is an incredibly romantic thing to say. Right up there with telling them you want to become a one-club player.

Unrestricted Free Agent

If one partner decides to leave as an unrestricted free agent after their allotted time, then all’s fair.

They can simply let the other person know with a media conference in which they can say things like ‘I’ve loved my time with Simon, who can forget the renovation of ’03 or the ’05 holiday to Iceland? But I’ve decided I needed a new challenge.”

No need to sit down and have a long, drawn out emotional confrontation.

The other partner can respond with a written statement.

“Karen has advised me of her desire to test the Free Agency market. While disappointed, I thank her for her work on the renovation of ’03. In anticipation of this development, I’ve been in discussions with several replacements and will have an announcement shortly.

No recourse, no crying, no attempted arson. Just a clean break.

Restricted Free Agent

This is where the fun starts. In these situations, you can field offers from other people. This will enable you to test your value in the market, as can your partner.

You can then both decide if you want to stay together, knowing full well what else is out there.

For starters, the year leading up to your restricted free agency could be fun for your friends who will speculate on what you’ll do.

“I understand Steve has a solid offer from Bianca and has already given verbal agreement.”

Leading you to issue statements like “I’m delighted with Sally at the moment and am just focusing on the upcoming week at home.”

Perth breakfast radio would have a field day.


Once you have triggered the Restricted Free Agency clause in your contract, you can then begin fielding offers.

For example, Kirsten has been dating Robert for six months. She has decided to test the market as a restricted free agent.

Her best offer is from Rupert, who works in some horrible consultancy firm.

Rupert has offered the following deal:

  1. Will tell her he loves her twice a day
  2. Pretend to get along with her friends
  3. Regular showering
  4. At least one romantic weekend away every six months
  5. Not forget her birthday for the first six years

Kirsten brings this deal back to Robert who has a week to respond.

Robert assesses that point 2 and point 3 are too high a price to pay and that he can get a similar girlfriend on the open market for less. Kirsten is now free to leave Robert for Rupert.

Of course, losing a Restricted Free agent is a blow, as in sport. Now Robert has to go and recruit through dating, which is awful. He is therefore entitled to compensation.

Robert therefore, as the person being left, gets the DVD box set of Grey's Anatomy that Kirsten left at his apartment and full custody of a pot plant they bought together at Bunnings.

The possibilities are endless, with new jobs being created for ‘agents’ who help negotiate your deal.

“I love you honey, and I hope our agents can manufacture a deal that suits both of us.”

So, there you have it. An age-old problem once again solved through the prism of sport.

Titus will be performing at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Sydney Comedy Festival.

Tickets Here: https://www.frontiercomedy.com/titusoreily

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Apr 04, 2018

Your best ever !!


Apr 04, 2018

Now where does the 'journey man' category fit - seems they are life long free agents without any restrictions.


Apr 04, 2018

This was so much better than that Nicholas Sparks-penned rubbish Channing Tatum out yesterday

Aidan Twomey

Apr 04, 2018

More food for thought here than an entire season of
My Kitchen Rules


Apr 04, 2018

That's all well and good Titus, but what if you end up with a free agent like Danyle Pearce? I think a pot plant from Bunnings could hit targets better.

mark athorn

Apr 04, 2018

any chance you can help me out as my agent? I am having similar "journeys" in love as i had in my afl career.

The Original Buzz

Apr 04, 2018

What about delistings for those that don't make the grade?


Apr 04, 2018

Free Agency has to be a big step up from being thrown into the draft where you might be forced into a relationship with some scrubber from Port Adelaide.


Apr 04, 2018

What about requesting a trade?


Apr 04, 2018

I think a sister in law compensation pick needs to be explored too


Apr 04, 2018

Yeh but at what point does Liam Pickering come in to it?


Apr 04, 2018

How does the Father-Son Rule fit in with this?


Apr 04, 2018

I am holding a draft combine to identify the best new talent coming through.

Once Burned

Apr 04, 2018

I strongly advise against re-drafting ex players because of romantic notions, fraught with danger and might not gel well with your current roster


Apr 04, 2018

If Buddy even looks at another club, the swans are getting knocked up & trapping him in a loveless relationship.


Apr 04, 2018

If Buddy even looks at another club, the swans are getting knocked up & trapping him in a loveless relationship.


Apr 04, 2018


Bruce Munday

Apr 04, 2018

Is there an online tutorial showing how to look as if you are fully committed to the existing relationship right up until the time you become an unrestricted free agent?


Apr 04, 2018

Wow! You have put some serious thought and effort into this one!!
Brilliant..makes me wonder if you are borderline Free Agent?


Apr 04, 2018

Reckon I’d be able to snare a solid 8/10 if I offer up a top 5 pick + compensation? Previous drafts have let me down and i’m looking for a known quantity.


Apr 13, 2018

That was a hoot. A lot of quality comments too.

The Property Steward

Apr 16, 2018

All well and good if you can sneak them in under the salary cap. Surely one can rookie list a partner on the understanding that they won't play finals?

Martin Knox

Sep 21, 2019

Thank you, Titus, for making available for me to read: 'Applying Free Agency To Relationships.' It was informative, easy to read and funny.
I have written a satirical fiction novel: 'Short of Love'. Tom trades his women as commodities, both short and long, in a straddle that reduces his overall vulnerability to availability of women. He is careful to obtain their consent.
You might agree that love relationships are in the early stages of becoming analysable, fairly negotiated and worthwhile.

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