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Feelings on Pre-nups
August 23, 2007
10:29 am
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Lisa Ann
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I am struggling with separating my love and emotions with the fact that my boyfriend has stated that he would like a pre-nup agreement in place, should we get married. We have been talking about marriage for a while now, but this is the first time this has come into the picture. We have both been married before and lost our spouses - he lost his to cancer and I lost mine to an accident. He has lake property, hunting land, home and a retirement account as well as savings plan all set up. Me, on the other hand, I don't have a whole lot. I am a recovering alcoholic and right now I'm working on getting my financial situation all in order - due to some terrible decisions I made while I was an active alcoholic.

The issue I'm struggling with is this - I don't want any of his possessions - should something ever happen between us. I'm not a vindictive person - I never have been and I will never be that type of person. I totally trust that he would never do that to me either. We both have daughters, and he says that he is just protecting them, should something happen. He says that he will not feel this way forever, a few years down the road, things will change and those feelings of doubt and insecurities will probably totally go away. But for now, there is that WHAT IF.............

I definitely see both sides of the coin here, but I'm really struggling with the fact that I feel pretty low about myself because of where I am financially, and that there is doubt. I guess that I feel if there is doubt, there is no reason to even talk about marriage - is there? I look at marriage as a good and exciting thing. I have been so excited talking about marriage and the thought of spending our future together, but now I don't feel that way. There has been a major damper put on the thought of getting married. I can't change how I feel about it right now either.

I want to get remarried some day, but I want to be with someone who totally trusts me and looks at the future like I do. Am I wrong to feel that way? It's not that I don't want to sign the agreement, but it's the thought of WHAT IF.... That's hard on me and I'm not sure how to handle it right now. I guess we can go on dating like we are now, and not think about marriage, but I'm getting older and would really like to look at a future with someone. Someone who trusts me and makes me happy and I do the same for them.

Anyway, I'm just confused and tonight I will be seeing him for the first time since this was brought up and I'm not very excited to see him. I kind of like having my space right now, but that scares me a bit too.

I would just like some feedback, if you guys don't mind. I'm a bit down and confused. Why did relationships have to change so much over the past few years - why can't people just be in love and live happily ever after?

August 23, 2007
10:46 am
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CAMER
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Hi Lisa....hmmmmm pre nups are a big topic with marriages, way back in the day, they may not have been important, but i think now with the divorce ratio, people want to be more protective.

I think its all on an "individual" choice, what your boundaries are, and if you think "money" should even come into play with "marriage".

Some people think pre nups are great, others would cancel the marriage cuz of it.

Its all personal choice, and can you deal with it????

Maybe you are not ready, and your fiance too for marriage.....have you both tt a "pre marriage" counselor on this topic??

August 23, 2007
10:55 am
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SadMike
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Lisa,

I've got some mixed emotions on this subject myself.

On the one hand it seems quite cold and insensitive that a man saying he loves you wants you to sign a document indicating his lack of trust for you. On the other hand, you realize that, in some small measure, you haven't done the best with your life as you could have and we all have "sins" for which we must pay.

Perhaps an understanding of what marriage really is would help.

Marriage is the age-old contractual agreement between a man and a woman to lay out the do's and dont's for the marriage, including what belongs to the man and what belongs to the woman, sex, duties and responsibilities. Our society has changed its original definition to be something far less involved and more of a "feeling" than a real contract. Nowadays, you still sign a contract, but it's called a marriage licence which is a 3-party contract between you, your spouse and the state under which you married. So the state itself gets involved in what happens to you and your husband and what happens should a divorce occur.

In any endevor, marriage included, people are desirous to protect that which they've worked a lifetime to amass. Your future husband is merely being pragmatic and examing all sides of the issue. He loves you for he wouldn't even consider marriage if he didn't. He cares about you a great deal - that much is evident - but he's realizes that, although you've changed and have turned your life around, he's leery about trusting you with his child's future - just yet.

I would say you should marry him and do your absolute best to show him that you are the wife he wants and needs and then, as he said, he will remove the pre-nuptuial agreement and trust you with all he has because he will know and know that he knows you have his and his child's best interests at heart.

It's hard when someone points out to us our failings and flaws and our past mistakes. Nevertheless, we must live with our sins and mistakes and realize that we are changing and we are not the same person anymore. He will realize this. You shouldn't give up a life of happiness with this man because of pride.

August 23, 2007
11:06 am
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sad sack
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Are you saying that the fact that he brought up the pre-nup agreement, changed how you feel about him? I wasn't sure.

Your question "why can't people just be in love and live happily ever after?", indicates that you are a true romantic at heart. And I appreciate that. However, it is not the reality. More marriages end in divorce than remain intact. I understand that marriage usually starts out as a romantic concept (as well as a religous union, for some). However, marriage is actually a legal arrangement. Your bf is only protecting his assets. I know it sounds cold, but he is being a realist. I would do the same. In fact, that is one of the reasons I would not marry the father of my child. I had the assets, he had none. During our relationship, I was super responsible (financially speaking), he was not. It turns out we did not stay together. If we would have gotten married, he would have legally been entitled to much of what I worked hard for.

I have read some of your previous posts. You always conveyed how happy you were that you found such a wonderful man. Isn't he still as wonderful? He is just thinking of his children (rightfully so).

I am not saying that you should be excluded in his financial plans, but his children have to be protected, as well. You should discuss and mutually agree upon a plan that would provide for you as well.

You should ask yourself why you are so disturbed by this. I have heard many women say "Oh, I would NEVER sign a prenup." And I am sure you will get similar type responses here as well. I am just giving the point of view from someone who has assets. And I am a realist.

Sad

August 23, 2007
11:33 am
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atalose
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Your doing the all or nothing thinking here. You were happy one day talking about marriage then because of talk of a pre-nup now you don't even want to get married?

How I read this is, he is talking healthy he is acting healthy and making smart decisions for himself and his daughters. He's not saying he doesn't love you, he still wants to amrry you. He's not saying he doesn't trust you, that's how you are preceiving it.

Obviously he is not codependent and is showing good positive healthy signs for someone heading into a second marriage.

How much of this is your codieness coming to the surface? You stated you were not happy with your own financial situation and he is showing healthy signs for his own financies. Maybe that is triggering things you still need to work on. Youve come a very long way and should feel very proud of that with your recovery, don't let one still nagging insecure feeling ruin what you have with this man and all how his own healthys can be examples for you.

I'm sure down the road after you are married things will change because that is life. Grandkids may come into the picture etc. etc.

If you are throwing away thoughts of marrying him because of this, then you are not ready to get into another marriage yet.

Most codies that I know that have been asked to sign a pre0nup re-act in this same way. They take it as a personal attack rather then view it as a healthy way in life.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

August 23, 2007
12:16 pm
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red blonde
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A friend's engagement just broke up over a pre nup.

She wanted one but didn't want him to have one. They both have property and money, she has a child, he doesn't. She got really mad when he said that he would want a pre nup for his property and money to give to whomever he wanted...whether that be her, her son or friends, relatives or charity. She wanted it to all go to her and her child, if something happened to him but her pre nup would not include anything for him.

He postponed the marriage, because she brought this up a month before the date set.

She decided to change all the locks and security codes at her house and put his clothing out in the garage for him to pick up. He was living with her at the time.

After that, he started thinking...If they had gotten married, and then divorced, she would have a prenup and none of her property would be considered in the divorce, where as, if he didn't have a pre nup in effect, she would be entitled to half of everything that he owned prior and during the marriage...or at least what monies and possesions acquired by him. I am not sure about prior assets.

But with her 'throwing' him out, he started to believe that she was just marrying him for his assets...and that is why she didn't want him to have a pre nup in place as well.

So, pre nups can mean alot of different things to different people, I guess.

Me, I definitely would go for a pre nup if I ever got married again and would ask my intended to do that as well....with also the consideration that it can be canceled at some time. Things can get pretty nasty in divorces.

I am not saying that people should go into marriages thinking that they may get divorced....but nowadays....you never know! Had that problem with someone I wasn't even married to, but was living with for a long long time.

August 23, 2007
9:49 pm
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StronginHim77
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My former sister-in-law was (literally) a penniless waitress, supporting two small daughters when she married her second husband. He was a millionaire. His family required that she sign a pre-nup. This one contained a "5-year" clause, stipulating that -- if the marriage lasted beyond five years -- it was null and void. The family insisted on this because her husband owned a large percentage of a very successful, family-owned business. They did not want her to be able to legally destroy their business, should the marriage fail.

They remained married beyond the five-year mark. The prenup was then null and avoid. She immediately began doing "binge-spending," running up credit card debts so high, he had to refinance his house to pay them off. She demanded (and bought) new cars, swimming pools, expensive trips, jewelry...and began treating him very poorly. They have now been married for 24 years. He is a miserable man. He shared with me one night that he could not divorce her because she would (and COULD) ruin him, financially...and she can. This is a community-property State. She constantly tells him that she is going to divorce him and force his family to pay her MILLIONS for her share of the business. This is leverage she hangs over his head. It is a miserable situation.

So much for one couple's experience with a prenup.

Second experience: I was widowed four years ago and remarried. The man I married was fairly well off...nearly $3 million in assets and a huge income. He did not request a prenup, BUT he refused to put my name on anything. We are older (he is mid-60's; I am late 50's and disabled), so this meant that I would be out on the street and homeless, should anything happen to him. He had NO WILL (therefore, no provision clause leaving me ANYTHING) and refused to draw one up. In short, it was a very (in my opinion) non-loving, non-protective position on his part. I felt very betrayed and very unloved. He had three children. In no way would my inclusion in a will or addition of my name on any one of his real estate properties have taken much from their future inheritance. Yet, he chose to exclude me.

Eventually, I left him. Later, I found out he was seeing another woman, right after our wedding!!! So, I am glad I left. But his refusal to provide for me in ANY way, shape or form did hurt and was a contributing factor to my leaving him.

I think I would insist on prenup, myself, if I were to remarry. There are alot of con artists out there, preying on people (especially widows and divorcees in my age bracket). I would do it to protect the equity in my house and keep it safe for my two sons. It is all that their (now deceased) father left to them and I don't want to see it fall into the hands of someone other than my sons.

You are in a different age group from me, so your viewpoint might be quite different. And your perspective on the whole subject. I can understand both sides: his decision to protect his children's inheritance, etc. and your feelings of hurt/betrayal becauses you have not been provided for AT ALL. Perhaps some sort of compromise can be reached, if you two can communicate your inner feelings, motives and reactions without being emotion-driven or defensive. Try. This guy sounds like a decent human being. Maybe he will listen to your feelings and reconsider the situation. Right now, it sounds "black & white." There is always "grey" (translation: compromise or meeting one another halfway.)

Hope it works out for you.

- Ma Strong

August 24, 2007
12:11 am
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I hate to say this but I would rather come home and find my man in bed with someone than to find his hand in the till. You can always find another lover but assets take a life time to accumulate. I have assets that I worked hard for not my husband. Call me a selfish b - - - h, but I sold off property that I invested my $ in and I am divorcing my husband to make damn sure he does not ruin me financially, because he had threatend to out of revenge. He had nothing to loose cause he came into the situation with nothing. It used to make me mad that he would sleep in my expensive bed, take baths in my roman bathtub, eat my food, drive my car and not give me a dime. Wasnt a damn thing I could do about it in my community property state until I divorce him which will be final next month YEAH! Basically people have to be prepared to take care of themselves and no one else really owes another one anything. Marriage sucks and so does pre-nups.

August 24, 2007
3:55 am
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courage to change
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Hi Lisa Ann

I feel for you and do understand.

However, lets look at the reality. All I can do is talk about me, which I hope helps to your decision.

All my life I have NOT had help financially from my parents. My sister, has had all the help in life.

Ive dated wealthy men. Ive never been married. But I watch and listen and learn from others experience and try not to make their mistakes.

This is my take. Yes, it would be lovely for someone to leave me assets, but only if from their heart thats is what they want to do for my welfare. It has to be offered with love and kindness. So where does that leave me.

When I looked at the reality of my situation, I then chose to focus on my work, build up my life and my finances, and not put any man as top priority in the chain. I am still trying to build up my assets by MYSELF. I am comfortable financially, but at the end of the day its down to me to build up my finances. No-one can do it for me, or should they have to.

If I choose to go out or date someone with loads of money, he has to be prepared that I am unable to give the whole of myself, cause I am building up my finances through work, etc.

However, if he wants me to bring up his children and not work and spend lots of time giving him attention, etc, then I have to have financial help. It is then that I should expect to paid what I am worth.

I still say it: We are all responsible for ourself, finances and everything. So build yourself up in this way for you. Do not expect anyone else to give it to you. If its given with love and kindness from the heart, then its worth having, if not focus on building that part of your life up for you. This is incredibly hard, but possible, cause I am living it.

love to you xxx

August 24, 2007
8:13 am
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Lisa Ann
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Thank you to everyone for their feedback, I really appreciate it. There is obviously one common theme, this does not mean that he loves me any less. I definitely agree and know that. We talked a bit last night about it and I'm feeling better. Right now I'm not ready to deal with something like that, so it tells me that I'm not ready to get married yet. So, I believe that it is okay to put that on hold and just focus on keeping our relationship fun and simple - all the while I'm working on building my financial situation.

I guess the one thing that I am still bothered by is that I feel like his family is pushing him to do this. They seem to be more concerned about money than relationships. I have just heard comments related to other incidents, not related to me, but that makes me believe that this is being talked about as well. But, I don't know for sure, it's just a pretty positive guess. That is something I need to discuss with him. Our relationship is ours, and not theirs (his parents, brothers & sisters). That is one thing that I want to be sure of, any decisions we make come from us and only us. No one needs to know anything about what we decide to do. I think that once we have that conversation, I will feel even better. Part of me was so hurt because I felt like this is something everyone was telling him to do, should we get married. That just makes me feel bad.

So, things are better today, we talked last night and I was able to get a lot of my feelings and emotions out, which really helps me feel better. It was not a difficult conversation either. I think it's because of all of you confirming that he really does love me, this has nothing to do with love. I still struggle with that a little bit - I guess I'm old fashioned, but I like to think of love and marriage and a wonderful thing and money is not such a big factor - but I need to realize that reality is different.

Anyway, I'm feeling better today, so thank you to everyone for your responses. I will keep you posted on how things progress because I'm sure I will need some feedback along the way, and you guys seem to have the best feedback I have ever heard.

Thanks again to everyone!

August 24, 2007
9:50 am
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Dear Lisa Ann,

Being postmenopausal, my memory ain't the greatest. But I think I recall reading on another thread that you have been sober for seven months?

If I am right, first let me give you my warmest congratulations and praise. You are on the path to recovery from addiction to alcohol. As your body heals from the effects of this toxin, so will your mind and emotions. Frankly, the body heals quicker than the soul (in my opinion).

Let me share a word of caution: I have never heard ANY addictions professional endorse recovering alcoholics entering into a serious, peronsal relationship while recovering. In fact, the general rule of thumb is to wait a minimum of ONE year, BEFORE even beginning to date casually. There are serious reasons for this.

We addicts can simply shift one addiction for another. For example, I can stop drinking alcohol, but turn to pills or shopping or gambling or porn or LOVE to replace the soothing "high" of the alcohol. In short, first we must kick the specific addiction. But then the hard work begins. We must learn what made us addicts in the first place and do the slow(and frequently painful) work to overcome these destructive patterns and needs in our lives. And we cannot accomplish this overnight. It takes TIME.

I recommend to all recovering alcoholics at least one year of NO DATING, if they are single. We must first learn to live alone, contentedly with ourselves, before partnering up with anyone.

Are you in counseling right now? If you aren't, I would strongly recommend it. You are truly not far enough along the path of addiction recovery to be moving into a serious relationship and/or marriage. Please seek out personal counseling with a qualified professional before going any further. You will not regret it.

- Ma Strong

August 24, 2007
12:47 pm
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Lisa Ann
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Hi Ma Strong,

I totally understand where you are coming from about the dating. I was in my relationship already, when I got sober - we had been dating for almost a year, at that time. The relationship has been totally different since I got sober - in a positive way. But, you make a very good point about marriage. Maybe it would be wise for me to take the next few months and just focus on recovery and making some money!!!! Plus, watching my daughter play volleyball - which is probably my biggest love in the whole wide world :o)

I am in counseling and I'm going to see her next week. So, with all of the feedback and time I have had, I feel that my meeting with my counselor will be a very good and productive one. Emotions have definitely settled down.

Thanks for your input.

August 24, 2007
2:59 pm
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I really don't cotton to the idea of "trust" when it comes to assets and divorce...because let's face it, the person you divorce is NOT the person you married. a prenup is like negotiated insurance. sure, they're kinda tacky in way..i mean who wants to talk about how assets/debts are divided during a breakup when you are thinking about a wedding? But, if one can make the argument of why should I be asked to do a prenup when we're supposed to be in love and trust one another, then doesn't it also hold that if that is the case, what's the harm in signing one?

Most people entering a marriage don't think money first and foremost..but come divorce time many people change their tune.

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