Agony over a prenup

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-25-2004
Agony over a prenup
Tue, 05-25-2004 - 1:43pm
I am in a 3 year relationship with a wonderful man and we are talking about marrying at the end of the year. He suffered from a nasty divorce from his first marriage and has long communicated his desire for me to sign a prenup. I have let him know that I am uncomfortable with this issue, but will try hard to work with him.

Here is my issue: while I am trying to give him what he needs, I don't feel like he recognizes the emotional effort that I am putting in for him. Everyone he seems to talk to communicates that they are pro-prenup and that they aren't a big deal. In my world, I don't even know anyone who has one and have not talked to a woman yet who would want one. It makes me feel like we are coming from different worlds, which I find very frustrating and demoralizing.

Does anyone know about surveys or studies that have been done around prenups and women's feelings?

Any thoughts of your own to share that would be helpful?

I want to marry this man, but also want him to recognize my feelings as valid and normal.

I would really appreciate your ideas and support here.


iVillage Member
Registered: 04-30-2003
Tue, 05-25-2004 - 9:20pm


I think you should tell your BF/DF that he needs to recognize your feelings, BUT that does not mean he has to agree to it.

Just think about this. Marriage is a business transaction. You go into it together, by signing a contract. As partners, you vow to uphold the "laws". In the end, if there is one, you want to protect yourself in case it gets ugly. A pre-nup will do just that...for you and him.

After having a nasty divorce, I can see why he'd want to protect himself. Now, you don't say WHAT he says in the pre-nup, for all you know, it could just say, "she gets none of my retirement". Also, pre-nups CAN be changed/amended.

I have seen some nasty divorces working at a law firm. To the point where they were fighting over the Circulon pots and pans.

Does he have children? Even more reason for a pre-nup, to protect the interest of his children. If not, does he have a lot of assets? If not, do you know what he's asking for in the pre-nup?

I learned this from my TWO divorces. People change when you divorce. People can become spiteful and nasty. You can NEVER trust who they will turn into. So, he's only protecting himself....and his assets. Because he's already been there before. And it sucks.

As for your feelings. I can understand why you are hurt as I was like you before. BUT, let me ask you something, WHAT are the feelings you are feeling? Are you hurt that he doesn't trust you? Because this has nothing to do with trust. Are you hurt that he feels your marriage will end? Because a pre-nup doesn't say that at all. Are you hurt that he would want to keep his own things if in case you divorce?

What do YOU feel? You never once stated in your post WHAT you're feeling, only that he doesn't acknowledge your feelings. And that you're uncomfortable with signing it.

Let me ask you this. If he said, "Laura, I understand your feelings and why you are uncomfortable and I am acknowledging them." Will that change your mind about signing the pre-nup? If not, what more do you want? for him to acknowledge them and say you're right and change HIS mind?

I'm sorry if you feel I'm being harsh. I'm not trying to. I'm trying to get you to understand, what most WOMEN don't understnad is that this is NOT about you. It's not about love or emotions. It IS ALL about a business contract, in the sense that going into marriage IS a business contract. I'm not saying the MARRIAGE has to be run like a business, but I am saying going into marriage, IS a contract. You DO sign a contract. And for him, this part, is business. And having a nasty divorce, I don't blame him one bit.

Also, one last question. you're on the second marriage board, is this your first or second marriage?

I'm here to help you understnad what HE sees it as.....because most women can't grasp the concept. All they see is the emotional and love side of it. I changed my mind about pre-nups the minute I had to start doing all the dang paperwork for my divorce and my xh was being a pain about it.


my pet!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Wed, 05-26-2004 - 11:16am


I am in a six year relationship and we plan to marry in the next year or so.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-31-2003
Thu, 05-27-2004 - 10:35am
People spend way to much time agonizing over this. SIGN IT. A prenup protects your assets prior to the marriage as well as his. What you came in with. It doesn't protect anything acquired after the marriage or protect income. He, like myself, scratched and clawed for anything he got out of his first marriage and he shouldn't have to do it again. Also, if you sign the prenup, you are eliminating something that is obviously causing a lot of stress in his life. Don't you have a retirement account, house or savings that you want protected should you end up divorced. It cuts both ways. Pre-nups are tricky though and you should talk to an attorney about managing these protected assets after the marriage. You may have some savings listed on your pre-nup, but the minute you sock it into a home purchased for the both of you, you can end up in trouble. Sign it. It'll be good for you, good for him... but DO have a lawyer!
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 05-27-2004 - 7:10pm
he wants a prenup presumably because he's got assets, he's got kids to protect or something of that nature. He's been burned and now he's being practical. It's not romantic, it's pragmatic. And having been divorced myself, I think it's a wise move. The American divorce rate for a second marriage is even higher than for a first marriage. Did you know that?

Your actual complaint is that it makes you feel frustrated and demoralized...and he doesn't recognize your feelings as valid and normal? If he said the words, 'I hear what you're saying...the prenup makes you feel frustrated and demoralized.' Is that all you want?

What's teh middle ground in this situation...marriage is about compromise and working together? I don't see one, do you?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-30-2003
Fri, 05-28-2004 - 12:42pm
Hi Laura, I just wanted to let you know I would feel the same way. I would not feel good about being asked to sign a pre-nup. I understand the high rate of divorce (in second marriages and beyond) as I have lived that myself. But, emotionally I would find it difficult to be asked to sign one, depending upon what was actually in the agreement. Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately :)) my DH did not have assets coming into our marriage, so we were on pretty equal ground. His earning power is twice as high as mine, but I would not like it if he wasn't willing to share it equally with me. Especially because he and his ex and children were living a livestyle in excess of what they could really afford (why he had no assets and a certain amount of debt), I feel we should treat our children equally in what we can provide for them. It makes a difference that our children are mostly older(19 to 30) except for my youngest who is 12 and lives with us, and none of the older children have been living with either parent (SS, now 19, lived with us for the first 2 years of our marriage, until he recently moved out).

I am not and have not been in your situation, so I can't really say what I would do. I recently reread a book, "Making Your Second Marriage A First Class Success", by Doug and Naomi Moseley, who are relationship counselors who have experience their own second marriage and money issues. There is a section on Pre-Nups toward the back of the book. Since this book is written from a relationship viewpoint, and not as legal or financial advice, you might be interested in reading what they say and the examples they give.

Whatever you decide, I hope it all works out for the best. I understand how difficult this would be. No matter what you decide to to, you can't help how it makes you feel.