- For Love & Money is Insider’s bi-weekly column that answers your questions about relationships and money.
- This week, a wealthy reader asks how to get his previously divorced fiancée to sign a prenup.
- Our columnist asks her to take a step back and think about why it matters that she is divorced.
- A question for our columnist? Write to For Love & Money using this Google form.
Dear for love and money,
My fiancée is divorced. When we met, I was a confirmed bachelor. I’m well off, but more than my money, I built my own business from scratch. I want a prenup not because I don’t trust my fiancee, but because I want to protect my business and my employees in case what happened to her last marriage happens to ours.
My fiancée finds the idea of a prenup insulting and every time I bring it up she refuses to even talk about it. I know she finds the conversation offensive because she’s embarrassed that her first marriage didn’t work out, and even though I feel for her, I still want a prenup.
How do I get him to have this conversation with me, or better yet, get him to sign the papers?
I’m not saying she’s a gold digger
Dear, I’m not saying she’s a gold digger,
The problem with prenups is the reality they underline. Marriage, for all the pomp and circumstance of marriages, is essentially a business arrangement, and prenuptial agreements are for couples whose circumstances require more elaborate legal protections than those offered by the state. But for those of us who grew up on Disney Princesses and Brides magazine, marriage also embodies the concept of true love.
Your pragmatism about a prenuptial agreement is understandable, and as a business owner responsible for the livelihoods of others, it is also necessary. But your fiancée’s idealism also has value. You have to remember there was another time she loved someone so much she probably imagined them dying in each other’s arms in a scene straight out of “The Notebook. “. I don’t know how things ended, but I do know that the day she exchanged vows with her ex, she didn’t see the divorce coming.
So when the end came, it was more than the minor embarrassment that things “didn’t work out” that you describe, it was a monumental loss – a stolen dream and a lifetime of abandoned plans. The fact that “she refuses to even talk” about a prenup tells me she probably can’t even afford to think about her inviting this potential heartbreak back into her life. And if she’s told you she finds your insistence on a prenup insulting, it’s probably because the lack of trust you implied makes her worry that this relationship has lesser chances than it does. can bear.
But you’re right, things happen, and sometimes even the best marriages end in divorce. As a business owner, you have a responsibility to protect yourself if the worst unfortunately happens to the worst. But you’re also responsible for your marriage now, and while it’s easy to dismiss that as less important than the source of income, if you want your marriage to last, it can’t be.
Reflect everything the reasons why you want this marriage contract
Start by examining your true motivations. As long as your fiancée isn’t actually a ruthless gold digger (and since you’re marrying her, I’m going to go on and assume she isn’t), her reasons for resisting a prenup are not not manipulative. Therefore, how you communicate your desire to enter into a prenup can play a big role in her feelings about it. For her to have this conversation with you, you need to understand what you are currently doing wrong.
My guess? It all comes back to how you view her previous divorce. Her previous marriage is part of the context of your story, so I appreciate you sharing it with me, but I don’t think it had to be the whole story. The emphasis on your fiancée’s relationship history in your letter shows me how important this plays in how you perceive your fiancée, and it seems she notices it as well. Be honest with yourself and examine why. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a prenup, but you should want it regardless of your fiancée’s background.
Take the time to question your doubts and concerns about your fiancée. If there is a real lack of confidence, you either have to overcome it or do the hard part and leave. But if you’re thinking about why her divorce worries you more and you realize it’s just because it’s a reminder that sometimes even the best people in the world can’t make it work, center your need a marriage contract around this idea, not around your future wife. She doesn’t need the constant reminder. She needs to know that you believe in her and that you believe in your marriage.
Make it clear that this is to protect your business
To steal a line from “The Godfather”, specify that your desire for a prenup is “not personal, it’s a business”. Tell your fiancée that you plan to grow old together, which is why you’re marrying her, but that it has more to do with allaying the concerns of your employees, potential investors, and your own sense of protocol.
You are a person who likes to do things the right way, and as a business owner, a prenup is part of that process. It’s like wearing a seat belt. If you really thought you were going to be in a car accident that day, you wouldn’t get in the car in the first place. But we wear seatbelts out of respect for our own helplessness and inability to predict the future. That said, what you shouldn’t do is make your future wife feel like a particularly unreliable car.
Explain this to her and also explain to her that no matter what the future holds, you know for sure that the love you have for her is an integral part of who you are now, and that she can depend on it for still.
Rooting for you two,
For love and money