Dear Sharideth, He Wants a Prenup

contract

Dear Sharideth,

What are your thoughts on prenuptials?

My boyfriend and I aren’t engaged yet, but we’re heading in that direction. He has a “I’m not getting married without prenups” policy; he admitted that it’s because almost every marriage he has ever been around crumbled due to infidelity/the wife leaving when things get rough. He is worried we’ll eventually fall into the same pattern. I grew up with parents about to celebrate their 35th anniversary, and heard “prenuptials are preparation for divorce.”

I refuse to jump on the “you don’t trust me and don’t have faith in our future!” crazy train, so I’m looking into it for the first time as an option. But while I’m figuring it out, would you share your thoughts on the matter?

Sincerely,

‘Til Prenups Do Us Apart

Dear TPDUA,

Yeah. I’m not a fan. What you’re talking about is called an infidelity clause and they tend to do more harm than good. Especially when there is no other reason to have a prenup and no historical grounds for requiring such a thing. If you have given him no reason to doubt your commitment, then I do not recommend this. It will only solidify his paranoia and could eventually cause you to resent him and his fears.

I respect you not wanting to jump on the crazy train. I try to keep people off of it as often as possible. But the truth is he doesn’t trust you or your future. And an infidelity clause won’t fix that. It won’t make him less suspicious or more trusting. It will only make him feel like he’s protected financially FROM YOU when/if you cheat on him. That’s the part you need to understand. He believes making you agree to a prenup is protecting himself from you. Don’t kid yourself about that.

And that’s his issue. Not yours.

Sounds to me like you two, him especially, could do with some serious premarital counseling. If I were you, I wouldn’t even agree to marry him until you do. He really needs to get a grip on his fears and mistrust before you can move forward. I know that’s not what you want to hear but the reality is you are going to get tired of his suspicion sooner than later. Marriage doesn’t make issues better. It makes them worse. Marriage is like shining a magnifying glass on problems. They only get bigger. And the prenup won’t help.

This is a great article about infidelity clauses:

Infidelity Clauses: Protecting Marriage with Fear of Financial Fall-Out

I would seriously encourage you to think long and hard about marrying under the shadow of an infidelity prenup. Preuptial agreements have their place but that place is pretty small in the big scheme of things.

Oh so sincerely,

Sharideth

Okay. I know there has to be some thoughts on this out there. What do you think?

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12 comments on “Dear Sharideth, He Wants a Prenup

  1. Jennwith2ns says:

    I think? You nailed it.

  2. robertdyson says:

    I agree. Going into a marriage with an escape clause only makes it more likely escape will happen. It’s planning for failure.

  3. I haven’t read the linked article yet, so my opinion does not cover that. But I’ve read all that you wrote, and I’d say you’re spot on. Your boyfriend may have legitimate reasons for his trust issues based off his past history, but that doesn’t make them issues that don’t need to be dealt with before they become serious baggage.

    I think I’m also going to be realville mode on a couple of other things. Your boyfriend being cheated on in multiple marriages *can* be a series of bad wife choices in which he is the innocent victim; however, the suspicions Sharideth references if not dealt with can become a strain on the marriage, to the point that a spouse can be tempted to cheat simply because they’re tired of undeserved suspicion and decide they might as well earn it since they’re going to be suspected anyway. It still doesn’t make it right to cheat, but it does bear consideration that the hurt he experienced when the first wife wronged him may have added problems to his later marriage relationships that were a factor in his later wives leaving or cheating. Trust issues can steal your joy (and his) even if you’re both faithful enough to stay together. He needs to get those trust issues resolved before he enters another marriage.

  4. Jennifer says:

    You hit the nail on the head. Pre-nups are meant for people who carry lots of assets (the bidness kinds) before marriage. It’s not like either one of you have a ton of money (that you mentioned) that you would need protected. He’s just wanting to make sure that if you cheat on him, he has some special sort of “revenge.” (Or whatever.) Pre-marital counseling before engagement does sound like a good idea and I think perhaps maybe he might need some additional counseling on his own. If he has trust issues, then a pre-nup won’t help him with you or anyone else he may marry.

  5. Elizabeth Bennet says:

    If either of you have any assets at all, or any ginormous debt, a prenup is smart. It’s not about infidelity anymore. If you’re marrying as an adult with adult lives and adult liabilities your entire way of life can be wiped out and it could take decades to get it back.

    That sounds all unromantic. Sorry…I swear I’m not the Grinch.

    • Jennifer says:

      Good point. However, the person in question hasn’t ever mentioned any sorts of assets or debt he doesn’t want to take on. The only wants a pre-nup in the event that she cheats on him.

      • Elizabeth Bennet says:

        Agreed. And THAT is the issue. But if you have even modest money as a late 20s or older adult, life happens man.

        Fidelity doesn’t come with any document. Sometimes I wonder if the whole prenup thing is the adult version of teaching christian teens about how and when to use condoms because it’s “planning to sin”

        • robertdyson says:

          Interesting analogy. I think it fits. My wife and I had a conversation at lunch today about her (Christian) mom recommending birth control for our slightly wild teenage daughter. It has a ring of practicality, but it seems to me that it would only encourage sexual activity by conveying the implication that 1) it’s ‘safe’ to now, and 2) we know it’s gonna happen anyway.

  6. Maria says:

    Having been divorced, I say a prenup is a great idea. It’s not like we had any assets when it ended–for us it was who would take what debt. And having been cheated on by someone I’ve trusted… I think it’s practical, I’ve worked hard to get where I’m at now and the idea of anyone ripping that away from me is not OK. Being a female, it sounds crazy–the man taking the wife’s money in the event of a divorce–but times are changing and I am building up a few assets. I think that having the peace of mind that it will be OK if it doesn’t work out actually takes away the paranoia of being used and lends more to a trusting relationship.. I can appreciate anyone that wants that peace of mind.

  7. “prenuptials are preparation for divorce” and “health insurance causes cancer”. Time to “Woman Up”, you would never cheat anyways.

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