The city is fogged in, Blue Bottle coffee’s brewing, toast browned just how you like it (he even cut the edges off for you just like from the time you were a little girl asking your mom to do that for you), NYT crisp and about to be devoured….it’s a typical Sunday morning. You’re cozy in your sweats and beaus college sweatshirt and life is just plain good until…..he asks you to sit down. The dreaded honey we need to have a talk.
Your heart starts racing. You’ve been exclusive for 6 months now and are basically living out of bags and staying at his pad every night. So far it’s been easy, fun, and the chemistry is ridiculously off-the-charts. You’ve told all your best girlfriends, mom, and sisters that you think he really is “the one.” You’ve had a few squabbles but nothing serious and he seems really happy too.
This Sunday morning, though, he’s particularly serious. What could it be, you’re thinking? You both agreed to get tested together and luckily free and clear, ok….you know he is friends with his ex as they both “share a dog” together and tolerate that as best as you can…he’s not creepin’ around being private w texting or phone calls in the other room…so seriously what could this talk be?
He tells you point blank he’s been thinking a lot about your relationship and whomever he marries will have to sign a prenup. All of a sudden, the coffee tastes repulsive and your stomach turns in wild twists and turns. Your life just went in freeze frame. A prenup, you think in your mind…..really? a prenup? Silence falls heavy in the room. The dog bounces on the bed, bone in mouth – did your beau make the dog sign some sort of agreement when he was rescued?
Sure, your beau been unusually successful with his early investments in some angel deals he finagled his way into. He seems to have that Midas touch in his career. Lucked out on getting into a great hedge fund years ago right out of college and has managed to climb into a cushy role. He does have an ultra modern loft in SOMA (and you checked Trulia – current valuation 2.5MM), he has the mountain cabin in the Sierras and, although he’s never discussed net worth, you calculate including real estate 5MM.
Your situation is really different. You rent your studio in Cow Hollow, lease your BMW, and can barely save enough to contribute to your damn Roth IRA come April 15th each year. But you’re really good to him and you’re certainly not with him because he is wealthy (is that a perk, yes, is that a reason to be in a relationship with him, no.) You’re a traditional girl, a romantic at heart, your favorite author is Jane Austin, you’re optimistic, your parents are still together happily married at 35 years, divorce is not in your vocabulary.
You got so mad when Trey MacDougal in Sex and the City (Season 3, Episode 10) said to Charlotte, “I almost forgot…. Prenuptial agreements. Standard. Everyone in the family has one. You sign on page four. Feel free to have your lawyer look it over. I’ll call you later…” That felt so cold, business-like, and unromantic.
On the plus side you are thrilled he’s visualizing marrying you and getting serious. In fact, it’s only been 6 months of unofficially living together and he’s bringing up sharing a future with you. You stay calm, explain you have a lot more reading to do about it and are supportive of listening to why that is important to him.
Everyone comes with different backgrounds, stories, concerns, professional goals, personal goals in life. You and your partner are two completely different people attempting to merge your lives together. You’ve taken big strides in already learning to compromise and stay at his place more, he’s compromised on any number of things with you. A relationship is really 1 + 1 = 3
My professional advice to this couple is to take things slow and try to understand your partner and what motivates him. The prenup doesn’t have to mean that you are doomed from the outset of planning a future. It can mean smart and intelligent planning. It doesn’t mean he’s vindictive or assuming failure with you. Prenups assume future earnings, not the past, and you both can draft an agreement together that feels right to you. Now keep in mind that little start-up you got into a year ago isn’t such a little start-up anymore. Chances are you could be earning as much, if not more than your partner…so before you go home calling to momma for help, do your research and homework on these. Maybe he should sign your prenup assuming company X goes IPO? This is the Bay Area 2014 after all. We are in a frothy market and relationships are directly affected as a result.