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So DP lets it slip that finance is behind his reluctance to marry me

(101 Posts)
Birkoff Fri 16-Nov-12 11:52:16

My DP was married for a long time. He has a good job, earns a good wage and his ex wife never worked a day in her life. When they divorced, she naturally took half of everything despite the fact that she never contributed a penny (his words, not mine). He admitted he was bitter about this as he feels he works "his bollocks off" for years and ended up having to give half of it away.

Anyway, we've been together coming up to 2 years now. I've always wanted marriage and he's kind of avoided the subject. At the weekend I asked him if he'd ever get married again, his reaction was "why when everything is fine as it is?" sad I told him I'd like to get married and he said "let's see how things go then".

Last night he made the mistake of getting drunk and admitting that he won't get married as he doesn't want to lose out financially again when it all goes tits up. Basically, he wants to make sure that if we split, I'm entitled to nothing of his.

I'm gutted. Not because I want half of everything but because I didn't see us ever breaking up and if we did, I would have hoped finances wouldn't have been his first concern.

Am I being unreasonable to be really hurt by this?

KittiesInsane Fri 16-Nov-12 12:44:59

I read the OP and briefly wondered if you were dating my brother.

He met his wife over the internet and regards her son as his -- would have liked to adopt him but wasn't allowed to. Three years down the line, she left him and

- is arguing that anything she earned outside the home, he should REFUND to her as her contribution to the household, but that his earnings and pension are half hers.

- is arguing, despite working part time, for permanent spousal maintenance as well as child maintenance.

- is threatening to withhold all access to the child if he argues, and in fact is doing so right now.

Incidentally, her earnings potential was not being affected by caring for her/their child. At first her mother was caring for him, then our parents.

Now, I'd say he really has been royally screwed over, and yes, he's bitter (and this isn't his normal state, which is hopelessly optimistic and naive, on the whole).

It may be legal, but in this case it's surely at least somewhat unfair.

NicknameTaken Fri 16-Nov-12 12:48:18

Cogito, the way I see it, you are talking about taking a particular legal step for the benefit of your son. I wouldn't have a problem with the OP's P saying "There are some assets I want to ringfence for the benefit of my dcs". He's not doing that, his intention is just to block her getting anything. Plus, he didn't have the decency to discuss it while sober, he just got drunk and let it slip.

WakeyCakey Fri 16-Nov-12 12:50:36

And also just to add, after 2 years you don't sound very affectionate of his children?
That may just be something I am picking up that isn't there but I know after two years I was head over heels for my DSD and still am, it just seems strange you haven't really mentioned how they might feel about the whole situation? After all, its not your money, its theirs smile

Helltotheno Fri 16-Nov-12 12:54:17

Would I be heartless to set something up to protect that asset?

Cogito you'd be absolutely mad not to. Your DC should come first. If I were in your situation, I wouldn't marry at all because I wouldn't even want to be vaguely in the situation where there was even the tiniest threat to my DC's financial security wouldn't cohabit either, but I think if someone wants to make a go of it again, they really need to protect themselves and theirs. In your case, I would be making sure your DP had no claim to the house at all (harsh? mabye, but that's why I personally wouldn't cohabit).
Have you mentioned it to your DP?

B1ueberryMuff1n Fri 16-Nov-12 12:55:37

If I manage to buy a house I certainly wont' be getting married. But then, I was the one who was genuinely screwed the last time round. Not the one who erroneously believed they were screwed!!! BIG difference!

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 16-Nov-12 13:01:04

Luckily there is no DP, just a boyfriend, and marriage is not on the cards. But the principle is the same, so I don't want to judge the OP's boyfriend harshly on the basis of him protecting assets alone. Having also had a very bad experience with a spendthrift exH who left me in all kinds of financial shit despite earning a pretty healthy income, I can't get too upset about his bitterness either without more information. Some of us actually do have grasping, selfish and generally crappy ex partners.... Being a SAHM doesn't turn someone into a latterday saint.

senua Fri 16-Nov-12 13:05:30

They did have kids although he reckons he did most of the childcare, came home from work and did homework with them, made their packed lunches etc all whilst she laid on the bed all day/night???

So why are the DC with her and not him?

Helltotheno Fri 16-Nov-12 13:05:53

just a boyfriend, and marriage is not on the cards.
Well that's better, but he'd still have rights if you cohabited. Also, if you did decide to do something and told him... and his reaction was any less than favourable, that would be a serious red flag but I'm sure you know that smile

<I'm such a cynic me>

I don't judge OP's BF harshly either... if he doesn't want to go that route again, that's his entitlement. The onus is on the OP unfortunately to decide if she can live with that.....

fromparistoberlin Fri 16-Nov-12 13:10:05

unless you want to sign a pre-nip, I cant see this moving anywhere fast

sorry! I can see your POV, and I can he was (financially) very wounded!

B1ueberryMuff1n Fri 16-Nov-12 13:18:47

if you do have a prenup, make sure you have your own that will make him stop and think, eg that you have your own property to rent out and that is your pre nup, and that any childcare costs are shared proportionately to your incomes, cleaners are paid proportionately to your income.

NicknameTaken Fri 16-Nov-12 13:19:18

Cogito, I think there is a difference in the motivation - the desire to benefit someone you love (your dc), and the desire NOT to benefit someone you are supposed to love.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 16-Nov-12 13:26:55

I don't get the difference in motivation really. If I had no DCs and I wanted to keep my hard-earned house purely for reasons of security.... bearing in mind that the b/f has a decent income and no-one would go short... would that be a bad motivation?

Dahlen Fri 16-Nov-12 13:28:03

While pre-nups aren't legally binding, and being married supersedes any arrangements where spouses attempt to keep assets separate, there is now a fair bit of case law where pre-marital assets have been retained by one spouse. The main thing is to document the source of the asset and the value of it at the time of marriage.

NicknameTaken Fri 16-Nov-12 13:34:44

Cogito, if your b/f gave up his income in order to live with you and look after the domestic side of things, then yes, I would have an issue with you trying to avoid sharing your assets with him. If he has his own income and hasn't sacrificed that for you, then I don't see the problem with you protecting your pre-marital asset.

Cogito - I think your rationality is quite different, you've finished child bearing so you're less likely to be disadvantaged in this relationship, the entire mortgage predates your relationship, and you want to leave it for the benefit of your son.

What wouldn't be different is if he paid the majority of the bills now because you couldn't - then I would think he would be 'buying' a share. But if you're continuing to contribute to the house bills equally then it seems that the house should remain yours imo.

Op, i think you should sit down and think hard about this relationship.

I'm not taking sides with anyone.

if you are young and striking out in life then you are entitled to the "first view" of everything in life should you so choose, big white romantic wedding, children etc.

Now some divorced people see all these steps through new glasses and go on the journey with you - it's all exciting and different and new again.

Others simply haven't worked their way through the change curve and can't get out of the blame and bitterness.

He sounds like the latter I'm afraid. Do you expect a magical wedding day, overwhelming birth of your first born and an exciting journey into the future with this man?

Helltotheno Fri 16-Nov-12 13:50:26

Yes to the above... and the other thing to consider OP is that it mightn't be that he doesn't want to marry, it might just be that he doesn't want to marry you and is using the finance as a cover. Just a thought... Of course, nobody could know that unless they were inside his head...

NotQuintAtAllOhNo Fri 16-Nov-12 13:54:44

To be honest, I would not want to marry (or even be with) a man that is so vitriolic against his ex wife, and seem to be telling you lots of lies about her and their life.

Paiviaso Fri 16-Nov-12 14:02:27

OP, as hard as it is, you need to clearly take in what this man is telling you.

He doesn't want to get married. You would like to get married. Dealbreaker.

"I told him I'd like to get married and he said "let's see how things go then"". This sounds like he is willing to string you along in order to keep you quiet on the marriage front. Awful.

He also doesn't seem to respect SAHMs, judging from the fact he thinks his first wife did absolutely nothing to contribute.

It doesn't sound like this man wants a family. He wants his money to himself, and a nice girl to hang around with. Which is fine, but not what you want.

Don't bury your head in the sand.

PanickingIdiot Fri 16-Nov-12 14:18:16

What Cogito said.

Marriage is a legal and financial contract first and foremost. Depending on the circumstances, the couple's plans to share (or not) work and childcare, their assets and earning potential etc. it benefits certain people. But not everyone. It sounds like it wouldn't benefit him, which is fair enough (though he probably exaggerates about the ex-wife, he's within his rights to protect himself.)

I would definitely renegotiate, however, if you were planning to have children with him or give up your livelihood for him for any length of time. In that case you'd be right to protect yourself as well, and he'd have to understand that if he truly considered you his partner.

Being unmarried, in and of itself, doesn't make you worse off or vulnerable financially, and people who use it as an argument (OMG-you-won't-be-entitled-to-zilch-if-you-split-etc.) do come across a bit greedy. You could be single and then you'd have to earn your own living your entire life and wouldn't be entitled to a penny of anybody else's money either. There's nothing inherently cruel or unfair about having to work for your own money and living within your means. Ditto protecting one's existing children and putting them before another adult who can earn and pay his/her own way.

Of course if you were to mutually agree that one of you gave up work for the common benefit of the family, then that partner would be entitled to protection, and marriage may well serve that purpose...but a lot depends on individual circumstances, and it looks like in this case it may not be the best option for him.

Fairylea Fri 16-Nov-12 14:28:18

If she stayed home and raised the kids and looked after the home so he could persue his career then she is entitled to half. If she wasn't there he would have had to pay child care or give up his career and either take a less paid part time job and juggle child care or stay at home.

He needs to realise his ex wife supported him to achieve his lifestyle. Of course she is entitled to half and if he can't see that then I don't think he's the kind of man I'd want to be marrying or even be in a relationship with. And I say that as a woman who has been divorced.

NettleTea Fri 16-Nov-12 14:34:08

also maybe she put her feet up for a short while after looking after them and looking after the home all day, but just expected him to take over his share of the eveing/weekend share of houswork/childcare. they were HIS children after all....

wrinklyraisin Fri 16-Nov-12 14:41:24

My partners ex wife quit work soon after they married, then developed a progressively more serious (and hidden) online gambling addiction. As a stay at home wife she "managed" the finances and took out credit cards etc without anyone's knowledge. They had a baby, and she developed pnd which meant she couldn't move from her bed yet still spent thousands per month without his knowledge. Eventually after 3 years of deceptive behavior on her part, and some denial of the situation on his, they split up. It was then that he discovered the extent of the financial crisis. They had to go bankrupt as a couple and he's going to have that on his record forever. He paid for everything into their joint account, trusted her to be managing everything. Now he has 50% custody of their child, pays above and beyond child support quite happily (as he should!) HOWEVER the substantial amount he gives his wife is still going on her gambling habit. He can't do anything about that as the law states the mother can do what she wishes with the money as long as the child has a roof over their head, food and clothing. He pays extra for her clothing as she comes to us in crappy stuff. She's always pleading poverty yet won't get a job as she's "depressed" yet can go on gambling weekends away to casinos etc.

My point is, he's wary of marriage again as he was royally screwed. I'm not his ex though and he can see I work hard and pay my way. But it's a struggle for him to accept I won't do the same thing as his ex as she really did mess up his financial life and continues to do so. I can't blame the op's partner for wanting to protect his interests. The fallout can be terrible, and far reaching.

There are plenty of nasty exw as there are nasty exh

But do you want the same things now - that's the issue.

startlife Fri 16-Nov-12 14:52:44

OP, there is general consensus that if you have dc's you should look to protect your assets in a 2nd marriage so could you talk to him about this. He might not have thought of solutions - i.e he could get married as long as the assets are safeguarded for his children rather than 2nd wife?

I'm in a similar position to him, and did remarry but I'm relying on my H's good nature (I hope) to safe guard my dc's future. I was a lone parent for a few years and worked very hard fulltime to support my dc's without any financial support. If you have been in this position I think you do have empathy for your DP.

I guess the warnings that comes from your post is his attitude to his ex, it's highly unlikely she did nothing, do listen hard to what he is saying as it reveals an attitude. I was the higher earner and I would never say a SAHP does nothing. Don't just take his word for this - question him as I think you may learn something about his personality and values.

My H didn't seek legal advise when splitting with his ex so his divorce settlement was definitely in favour of his ex. He has however never resented the settlement, just realises that he should have got advice.

If your DP had legal advice it's highly unlikely she got more that entitled to.

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