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ASK THE DOC - Prenuptial problems

Published:Tuesday | December 30, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Dear Counsellor

Q I thought I met the man of my dreams after years of searching. He was 45 and I in my mid-30s. We are both professionals. He has never been married because of an unfortunate experience with a woman. He has no children. Because he has amassed great wealth, he told me after he proposed marriage that he wanted a pre-nuptial agreement. I said OK, but I would want my lawyer to have a look at it. There was just one point that my lawyer suggested to be changed, but apparently, his lawyer advised against any change. Meanwhile, plans were going ahead for the wedding and invitations were sent out. The hotel was paid for, etc. I told my boyfriend that we could work out the prenuptial agreement after the wedding. He insisted that I sign it at least 24 hours before the wedding, otherwise, he would call off the wedding. I was taken aback by this ultimatum and I told him I would not sign under duress.

I felt as if he did not trust me. He kept his threat. I was hurt and devastated. I told my parents about the reason. I was so embarrassed that I told family members and friends that the wedding was postponed. I was further hurt that my boyfriend had a party on the day of what should have been our wedding day, claiming that the hotel and caterers were already paid. Sometimes I wondered whether I did the right thing.

A Prenuptial arrangements were designed to protect wealthy persons from gold-diggers. It is felt that a partner should not be entitled to half of the assets when they had nothing to do with its accumulation. It seems as if you did not understand the mindset of your wealthy boyfriend. You seemed shocked that he did not trust you to work out the agreement after the wedding. You were naïve because the idea of a prenuptial agreement is to have a contract before the wedding, and not after the wedding. It is also to take the element of trust out of the marriage and to place certain things in black and white.

It is a tad insensitive for your boyfriend to have a party with his friends on the same day and in the same location where you should have had your wedding day. Obviously, it was just a cost-saving measure, since money was already spent.

It is apparent that money is very important to him, more than sentimentalities. You will always second guess your stance about the prenuptial contract, but the decision has been made, and it is better to move on and learn your lesson. Your boyfriend having a bad experience with a woman might be a baggage you cannot handle. He might have an unhealthy fear of women who might be gold-diggers and money will always be a major conflict issue in the marriage.

Do not worry that you told persons that it was postponed; you do not have an obligation to tell them the reason. They would have figured it out by now that it has been postponed indefinitely. If you had a bridal scheme at a store or received wedding presents before the wedding, then it would be proper to return them. You might even want to return the engagement ring.