The Pool's agony aunt Viv Groskop

Waving, Not Drowning

Dear Viv: My father-in-law thinks I’m a gold-digger

On this week's podcast, Viv discusses what to do when your engagement comes with a surprise prenup

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By Viv Groskop on

Dear Viv,

Since my wonderful boyfriend of seven years proposed back in May, we have both been walking on air. But recently his father announced that I need to sign a pre-nup and I am really struggling to not feel upset and offended. 

I was not involved in the conversation: future father-in-law got boyfriend (yuk at word fiancé) on his own to discuss. Boyfriend was apologetic and embarrassed to tell me. After seeing my reaction he is willing to battle it out with his dad. 

But I don't want to ask him to create conflict. And I can't tell whether I'm taking it too personally and being irrational. 

For context, my boyfriend is from a very wealthy family. He also earns considerably more than me. As a couple we have worked this out. The fairness and delicacy with which we have always handled the challenge of our very different finances  is just one of the many reasons I am confident about our odds as a team til death do us part.

But it's the not the suggestion of divorce that bothers me about a prenup (on my side of the family, broken homes are pretty much the standard). I am really struggling with the implication that I would stake any claim on my boyfriend's wealth. No matter what unimaginable strife may occur I have zero interest in profiting from him or having anything to do with the family money. 

Adding salt to the wound is the fact that the boyfriend's father did not suggest prenuptial agreements when his two older daughters got married. (One had one at her husband's request as there was a family business involved). I can't help thinking this is because they both married rich... and because I'm 'poor' I must be a gold digger who cannot be trusted.

I'm feel powerless to protest, cause then it will make it look like I DO legally want to get my paws on the fortune. Like when, if someone says you are argumentative, you prove them right by trying to defend yourself. I don't mind signing something to pledge not to take money (I DON'T WANT ANY DAMN MONEY) - but the desire and need to make me do so just feels so offensive. It might just be touching a nerve and aggravating insecurities about not being 'good enough' or eligible. 

Am I overthinking this and being too sensitive? I despise conflict and don't want to create any unnecessary tension. But I'm also nervous about starting my marriage  as a pushover who is just worried about being polite and not causing a fuss. 

Thanks for your help,
Bewildered and beleaguered Bride-to-be
Ps. Totally adore Dear Viv

Hear Viv's answer to this question on her podcast, Waving, Not Drowning, above.

Got a question for Viv? Email her at The Dear Viv podcast airs fortnightly on The Pool at 5pm on Tuesdays. All letters will be edited for length. Unfortunately, Viv cannot reply to your emails personally. 

You can subscribe to The Pool's podcasts on iTunes

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