How do you balance the fine line of trusting the person you are dating, while being protective of your assets?
For many people, especially those that have already been married and divorced, one of the most difficult things to develop with another person is trust. After all, you have already been burned badly once in the past, and it took you a while to get back on your feet – you will be damned to lose anything of value when you are simply dating someone, right?
It is also common for people today, who are putting career in front of relationships and enter the serious dating seen later in life (with more capital obtained) to be fearful that the person they are with is going to deplete them of their assets. Some folks become so obsessed with protecting what is ‘theirs’ in life, that they never truly build up trust with another person on the intimate level. And while most people think of trust when it comes to infidelity, there is also a large part of trust that deals with your personal assets, which should you become married instantly get split in two. Protecting your assets while dating is truly a modern day topic that highlights a major shift in our attitudes about commitment and marriage.
Interestingly, according to an article in the New York Times, more people in 2011 entered into relationships with prenuptial agreements than ever recorded before. In a seemingly ironic way this seems to indicate that while people are willing to ‘give’ their hearts – when it comes to financial matters, people tend to be less forthcoming and giving. While you might assume a prenuptial is necessary for a millionaire marketing mogul, it is not just people considered rich who are entering these prenuptial agreements. It is regular folks as well, who are already discussing the separation of property and assigning ownership to things they feel are valuable in an attempt to protect themselves in case the marriage doesn’t last. Not only does this say little about how many people feel about marriage, but it also seems to say a lot about how we feel about our partners in life.
If you are dating someone, and you have obtained a great many assets, than obviously, you want to be careful about what you disclose. After all, you don’t want someone interested in you simply because of the size of your bank accounts. However, at some point, it becomes important to disclose yourself. How long it takes before you feel comfortable doing so is a completely personal decision. Yet keep in mind, that the more things you hide from the beginning of the relationship, the more inclined your spouse will be to not trust you in the future. (Should this person become your spouse!)
Additionally, many people are setting up prenuptial agreements as a way to save their children. If you are dating and have kids from a previous marriage, then it only makes sense that you will do what you can to protect their home, and the things that you feel belong to them in the long term. Hopefully, your partner can understand you desire to protect your children. And as long as you are honest about setting up a prenuptial when it comes to protecting your children, any spouse should be on board with that.
Perhaps today we are inundated with so many stories of gold digging spouses and immense losses after a marriage that ends in divorce that people are becoming frightened to be honest with one another about their assets. Most often, two people do not come to a marriage or relationship with exactly the same amount of savings or debt. For the person who has more from the beginning, it only makes sense that they would want to protect their assets if the worst should happen. But going to immense places in order to do so, only makes you seem like a bit of a snake. After all, if you are hiding all your money off shore and operating from a place of dishonesty, maybe it is YOU that isn’t to be trusted.
The trick in a relationship is to take things one day at a time. You shouldn’t lay all your cards on the table when you are in a new relationship. But when you decide that things are getting serious, it is important to disclose things to your partner as honestly as possible. This doesn’t mean that they have to know every single thing about you, or exactly how much money you inherited from your Aunt Irene. But it also doesn’t mean that you should operate from a place of secrecy. If you never let your partner in – completely into your world – and never show that you truly trust them – the relationship will not be able to grow very much.
Dating is tricky. You should definitely use your best judgment when allowing someone into your life and into your home before giving over all of your trust. The sad truth is that some people in this world don’t deserve to be trusted. That being said, there comes a time when you have to let your significant other into your heart and into your life, which may mean sharing your assets, at least a little. If you feel that you have too much too lose, then consider a prenuptial prior to marriage, and if you live in a state where common-law marriage applies, take legal action to protect yourself. But make sure your partner knows you did!