Take back the prenup

Mention the word “prenup” to a group of engaged, happily dating or even single women in America and a collective shudder will run down their spines.  Prenups are unromantic, someone will almost surely say. Why ruin the happiest time in your relationship by planning its eventual demise?

Prenups (short for “prenuptial agreements”) used to be limited to the rich and famous.  Recently, the tide has shifted.  Along with rising divorce rates starting in the 1970s, the popularity of prenups has also gone up. Adding fuel to that fire are the countless articles online instructing men about the best way to ask their fiancee to sign a prenup, including helpful tips such as ‘warning her early’ and ‘paying for her lawyer’.  The discussion surrounding prenups is predominantly geared towards men, with women portrayed as the unwilling, impractical and stubborn side of the equation.

I want to start off by dismissing the notion that prenups are ‘unromantic’.  They are one of the most romantic things you can do with the person you love.  If you sacrifice your career to stay at home with the kids, a prenup can dictate fair compensation so you aren’t left saddled with children and a rising pile of bills while you try to get back to work or school in the wake of a divorce. If you pay for part of your spouse’s education, a prenup can dictate that you receive a portion or even all of that money back.

Furthermore, just because you have a prenup doesn’t mean you’re eventually going to get divorced.  It doesn’t make getting divorced ‘easier’ in the long term. Sure, there’s now a ream of paper sitting in a filing cabinet saying how it’s all going to go down in the event that happily ever after turns into a situation worthy of a daytime soap.  But it doesn’t shield you from the emotional fallout, for you or for any potential little ones unwittingly involved in the situation.

The notion that prenups are only for men is antiquated; it’s from a time when men worked and women stayed home, when men controlled the finances, when men were the one starting companies and working as investment bankers.  We still haven’t reached complete gender equality (and I’m doubtful if we ever will) but women, do you really think that there is nothing that you own in this life that is worth protecting in the event of a divorce?

You’re now just as likely to write that bestselling novel, found the next Twitter or Facebook or become a high-powered attorney, banker or doctor.  A prenup doesn’t just protect your future husband.  It also protects you.

Take control of your assets, current and future, by sitting down with a lawyer.  Take back the prenup.

Everyone’s trying to run away

“I’m going to run away,”

were words that I used to say a lot as a kid.

the concept was pretty solid:

step 1: attempt to slam bedroom door.

step 2: get bedroom door stuck on carpet, preventing a satisfying slam.

step 3: pack backpack.

step 4: realize that backpack will not fit entire zoo of stuffed animals.

step 5: admit defeat, cry, decide that it is easier to hide in the closet or under the bed for hours than follow through with my threat.

Had I gotten past my front door I would have realized that I’d be walking at least a mile and a half before even making it out of my development.  Thanks, suburbia.

In high school I was still trying to run away.  This was when I realized the limitations of my town, which constrained me to sleepy residential roads framed by county roads packed with cars.  This was when I spent a lot of time in the woods, or out on the dock, or just sitting in my driveway.

Reading journal entries from that time make me yearn to go back and hold that girl’s hand, tell her that in ten, twelve years she’ll be sitting on her couch in Berkeley, windows open, sunlight and light flower smells wafting in, writing this entry and feeling okay.  Or, dare I say it… good.

Everyone’s trying to run away.  And it’s so easy to push away from a life you don’t want without knowing what you’re running towards.

But things are, despite it all, always getting better.   There’s no need to go anywhere; just ride it out right where you lie.