ready for marriage? advice

big_decisionMay 15, 2007

My boyfriend and I have been dating for 1.5 years. We have been very good friends for 8 years and known eachother for 12. We have recently brought up the topic of marriage. We have discussed many topics that we feel need to be talked about before getting married. He wants 2 kids and I want 4 we both feel we would like 3. Decision made. We have talked about budget issues, where our money will go, how much to save etc. We know eachothers bestfriends, hardships while growing up. We know the best and worst of eachother. I am turing 22 and he is turning 25, both in July and if we get engaged we will be engaged for at least 1.5 years. But I have some concerns about if we are ready for such a step. I apologize now because I am going to really start rambeling.

1. He and his father own a business together and his father can be high strung and moody. Everyone's family gets along with everyone else, however, when his father gets mad he can take it out on my boyfriendand that inturn makes my boyfriend grumpy. His father's attitude gets to me because I am such a happy person normally and I always feel uneasy when his father is mad and it is never fun when your significant other is upset. I currently live an hour away so I only hear about the grumpyness when my boyfriend needs to vent about something or if I am there. But if we got married I would hear about it everytime and might always feel uneasy around his father. I am afraid that this will lead to animosity among the family and eventually start fights between b/f and I about his father's attitude. Can you just imagine me being in the hospital with my first born and b/f's father throwing a fit over something silly and starting a family fight? Is this something that will cause friction for the rest of our lives and can I deal with that?

2. B/f lives in the town that I grew up in. As mentioned previously, he and his father own a business together so there is no chance of him moving. Additionally, he is inheriting his grandparents house in the next few years, he will always live in this town. Four years ago, when I graduated high school, I wanted NOTHING more than to move away from this town. Mainly because the school was corrupt (resloved now) and they treated us like children but expected us to act like adults. You had no decision making power but could not act irresponisble either so it was frusterating to no end. The school system is taken care of now if this marriage does happen, our kids could go there and I am now an adult so I can go back there no problem but it is still a small, gossipy town and you have no private life. I live in a larger town that has a grocery open 24 hours a day, eating places open 24 hours a day, and variety of life experiences to partake in. There is no reason to be bored. In the town bf lives in there is a TINY grocery open 5 days a week from 9-4, one cafe and a bar that serves some food. No varitey of life...... Could I move back there? I don't mind going back for the weekends, etc but would I be happy there for the rest of my life?

3. He wants a prenup. His mother left his father with bf and bf's little brother. She cleaned out the bank accounts and just left them all. So b/f wants a prenup. When he first told me that I said not a problem. I understand why you would want one, I don't plan on getting a divorce, and I have a decent savings and investment, retirement, etc. After thinking about it though it made me realize that if he is wanting a prenup he thinks there is a possibility of divorce and that makes me fear that he may not be as committed to making a marriage work. When we have disagreements we always work on them and don't have any issues that we fight over consistantly so we haven't had HUGE problems so far that we haven't overtaken but I know that marriage is different. It is harder work to live together, have kids, stress etc. Is him wanting a prenup a sign that he is not 100% committed to making a marriage work or is it just sheilding himself against marrying someone like his mother? (which everyone agrees I am not)

4. Jobs in this town are limited for me. I am in school for nursing and there is a hospital 30 miles to the east and 30 miles to the north but neither have very good beinfits and don't have the best policies. For examlpe if you agree when you take the job that you will work everyother weekend, within 3 months they will have you working 3 weekends a month and calling you on the other weekend asking you to fill in. Another option would be daycare but when I have run one in the past I did not mix work with pleasure(didn't watch my friends' kids) in this small town there would be no way to keep those seperate as I know everyone there and I don't want to create issues because of that. I would also have the option to work at the same call center where I am currently a supervisor. I could do this position from home but they do not provide health insurance for you if you work from home and I cannot drive 120 miles a day to go to work. Boyfriend says that I could be a stay at home mother as we both want kids about 1.5 years after marriage but what happens if his business hits a rough patch? I think I could suck it up and do one of those jobs for a period of time but not permenantly.

5. Libedo. I hear this is one of the major factors that married couples fight over and ours don't exactly match. They aren't TOO far off but how far is really too far? His is just a bit less and mine is just a bit more but he is fine with vanilla ice cream in the bedroom and I like to add some chocolate syrup, sprinkles, and whipped cream if you get my drift. Would this cause issues in the long run? We have agreed to no sex before marriage but have had conversations about the subject during these marriage discussions.

Are these things that should make me turn around and never look back or are they things that can be worked out and shouldn't cause an issue? Do these things sound too immature and maybe we aren't ready or aren't compatible? Any advice from those already married? We agree on parenting styles and all that. I really love him and we get along really well. We know each others short comings but WE are really not the issue, these are all issues outside the relationship that could cause havoc on a marriage. Really just looking for some advice on this. I would appriciate anything.

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I have been married 10 years,and I have to tell you,it isnt about finding someone who is perfect.It's about finding someone whose flaws you can deal with,and likewise they can deal with yours.

You ask if all of these things should make you turn around and not look back,or if they are things that can be worked out.Ultimately,you are the only one who can decide this for yourself.
If the things you have mentioned bother you greatly,and there is no real solution (because your BF wont move) Then,there may certainly be a rift in the future.

I greatly respect those who wait to have sex before marriage.However,it could cause a problem when you marry if you arent on the same page sexually. Just browse this forum a little. Some of the biggest problems involve sex,or the lack there of. It is my PERSONAL opinion that you "test drive the car before you buy it". Otherwise,how will you know you even like it?

It would seem to me,in your situation,that it would be hard to decide if this is what you really want for the long haul when you live kinda far apart.
If you really want to test it out,maybe try staying with him for a brief period if you can. If the town bores you to tears,and his father is annoying you,or the sex is boring/not good. Then these are definitely things you might want to reconsider.Exspecially before you go add kids into this mix.

Only you can decide if these things bother you enough to not want to follow through.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 5:00PM
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Business with the father will be troublesome -- especially given the father's occasional tantrums. (I have some experience with this. It can be a killer!) Forget the pre-nup -- at your ages and positions, that alone should be a deal-breaker. Pre-nups are good for previous families and lifetime accumulations. From your description, I don't see anything to justify one here. The degree to which he is, apparently, governed by the family business appears to be dominant for him. That dominance will likely increase. Will mean security at first but may well become smotheringly overburdening over time. Don't know how you know about libido issues if you have no experience together.

You're 22....that's young. You've got plenty of time if you want it. Appears to me that you're preparing to give up a lot in order to act now. Only you know whether or not that's OK with you. Biggest deal IMHO is the father/son business and the importance it seems to have. Combining that with the pre-nup would make me think long and hard about what's going on. Small towns can be wonderful for families. Maybe it would be wonderful for yours. You may come to prefer it.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 5:16PM
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Have experience with family business. It can be difficult to separate the two, but it can be done.

Why not live together for a year before deciding on marriage. I definitely wouldn't marry someone that I hadn't had sex with. Just me, just my opinion.

With regard to the prenup - see it all the time not only in older demographic, but in younger demographic as well, especially with the business involved. If your bf is a shareholder in the business, then a prenup is definitely appropriate. Wouldn't you like to protect some things as well? You definitely want to hire a laywer to review your prenup, negotiate what you are not willing to live with, get the changes made you want and then sign it. Doesn't mean you're bf is thinking of divorce, means he is thinking ahead maturely.

Are you telling me there are no daycare centers in your area where you do not have to have send your child to a home daycare of a personal acquaintance? Sounds odd since most all communities have some sort of organized daycare these days with most couples needing two incomes to get by.

You are very young. Don't rush, take your time and keep an open mind.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2007 at 8:25PM
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I think that there is a place for prenups, as one of the other posters said, when it is later in life and one has children and accumulated many possessions, that the new spouse had no part in.

I personally do not agree in a pre-nup at your age when you would just be starting out and building a family and life together. If I were in your shoes, and decided to sign one, it would have a clause that it was null and void upon the birth of the fist child. I would never want to be that vulnerable, that after having children, he could walk away with everything, and I would have to start over later in life with nothing? How do you have children and build a family and life, and feel that you are building something together, always knowing in the back of your mind that you could find yourself late in life...penniless?

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 10:24AM
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Thank you everyone for the posts. Some of you brought up points that I had not considered yet. We are still working on things and disscussing things. He knows how I feel so we are in no way getting engaged soon but we have decided to give it a little more time. I may move down there after I graduate and live there for a while to see if I am happy there. There are no wedding bells in the near future but we may still consider it in a few more years. I guess only time and hard work will tell! Thanks again and feel free to add any more opinions!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 4:40PM
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Good for you! I think you've made a very mature decision to wait until you are sure you will like it there.I hope you will be very happy~best of luck to you!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 4:44PM
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bigdecision - Am I wrong to assume that the need for the prenup is the family business, or perhaps something your boyfriend owns of significant value? Prenups are the norm in situations as I described. Assets acquired during the course of a marriage are not part of the prenup - the prenup is covering anything prior to the marriage. Things acquired during the marriage aren't subject to the prenup, they are considered and split equitably as they are joint property. However, if you bring say shares of a business, a home, a whatever of significant worth, a prenup is in order.

Best of luck to you.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 1:40PM
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He wants the prenup because of what his mother did to them, not because of the business. I am just fine with the prenup, I was just nervous that if he thought he needs a prenup, he won't be willing to work out the rough patches that any marrige will go through. I was nervous that perhaps he was just preparing for a divorce instead of preparing for a life long marriage. Money wise and asset wise I am just fine with the prenup. I guess it just worried me that the commitment wouldn't be there.... We have talked more about this issue and I think alot of our worries have been put at ease. At this point I think the major issue is can I be happy living in a tiny town, 5 miles from his father for the rest of my life. I will be moving to my own little rental in town this summer and giving that some time to see how things pan out. If we end up deciding to get married, I will move in with him :-) Thanks for the input. Talking about this has really helped me with some of my apprehension and brought up some additional questions to discuss before considering taking this relationship any further!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 3:16PM
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FWIW, pre-nup will not prevent what his mother did to them as you described it.

If he's young and has limited assests and no kids, I still don't get this. However, if you do, that's all that counts.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 3:49PM
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The business that he and his father own is a VERY large one that requires alot of very expensive equipment. I would venture a guess that they have well over a million dollars in this business. Which is why I am not against a prenup. I totally understand the need to keep the business safe especially where it is a family business and a divorce without a prenup wouldn't hurt just him but the whole family. We are still discussing the problems with his mother and he is fully aware that if kids were to come into the picture, there would be NO WAY that I would just pack up and leave them all.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 5:27PM
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Then, again, you did just say: "He wants the prenup because of what his mother did to them, NOT because of the business."

I don't know what the situation is. As long as you do, fine.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 7:29PM
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FWIW...I've been close to a number of these situations over the years. Each situation involved a viable father/son enterprise that did well over the years providing good livings for all concerned as the businesses grew. Here's how it went: Father and son have up-and-running business that they want to leave "off the table" in case something goes wrong in the son's marriage. That's fair enough, right? That's all the pre-nup does, right?

What happens when the break-up comes? Because of the proprietary nature of the business, much of the increasing value that could have been paid as wages -- and therefore remained "on the table" during the marriage-- was, instead, plowed back into business equity, which -- according the terms of the pre-nup -- remains "off the table" at break-up time. I'm not saying it was in anyone's heart at the time. Just saying that's what happened in the cases I'm familiar with.

In other words, via a pre-nup, your prospective husband will have a built in avenue by which to "hide" assets accumulated during your marriage that you will have agreed in advance -- via the pre-nup -- never to claim your fair share of.....ever. Pre-nups can easily be structured to avoid this. Personally, however, from your description, I have zero doubt that will be the kind of pre-nup you'll be signing when the time comes.

Understand the legitimate desire of father/son to "protect" this business. That's fair. Securing your own legitimate interests is fair, too.

If there's going to be a pre-nup, STRONGLY suggest you be represented by your own attorney who will better-explain these contingincies to you. It's common as nails.

Not suggesting anybody's out to do anybody harm. The situation is what it is. The law says what it says. We're all grown up. Just look at what there is to look at before deciding is all I'm suggesting. Talk to anyone you know with any kind of legal background. They'll tell you the same.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 10:48PM
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If/when we do this, we will each have our own lawyer ;-)

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 10:39AM
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Lots of good advice and rational discussion --

OP - The title of your post was 'Ready for marriage?', and in light of your mature and cogent thoughts on the matter, I'd say 'yes' to the issue of 'ready'. You don't seem to be living in some fantasy world and have a realistic grasp of the advantages and disadvantages of the life you'd be signing up for. It may not be 'romantic' -- but I'd argue that it's plenty important.

On the flip side, while you seem very mature for your age, you are still pretty young. There's a lot of growing up and changing that a person goes through in her early 20's, and sometimes two people grow in different directions. That's not a bad thing -- but it can be hard on a marriage. I'd want to be sure your long-term goals are compatible, and that the life you aim to build together is the life you both want.

Good luck to you --

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 1:34PM
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There's no mention of whether either of you are seeing others while you're dating. If you aren't, have you in the past? How much experience have you had with other relationships?

There's no doubt in my mind that you are probably ready for marriage. I have doubts, based on your postings, that he is remotely ready for marriage. He hasn't gotten over his mother taking off.

I have huge doubts that this is the man or situation for you. It appears that you are giving up many of your wants and aspirations because of his inability or unwillingness to move on from the family business. You sound quite mature and intelligent. You've listem many concerns about the future with this man, and many of those are very basic personality needs. Bigger city/small town; he has built-in employment/employment for you is limited; he is tied to daddy/you're on your own; you're expected to change for him/he goes on as usual.

Obviously, you know your situation better than any of us. We can (and obviously will, since you asked) put our two cents' worth in from our viewpoints, but you're the one there. My wife and i have been married going on 25 years this fall, and both had a false-start or two that just didn't "feel" right before we met each other. We're glad we waited until things "clicked" more closely with each other, than going ahead with the other possiblities.

As otherz have mentioned, you're young. You need to get out and try what you think you want, take some risks, learn about yourself, before you settle for what is familiar. The fact that you're asking all these questions is good. Listen to what's behind them, also. There's a reason you're questioning all this, and I think that you know the "right" answer for yourself, you're just looking for somebody to give you permission to make the decision.

Good luck! You will be a great mate for the right guy. Make sure he is worthy of you.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2007 at 12:40AM
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