After writing about gender roles in “Married at First Sight: The Finale,” I started to think about what happens when your partner changes their mind after you’ve made the ultimate commitment. What happens when life throws you a curveball? What if a previously egalitarian-touting partner realizes he or she wants stereotypical gender roles once you’ve set up house? What if your significant other proposes, but then decides he or she doesn’t want to ever exchange vows? What if your spouse decides he or she no longer wants to have any children, or wants to limit the number of children to lower than what you previously discussed? Are any of these relationship-ending decisions? Should one half of a couple be able to make a decision on behalf of both of them?
My suggestion would be to seek therapy for impartial advice from a neutral party and to be open to compromise. Typically, something has happened in that person’s life to make them suddenly change their mind. But you can also ask hard questions while you’re dating and look for certain signs along the way. If a man says he believes women are equal and that he will contribute to household chores, see how he treats female waitstaff in a busy restaurant. If your man proposes, but avoids the topic of setting a date, then think about whether or not you need that piece of paper. If you don’t have kids or if you’re not sure if you want more, then “borrow” (babysit) a friend or family member’s kid(s) for a weekend (they will be indebted to you for the mini-vacation!) to see how you are able to handle it for more than a few hours. You may be surprised that you find yourself not wanting more kids either, or it could be a total deal-breaker because you can’t imagine not becoming a parent.
No one should make any major life decisions without consulting their significant other, but when that does occur, don’t be afraid to seek help.