One of my dearest friends, Angie, got engaged about 6 months ago, and it was just about the happiest I've ever been for my friends. Although they were a wonderful couple, they used to always say that they didn't believe in getting married. He works for a very progressive company and gets domestic partner benefits, so there wasn't any real incentive as far as that's concerned. I wondered what would happen to them because she still had some desires to live abroad or maybe move to Chicago, and he wasn't always a part of these plans. They were "if things don't work out" plans, but when he proposed she excitedly said yes and was comfortable and happy to give up those plans.
Angie was the first person to introduce me to the word "childfree". She's the first person I was ever able to talk with about childfree issues. It has been no secret that she has no desire for children.
They've been together for over 5 years, and while early in the relationship there was some wondering what the future because of Eric's desire for kids one day, eventually Eric started coming over to the other side. She thought they had come to an understanding -- she did not want kids. There was the possibility that would change with time, but it was nothing he could bank on.
As time has passed since the engagement, however, Eric has gotten the worst case of cold feet I've ever seen. I suspect a big reason for this is that he never really did get comfortable with the idea of a childfree marriage. He wants to be a father one day, and yes, he'd make a great one, but Angie doesn't want to be a mom. She doesn't even like children. She's happy with her kittens and doesn't need or want for more.
With all of this, Angie feels betrayed and lied to because he didn't think it through before getting her hopes up. Saying yes was not an easy thing for her. It shocked us all that they would ever get married, not because we doubted their committment -- they just weren't marryin' folk. But now he's wondering if they are truly compatible for the long term, in large part because of this issue.
This is causing a huge rift that may not only end the engagement, but one of the most lovely relationships I've had the pleasure of knowing, and it's breaking my heart. I want them to be in love, I want them to get married and live happily ever after, but it makes me wonder if this is something that Angie will compromise on. She's not a compromiser, but I know she wants to spend her life with Eric. If this one issue tears them apart... I don't know, it's just making me very, very sad.