Fans of Stan's The Bold Type, a comedy-drama about three women who work for a glossy magazine, will have likely muttered the same, frustrated phrase over the past few episodes:
"Why didn't Sutton and Richard talk about kids before getting hitched?"
If you're currently muttering "Who? What?", here's the abridged version: newly married couple (pictured above); woman reveals she doesn't want to have children; man is devastated; they fight, then have a think; proves to be a deal-breaker for man; man leaves.
It makes for riveting television, sure. But in real life, the consequences of such a huge divergence are anything but entertaining.
So what are the important questions to ask a partner before getting married or committing to a long-term partnership? And what if the answers aren't what you want to hear?
"Now you don't want kids?" The turning point in Sutton and Richard's marriage. (Post continues below.)
Melissa Ferrari, a therapist with over 20 years’ experience in couples counselling and individual psychotherapy, told Mamamia that the reason to start a dialogue on big issues early on isn't just practical, it's physiological.
"In the 'loved up' stage in a relationship, attachment hormones run riot through our brain. Be aware that the powerful chemical agents creating that wonderful euphoric feeling will fade, and therefore it is important that you ask some important questions of each other as you consider a long-term, committed relationship," she said.
The questions she recommends asking include:
Why do we want to be together?
Is our relationship our first priority, or are we placing work, family or our own interests first?
As a couple, do we believe that we will always help and support each other when one of us is distressed?
Do we really have each other’s backs: are we willing to protect each other both publicly and privately, or are we still at every-person-for-themselves stage?
Have we talked about our future: do we want the same things, or are there differences that may cause problems down the track?
How will we manage domestic chores?
Will our finances be shared?
Do we want kids? And if so, who will stay home and who will work?
What if the answers aren't what you want to hear?
"Well, for some this can be serious, particularly if it is around something like whether to have children, where you will live, or how you deal with family and friends. These are the 'deal-breakers' that are a huge threat to relationships," Melissa said.