Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Should Your Partner Dictate Your Career?

My answer is a big NO!

I am back in the habit of having interesting conversations with friends, acquaintances and even random individuals about relationships, the dynamics involved, and the pitfalls couples have to sometimes work through in order to get to their 'happy place'. I found it rather surprising when one of such discussions with a male acquaintance went rather awry after he insisted he must have control over his partner's career. I tried to pacify him, explain it to him, and even tried to understand the direction he was coming from, I just couldn't. Nothing I said worked, nothing he said convinced me, and I ended the day with headache pills. 



I always try my best to make it clear that being in a relationship does not and should not lead to a loss of individuality. Before a relationship begins, there are two individuals with different plans for their lives, and perhaps different ideas on how they intend to live. Of course, the development of love will bring about compromise in different areas, however there is a limit to how much compromise one can make. 

Some people are career-driven; they have big dreams about where their careers are heading and they hope to follow through whichever way they can, without sacrificing their family time. I find it rather disturbing that some spouses become troubled by the idea of their partner following a career, and instead of providing support, they offer emotional blackmail, criticism and lots of threats. This is especially common amongst men who believe women should only be limited to the kitchen and to the childbearing ward in hospitals. The idea of a woman attempting to pursue a career just does not sit well with them, and they make that clear. I have no problem with that, the only issue I have is with the women who agree to sacrifice their happiness for the purpose of serving someone else while he pursues his happiness. 

I am not asking people to replace love with their jobs, nor am I asking them to be power-hungry, selfish individuals who do not care about their families. What I am saying is that being in a relationship doesn't mean you should lose sight of your dreams and aspirations. It is not a license to lose sense of your individuality. Your happiness, emotional health and mental health are important and should be treated as such. If your career contributes to your happiness, then go for it. If your spouse doesn't understand, then he's not selfless enough to let you enjoy a little happiness. Like Dr. Phil once said, "if a person asks you to sacrifice the whole of your being just so you can become half of him/her, that person's asking for way too much!"

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