We each have our own definition of work. Underpinned by the values and responsibilities that have come to shape us as people, we almost instantly sense when a particular job doesn’t sit right.
I have friends who accept monthly burnouts as part of their roles in exchange for a higher salary and another step up the corporate ladder. Yet, within the same cohort from university, I know others who actively seek jobs in non-government organizations — infamous for low pay but rewarding for their contribution to tackle societal issues.
You may have found your perfect job. Perhaps one that offers the perfect blend of productive work, minimal managerial responsibilities, and the evenings to wind down to your favorite book.
So, what should you do if your partner tells you they want something else? Or more concerning — something that may disrupt your relationship with them?
As my long-distance relationship approaches its third year (we would see each other maybe once every 4 months — pre-COVID…), it has become ever-more apparent to me that I should not only let my partner chase her ambitions that may indirectly pull us further apart, but to be there supporting her with all my effort.
Entrepreneur and social media influencer Gary Vaynerchuk has a central argument for young people who feel the pressure to meet their parents’ expectations.
Do what you feel passionate in doing so that you don’t grow up resenting your old folks.
In essence, Gary explains that becoming an accountant or lawyer just to make your parents happy may work in the now, but suppressing your own ambitions to follow a career you dread breeds a pernicious effect. We grow up resenting our parents, unconsciously, or consciously, blaming them for the life of misery we have now created.
What if you pursued that art degree, immersed in the work that best express your feelings? Combined with the boom of social media and the global audience available to us all, you’re almost hitting yourself for not doing what you felt was right at the time.
Managing your relationship with your loved one is no different. If your partner cannot contain her excitement as she explains her aspirations to you, do not breed negative energy as a response.
Can you see yourself in their goal?
You need to decide whether this relationship is worth the effort from both sides. Are you able to spend less time with your partner as they dedicate their off-time to build on their ambition? Can you still see a future with that person if they achieve what they want?
If the goal is to move to a country you have no intention of settling in, or a job that removes any sense of family-time together when you’re a true home-body, then the relationship may not be worth pursuing.
And that’s okay. I like to think that it isn’t necessarily a problem from either side, it’s just that you two were not a good match for each other’s lifestyle and goals. Only being with each other can reveal this, so even if things don’t work out, there shouldn’t be any feelings of regret that you tried.
A Stronger You is a Stronger Us
I have come to understand that relationships start off healthier when two individuals know exactly who they each are, and existing relationships grow impenetrable as your goals combine with your partner’s.
After graduation, my partner took some time to find what to do next. I was always conscious of providing encouragement even if it meant she’d have to move to another continent. What I didn’t want was for her to waste her precious early 20s by putting her search on hold so that she could take a part-time job in my city just to close that distance temporarily.
She has since discovered the career route she wants to take, and we have sensed our relationship strengthening tenfold in the recent months despite an 11-month separation.
The dynamics and components of each relationship differ — you may be career-focused and your partner desires the working-from-home lifestyle, or you both want a job that puts you closer to your families.
Whatever the combination, only when you know — at least some aspects — of what is important to you, can you then contribute to a relationship in a way where you present your needs and wants so that you can both adapt to complement one another.
So why shouldn’t you hold your partner back if you want them to stay?
I think the over-used and cliché word — Love — finds its way to encapsulate every relationship.
It’s a beautiful thing to have the freedom to chase the dream you have in this unimaginable opportunity we call life. Too often, we take life for granted because it’s all we’ve ever known. It’s even more endearing to have your loved one be there for you, helping you through that frightening path to get to your goal. In turn, you do the same for them and that reciprocity binds you both together.
Almost as fuel to each other’s pursuit in dreams and aspirations, that person will be thankful and touched by your support. And if, as a team, you overcome the other external challenges thrown by life, this journey will bring you closer together, not farther.
This post was previously published on Medium.
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