How Your Partner Can Affect Your Career

Everyone has the right to have different goals and priorities in their life. But once you get into marriage or a serious relationship – and you want that to work out – your goals and priorities will inevitably intertwine. It’s likely that many things will change, starting from the type of coffee that you’ll buy, the movies you watch, and how you spend the weekends.

Your partner’s life goals, principles, and lifestyles are likely to also affect your career and the flexibility that you will have in pursuing it. 

Your partner – husband, wife, girlfriend or boyfriend, can have a significant effect on your career, career development, and how flexible you are in pursuing it.

The career that you choose will affect at least two things in your life: The first one is the time you spend working and the second one is your finances, which means your income as well as your spending habits.

Once you get married, or you get into a more serious relationship, another factor, which is the person involved, will affect these things as well.

Then it’s no longer just about you and your life.

It’s likely that many things will change, starting from the type of coffee that you’ll buy, the movies you watch, and how you spend the weekends.

Your partner’s life goals, principles, and lifestyles are likely to also affect your career and the flexibility that you will have in pursuing it. 

In my case, it worked out pretty well. Before I even got married and was still dating, I was pretty open with my boyfriend at that time about what kind of goals I had in life and what kind of career I envisioned.

I told him openly that I was interested to pursue something in the entertainment industry including acting and filmmaking.  

It turned out that he was also interested in pursuing a creative career, and because of that it wasn’t too challenging for us to understand each other’s aspirations. 

We were not only able to accommodate each other’s needs because we both had an understanding of the entertainment industry, but we could actively support each other.

So instead of struggling with conflict that can surface sometimes when two people in a relationship don’t understand what the other is trying to do, together we went on a journey of producing two feature films.

In the end, we even decided to go to Canada so that at least one of us could study film business so that we as a team could get ahead in our film producing skills.

For us, it went pretty well. 

But it can also be very different.

There are many relationship dynamics where either one or even both of the people in the relationship can become very limited in pursuing their career because one or the other party sets some kind of expectations on the other.

The other person may even not be aware of these expectations, because it’s never been communicated.

Let’s say that one person in the relationship has the kind of job which requires him or her to travel regularly, e.g. several days each month, whereas the other person places great importance on having dinner together every single day of the month.

There already is a clash of needs. In the long term, this kind of relationship will difficult to manage.

Another example and this is perhaps a more a traditional case, is where typically the husband expects the wife to be the primary caregiver and stay at home and look after the children. Let’s say that at the same time the wife is a very ambitious person and wants to go after her career goal to be the company director at the company where she is working.

In the long term, this will be a huge headache and source of conflict. She might give in to the husband’s set up, but in the end, feel that she missed out on something.

One more example is if one person in the relationship wants to have a very high living standard or a very luxurious life. Someone crazy about expensive cars, going on luxury trips multiple times in a year, and shopping sprees. 

This means that at least one of the people in the relationship or maybe even both need to stay on a career path that enables a matching income. Career change, which oftentimes requires accepting a temporary decrease in salary may become less of an option, as the focus is the high income. 

If in such a setup, one of the people in the relationship wants to explore a different career path, e.g. go into freelancing, take a sabbatical, or start their own business, then the other person who feels sees having a luxurious life, might not be happy about this decision.

For all these examples, my goal here is not to place any value judgment about what kind of life or what kind of goals are better.

You can do whatever you want. You can be a freelancer, an employee at a big corporation, an entrepreneur, or a stay at home mom.

Everyone has the right to have different goals and priorities in their life. But once you get into marriage or a serious relationship – and you want that to work out – your goals and priorities will inevitably intertwine.

So it’s very important that before you commit yourself to a serious relationship, or at least in the earlier stages of it, you at least talked a bit about these crucial things.

Talk about your goals. What is your vision of life, what are your priorities? What kind of career are you aiming for? 

Put your cards on the table.

If you talk about these things in advance then there will be fewer misunderstandings. With this information, each person in the relationship then has a fair chance to think about it.

If they’re okay with it. And if not, in how far they are willing to make changes and sacrifices to accommodate the other person’s needs and goals.

Ideally, none of us want to change anything about our own goals and plans for the other person. But if you want to have a successful relationship, then that is oftentimes necessary. Except if you are willing to have separate lives and households, and only meet each other on dates.

So if you’re starting to get a bit more serious in your relationship and especially if you’re starting to think about marriage, then you definitely need to address this very important question about career goals and life goals in general.

And to do this of course, first of all, you need to know yourself better.

You need to know what you want for your life and what kind of career you envision. 

It’s not an easy thing to do and it takes time to explore. But it’s not only important but also our responsibility.

Each of us has the responsibility to know what we want first and to communicate it to our partner because if we don’t then we ‘ll enter into a serious relationship with the wrong expectations. 

We might even get very disappointed, disillusioned, and misunderstand the other person as being self-centered. 

If this got you thinking about your career goals, if there are career-related things that you want to pursue but just didn’t have the time or courage to go after yet, then I would encourage you to spend some time to delve into it. 

Once you’re clearer about it, also try to communicate it to your partner.

Let’s say that now you’re working in the corporate world but you’re seriously thinking about going into freelancing because this would allow you to have more time with your family.

But maybe you have some concerns about what kind of effect that will have on your living standard and so on. Then why not sit down with your partner and have a serious talk about it. Who knows that maybe they are thinking about the same thing?

Perhaps your partner is more open to your ideas and plans than you think. So don’t just assume upfront that they will not be open to the idea and that they won’t like it. Bring it out in the open and find out what he or she thinks about it. 

 

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