Between social media acquaintances and female friends It’s a safe bet that at least twice a day I see a woman write or hear a woman say that she needs to “focus on her career” and therefore can’t bother with a relationship. I can’t help but wonder if this is a rational fear or if it’s just an excuse for being single. I tend to believe women are genuinely afraid of having a relationship while looking to achieve goals, and I’d like to put that myth to bed.
Unless a career choice involves sex or nudity I can’t imagine a man complaining to his partner about her goals. Every woman who I have seen mention this “career first” mentality isn’t involved in anything raunchy at all. A majority of the time the women who say this want to be involved in the field of business, medicine, law or have entrepreneurial aspirations. These are all positive things, so I ask this: what is it men are doing that prevents a woman from focusing on a budding career and being in a relationship at the same time?
I’ve been with my girlfriend for about 3 years and we’ve lived together for over 2. When we first started dating she was a full time student and worked 35+ hours a week. I was working and going to school myself. We barely saw each other aside from a few minutes before bed or after we woke up. That was just how our schedules worked out from 6am-10pm every day.
At no point did I ever feel like bailing on the relationship because we didn’t have hours on end together. She needed to get a degree and work, I understood that and I think most men would as well.
A woman who has lofty goals and aspirations needs a man with equally elevated expectations of himself. A man who has those expectations will also understand a woman trying to do the same. Actually, not only will he understand, he’ll most likely value that quality in his partner. I love that my girlfriend pushes herself to the limit, and as much as I’d love to pretend I’m the only guy in the world who admires that kind of drive there’s just no way that’s possible. There are men everywhere who value, respect, and seek a woman who is driven.
If you’re a woman who genuinely does have a fear about this, you could be right. It is possible that some men can feel emasculated by a dominant woman with her eyes set on the prize. A woman who is driven shouldn’t be dating someone who can’t support her independence and personal goals anyway. Foregoing all possible loving relationships because some men may be intimidated isn’t a viable or healthy decision. Even if supportive men are a rarity, they still exist and rather than leaving love behind it should be another goal to find a supportive and equally driven partner.
Using a career, school, or any other assortment of goals as an excuse not to date isn’t realistic. Although I do primarily see this from women on my personal social media feeds and in my community, I’m sure men do this as well. This “career cop out” in order to avoid getting serious with someone else isn’t limited to just one sex or sexual orientation, anyone can give this excuse. It’s unfair to believe another human being can’t cope with being apart for long periods of time due to a hard working individual with sights set on the future.
The next time you see or hear someone say they’re focusing on their career and refuse to find love, let them know it doesn’t have to be that way. If you feel that way personally, know that it doesn’t have to be that way. There are individuals who are willing and able to accommodate any situation, even if it’s putting in long hours at school, work, or both. If anything, having a partner in the hard times can make it that much sweeter for your relationship when you achieve your goals. When a partner who loves you is proud of what you’ve accomplished and was there with you on your journey it’s a great feeling.
Roughing it out with a partner during stressful periods is also the best way to grow individually. How else will you know how to handle stress or how your partner handles stress if you don’t go through it? It’s a learning experience for everyone involved. Coping skills aren’t genetic, they’re learned, and a relationship is a good place to learn those coping skills that carry over to the workplace. That’s a useful tool, not a burden.
A partner who can’t be with you during the rough times while you’re attaining goals probably isn’t a partner for you anyway. Life isn’t always roses and butterflies and to have a partner in the stressful times when you’re putting in long hours, who can handle them with you, proves a lot about how long you can last as a couple. Don’t sell yourself short of a loving relationship for a career. Relationships are not a hindrance to careers, they’re a benefit. No matter what anyone says or what you’ve tricked yourself into believing it’s possible to have a loving partner and all of the goals in the world at the same time.