Can I be the first to say I am sick and tired over the romanticization of women giving up their dream jobs, internships or colleges to stay with their significant other in TV and movies? They run across the airport or show up at the door in the pouring rain and proudly announce that they are here to stay. The man smiles, his dream has come true! The girl smiles, her dream just died.
I will forever hate the Friends finale. You know exactly what I’m talking about. When Rachel decides to throw away her dream job in Paris to stay with Ross. Ross, the guy who went out and slept with somebody new the very first night they were “on a break” and does nothing but mope around. She could have done so much better.
Or on Boy Meets World when Topanga decides to turn down going to Yale to attend Pennbrook with Cory instead (who we can all agree is kind of the worst). Can we not?
Or when Vanessa on Gossip Girl not only gets reprimanded and passive-aggressively guilt-tripped by Dan for applying and getting into Tisch’s playwriting program, she also nearly gives up her CNN internship in Haiti for him. So freaking annoying.
Ok, my television addiction is showing a bit.
This week I wanted to take some time to share why you should always choose the opportunity over the relationship. With Valentine’s Day and my wedding approaching fast, the concept of love and sacrifices have been heavy on my mind. I have been spending a lot of time reminiscing about my relationship with Kevin and how we got to where we are today. And to think, where he and I are today is greatly due to a decision to leave each other for career opportunities.
When You Are With The Right Person, It Really Shouldn’t Be A Choice
A little tough love here – if your love is real, there should be no decision to be made. If your significant other really cares and wants the best for you, they will not give you an ultimatum and force you to choose between them or your new opportunity.
A few years ago, I was unemployed and desperately searching for advertising jobs in Austin. I was quickly finding that I had very few agency choices in the first place, and those agencies I did have as options were not interested in moving forward with me. I was feeling discouraged, stressed out and low on cash.
I will never forget one evening when Kevin sat me down and asked me why I wasn’t applying anywhere else. I told him that I didn’t want to leave him and that I felt guilty that he had moved back to Austin for me just for me to leave once again.
There are some defining key moments that make you love your significant other to the core – this was one of mine. He held my hand and told me that I was wasting my potential staying here. He told me that I should be applying anywhere and everywhere, to my dream agencies no matter how far away they are. He then went on to say that I could get a job across the world and we would still make us work. He wasn’t going anywhere.
Years later, thanks to his support and my decision to move to Dallas, I have found my path to a satisfying career AND I get to come home to the love of my life every single day. If I didn’t have that push or find the courage to take the leap, I don’t know where I would be today.
Regardless if your new opportunity is just down the street or across the world, the right person will be your biggest cheerleader and never make you feel guilty for pursuing your dreams.
Distance Makes The Heart Grow Fonder
After Kevin’s pep talk, I ended up accepting an agency job in Dallas, exactly three hours away from him.
But if there is one thing I learned from our long-distance experience, it is that distance truly does make the heart grow fonder. During our time being long distance, we learned to communicate and truly value each other’s time. After work, we would Facetime or call each other and talk about our days, rather than mindlessly get stuck watching TV next to each other. On the weekends we would come to see each other and make the active effort to go out, try new things and enjoy ourselves together.
I genuinely think that taking this time apart really challenged our relationship in the best way possible. It helped us become more independent, understand what is important to one other and improved our ability to communicate. Now that we are under the same roof, I genuinely feel like I can actively appreciate Kevin’s presence around me, whether we or out on a fancy date or decked out in our PJs binging video games.
You Will Always Question What Could Have Been
For some odd reason, I think about this scenario all the time: what if I had not listened to Kevin and stayed in Austin’s competitive job market? Where would I be? Would I have even been able to find a job in advertising, or would I have to compromise for a role I was not passionate about?
While things may work themselves out after giving up an opportunity, letting somebody stand in the way of your ambitions will undoubtedly result in “what-ifs”. It won’t matter how happy you are in your life and home or how much you love your current job, allowing your significant other to determine your future will undoubtedly result in late nights spent deep in thought. Opportunities like this don’t come around every day. By letting somebody stand in the way of your future, you risk generating a feeling of resentment towards your partner, whether it is blatant or underlying.
Your Independence Comes First
I hate to say something so cliche, but a career will never wake up in the morning and tell you they don’t love you anymore. While there is always the possibility of a job not being the best fit or getting laid off, there is just as much of a chance of being told things are not working out in your relationship. This isn’t some kind of shock or crazy surprise, we know all the time that relationships are complicated and always impose some kind of risk. However, in my opinion, I believe that it is imperative to ensure your priorities are straight.
By putting a career full of energy, ambition, and passion first and your relationship second, you are ultimately strengthening your sense of independence and self-assurance. You will learn to handle yourself and establish healthy goals. Taking the leap requires you to extend past your comfort zone and learn that a relationship is only as healthy as the people in it. If you are not taking the time to challenge yourself and expand your horizons, in an odd way you are weakening your romantic relationship as well. When it comes to your ambitions in life, this is the time to be as selfish as possible. Focus on yourself first, and then carry that sense of self-love over to your significant other.
Have you ever made the decision between a significant other and a huge opportunity? How did you handle it? Share your thoughts in the comments below!