I had a talk with a friend over lunch today about people doing stupid things in terms of career and happiness for the sake of a relationship. I realized that most folks I know compromise more than I think is valid for the sake of keeping a relationship. You should be doing something in a job that makes you happy… that you like doing. I’m not saying to exclude possible opportunities in another field of work. People switch jobs and career paths all the time, and I think that can be healthy.
Many people I have interacted with in the last year have ditched a chosen path for a partner that either doesn’t work or isn’t working in anything that has potential for happiness or growth towards happiness…which to me points to self-worth issues. This is because the arguments people use in those situations sound more like desperation than love… things like “I’ll never find anyone else to be with.” or “I can’t let this one go, he really cares about me.” If it’s a person I find worth interacting with, she is far better than settling for someone who just so happens to care about her.
You make choices about what kinds of things you want to be doing, what kind of job you’re willing to do, and how much leeway there is around that based on wanting to maintain a relationship. I know a LOT more reasonable people who do long distance for a couple of months while one tries to find a better job fit or something. Not settling for totally dashing life dreams in order to be around the person they love. It’s a lot of compromise, but it can suit a relationship well. There are all kinds of ways to do it.
I’m shocked at the number of people I know who seem so desperate to be cared about that they’re willing to settle for a life where employment is “just some job.” I can’t conceive of that. We spend too much damned time at work to have it be nothing special. I’m not saying there’s a prescribed path, there’s no one fit, and maybe that path includes some crappy jobs to be able to get to a happier goal, that’s fine, but it has to be in the larger context of a plan that is going to make both parties happy not only in the relationship, but also in work.
The situation of someone giving up a life and work that they love kinda outrages me, to start off clearly. Moreover, what bugs me in these situations is that I place blame on the person giving something up, even though they’re the “victim,” because part of me says if they had enough self-worth they wouldn’t be in that kind of situation. That’s not saying that love can’t make it though…it’s just saying i think people give up a lot in the name of it, rather than develop a more robust creative solution.
Folks are not participating in a dialogue about their lives, even though they’re intimately sharing it with someone else. In most cases there are a lot of bad assumptions going on. I have been an idiot for extended periods of time in terms of relationships, but at least I knew it wasn’t forever. This even ties into definitions and thoughts about relationships that we have in a more societal sense. The “pc” term for relationships is significant other, but when thinking about that it seems in some ways that is in relation to what? An insignificant or less significant self?
I hate self-worth issues. They’re so pervasive and life altering.
I work on a site where I mod forums for girls who are amazingly smart and growing up in a world where they often devalue themselves. They’re not inventing that themselves… it’s very pervasive in our society. I try to reach out as much as i can, and that’s great, but I hate that it’s the norm… that turning out “ok” is the minority. I’m happy that my coworker agreed with me as it means I’m not alone, but I do feel like I am a visitor from a foreign planet when I talk about this stuff.
The next time i hear a regretful “Oh, the things we do for love,” I am going to have to puke on cue.