I love the job I had since I graduated five years ago and feel that I am successful at it. But whenever I discuss my work and my future and what I’m hoping for, my partner tries to discourage me. I don’t understand it, as I always allow time for us to have quality time together outside work.
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He says that all career women are lonely and hardbitten, and tells me he loves me as I am. He also says that our relationship should be enough for me and that I must not destroy it. How can I make him be more supportive?
Toke, by e-mail.
To hold down any job, let alone build a future, your partner must actively support you, think you are wonderful and be proud of all your achievements. When he isn’t behind you, it’s much harder to do what you have to do.
Try to get the reasons underlying your partner’s negative attitude. Does he fear he’ll lose you if you find success? Deal with this one together. Then you’ll need to make him see that any partnership worth its salt is a two-way street.
I’m sure you support him— does he expect to get all he wants and still have you beside him? If he does, then surely he must do the same for you. No one can tell another person not to strive or grow or reach out for all the things that make our working lives great.
No one has the right to stifle another’s potential or hold her back from what she can achieve. And no relationship can thrive on an unequal basis of shared love and support. We all change, some of us grow. If he can’t grow with you, then he’s the person who is threatening the relationship, not you.