Would You Sacrifice A Major Job Opportunity For Your Relationship?

September 15, 2016  |  

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Relationships are all about give and take. Compromise. When it comes to compromising in relationships, some of us grapple with the most basic of sacrifices: Netflix or Hulu? Takeout or a home-cooked meal? (And who is going to go be picking it up or cooking it? Decisions, decisions…) But nothing will make a relationship more complicated than having to mull over the decision of whether or not to put career development on hold for your relationship.

We live in an age where women are consistently being told to be realistic with our dating expectations and know when to let a man “be a man” in a relationship. And sometimes, in an effort not to step on anyone’s toes, we do these things by falling back in a professional sense for the sake of a relationship. For instance, I had a conversation with an ex about a woman he’d been engaged to once. He gushed about her, which led me to ask why they didn’t end up getting married. He told me, “She chose us.”

Wondering what that means?

See, his ex-fiancée was at the top of her game in her field of work. Being one of the only Black women on a predominantly White male team, she crawled and clawed her way up the proverbial ladder, broke the glass ceiling and kept going. About six months into their engagement, she was offered the opportunity to head one of the company’s operations in Sydney, Australia, and this was where things went sour between them. After much back and forth about it, and considering that they were preparing to get married, she declined the job offer.

One could see this as a good thing. You avoid the issue of entering into a long-distance relationship and dealing with the other complications that come with being married and having a spouse on the other side of the continent. But sadly, being able to stay together physically wasn’t enough to actually keep them together. This tiny little thing called resentment crept in and ruined things.

According to my friend, she wasn’t the same after she gave up her opportunity for him. Granted, they both wanted to be married, and being in their late 30s, they also really wanted to start a family. However, the discontent formed from having to give up something she’d worked so hard for just to keep her partner happy was strong. Her choice didn’t feel in line with who she was and it was what ended them. No one knows if they would have been married by now if she had taken the job and they tried to make things work from a distance. But the need to put love ahead of her professional goals is what killed her spirit, and as a result, that relationship.

It saddens me to think that this happens more often than we know of or talk about, especially in marriages. If you’re great at your job, you’ll likely be recognized and promoted. Sometimes that requires relocation. The general unspoken consensus is that the woman be the one to make the sacrifice and quell her professional achievements and aspirations in order to hold things together. “Follow your husband” they say, because it’s always our role to do so. You rarely hear stories where a man steps back from his career prospects or packs up to move in order for his significant other to continue to excel in their field.

I personally haven’t had to make this decision, yet. I would hope that when I’m at a point with the person I’m meant to be with, this is something we can discuss. The compromise of ego vs. doing what’s best for our relationship and come to a mutually agreed upon resolution for the good of us both.

What say you? Would you ever give up a major job opportunity for your relationship?

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