Why Your Shouldn’t Compete For Career Success With Your Partner

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I am personally in a relationship with someone who is in the same industry as myself. We are often up for the same opportunities, applying to the same things, and vying for the same gigs. But, we came up with an unspoken rule a long time ago: we are not each other’s competitors. We can’t be. We are each other’s support system and, we’re a team so, a win for one of us is always a win for the other. We don’t see it as, “Either I can get this gig or you can.” Instead we see it as, we have twice the odds of our team getting it because there are two of us. I need my relationship to be nothing but an endlessly loving, comforting, supporting environment. I need it to be a place where I’m allowed to fail. In fact, I need it to be the place I go for comfort when I do fail. Here is why you should never compete with your partner for career success.

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He should be your confidante

You should be able to confide everything in your partner—from your plans on how you’ll succeed to your insecurities. You won’t feel that you can do that if you see him as a direct challenge to your success. You’ll worry he’ll use what you confide in him to his advantage.

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You should be his sounding board

Your partner should be able to bounce ideas off of you and brainstorm with you. It’s a part of the way you two know what the other one is passionate about and thinking about. But he can’t do that if he’s worried you’ll take his ideas. So conversations will be stifled.

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You’re a duo

You should see yourselves as a duo who moves forward together, not as two separate entities, off doing your own things. When you really love someone, you feel their victories and their losses and they yours. It’s how you stay connected. You don’t go off into corners and go, “This is mine and that is yours.” There’s a commonwealth.

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You need comfort when you fail

You need a safe place to go when you fail, or when you have insecurities, or when you fear that you’ll fail. You need to know your partner only has your best interests at heart and will genuinely want to comfort and uplift you when you need it—not feed on your insecurities.

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You need motivation

Sometimes you’ll need your partner to motivate you. Sometimes you’ll need someone to tell you why you’re wonderful and why you’ve got this. How can your partner do that if you’re competitors?

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You need uninhibited conversations

You need an uninhibited flow of conversation in a romantic relationship. You should never have to edit what you share with your partner or hide your emotions. The top and only agenda should be to maintain your bond and feel close. There shouldn’t be other agendas within a romantic relationship.

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You need total trust

You need to be able to totally trust your partner and he you. That just isn’t possible if you feel that your partner is always reading into what you say, or trying to gather information against you.

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You shouldn’t revel in his downfalls

If you’re competitors, then that naturally means that when your partner doesn’t get what he wants, you’re…happy. That’s sick and sad.

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You should celebrate his victories

Being competitors also means that when your partner is victorious, you’re disappointed. You see his win as your loss. How can a pair ever be happy like that? That means you’re never happy at the same time.

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That’s what everyone else is for

Hey, the world will provide you plenty of competition, adversaries, challengers, and doubters. I promise you that. You won’t be short on people who push you by doubting you. So, you don’t need that dynamic within your romantic relationship.

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You should find excitement elsewhere

Some couples are competitors because it’s how they find their excitement—it turns them on. But, that’s a little bit twisted. If you need to be adversaries to be attracted to each other, you might just need therapy. Can’t you find other ways to be excited?

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You won’t always have a career

If career competition is a big component of your relationship then your relationship is on thin ice. You won’t always have careers—remember? Don’t you hope to retire one day? Or even take long breaks? What will you have then?

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You won’t always have this career

You may not even always have this career. Maybe you’ll change careers. It’s just not good if your chemistry is built on something as fleeting as work. Your work is not who you are.

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Being vulnerable at home strengthens you

You need to be able to put down all of your guards at home—it’s how you gain the energy to go out into the world, be strong, put on a happy face when you aren’t happy, and put on the façade you must put on to succeed.

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It’s just unhealthy

It’s just not healthy to see your partner as a career competitor. It means that your interests are always at odds and that is exactly how relationships fall apart.


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