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  • Natalie Garcia
    Natalie Garcia

    How do you handle a partner who is not supportive of your career goals?

    I was standing at the edge of a long and winding path, uncertain about where it would lead me. The sun beamed down on my face and I looked back from whence I came. Behind me laid a sea of regret, interspersed with moments of joy and love but ultimately, a trail of wrong turns and decisions that had brought me here. I wanted to stay, to give in to the temptation of the comfortable life I had, but the voice inside my head urged me forward - keep going, keep reaching for your goals.

    And then, a realization hit me like a punch to the gut. I had a partner who wasn't supportive of my career aspirations - whatever I ran towards, they would tear down. What was I to do? How could I find success and happiness, hand in hand?

    The first thing to realize is that relationships are two-way streets. If you want change, you have to make it happen. Even if it means making yourself vulnerable, start talking openly and honestly about how important your career goals are to you. Explain why it matters to you and how achieving these goals will benefit the relationship as a whole. Let them know that it's not just your goal, it's an investment in the future of 'us'.

    Next, take a look at the underlying issues. Is this opposition stemming from a lack of trust? Perhaps your partner thinks your goals are unrealistic or that you might fail. Or, maybe there's a fear of losing a connection. Whatever it is, understanding their feelings and acknowledging their view helps encourage understanding and can open up conversations about what kind of support you both need.

    Building compromises should also be part of the process. Maybe your career goal isn’t everything you’ve ever dreamed it to be or doesn't have a timetable. Showing your partner that you value their opinion and the needs of the relationship can help create a safe space to explore how you can both invest in your dreams while still being considerate of the other person's fears.

    Focus on your own power. Take charge of your own well-being and your career objectives. Start investing in yourself and model the behaviour you expect in your partner. This can be taking classes, reading books, or hitting the gym - whatever it is, source motivation within yourself and set out to achieve those goals, despite any resistance.

    Like with any challenge in life, sometimes the solution comes down to acceptance. Acceptance that support might not come from the most likely person. Acceptance that some goals take longer to reach than others. And most importantly, acceptance that relationships require growth, understanding, and joint effort. After all, it’s a journey for two.

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