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This is pretty mean, isn't it?


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Hi all,

 

My boyfriend of 1.5 years and I were on a date night when something strange happened. Harry Chapin's "Cat's In the Cradle" was playing in the background, and out of nowhere, my boyfriend said to me, "That's going to be you."

 

I'm 27 and a medical resident. My career is very important to me. I don't have children but hope to someday. If your boyfriend, said this to you, how would you address it? I found the comment mean-spirited (kind of a below-the-belt insult), and it came out of nowhere (we had been having a good night otherwise). I told him it hurt my feelings, and he agreed it was insensitive. Do I pursue this further? Let it go?

 

Thanks for your help.

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Did it hurt because it resonates as partly true? Did it hurt because it undermined your trust in his view of you?

 

As a career woman who has often earned more than her man, I have-in the past- been sensitive to my man's perception of me as an ambitious woman. And, because I tended to date men who were insecure, I was right. They saw my focus and energy as a double-edged sword. To them, my ambition meant I wasn't caring, nurturing etc. They wanted to see my limitations so they would feel better about their own.

 

The proof is in the pudding, I am an exemplary mom, and I get that feedback multiple times a week, even from my exH who doubted me in the first place.

 

I think there is something to learn here.

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Thanks for the comments.

 

I don't think it's partly true, but mainly because it hasn't been tested yet.

 

We've discussed the future, and it's clear that the emphasis I place on my career is higher than the emphasis he places on his. I don't know what this would look like for a personal life long-term, but so far I've done my best in trying to balance the two.

 

There's been friction in the past about his perception that he will always be second rung on my priority ladder. I think it's unfair to rank priorities this way, and I don't think my actions support this. I do feel as though the two spheres can co-exist, but it needs to be with a compatible partner.

 

He also may feel that professional vs personal is zero-sum, and I don't. I think happiness in one can enhance the other.

 

I guess the hurt for me is, why on earth would he want to be with someone who he feels this way about? (i.e., "undermined my trust in his view of me") It may also speak to a larger volumes of incompatibility.

 

I also posted because my reaction was, wow this is really mean. Possibly one of the meanest things someone has said regarding my character. I wasn't sure if my reaction was off-base.

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The medical residency can be very hard, long hours, and little pay, until you are an established doctor. And then, depending on your specialty, you may have lots of time and a flexible schedule. No one ever needs an emergency dermatologist, for example, but you might need to go to the hospital in the middle of the night if you are an ER doc. I guess is depends what kind of medicine you want to practice. Lots of doctors have families.

 

He's not a doctor, is he? Do you think he feels threatened by your extra education?

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Nope, he's not a doctor. He's an engineer who wants to be a professor, specifically because he wants flexibility for a family.

 

I'm going into physical medicine and rehabilitation, which actually is flexible (the joke is that PM&R stands for "plenty of money and relaxation"). Problem is, I do many other things on the side, including journalism (I have a fairly successful writing career already). My work in medicine and writing excite me and drive me.

 

But my friends and family have never mentioned feeling the way he does. I pride myself on being loyal to my loved ones. Which makes me think that there is something else at play.

 

I'm guessing the writing's on the wall here.

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Hi all,

 

My boyfriend of 1.5 years and I were on a date night when something strange happened. Harry Chapin's "Cat's In the Cradle" was playing in the background, and out of nowhere, my boyfriend said to me, "That's going to be you."

 

I'm 27 and a medical resident. My career is very important to me. I don't have children but hope to someday. If your boyfriend, said this to you, how would you address it? I found the comment mean-spirited (kind of a below-the-belt insult), and it came out of nowhere (we had been having a good night otherwise). I told him it hurt my feelings, and he agreed it was insensitive. Do I pursue this further? Let it go?

 

Thanks for your help.

 

I don't know the song in question and the lyrics from it to comment on that but you do and you clearly were hurt by his random comment - did he quickly apologize after saying it? Did he give any reason as to why he would blurt that that would apply to you one day? If it is still bothering you delve deeper.

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Some see the world as a certain sized pie with only so many pieces.

 

Some see a world that keeps producing more pie.

 

You know which of you is which.

 

Having lived through this and more recently read about it, I am confident in recommending with regrets you choose another partner.

 

Also do a self assessment to make sure you are emotionally available, not codependent or anxious in your relationships, which I find is an odd but frequent pattern among high achieving hetero women. We pick up the slack for everyone and forget to attract and retain someone who is as limitless in his capacities as we are.

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He did not apologize until I brought it up the next day and told him it hurt my feelings. At the time it happened, I said, "That's pretty mean," and got no response. The night continued as usual.

 

I just read the full song lyrics you linked me That is pretty sad, and him implying that will one day be you was miserable on his part and to do so will enjoying time together is pretty odd of him. He should have seen a look come accross your face when he said it to you in the moment that told him he hurt you and you even told him it was mean of him. I think sometimes BFs and GFs say thoughtless things with no real idea how it could hurt us upon hearing or reading it, I know plenty of my exes have. I would want to know why he felt the need to verbalize that thought atm, he probably hopes you just drop it.

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Some see the world as a certain sized pie with only so many pieces.

 

Some see a world that keeps producing more pie.

 

You know which of you is which.

 

Having lived through this and more recently read about it, I am confident in recommending with regrets you choose another partner.

 

Also do a self assessment to make sure you are emotionally available, not codependent or anxious in your relationships, which I find is an odd but frequent pattern among high achieving hetero women. We pick up the slack for everyone and forget to attract and retain someone who is as limitless in his capacities as we are.

 

To clarify, added that last part because we attract who we are, on some level. Something about him (insecure at some level?) is or was similar to something about you. Important to get at it so as to break a pattern, if there is one.

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Unless there's other indications that he feels this way about you and your career, I'd just let it go and quit overthinking it. We've all been in relaxed situations w/ others and have said something, perhaps sarcastically or just a random thought for the moment and it's hurt another person. It doesn't mean we truly mean it or that there's anything more to it than just saying something stupid in the moment. Some people have less of a filter than others, maybe listening to the song made him ponder or worry for a few minutes that this is where you're headed in life but that doesn't mean he's always worried about it or has thoughts about it. Sometimes I hear a song and it makes me worry about people dying, having a break up, etc. It doesn't mean I worry about this all the time or really think it's going to happen. If it's ongoing little comments like this then of course it should be addressed but a one time thing, nope, let it go.

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He did not apologize until I brought it up the next day and told him it hurt my feelings. At the time it happened, I said, "That's pretty mean," and got no response. The night continued as usual.

 

Well I'm glad he apologized. What a jerky thing to say. It says a lot more about him than you. I think he's jealous of your education and the passion you have for your career. As a substantive matter I think it's hard to take time off to be a full-time parent if you choose to be a doctor but there are certain specialties (dermatology comes to mind) where it is easier to do so.

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Is there a possibility that he said it in jest? He might not have been serious when he said it, and so he didn't expect you to take it that way.

 

I know I've jokingly said things to friends that could be taken as being nasty, but are just meant in harmless fun, and the other way around.

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OK, I think I would probably break up with a guy who said something like that to me.

 

Not only is it mean, but it is ridiculous from the standpoint that in today's economic world, a woman who is a waitress or a nurse may work just as many hours as a doctor would because they earn so little money and need to support a family. So those days when Mommy got to stay home full time and not work are gone for most people regardless of socioeconomic level. I read recently that in the U.S. only something like one in 4 women gets to stay home with their kids for anything more than a short period of time due to economic realities and their choice to live a balanced life. So working is the norm and not the exception.

 

So he's living in the stone ages, and not an appropraite partner for you with this ridiculous kind of attitude. And all kinds of research shows children of working mothers are no less well adjusted or loved than those of stay at home Moms, so he really is off the wall.

 

I wouldn't marry him. He's basically already told you he thinks you'll be a bad mother because you want a good career, so no matter what you do in terms of the children it probably won't be good enough for him. Dump him and find a man who loves you and one who isn't living in the dark ages in terms of his attitudes towards women and motherhood.

 

Tell him he's welcome to go find himself a stay at home wife, and also to bear all the financial burden for supporting a family if that is what he chooses for himself, but you're not going to marry someone who is going to imply you're a bad mother or a bad person for doing what is NORMAL in today's world which is to have a career in addition to a family. And a very rewarding career it is so don't let this loser get to you.

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btw, being a doctor can make for fitting in perfectly with a family. Many clinics/practices/hospitals look for part-time 'overflow' doctors and i know a lot of women doctors who are compensated extremely well while working part time hours while their children are young, then go back to full time once their kids enter school or get older. So they earn very good income for lower hours when the children are small, and go back full time when the time suits them all.

 

Unless you want a really big career where you need to work hellacious hours because you want to become chief of some department at a hospital or work at your own practice where you are the only doctor with no backup, it is a great career for parents and can be a lot more flexible than some other careers in terms of earning big bucks for fewer hours.

 

So it proves your BF is not only mean, he is also living in the past, AND is less intelligent than you if he doesn't know that... You're too smart for him in addition to anything else!

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Wow just read the lyrics, that's mean. I too would be offended. I think it's worthwhile having a general discussion about what he thinks about your career and what his vision of a family is going to be like, ie does he expect you to become a stay home mom or spend a significant amount of time at home with the kids by reducing work hours significantly? If it was my bf I would also feel like he has some resentment or bias against my career.

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Sigh. In theory he is proud of what I do (or at least says he is), but in practice there has been friction when I actually spend time doing it. Saying that he ranks 14th on the priority list. Or that I do 98% of what my boss wants and 3% of what he wants. Again, drawing false equivalency between professional and personal.

 

I'm aware that I'm not making this relationship sound very healthy. It probably won't be a relationship for much longer.

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