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Would you put love on hold?


heartsouls
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I was wondering if I can get opinions on putting love on hold to pursue perhaps a career goal. Do you think there are situations where one would know it is a risk, but continue on with it because they think that it is for the best? Would you say that some people can't balance between the two and if one is missing the ability to balance then it would push them to put one on hold?

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I feel that if it were a truly healthy and great love, that you can have your cake and eat it too. What I mean is that you may pursue your love and career goals, but there has to be a plan that both parties are in on and are working towards. I truly believe that one can always pursue a career and reach their professional goals, but one may not always find the love of their life.

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When I was in my first year of a highly intense stressful graduate program I warned my boyfriend in advance that that was going to come first over him during the academic year. He understood and I made time for him with that understanding. If he had not been understanding I likely would have stopped dating him (I was in my mid-20s at the time) for that year (or forever if that is how it worked out). That one year basically affected the success of my entire career (I'm now 40) and required my 100% attention. If I had not been dating someone at the time, I likely would have avoided dating that year, just like I avoided many social events in favor of studying because of my career goal.

 

Had I "happened" to fall in love that year I would have explained my schedule for that academic year and I would have had to limit my time with that person to once a week, short phone calls and no going out during the exam periods.

 

Now that I'm working, and it is an intense, demanding career, I have never put love "on hold" these last 12 plus years, but there are times where I have had to tell my significant other (i have had a few long term relationships in the last 12 years) that work has to be a priority for that time period. I would not give up my relationship "for" work at this point - I can do the balance. In the first year, I "lost" one or two guys' interest because even though I explained my crazy work schedule and they said they were fine with it, when it came time to once or twice cancelling or having to delay a plan these two men did not want to put up with it, which was fine.

 

Luckily I met many men who had similarly demanding jobs and understood the juggling of social plans and work and that sometimes work had to take priority.

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I feel that if it were a truly healthy and great love, that you can have your cake and eat it too. What I mean is that you may pursue your love and career goals, but there has to be a plan that both parties are in on and are working towards. I truly believe that one can always pursue a career and reach their professional goals, but one may not always find the love of their life.

 

Hmm, actually for me - as per my post - I could not always pursue my professional goals - I had to go to graduate school at a time where I was without responsibilities other than to myself, where I would have the best shot of getting in to a good school and where I could afford to go. Once in school, if I had prioritized "love" for that first year and not had good grades, it would have negatively affected my entire career up to today and beyond (because in this career grades and class standing continue to matter throughout), particularly if I dropped out.

 

I do think it is precious to find the love of your life - and it is far more precious to find that love within yourself and honor your dreams and goals, including career-related dreams and goals. Only then can you truly be ready to find the "love of your life." Had I married the first guy who proposed, I wouldn't have pursued this career - or pursued it far later - because he wasn't in favor of it for several reasons. I would have been untrue to myself and no amount of his or our "love' would make up for that.

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"I do think it is precious to find the love of your life - and it is far more precious to find that love within yourself and honor your dreams and goals, including career-related dreams and goals. Only then can you truly be ready to find the "love of your life." Had I married the first guy who proposed, I wouldn't have pursued this career - or pursued it far later - because he wasn't in favor of it for several reasons. I would have been untrue to myself and no amount of his or our "love' would make up for that."

 

Batya, I agree about honoring our individual dreams and goals. But as humans, with our finite sense of reality, we look to closely at the canvas of our lives, failing to see the big picture. I believe and that if you want something (in this case a career) badly enough, many opportunities to accomplish it will arise. By the what could you be doing that someone you were once with wasn't "in favor of"? CIA?

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Actually no in my career there are finite opportunities to accomplish this - there are age limitations (not official ones - just the issues of aging that can interfere with being successful), financial limitations, timing limitations, etc. If I didn't go for it when I did or within the few years thereafter it would have been impractical, if not impossible for me to accomplish what I did. My career - what i achieved in going to grad school - what I've accomplished - IS part of the big picture of who I am. In some ways it is just a job, in other ways it defines my ethical values, who I am as a woman, who I am as a person in general. I am not a workaholic by the way. It's enabled me to make such huge differences in peoples' lives both through my career and the financial opportunities it provided me to give to charities.

 

My almost fiancee was against what I wanted to do because of the huge financial and time commitment and the time commitment involved with the sort of career I wanted. To him I needed to wait (mostly because of the financial commitment) for many years and instead continue in my present occupation (in which I felt maltreated, underpaid and discriminated against and not sufficiently respected) so that I could contribute to the marital income.

 

I completely agreed that it was going to be difficult to have me not working at that time. That is not why we broke up. But I am glad that one of the benefits of walking away was fulfilling this goal and dream of mine.

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But you let your job come before your love life. So you have a good career and loads of money, but no family to enjoy it. My wife and I split for 3 months last year and this has taught me there is nothing more important than your family. I have a very good job but if it stood in the way of my family I would walk away from it today.

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But you let your job come before your love life. So you have a good career and loads of money, but no family to enjoy it. My wife and I split for 3 months last year and this has taught me there is nothing more important than your family. I have a very good job but if it stood in the way of my family I would walk away from it today.

 

No again. My job is the realization of a dream and goal starting at age 15. What is truly important to me is family and close friends - and those I have never put on hold for career - they were all so supportive and in times of crisis and emergency they always came - and come, first.

 

I have seen too many divorces by people who married too young and then realized they wanted a career or another degree or something else -I believe i could have done both at once had I been lucky enough to meet Mr. Right at that time but I also knew that if I completed it by age 28 (which I did) then I would have finished my education and likely would not have that "unfulfilled" feeling that can lead to unhappy marriages/divorces.

 

Not sure where you get that family has to be spouse and children - what happened to parents, siblings, cousins and close friends? Or what about the hundreds of homeless children I have worked with over the past five years on a purely volunteer basis - any such connections or bonds in your life?

 

Please do not put words in my mouth - never said the job was the love of my life - I did say self-fulfillment is crucial in order to be able to give of yourself to the love of your life.

 

I plan to stay home with children if I am blessed with them (not all of us are, as your post presumes) - that will be my job and goal at that time. Had I given up my dream to marry someone who did not see the importance of my dream when I was 23 - but of course wanted to be able to further his career and graduate school etc that wouldn't have been a healthy role model for children, either. As I mentioned that was not why I didn't marry him (we had no real passion together, that was the reason) but it did give me something to think about.

 

I'm sorry it took separating from your wife to realize how important your family was. That must have been hard on the children.

 

I'm glad you found my post as a way to laud what you have done for your family - good for you - very impressive- but you misinterpreted my post - I assume not intentionally.

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Thought so. Your post reminded me of the flawed presumption that it is always a "choice" to have a career or family. At least for me having a family is out of my control as follows - I have to meet a person where we both mutually love each other enough to make a marital commitment and I have to be able to have children (or able to afford/endure the adoption process). That is the same for everyone who wants a marriage based on love and with a romantic connection - those requirements take it out of the realm of being totally in my control. If I believed in arranged marriages for myself the choice would have been easy or I could have chosen to settle several times over by accepting the several marriage proposals I have received since age 23.

 

Interestingly, one of them, which I declined, was by a man who I had been smitten with for a very long time, then not smitten (because he hurt me/broke it off with me more than once and the trust disappeared) and who a year later came out of the closet (which he told me about 10 years later - we remained friends and in touch). He said that he didn't know he was gay at the time he proposed, that he would have married me and then probably led a double life. Thank goodness it worked out the way it did as he is now in a wonderful committed relationship for almost a decade and has never looked happier.

 

Thank you very much for your post - very honest and thoughtful of you. Best of luck with your wife and children and otherwise.

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