Choosing Between Your Career And Love? Consider These Things First

It’s everyone’s worst nightmare: having to choose between your relationship or career. In rom-coms, the choice always ends up being love, but in real life it’s not always that simple — or smart. The truth is, no one can tell you if you should choose love or your career. It takes time to figure out the best path and can be confusing, so ask yourself these 11 questions to clear things up.

  1. Where’s your heart at? A life that’s focused on logic and reason might make sense, but if your heart’s not in it, then you’re wasting your time. What makes you really happy? If your partner is your soulmate, choosing to leave them behind for a future overseas chasing your dreams might feel like the wrong thing to do right now because you might get what you want only to feel miserable. Similarly, if you’re choosing your partner but can’t squash the desire to spread your wings in a career sense, that’s also BS. The best thing is to go where you are pulled. It might not always make sense on paper, but it’ll make you happy.
  2. You want it, but why? Make sure you want things for the right reasons! Choosing your relationship just because you feel guilty about breaking up with your partner isn’t a healthy decision. Similarly, choosing your career because you’re driven by status and money isn’t so great either as it won’t make you happy. Such choices will lead to a dead-end.
  3. What price are you willing to pay for love? It’s easy to get wrapped up in a new relationship and not want to be without it. You can’t predict the future of your relationship, but your gut can guide you. Is this person you’re dating really someone who wants to build a future with you? Are they totally committed and worth your time? At what cost does this relationship come and is it a price you’re happy to pay or will it leave you emotionally broke?
  4. Are you going to neglect your passions? If your career is linked to your dreams and passions, you should always pursue it. If you don’t, you’ll regret the missed opportunities. It sounds harsh, but your partner will never be able to fulfill the dreams you had for your life before he came along, and it’s unfair to expect him to!
  5. Are you being passive about things? You don’t want to be in a relationship that leads you blindly through your life. That’s just going to end in pain and disappointment. Choose what you want out of life and where you’re going before you choose the person to accompany you on your journey, otherwise you’ll be living someone else’s life and chasing their dreams instead of yours.
  6. Will you resent your partner in future? If you choose not to take that job offer across the country or that holiday job in Paris because you’d rather stay with your partner, be sure that you won’t resent them for your choices in future. You have to be 100% sure that you’re making the right choice, not just when it feels good but when things don’t turn out the way you hoped. A life with no regrets is the most important thing.
  7. Is your relationship standing in your way? If you feel that your partner won’t stand by you or they tell you straight up that they won’t support you if you follow your dreams, your decision’s just become much easier. Ditch them!
  8. Can you have both? Who says you have to choose between love and a career? It’s not always so black and white. Often you can find ways to have both, but maybe not at the same time. Maybe your relationship will have to become a long-distance one for a while until you complete your dissertation overseas or finish your internship in another state. Or, maybe you’re just not keen on a relationship, marriage, or kids until you move up the corporate ladder. So what? A UK study by YouGov found that 35% of women between the ages of 18 and 24 put motherhood on the back burner to have a career. That’s okay – you still have time.
  9. Could your love and career work together? If you’re in a supportive relationship where your partner wants the best for you, you need them in your life. Your relationship will offer you support and love that you’ll benefit from in your career. Think about that before you tell the person you’ve been dating that you’re way too busy for a relationship. Sure, your relationship will require more compromise, but it’s worth it.
  10. Are you listening to society too much? Society might say that “love conquers all” or that a career won’t keep you warm at night, or perhaps that if you choose a career over your relationship that you’re going to wind up an old spinster. But seriously, everyone’s going to have a different opinion. The thing to remember is that you’re the only one who’s going to have to live with your choices. No pressure!
  11. Who says your life is about one thing? You might think you need to give 100% of yourself to your dreams or 100% to your relationship, but that’s turning yourself into a human sacrifice and making you miss out on other ways to be happy. Your life needs balance, not tunnel vision, so that you can get fulfillment from different priorities. Don’t expect one thing to make you happy; you need at least a few to keep you feeling satisfied in different ways. If your job or relationship is worth being in your life, it’ll make your life better, not worse.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.