I’m a firm believer that partnership means sharing. Your passions, dreams, fears, and insecurities—these are all things couples should strive for or weather together. But there’s one area of my life where my partner is unwelcome to interfere with: my job.
Sharing doesn’t mean surrendering my private life.
Being part of a committed couple and maintaining a healthy relationship calls for honesty and openness—emotional sharing—as well as quality time—physical sharing. I want me and my partner to be on the same page and in tune with one another, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a life outside of our relationship. That life is the 8-10 hours a day I go to my office and he goes to his.
Jobs are important for establishing and retaining a singular identity.
Not only is it important to have some physical space from my partner every day, but having a job I’m passionate about gives me the headspace to develop my own identity. Sure, I can get this space by spending time with girlfriends or immersing myself in private hobbies, but in a professional setting, I’m able to challenge myself and grow in ways other activities don’t allow me to.
Knowing who I am individually will make me a better partner.
Once I’m confident in my professional skills and feel fulfilled in my work life, I’ll be better equipped to be a more supportive partner. I won’t resent my partner for keeping me from doing what I love and my professional satisfaction will translate into personal satisfaction, making both of us a lot happier.
Financial independence is hugely important.
At this point in our relationship, I don’t want to be financially dependent on my partner nor for him to be financially dependent on me. I don’t mind if he wants to pick up the bill every now and then, but I’d like to be able to do so too. My partner doesn’t need to know how much I earn or when I get paid every month.
I don’t want my partner to be my whole world, nor him to be mine.
Making my partner the sole source of my happiness is a whole heck of a lot of pressure to put on him and I certainly wouldn’t want him to put that kind of pressure on me. I want to contribute to my partner’s happiness and certainly be a large part of his life, but both of us will be disappointed if we can’t find other sources of fulfillment.
There’s a reason people caution against mixing business with pleasure.
Relationships, while great, have enough of their own stressors that I don’t need to introduce professional concerns into the equation. I want to keep my work life and worries separate from my personal life and worries. When work and home life mingle, the results can be catastrophic.
I like having knowledge and skills that my partner lacks (and vice versa). I don’t know if I buy into the whole “opposites attract” mantra, but I do think that a couple of identical people would be mind-numbingly boring. I like knowing more about my field than my partner does and I appreciate the fact that he has his own area of expertise that I know little about. These different interests lead to intelligent and profound conversations.
Keeping my partner out of my work life is the best defense against mansplaining.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my guy. But like all men at one time or another, he’s been guilty of mansplaining a concept I’m perfectly capable of understanding myself. By insisting he not interfere with my work, I can guarantee he won’t try to educate me on the topics I know most about.
I admire professionalism and I want my partner to, as well. I have so much respect for people who care deeply about their work—no matter what that work is—and I want my partner to admire me for mine. Even if I haven’t found my dream job, I want my partner to respect my professionalism and devotion to work responsibilities, just as I do his.
At the end of the day, we need something to talk about.
Of course it’s normal—especially at the beginning of a relationship—to want to be with your partner 24/7, but if that’s always the case, things will get real boring real fast. I’m not saying I want my partner and I to keep secrets, but if we know everything about each other’s lives we’ll run out of things to talk about. Keeping our work and personal lives separate will maintain an air of mystery between us and isn’t that the best way to keep romance alive?
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