I Put My Relationship Before My Career & It Ruined My Relationship

My job required that I spend the better part of a year in trains, planes, and hotel rooms way more often than my boyfriend’s bed. I was on a first name basis with a few flight attendants but couldn’t remember if my boyfriend’s bestie was John or Sean. It came with major perks like a solid salary and tons of airline miles, but there was one drawback: my boyfriend couldn’t handle it. So, in an effort to save the relationship, I quit my job. Here’s why I’d never make that same mistake again.

  1. He was too insecure to handle my ambition. This should have been obvious to me but at the time, I was blinded by his sparkling blue eyes and chiseled six-pack. He was looking for arm candy to escort him through all of his success and I’m not that kinda girl. While he would never admit it, he couldn’t bear it when the roles reversed. And the insecure traits didn’t end there. He became defensive, needy, boastful, controlling, and the owner of a huge yellow truck. Overcompensating much?
  2. I started to seriously resent him. When he got a promotion at work, I was hardly rolling out the red carpet. I couldn’t help but wonder if the success we were celebrating should have been my own. If I had a rough day, I felt he was to blame. I internalized this bitterness until I was tangled into one giant resentful knot. It wasn’t cute.
  3. I was the only one making a sacrifice. From a weekly boys’ night to frequent bachelor party weekends, I started to question what he was planning to sacrifice. I was left without a career but he continued to have it all: a job he loved, continued success, and a bustling social life separate from our relationship. How did I end up giving up more than I was getting?
  4. Since I wasn’t focused on my career, I felt dependent on him. I stopped going out after work so that I could rush home to spend time with him. After all, he couldn’t bear to be apart while I was traveling, right? I prioritized getting dinner on the table when I should have been working late. Our relationship had taken top priority and I felt myself becoming increasingly dependent on him. If he made plans without me, I was disappointed. One day I looked in the mirror and saw a ’50s housewife in my reflection, not the badass, independent woman I once was.
  5. I felt limited. The career goals I once strived for had promptly vanished and I felt unfulfilled. Work became just a “job” and I dreaded going into the office each day. The fiery passion that used to bubble inside me was gone and I didn’t have an ounce of pride in the work I was doing. Unless I stepped into a time machine at some point, I’m pretty sure this isn’t 1918. Shouldn’t women with strong careers be celebrated?
  6. I didn’t feel supported. When you imagine your dream guy, someone who limits you is not a desirable quality. If he truly cared about me, he would have applauded my success, not inhibited it. He should have supported me whether I wanted to be a veterinarian, an actress, a con artist, or a freaking astronaut!
  7. The little things irked me even more because of the bitterness I felt towards him. If he stole the covers at night, left a crumb on the couch or a dish in the sink, I completely lost it. He once placed his dirty socks on TOP of the laundry basket. He couldn’t even open the basket to toss them in? The weight of my resentment encompassed every inch of our relationship.
  8. My girlfriends knew the sacrifice I made and resented him too. It’s glaringly obvious when your friends don’t like your guy. They yawned when I brought up his name, didn’t include him in plans and made comments like, “This isn’t forever though, right?” They knew how much I loved my job and hated him for making me give it up.
  9. In the end, not surprisingly, it didn’t work out and I’m more regretful about losing my job than our relationship. When it all came crashing down and we broke it off, I wished that I had a fulfilling career to lean on. Instead, I had a scrapbook of memories from our relationship to burn. Would I do it again? Maybe, but only if it was solely my decision and for a man worthy of the sacrifice.
  10. It is possible to have it all. Who says I can’t have a successful career AND love? I firmly believe that if my partner is supportive, the relationship is destined to stay strong. Sure, there will always be a need for small sacrifices, but it’s important that no one is giving up more than they should. Next time around, I won’t let anyone’s eyes, no matter how blue, distract me from achieving the success I deserve.
Caitlyn is a freelance writer living in Washington D.C.