I recently got a huge promotion at my job, one I’ve been working toward my entire career. About two months before I got my promotion, I started dating a great guy. The problem is, my new role at work is a sixty to seventy-hour kind of thing, and usually involves me working weekends. My new boyfriend is understandably a little mad at the decrease in our time spent together, and I’m disappointed, too, but I don’t know how to fix it. I worked my butt off for a long time to get this job, but I’ve also been looking for a great guy to settle down with … now they’re both happening at the same time and I feel I have to choose because I can’t juggle both. I’m afraid that because I want to choose my job, it’s a sign the guy isn’t right for me. What do you guys think? —LR, Los Angeles, California
The Straight Man’s Perspective: Chris Kennedy
I know people hate hearing this, but you have a nice problem as far as problems go. A great guy and a great job. There are women who have both of these. I presume they’re lucky, but I know they work hard at it to make it work. I only know this because without hard work, there’s no way they could do it. You, at this point, cannot do both. Whether it’s because of you or your great guy doesn’t really matter.
Trust your instincts. You want to choose your job … and you should. The fact that you want this promotion more than your guy shows you’re not ready for someone in your life. When you are ready for someone special, you’ll choose him. I don’t think you want to settle down as much as you say you do, and that’s okay. It can wait until when you are ready, if at all. But after working sixty to seventy hour weeks for an extended period of time, you may decide that it’s time to be with a guy and have a family. You’ve got to be happy and balanced in your own life before you can have a happy and balanced relationship with someone else. If you deprive yourself of your career goals right now, your relationship will pay for it later. And without a career, that bill will be more than you can afford.
The Straight Woman’s Perspective: Rebecca Brown
Wow, LR—congrats! That’s awesome news on the guy and the job. Isn’t that always the case? You work and wait for so long, then everything happens at once and you have to figure out how to manage it all.
I don’t necessarily think that just because you want to choose your job means you’re not that into the guy. You’ve worked your entire career for your promotion. Yes, you’ve looked your entire adult life for the right guy, too, but until recently, he was an undefined mystery, whereas you’ve known the responsibilities and nuances of the job you’ve been coveting for a long time and you’ve had time to mentally prepare for those. As a single woman who’s dated a lot of the wrong men, I understand why you might be inclined to trust what you know (your job) instead of a man you’ve only recently met. After all, it’s early in your relationship and only time will tell if he’ll be The One, but you’ve already found The One when it comes to your job and career.
But here’s my question for you: why do you have to choose? You’re obviously driven and focused, so something tells me that you’re probably also a good multi-tasker. If this guy means that much to you, sit him down for a heart-to-heart and tell him. Then, carve a few definitive times a week that you can absolutely, positively, without a doubt get together with him for a prolonged amount of time and stick to it, job be damned. Right now—in the early phases of your new position—is the time for you to show your coworkers and boss how it’s done; you can give 200 percent to your job and still have a life from time to time, but it’s your responsibility to set that expectation at work now and make it happen, so do it. Otherwise, as Patti Stanger from Millionaire Matchmaker says, you’re going to wake up one day in a nursing home. In a diaper. All alone. I’m guessing that’s not the retirement you’re working so hard to achieve, so carpe man-em. Seize the job—and the guy … while you still can.
The Gay Man’s Perspective: Darren Maddox
Have you told him this? Did you celebrate your promotion together and discuss that it would probably mean increased responsibility? Is he supportive or jealous of your success? Just because you want to focus on your career doesn’t mean he’s not the right guy for you; it just means you have goals that you’re proud to have achieved and some that you’re reluctant to let go of.
Have an honest talk with him and let him know that if you’re going to continue this relationship, he’ll have to understand that there will be times when you have to put your career first. As bad as that may sound, it is reality. What are his goals professionally and personally? You can’t fit into all of those, just as he can’t fit into all of yours. For example, if he wants to be a little league football coach, chances are you won’t have much involvement. Life happens individually, and life happens together; we still celebrate either way. Don’t give up just because he doesn’t seem to understand right now. Have a very frank conversation about how you feel about him so you can try to move past this. Don’t assume he won’t understand and be supportive once you tell him—people surprise us every day.
The Gay Woman’s Perspective: Jody Fischer
Well, congratulations! Your letter is a first of its kind for me. I can’t recall another letter written to the 4-Way about a situation where everything is going right.
Just so I’m clear, I think you told us that you’ve got the guy of your dreams and your dream job. May this “problem” happen to everyone! My point here is that you may be creating stress and complications where there’s nothing but joy.
I’m wondering whom you’re selling short—your guy, your job, or yourself? If the guy is as great as you say, he’ll know how important the job is to you and how you operate. He’ll be on your side and work to emotionally support you in your new job. And if you’re truly ready for the guy and the job, you’ll work with your inner-self and make it all blossom.
LR, do you usually create chaos where there is none? Do you thrive on creating problems? Guess I’m just wondering if this type of thinking is a pattern for you. It seems to me that this is what you’re doing in this situation. Have more faith in yourself that you’ll be able to work through this so you can have both. If you approach it from this vantage point, you will indeed stay true to your love for this guy and your new job. Looks like you CAN have it all, lady!