Love or Career: Does It Have to Be Either-Or?

Love or Career: Does It Have to Be Either-Or?

by Ashley Corbaley

Recently I saw a movie in which a man and a woman who were hopelessly in love with each other decided to break up because they chose to pursue their careers instead of their relationship. They tried to follow their dreams while dating and found it difficult and so they chose to go their separate ways. Many years later this man and this woman run into each other again only to be painfully reminded of how happy and wonderful their life could have been if only they had not parted ways all those years ago.

The message of the movie was clear: relationships get in the way of desired career pathways. While I believe this to be true in some respects I also think that it is possible to have a good career and marriage.

Kim Leatherdale, a relationship therapist, said: “People keep getting stuck in all-or-nothing thinking. They think it is either work or a relationship…People get focused on relationships or work and forget they can have both if they choose to.”

Is the quest for a fulfilling career contributing to the growing number of people deciding against marriage and is it men or women who are choosing career over marriage more often?

Until recently it has been widely accepted that men put career goals over marriage while women focus on building relationships over careers. A study conducted by Catherine Mosher of Duke University Medical Center and Sharon Danoff-Burg at the University of Albany asked 237 undergraduates to rate career, financial success, education, contributions to society, marriage, friendship and children in matters of importance.

Results showed that 51 percent of women and more than 61 percent of men prioritized romantic relationships over achievement goals.

Ellen Klosson, a psychologist with a private practice in Washington D.C. said: “For men, romance, then marriage, then children may be unlikely to lead to the interruption of their career, For women, having children is likely to be more disruptive to their career. Career-oriented women have been putting marriage and children on hold for decades.”

Sometimes when I feel overburdened with work and family I like to think about what is really going to matter in the end. When I am old will I be full of regrets that I did not climb the corporate ladder or will I be filled with regret for not spending enough time with the ones I love?

Career or love? While the choice may not be easy and may never be that clear cut, love can give you more happiness than money or a satisfying career ever can. Working and spending time with love ones is truly a balancing act, but at the end of your life are you really going to regret not climbing the corporate ladder or will you more likely be thinking about the precious time you spent with those you love.

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