A conversation has recently been making rounds and catching the attention of thousands on Twitter. Should you turn down a massive academic or career opportunity in order to keep your romantic relationship intact? If your boyfriend or girlfriend lands a huge job abroad, should they turn it down for the sake of the relationship?
I have chosen to maintain gender neutrality because it does not particularly affect my opinion in this case. However, a point to note is that this argument was geared as an attack against women particularly. This, of course, is a case of internalised misogyny and patriarchy, but let’s focus on the actual matter at hand.
In my view, at no point should you reject an opportunity because of your partner. Ideally, your partner should always want the best for you. They would want you to grow to achieve the highest form of yourself. If they don’t, then there is definitely a problem with that relationship.
In the event that your partner decides to move abroad, you should be able to make the necessary adjustments and still maintain the relationship. Of course, things will be hard. They will be very different. However, one strong opinion that I hold is that if a relationship is based on the right values and goals, then it will survive through the test of time. If it’s not, even if you live in the same house, you will still end up having problems and ending things.
It is extremely unfair and manipulative to expect somebody to slow down their progress in life for the sake of your relationship. Even worse, some partners go further to give an ultimatum. They will say things like, “Choose between me and that scholarship” or “It’s either me or that job.”
Imagine saying no to that big job or opportunity for the supposed love of your life, and a few months down the line you break up for other reasons? How would that make you feel?
Even worse, it’s possible that you will decline the opportunity and regret it, and then ten, twenty years down the line the same situation presents itself. How many times will you say no to yourself? How much will you have to compromise?
Life happens. Your husband can land a great job on one end of the world, and you, the other. It’s not nearly as easy to end a marriage as it is a relationship. The worst part is that you cannot predict these events. So, the sooner you learn to adapt to the changes and challenges that life presents before you, the better it will be for you.
Will that scholarship or that career opportunity guarantee you success and happiness in life? Absolutely not. But that relationship won’t, either. What happens when you wake up years from now and you’ve lost both a massive career opportunity and the love of your life? You will live with regrets, forever. That big opportunity may never come along again, and you will always have yourself to blame. One day, perhaps, you will realise that there is so much more to life than love and marriage.
Life is a gamble. Bet on yourself. You surely owe yourself the gift of self-advancement.
“Life doesn’t end when a relationship ends. We all have broken up with someone who we thought we couldn’t live without. Regardless of one’s age, there is always a chance to find true love. But a great opportunity does not always come twice.”
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