How do I hold onto my own identity and goals while in a relationship?
February 16, 2013 4:21 AM Subscribe
I'm in a three-year relationship. Recently, I've had a chance to spend more of my time with my own friends and relatives, and independently of each other four of them have said a variation of the same thing to me: that I am ignoring my own needs/goals in favor of my boyfriend's.
posted by chaiminda to human relations (22 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure if that is true, or if it is, if it is entirely a bad thing. Here's our situation: About a year ago, we moved to a place so that he could have a good job. It is a place neither of us like much, close to his family but far from mine. I did not want to move here, but I felt that our stress would be a lot less if he had a good job, so I didn't protest. I found a job here but despite continued searching couldn't find anything remotely related to what I want to do with my life, and I am working 3-5 jobs to make a little over half of what he does (which isn't much). He has turned out to not really like his job, either, and we both want to live somewhere with more culture, so I convinced him to start looking for jobs in the area where my family lives, which has more job opportunities for both of us and is more the type of place we'd like to live. I feel like I did ignore my own needs during that initial move, but I think I have reasserted myself.
The other issue is what he wants to do in the future. His dream job, if he gets it (probable), will involve moving pretty constantly for a few years. It will be hard, if not impossible, for me to practice in my chosen field in some of these places. I do want to have kids in the near future, so that might be a good time to do that, but I am pretty much going to be left without a lot of career options. I think him getting this job would be fun and interesting, but I'm nervous that I'll look back and realize that my life was a hodgepodge of part-time jobs and taking care of other people. (He has said that he would drop this idea if I decided I didn't want to do it.)
In general, he is very accommodating to my needs and I don't think the problem, if there is any, lies with him. I feel so unsure about what will make me happy and what I will be able to do ("I'd probably be bad at that job anyway, so I'll just keep working jobs that don't matter so I don't screw up anything important") that I feel like it's easier to try to make him happy, and my own happiness will follow. I know that I need more therapy, but the aforementioned multiple jobs/long commutes/no money makes it tough. Has anyone gotten better about figuring out what they need, and expressing it?