DEAR VEXED: My girlfriend is powering ahead in her career at a global accountancy firm and is working 24/7. The more successful and ambitious she is, the worse I feel. It sounds bad but I’m not sure I’m comfortable in a relationship with a woman this ambitious. Should I stick with it and try to support her, or should I break up with her and look for another, less professionally committed woman? Joe, 31, IT
YES, a thousand times yes. Break up with her. Not for you – but for her. The last thing a woman of her ilk and ambition needs is a man at home beaming negativity towards her, secretly begrudging her success because he’s still stuck in a different age. If your gut instinct is that you have a visceral problem with successful women on your home turf, then it’s unlikely that this will change.
If, however, you just think you have a problem with them because you’ve been swayed by the stereotype of the man who is challenged by female success (a stereotype founded on reality, unfortunately), then there may be a way forward. Perhaps, when you really think about it, it’s not her success that rankles, it’s something else that has gone awry in the relationship. Maybe she is emotionally unavailable or seemingly uninterested in you and your needs.
If so, these issues may be possible to workthrough.
She may be unavailable because she’s working hard. But have you broached the topic with her? Have you said something along the lines of: “I am supportive of your career and it’s a wonderful part of who you are. But we need to discuss ways to honour our relationship by spending more time together” and then propose weekend date nights or what have you.
If you have tried this tack to no avail, I am willing to venture a guess that she’s not too bothered either way about you. If she’s being insensitive to your reasonable request because all falls away before work, then chances are she can either do without a relationship right now or she needs a relationship with someone who is more relaxed about hard work and ambition, enjoys its promise, and is also working non-stop.
However the cookie crumbles – unless you’re both interested in making an effort and compromising – you better get out now. firstname.lastname@example.org