Second thoughts from March 16, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
For the past three months I have been dating this guy. We started out as friends working together and things developed from there. Well, now that I have spent a lot of time with him I realize that maybe we should have remained just friends. Now the problem is that he is in love with me and wants a long-term relationship. I want to concentrate on my career right now and have no time for such a serious relationship. I really care for him but I don’t want to stay in this relationship but I don’t want to hurt him either. Help!
My best friend and I have this joke where if someone asks one of us, “How’s your love life?” we always say, “My CAREER is going GREAT!” Even after like six years, we still find this side-splitting. Usually.
Anyway, if you don’t want a serious relationship right now, that’s fine — totally your call. But my side-splitting joke aside, I just want to point out that careers and relationships are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Why, look at John Tesh and Connie Selleca. Or the fabulously successful Rules women, who get so much more done because they’ve got their husbands around to run out for jewelry.
Also, I’m a little weary of noticing that it’s only women who raise this concern. As Gloria Steinem once said, “I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and a career.” Harrumph.
Look, you guys, here’s the only scenario in which a “relationship” interferes with your career: when you’re messing around with someone you don’t really care about because you’re lonely and s/he’s there, but then you lose sleep and feel emptier than before and get all spacey and blue at work. That’s why, in a sense, it is actually the serious relationships that are most compatible with your meteoric rise up the ranks. Keep that in mind for when the one you do want comes along.