Is it Ever OK to Give Up Your Career for a Man?

Men are trained in society to be breadwinners. We’re programmed to become “pack leaders” successful enough to secure and protect our family. Traditionally it’s been women who’ve given up their career, but lately I’m seeing a phenomenon in which gay guys are now being pressured to choose. Is it ever fair?

Because we’re men, the world might assume that our relationships are one big powerhouse: we have big careers, big personalities, aggressive sexual appetites, but at the end of the day when it comes to maintaining a long term relationship, one of us will need to sacrifice something sooner or later.

It’s interesting what happens, too. At the beginning it’s all about the butterflies. Sex is great, love is great, the fire is strong, but as we grow into each other we enter a new phase. We plan ahead, build goals, and start working towards a future. Sometimes plans collide, leaving us to make drastic choices–including changing careers.

If you can’t imagine living life without your man, it’s worth it. But at the same time he must understand what your career means to you. If it’s something you’ve worked your entire life for, who the hell is he to tell you it was all for nothing?

This isn’t the 1950s anymore. As men, we never had to go through a “domestication” process like women did (thank God that’s over now). So being faced with a decision like this is new—almost dehumanizing.

“What makes him think my life is any less important?” “What makes him think I don’t care just as much about my job as his?” “Why do I need to be the one to give up?”

Relationships are all about compromise. This is the golden ticket. Decisions should never be easy. It should require both of you to think very hard and with incredible amounts of empathy. He needs to at least try and meet you halfway because, you’re right, it isn’t fair.

But everyone’s situation is different. In some cases you might be dating a very selfish man who refuses to compromise with anything, but you don’t want to lose him (heaven knows) so you’re willing to give up everything—if that’s the case, I say think again.

Alternatively, there might be other cases where putting certain things on hold for a while is mandatory in achieving the goals you set out together. But in order to ease resentment, you must be fair in what you sacrifice.

Whatever decision you make, you should always strive for it to be as fair as possible—otherwise it’s imbalanced. If you halt your career for a while, he must at least counter that and halt his time to help build your futures. He needs to meet you in the middle—the “how” is up for you both to figure out.

Families don’t require either parent to give up their lives, but once the children come there does need to be someone to take care of them. Living in New York, I see countless of nannies hired by parents to babysit for a few hours in the day. So I respect couples that choose not to hire nannies and be there for the kids themselves when they can, but they shouldn’t have to leave an important life-changing project if they don’t need to.

The whole “breadwinner/homemaker” pairing isn’t required to build a successful family. There are many options nowadays we can benefit from. The pressure isn’t real. It comes from you—if you want to stay at home because it’s something you feel is important, by all means, do it! But you should never feel pressured into believing you have to.

David Artavia

Writer

David lives in New York City, where he acts, writes and lives vicariously through his friends.

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