Building a successful career is hard enough, so having a challenging personal life can be incredibly difficult to reconcile, particularly if you’re blinded by love. Despite the assumption that the personal should be left at home, romantic relationships deeply impact our professional trajectory.
A 2017 study by Carnegie Mellon University showed that people with supportive spouses are more likely to be ambitious.
Unfortunately, your significant other may not be rooting for you and it’s important to recognize the signs early so you can make an informed decision for your spirit and career. Chanel Nicole Scott, founder of the relationship platform and Fox Soul show Cheministry sat down with ESSENCE to share some advice spotting the warning signs that a relationship is holding you back, and what to do about it.
Get a clear understanding of what type of relationship you’re actually in, and how it fits into your life.
We’ve all heard of DTR (defining the relationship) to figure out how to move forward with the person you’re dating. But that conversation isn’t just important to have with the other party, you need to figure it out for yourself as well.
“Situationships work best if all parties are on the same ship,” Scott told ESSENCE, referring to the term often used to describe a romantic or sexual dalliance that’s considered to be informal by both participants. “For instance, saying you want a situationship when you really want a relationship is neither helpful or honest. Communicating expectations and creating boundaries is a healthier way to “hold on.”
Talk candidly about your deal-breakers and desires. When those boundaries are not honored and reasonable requests are ignored, it may be time to “let go.’ ”
As Scott points out, the inner turmoil of trying to identify the status of a personal relationship can inadvertently affect other aspects of your life, shift focus and be counterproductive to your career ambitions before you know it. Scott says this can be prevented by getting radically honest yourself.
“Simply ask yourself—-am I satisfied or am I settling? Your answer will tell you if should I hold on or let go.”
Gauge your comfort levels.
It may sound cliche’ but your gut never lies.
“A subtle sign may be your feeling uncomfortable sharing details about your work with your partner whether that news is good or bad because you are worried about how your partner will respond,” Scott told ESSENCE.
She continued: “For example, when good news causes your partner to feel intimidated or “left out”, it can damage your ability to celebrate your wins and cause you to dim your light at home. Or when bad news is met with harsh criticism or fault finding, it can erode your confidence and steal your ability to focus at work.A more blatant sign might be if you deliberately use work as an excuse NOT to go home… avoidance or dissatisfaction at home will eventually bleed over into your professional performance causing your productivity to decrease and create obstacles to promotion and overall progress.”
Assess your partner’s interest in your career advancement.
“One question you may want to ask yourself is whether your partnership and profession align with your purpose and core values as a person,” Scott told ESSENCE. She said it’s important to get clear on whether your partner ‘adds to your work-life balance and bring after-work peace into your life.’
She suggested coming with a list of thought starters to get the inner-dialogue going: “How well do you and your partner navigate conversations about workplace dynamics? Is your partner supportive or insecure? Is your partner competing with your career for your attention? Do career conversations culminate in compromise or ultimatums? Is there reciprocity? When you think about your career and your partner at the same time, can you breathe easy or are you waiting to exhale?”
Remind yourself that you always know when it’s time to let go.
“The more you love, honor, and respect yourself, the more you will prioritize your needs and wants. You’ll be more sensitive to when something is no longer serving you and have more courage to make the needed adjustments.”