A while back I had a follower ask me an interesting question. He was about to make a decision about what college to go to but was facing a dilemma. He could go to a college further away that was better for his career, or he could go to a more average college that his boyfriend was going to and remain close to him. This question got me thinking about the broader issue – when is it the right time to allow a relationship to impact your life choices?
In this case, the follower was pretty young. Although love always feels real and permanent, young love is less likely to survive. I would hate for a young man to let his education and career take a back seat to his boyfriend. At the end of the day, your education and career are something you always have to deal with. A man is not. Now I realize some relationships do last forever and that point can be moot, but statistically, I feel safe saying you should put your education and career first. I told this guy that if his boyfriend was the right one and this relationship was meant to last, it will last far beyond the next four years and his boyfriend would want him to get the best education, not selfishly be near him and go to a second rate school for his career.
That problem was relatively easy to solve. But what about those of us that are beyond those college years? When is the right time to let a person impact your life path and choices. Be it career, where to live, and other lifestyle choices? Well, I personally think it is a balance. You should never let your personal life, career, or values take second place to your relationship. It is dangerous to change everything about yourself to accommodate a relationship. I would also turn the situation back on your partner. Is there an even trade? For instance, if you moved to be closer to him, what has he done to accommodate you? If you lost a career opportunity to be with him, what has he done for you? A relationship involves compromise so if both parties are meeting in the middle, I’d say you have a keeper. If you find that you are the only one making compromises and changing your life, you are probably doing too much for an uneven relationship.
Love is tricky and involves tremendous risk. But I believe anyone worth loving should want the best for you, whether you are or aren’t around them for a while.