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Success and the Two Career Couple

Michele Zone

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Athletes better be wary of the celebrity curse
http://msn.foxsports.com/story/2607668

It's not that these guys can't have someone at home to tend to their sore backs and plantar fasciitis. It just can't be someone the rest of us have heard of. Think about it: Does anyone ever ask A-Rod about his schoolteacher wife?
I find this comment really sexist...but, in a weird way, I think the article has a point. I have observed for a long time that it is really hard to make a relationship work where both people have equally full lives outside the home -- expecially if there are kids involved.

Any thoughts?
 

Zoning Goddess

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Any thoughts?[/QUOTE]

I've got lots. Like, gee, how much time do you have?

1. It's a totally airhead article by a totally airhead woman. Boy, what kind of an idiot would take an assignment for another of these "led astray" articles?

2. Where are the articles about husbands/boyfriends making a woman athlete lose? by virtue of subverting their attention from "the game"?

3. Yeh, yeh, it's long been attributed to spouses/girlfriends of actors and others that their women blow their careers for them. Horses**t! If they aren't smart enough to make their own destiny, no great loss.

4. There are about a gazillion people in "normal" occupations, male and female alike, who don't succumb to publicity, status, etc, and maintain "normal" relationships while excelling in their fields. This article is focusing on a few high-profile guys who they can intimate are distracted by women, thus making all females the "bad guys".

BTW, MZ, great article for discussion.
 

Lee Nellis

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I am wondering if this writer was trying to be tongue-in-cheek. Sports writers are not good at that, but my own reading between the lines makes me think it was intended to poke fun at Tiger and Tom, etc.

Assuming it was meant to be serious, it is distressing to hear someone say that actresses and models are more distracting than school teachers. As near as I can tell the ability to be distracting is pretty much evenly distributed, male and female, etc., etc. It is up to the distractee to manage it. Which is easier said than done, whether you're paid millions or a planner's salary.
 
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Michele Zone

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Well, I started to reply to ZG last night but then thought I should wait for a few others to chime in before I comment. As usual, I may be the life of the party if someone ELSE starts it but I cannot seem to throw a party of my own. Oh well. So, I guess if I give my long-winded opinions, it won't "kill" the thread since, well, it already died. :-D

ZG, I don't think the article is "blaming women". And, frankly, I think that you do not see news articles about men ruining the careers of women because it is so commonplace it is simply NOT "news". As I told a friend of mine once, "You have never heard of the 'MRS. Einstein's Theory of Anything Whatsoever'. She was also a scientist but most folks seem to forget he even had a wife. And she was bitter about him ruining her career by, oh, not taking out the d*mn trash once in a while." There are all kinds of statistics on how women routinely sabotage their own careers by taking care of kids, elderly relatives, moving to follow hubby's career to a new town, etc....and men rarely do such things. However, I want to make it clear that while I am well aware that there IS a cultural aspect to that, I firmly believe that part of it is "biological" -- but the explanation of my opinion on that is too long-winded even for ME to put up with. :-C

Lee, I am not so sure you are right. I started to write about this yesterday when I posted the link but my thoughts are only kind of half-formed, so I am sure to stick my foot in my mouth and I was hoping for feedback to help me complete the thought. But I think that part of the reason so many serious career women (like ZG) are divorced or single is because they do not "have to" put up with some guys cr*p. I have been a homemaker a long time and I do not regret it. And I have talked to women who did the career thing first and the homemaker thing second. I think that a) being financially dependent upon a man has subtle but profound psychological consequences that make a woman kind of lower her expectations from the man and b) having two careers is a huge source of time pressure that can easily be too much for a relationship.

I think the conundrum is this: In a traditional nuclear family, where daddy goes off to earn the bacon, both people in the couple work to support one successful career. It is a joint effort and they have time for each other and they really need each other to make this work. His success is partly dependent upon her support and she is certainly financially dependent upon his success. But two people who both have fulfilling careers, good friends, and full lives on their own --- either one can readily walk away. There is no "resting on your laurels" in such a relationship. It is all too easy for either person to say "You know, I am not really getting that much out of this and it has become such a hassle. Bye."

I do wonder if men who are involved with equally successful women are a) kind of "undermined" in that a more traditional relationship will bend her efforts to supporting his career whereas if she is seriously pursuing her own career, it all falls to him to make it b) if such men are more motivated to work harder at the relationship because she is genuinely more interesting and it is a more fulfilling relatioship and c) such men realize that she can walk as easily as he can and he better work at it and not get lazy about the relationship if he really wants to keep her.
 
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Ok - I read most of MZ's article - and I can agree that two people with successful demanding careers have a much harder go at relationships than if you have a partner who is willing to put their career on hold in order to support yours. That said, I think this article isn't about Careers hurting Relationships, but that Relationships hurt Careers.

The whole premise with that though, is "Who Cares?" Admittedly, I'm not a sports person, but if Tiger Woods wants to devote a little more of his emotional energy to his fiance, who are we to judge? Good for him.
 

Zoning Goddess

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Michele Zone said:
I tripped across this quote from Nicole Kidman: "I don't think you can have two highly successful people and one relationship." (http://entertainment.msn.com/celebs/article.aspx?news=165278)

Anyway, that is kind of one of the things I am wondering about (ie is she right?)....and not really getting anywhere. :-S
I think it can work, and I've known many couples who work hard, are very succesful, and very happy. But they are people who divvy up their "outside work" lives so both are satisfied, and remain flexible about re-establishing goals/responsibilities over the years.
 

Richmond Jake

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I've started to respond to this a couple of times but kept hitting the "back" icon. Briefly: when the adulteress and I were both professionally employed in California and pulling down very good salaries, life was excellent...raising two sons, shared responsibilities, cooperation, mutual respect (little did I know). Hell, where am I going with this? Anyway, our lives still fell apart.....I should have hit the "back" icon again. Sorry.
 

Michele Zone

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Don't be sorry RJ. I think your experience is fairly common...sigh. ZG, I, personally, do not know any couples who "have it all"...REALLY. I know some who APPEAR to, on the surface. But if you dig down deeper, if you know them a bit better... all is not so rosy and it looks more like what happened to RJ (or the "career success" is not what they want you to think, or some variation -- it is a facade in some way). I am sure there are exceptions and I think I kind of want to know HOW the balance gets struck. I really do not regret doing the homemaker thing. But it has been a real eye-opener about many things and ... ugh. I must sound like some utter twit at this point. Oh well...nothing I haven't done before. 8-|

Thanks for your responses...food for thought, at least.
 

DA Monkey

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A really interesting thread

My wife and I have discussed the issue many times - we have been married 20 years, She is a successful nurse manager and becoming more successful. Ive had two distinct careers, both reasonably successful (although one died because of damn computers). My second career is now six years old (planning), Ive completed a Masters, won an academic award and am pusuing a PhD.

We have raised three children (now in their latter teen years) and now are raising our fourth child. we have travelled extensively both in Australia and overseas and own our own home. We are very happy and planning our fifth child whilst renovating our home. Our careers havent sufferred, although I dont know if they could of been better - perhaps?

Have we got it all, I dont know, I dont even know if we have struck a balance between career and family. I cant answer MZ's question about balance, I suspect there is no real answer - I think at times perhaps we ask the wrong question - its not about how they achieve balance or happiness - its probably more "how can I achieve it"

I think part of our success is we both share goals - her career is a very important part of my life and Im often involved with her management team providing a "free resource" to building and development issues. Kylie, on the other hand, provides a similar sounding board to my team in strategic planning with regards to aged population issues and community engagement.

We also know many families in similar situations. I dont know why some relationships dont work out, although we have often discussed the issue - is it work balance, money, pressure a combination of the above.

I do know that whatever makes families and careers work is based upon a real enjoyment of your partners goals and personality (faults and all) and a willingness to compromise (crikey I sound like Oprah! Sorry for getting carried away :-C )
 

Michele Zone

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DA Monkey, First, Congrats!

Second, my 20th wedding anniversary is coming up in November. But my husband and I are planning to amicably divorce. I know in great and glorious detail everything that went wrong with my marriage -- or, at least, enough of it to know it cannot be "saved". I don't want to "overcompensate" and err in the opposite direction. I had an unpleasant childhood and, when I got married, I got what I was looking for. But what I was looking for was someone who was NOT what I did NOT want: he has never hit me, he doesn't drink or do drugs, etc. I was married for a while and pretty miserable before it dawned on me that although I knew everything I did NOT want in a man and marriage, I did not know what I DID want. At which point you get to face the "space abhors a vacuum" principle. Sigh. It isn't enough to get rid of that which doesn't work. You have to replace it with something which DOES work. Therefore, I really want to know "what works?" -- or at least get some Clues to what has worked for some people and see if I can ...come up with a rubric to follow.

Your comments are in line with some thoughts I have on what just might work. Thanks.
 

yaff

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MZ
I have only been married for three years so I may not be qualified to have much of an opinion. I will share my thoughts for what they are worth however. We have been together as a couple for 6 years. In that time, both of us were, alternately, enrolled in full-time graduate programs and each of us held jobs at the same time (no children yet so we did not have to balance those responsibilities as well). I think the "balance" of which you speak is different for every couple but I do think it has something to do with a mutual committment to help your partner to get as much of what they want as possible. I think there is an undestanding that this balance cannot be perfect and that each of you compromises and gives up things or picks up extra slack at various points in the relationship. My guess is that a "successful" balance can only be achieved when both partners are committed to helping their partner reach their potential and explore their dreams as much as possible.
 

pete-rock

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Downtown said:
That said, I think this article isn't about Careers hurting Relationships, but that Relationships hurt Careers.

The whole premise with that though, is "Who Cares?" Admittedly, I'm not a sports person, but if Tiger Woods wants to devote a little more of his emotional energy to his fiance, who are we to judge? Good for him.
I think you hit the nail on the head.

Not having been one (a celebrity), I'm guessing here. It just seems to me that to be an amazingly successful athlete, actor, musician or "artist" of any kind means that you have to be incredibly self-absorbed. It requires a lot of thinking about what makes "you uniquely you" to reach the top in sports, acting, music, etc. That self-absorption is what makes those people successful.

But when that person gets in a relationship, one of three things happen -- 1)they become less self-absorbed, and hurt their career (i.e., Tiger Woods); 2) maintain their self-absorption and have the other person selflessly feed into it (i.e., most celebrity relationships that stay together); or 3) they maintain their self-absorbtion and hurt their relationship (i.e., most celebrity marriages overall).
 

DA Monkey

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pete-rock said:
It just seems to me that to be an amazingly successful athlete, actor, musician or "artist" of any kind means that you have to be incredibly self-absorbed.

I reckon your on the money Pete - self absorbtion or "focus" in another context is the key to many forms of business sports, or athletics success, although I dont know if it is the same in marriage, work, and family life. Balance in these things for your average bloke (or woman) is ridiculously difficult to achieve. My personal belief is that it is unachievable.

In respect of MZ's comments - is there a rubric or pattern that can be applied to achieve this - probably not. All those aspects of marriage and work are dynamic, sometimes they're in balance and sometimes they're not. For me, it comes down to my partner and family - their happiness/fulfillment (mind you, not my idea of their happiness etc, but actually asking them, monitoring the status - like all things, people change in their goals and wants). Sometimes I have to do crappy things or accept ****ty deals to ensure Kylie achieves her needs - at other times the boots on the other foot. The key for us is to realise when the other partner is "taking one for the team" and to show appreciation or understanding.

All in all, Kylie and I have a common goal that has nothing to do with work, success, kids or any other people or thing, and for that goal we both could give up anything - see there is an easy answer - balance and success are measured by one thing and you can only see that thing in the eyes of your partner. :D
 

Habanero

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pete-rock said:
It just seems to me that to be an amazingly successful athlete, actor, musician or "artist" of any kind means that you have to be incredibly self-absorbed.
Exactly. IMO selflessness, not selfishness, will help any relationship grow. Mr. Habanero and I both have successful careers, social lives without being attached at the hip, and are both busy with either masters degrees or extracirricular activities that keep us busy. I wouldn't say we "have it all" as I'm sure that varies from couple to couple, but for us, life is amazing and we couldn't be happier. But it's the give and take in our relationship that allows us to be so happy. I moved 1200 miles for Mr. Hab to have a chance at a new career, but I know he'd be willing to do the same thing for me if I decided I needed a change of scenery.

I will say however, I would never think a woman is "sabotoging" her career to stay home with children.
 

michaelskis

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OK… here we go. I think that having a SO can have a significant factor in a relationship. I know this from experience. When I was in college, I was extreme skiing, and fell as I was going over a 20 foot rock face. Needless to say I got a little banged up, but I was ok. My GF was waiting for me at the bottom of the hill and when I up to her, and she seen the blood coming down my face she freaked out and started crying, holding, and would not stop panicking even though I told her several times I was ok. The next time I went skiing, my friends noticed I was taking it easy, and there were a lot of sections of the mountain that I would not ski. When they asked what’s wrong, I did not think of the crash but I did think of the look on my GF’s face when I skied up to her.

Things ended between her and I about a month later, and that weekend some friends of mine went up to Canada, and they mentioned that I was back to my self as I shot in and out of the trees, and launched off a rock face and pulled a floating 360. Looking back, I cared about her enough that her worrying about me getting hurt made me rethink some of my choices. Not because I might get hurt, but more so because it scared her to see me crash. (oh and after that, she would not come see me ski)

I now am dating a girl that has her own life, and knows I have my own life, and our lives just fit well together. Oh, and she skis and if I crash, she can fix me. :)
 

Lee Nellis

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Been thinking a lot about MZ's words. I like what DA Monkey has to say, and all of the words about balance being different for everyone. And our skiiing friend is so on target about the right to bleed freely without someone freaking out over it.

My own experience is not easy to interpret. As I gain perspective, I see that my first marriage was about two people who were pretty lonely trying to make the best thing they had seen for a long while work. And we made it work for way too long. We were really good at being nice to each other and really bad at satisfying each other's real needs. All I learned was that a relationship that doesn't engage your passions (and of course I started out as a child of parents who learned that having any passions at all was a bad thing during the Dust Bowl, so I was not in touch with my own passions) isn't a good relationship.

Being with someone you are passionate about is a lot more difficult, and at the same time, it is just amazing. Living with my ex was easy most all the time, and I utlimately discovered that I hated it, and hated myself for doing it (never hated her, I couldn't get that intense about it - after all she wasn't responsible for my not being able to admit my mistake).

The balance Karen and I have is different just about every day, and we both have to be "on our toes" to figure out where it stands when we walk in the door. But our career/s are an important uniting factor. I know some Cyburbanites will want to barf, but we often fall asleep talking about the foibles of our respective planning charges (her DRB chair drove the Town's fire truck into the ditch yesterday). Its just who we are and being together celebrates that in a way I don't think is possible with anyone who doesn't get it.

So, MZ, for what its worth. You have to identify your own passions, and explore them. You can't find a relationship that works 'til you work. But that's not a bad fate. I had channeled all the energy into some pretty narrow, albeit very productive, paths for a long time. Didn't get started until I was 46. But as Bob Dylan says, "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now."
 

Michele Zone

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Lee Nellis said:
Been thinking a lot about MZ's words. I like what DA Monkey has to say, and all of the words about balance being different for everyone. And our skiiing friend is so on target about the right to bleed freely without someone freaking out over it.
<snip>
So, MZ, for what its worth. You have to identify your own passions, and explore them. You can't find a relationship that works 'til you work. But that's not a bad fate. I had channeled all the energy into some pretty narrow, albeit very productive, paths for a long time. Didn't get started until I was 46. But as Bob Dylan says, "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now."
You know, I just found this because it was on "page 2" for me. I feel kind of silly.

I think Mr. Zone always had my permission to "bleed freely". His family tried to discourage him from joining the infantry. His mom blames the army for her unhappy marriage and subsequent divorce. He asked me way back then why I wasn't saying anything when an infantry career could mean an early death for him. I told him he had to do what he was passionate about and that I would rather be privileged to be married to him for a few short years as someone fully alive than to marry a nice safe accountant and die of boredom...or something like that. When he was in recruiting -- which he was good at but HATED (he is an extreme introvert and it is a sales job) -- he tried to get permanent recruiter status because he felt it would be better for the family. At some point, I told him "Go back to the infantry where you belong." He was incredibly relieved and we were outta there in something like ...3 to 6 weeks, I think. lol.

I think I did the right thing in that my marriage got me much of what I needed most out of life at the time. However, that experience has not taught me how to achieve any kind of balance in a relationship. And I do not look forward to using Edison's famous method of trying 5000 things that don't work in order to narrow it down to a few possibilities that might work. I don't really want to try out that many men. :-D

Part of me would like to respond to everyone individually but I think my thoughts on the topic are really personal, probably stuff no one here REALLY wants to be bored to tears with, and so forth. Thanks for all the feedback.
 
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