Life is very exciting when you're in your 20s, but also begins to present you with a number of challenges. One of these is deciding on priorities. You are beginning your career, but may also be falling in love. But what if love and work go in different directions? What if you're offered a job in another state, or your partner wants to move away? Here's how to decide which should come first, your relationship or your career …
Firstly, how serious is the relationship? Falling in love in your 20s can be very intense, and you feel that you'll never find someone else who means that much to you. But if you give up an opportunity to advance your career or do a job you love, you could regret it. Consider whether the relationship is really that significant - you may not stay together that long anyway
Is this an opportunity that you're going to get again in the future, or would you be missing out if you turned it down? Look forward and imagine how you would feel if you passed on something exciting for the sake of your relationship, only to find that the relationship didn't last anyway …
A long-distance relationship isn't as difficult as it used to be, with all the means of communication at our disposal these days. So maybe you'd be able to handle the distance more easily than you think. There is always the possibility of moving later on - you may not be apart for that long. Besides, a temporary separation will help clarify if you want the relationship to last.
It's not always a case of either/or. Ask yourself if or how you can manage to combine relationship and career. It may involve some compromise or sacrifice, but the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive. If both are equally important to you, look for ways to make your relationship and your career both fit into your life.
Remember that you're still young, and have your life ahead of you. The relationship that means everything to you right now may fade as you grow and mature. We all change as we get older. Although your relationship may be very important to you, it's not the only important thing in your life - and if you base your whole life around it, you'll be lost if you split.
So you've been offered a promotion, maybe in another city. It may seem foolish to turn down what appears to be a great opportunity. But if you have niggling doubts about taking up the offer, you could be subconsciously aware that you're not happy in your job or that the company isn't right for you. If you're not in the right career, then it doesn't make sense to prioritise it above relationships.
It's hard to get impartial advice on love and careers; your friends and family won't want you to move, for example. But if you find yourself in the relationship/career dilemma, talk to as many people as possible. Talk to people in your field about what the opportunity will mean to your career. Listening to other opinions may help you decide what is right for you.
A relationship that you have in your 20s isn't necessarily doomed, far from it. Nor am I saying that your career should always come first. That's for you to decide. But hopefully these tips will help you realise what your priorities are. Do you think that people are more important than careers?
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