You most certainly can have your relationship and career too:

Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché;

I am not some throw back to pre-feminism. I do believe that a woman should be able to support herself and that we deserve equal pay for equal work.
However, I am in a debate with my sister over an issue, and I wonder if you can throw your two cents in.

I really believe in the value of a good relationship- I think that if two people can help and support each other, they can go farther than someone going it on their own.
I want to have a career, but I do not want to wait until I am established and successful before I have a relationship. I am actively looking for a partner.
As you know, this isn’t a simple thing these days- I don’t want to hook up with some loser just to be in a relationship. I am willing to put the time into attending meet-up clubs, even trying some online contacts (cautiously!) and getting out to openings and functions so I have choices.

My sister tells me that I would be much better off putting my time into my career and going to night school to get another degree. She is working on her master’s in business and has her eye on a job with big pay checks. I can’t help but notice that she is alone though. And she doesn’t seem to be any happier
for her career intensive life.

Am I a fool for spending my spare time dating instead of toiling at books? Is my sister right? Will I end up with less of a career because I want to have a relationship?

Notta Lone

Dear Notta,

I once was in your shoes and everyone told me the same thing- focus on yourself and your career first! However, my priority and intent for my life was to have a family and not end up alone. My career and own interests were important too, but I didn’t understand why I couldn’t do both. A person can also learn a lot about themselves through dating. To me, the important thing (besides finding someone nice, not insane) is to gauge how a potential partner will fit into your life. We all are packages and you get the whole thing when you are with someone; people often forget that. If you both have a mutual intent, and the same picture of the future, this helps to insure that you will enhance each other’s energy rather than suck it dry.

I think too many people wait too long and believe that their entire life must halt when they are with someone. Anyone who needs that, you don’t need. Once kids come and the focus can’t stay on your partner any longer, these relationships tend to fall apart anyway.

As long as you find a partner who is on the same page as you about relationships (this is an ongoing conversation you must be having) I’d say go for it.

Dr. Brilliant Cliché

Granny says: I have no idea why people think that they can parcel their lives and neatly take care of one goal after another. A family certainly doesn’t operate that way.

If you want a relationship, don’t wait until you have your life all set up. If you do, there will be no room for a relationship at that point. You will have developed a system that operates efficiently on it’s own. Fitting another person into it will be a complex task.

To be honest though, I can think of certain professions where one might prefer to get a degree before assuming a family- my son went through law school and told me that he saw every relationship his fellow students had, both married and dating, fall apart due to the stress of too much work. If you are a medical intern and you don’t already have a partner, you may want to wait until after you get back to a normal sleep schedule to pursue new partners. Otherwise you may sleep through your dates rather than getting to know them.

But let’s face it- as we go through life, we constantly face challenges and difficulties. Two people who are helping each other can often go further than someone operating on their own. It sounds as if you want to go through life with a partner. Put your life together with that potential in mind. You don’t have to put either your career or your emotional life on hold. They really do both go together.


About Dr. Brilliant Cliché

Dr. Brilliant Cliché and the Granny Dr. are a fictional web presence and advice blog. Together we offer a joint perspective that is deep but not academic, entertaining but not fluff, and educated yet street smart. By joining the internet community we hope to share thoughts and stimulate insightful conversation around pressing issues that affect us all. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts. (This is not a site for therapy nor does it intend to replace medical or other professional care. ) You can leave comments here or email The Dr. at and don’t forget to like us on facebook. Our facebook page is Dr. Brilliant Cliche
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3 Responses to You most certainly can have your relationship and career too:

  1. Dr. Brilliant Comment’s:

    I would give the same answer regarding waiting for financial stability or finishing schooling ect. before getting married. You are either enhancing each other’s lives and sharing the stress or not. Waiting doesn’t change anything and there certainly will be stress and changes and crisis after marriage anyway.

    Granny comments:

    My comment to Dr. Brilliant’s comment:
    I really think the waiting depends on the duration of the wait.
    If you just entered your last year of law school and the load is it’s heaviest, this is a stupid time to start looking for a relationship-
    the conditions it presupposes are nothing like the conditions of every day life that will exist after the crunch is over.
    Connecting with someone during such a time is like a shipboard romance, or during combat in war-
    once you are back on land, everything changes.

    You also wouldn’t start looking for a relationship in one city right before you move to another.

    But waiting for years on end to seek romance, while you go through a bachelor, master’s and doctorate?
    that’s too long a wait.

  2. Dear Notta Lone
    First, ask your sister if she’s ever been diagnosed with OCD. Maybe she’s just obsessed with studying. She might even have obsessive symptoms if she has had a series of strep throat. OCD symptoms have been seen in people with PANDAS. If all that is ruled out, ask yourself if you could possibly have ADHD. Do you really want a relationship or are you easily distracted and find it hard to concentrate on your work. If all that is ruled out, what two siblings are alike anyway? Internally driven goals do not spread by osmosis. So she’ll study and you’ll date. Just be supportive of each other.

  3. Balance says:

    You can have both, a career and a relationship; I did. In your work environment, you will have a better opportunity to meet someone with similar interest. He can support you in your career and at the same time give you the relationship that you want. You don’t have to accomplish either one first.

    Life is short! Don’t wait for the “right” moment for anything! Have a general plan in life, but don’t plan it sequential steps.

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