M: Gene is in his mid-20s, growing in his career. He is now a middle manager. His girlfriend is quite stuck in her job and is quite possessive. Things went well during lockdown. Now that he is starting to go out, the issue is back. She seems to be jealous, not supportive. I think this is not just about lack of support, but a case of envy as well. Gene, you are young with a lot of potential with a great future ahead of you. If your girlfriend is like an anchor that weighs you down, better check if you want to be on the same boat that will go in the same direction.
DJ: The part of being in a relationship is having a partner in life. Someone who boosts us up when we’re feeling down and cheers us on when we’re successful. This is essential, in my opinion, and a huge void if unmet. That’s why I think it is a point of concern if Gene’s girlfriend is not genuinely happy when he’s going out and meeting people to move his career further forward. There’s a huge difference between compromising and settling. When there is a mutual effort to meet half-way, then it’s a healthy compromise which is normal in every relationship. But if Gene is the only who is constantly adjusting at the expense of his growth, then it’s time for him to evaluate whether this is a relationship to be in at all.
M: It is not only when times are difficult and someone sympathizes or empathizes with you that you know they want what’s good for you. It’s hard to be with a person who limits your growth. If your girlfriend is stuck with her job and she feels unhappy about it, she can do something about it. These are challenging times to be out of work but she doesn’t have to move out of her current employment. She can talk to her boss or HR and ask if there are possibilities for promotion or transfer to another department where she thinks she will be a better fit. If she focuses on making herself better and not comparing herself to you, I think your relationship will have a better chance of succeeding.
DJ: Gene can assess whether the relationship is equal or fair. If not, then I suggest he makes time to communicate his thoughts and feelings specifically about this topic. Find out what her reasons are. They might just turn out to be legitimate. It helps also if he talks about this from a perspective of what he’s excited to see, not necessarily what’s going wrong. Otherwise, it’s likely for her to be defensive. Gene will also have to explain his reasons to make sure she understands why going out and meeting people is important to his job. Hopefully, they’ll find a common ground. Because if he’s always giving in and his goals are insignificant to her, then he has got a difficult decision to make.
M: We do not know how long this pandemic will last. Life as we know it will no longer be the norm. Things will never be the same again. But we can adjust, we can change, we can adapt. We can move. We are not trees. So, bloom where you are planted. Strive to be a better person than what you were before. Dream big dreams but continue doing the little things that matter which we sometimes overlook. Work with honest dedication. Live a life of integrity. Pray without ceasing. Never forget to be grateful for what you have and do not have.
DJ: A relationship is a partnership. It won’t work if the two people who are in it are not both in it to win it. A good talk usually leads to some positive changes. That is, if his girlfriend is a good fit for him and is invested too in his happiness and wellbeing. We teach people how to treat us by what we expect and what we accept. We can compromise but should never settle for less than what we deserve. Can he still foresee living the rest of his life with that lack of reinforcement? Will that future be a happy one? Or will he just become even more unfulfilled? Gene’s answers to these questions can already give him an idea how to move the relationship forward — whether together or apart.