Six (gulp) years ago I wrote an article for The Heights, the "independent student newspaper of Boston College", called, "Can you date outside your style zone and last?" It was about whether couples un-like-minded in the fashion department stood a chance at long-term survival. What do clothing choices say/not say about a person, and how much does whatever they say predict how a relationship will end up? A hipster may love a prep but where would they buy their housewares?
Three (still gulping) years ago I wrote a post for this very blog called, "Can you date outside your drinking zone and last?" It was about whether couples un-like-minded in the drinking department stood a chance at long-term survival. What does drinking style and degree say/not say about a person, and how much does whatever it says predict how a relationship will end? A black-out-on-the-weekends may love a just-whatever-white-wine-you-have-please but when will she tell him to get his act together or leave?
And now today, an unexpected third installation in this accidental series - a topic that is eye-rollingly appropriate to this less shallow, more sober phase in our 20-nothings lives.
Can you date outside your professional progress zone and last?
The topic came up over Larchmont Bungalow brunch with Meryl. We were talking about where we are in our careers and what that positions says about a person. What it can predict about how that person related to the person they're dating was a natural next step.
- A go-getter, 27-year-old financial analyst on the fast-track to making VP starts dating a struggling creative-type still living pay check to pay check.
- A successful creative-type sees their long-term significant other go from motivated freelance journalist to un-motivated curmudgeon.
- A curmudgeonly un-motivated freelance journalist discovers their writing/life partner is far less of a kindred spirit in the anti-establishment department when their side project becomes a full-blown book deal.
I personally think it's an important distinction to call out a difference in "style" versus "status." An aspiring artist may be stalled in their career on account of the difficulty of becoming a working artist in comparison to the successful accountant they've been dating for years. The process of becoming an account is very different than the process of becoming an artist. That doesn't mean the artist doesn't work as hard as the accountant. Circumstance and style are different.
Of course for some people the distinction probably doesn't matter.
I've got to image that for as many successful professionals who would support their struggling partners through thick and thin there are those who would feel more fulfilled, comfortable, or financially secure in a relationship with someone who is an equal contributor to their collective future.
"I think the real question with this whole issue is how it differs for men and women," I said to Meryl. "I hate that I'm going to say this, but I feel like a man would be less secure or comfortable if he was the one stalling in the progress department."
I said I hated that I was going to say it...
How much of a thing is this thing? As silly as dating outside your drinking zone? As serious as the style version?
I don't have the personal experience to speak on the topic, but that's probably because my OCD of the productive out-put variety has terrified anyone who actually likes to relax on the weekends...