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Emilyy's avatar

Have you had more success in relationships with people who have careers similar to yours, or completely the opposite from you?

Asked by Emilyy (2126 points ) October 6th, 2008

You sometimes meet those couples: two doctors, two lawyers, two writers, two politicians. Do you think it’s an advantage or disadvantage to date someone in your same field? Does it mean you’re compatible or less compatible if you do? Issues that might come up are jealousy, competition, working in the same office or company, running out of things to talk about, etc. Or is that even a factor? Is it all about personality and career is insignificant?

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26 Answers

emilyrose's avatar

I don’t have any proof, but I’d rather be with someone who was interested in what I did, but didn’t have the same job. I used to believe otherwise. My friend whose parents were both lawyers are long divorced. I do have friends that are married and both are doctors. Right now, since they are early in their careers, it is limiting their time together. They are not close friends though so really I don’t know. I would rather date someone with the same hobbies and lifestyle as me, and not someone with a similar job title, though I would be open to it.

As for the last part of your question about whether or not job is insignificant. For me, it is not. If a guy is doing something that I don’t consider to be good for the world in some way, then he is not for me!

wundayatta's avatar

You might understand the issues of someone in a similar career better, but if you are two doctors, watch out for those schedules, especially if you have kids.

Anyway, people are overidentified with jobs in this culture. We are much more than our jobs. It is those other things that make us able to sustain a long relationship. In particular, the ability and willingness to listen, give the other person a break, and solve problems are crucial. Not being very picky also really helps.

According to the books I’ve read about the research in this area—you need to have mutually used tricks to defuse tension. But maybe most important is a true fondness for the other person, and a willingness to stay positive about the other, no matter what their faults. If you focus on faults, you’re done. If you focus on strengths, your marriage will last.

emilyrose's avatar

@daloon—I’m wondering if geographic region comes into play regarding your response. Here in the Bay Area, at least in my peer group, career is very important. In fact in most cases it’s how we all know each other. My friends are the enviro, political, social justice types. Most of my friends work long hours and are emotionally invested in their work, and we often collaborate on projects across the organizations, companies, and government agencies that we work for. Anyway, the point of saying that is that people here are very identified with their jobs. I think it would be hard to not have that come into play in a relationship. But, I agree that in the end, the job is not the most important thing. Though…the type of job someone has speaks a lot to their personality, which is why two lawyers may not be good, and maybe not two politicians.

jasonjackson's avatar

Since I’m a software developer, I sadly don’t have much experience with dating women in my profession. :-/

But I do have extensive experience with my brother, which I think is a similar issue, with similar potential pitfalls. We’re both in web development these days, but he’s a bit less technical and a lot more artistically skilled than I am. It’s great that we understand and appreciate each other’s work – but it’s also quite nice that since we each have our own strengths/specialties within the general profession, we don’t have to compare our expertise directly. So when we work together, we’re a complimentary team, and can focus on supporting each other, rather than competing head-to-head. (Usually, heh.)

I have to imagine that it’s the same within a romantic relationship.

(Or maybe I just have a little too much ego invested in my career..?)

forestGeek's avatar

My ex was a graphic and web designer, and I am a designer & developer. At first it seemed like a perfect match, but eventually we started to discuss work a lot more. She owns her own business and I found myself coding for her on nights and weekend, on top of my Monday thru Friday day job. In my opinion this put strain on our relationship, as it not only dominated our conversations, but we spent too much time working, and not enough time doing the things we really loved doing together. Maybe this is an unusual situation, but it did have a negative affect. I did really like that we both had knowledge and interest in one another’s work though.

wundayatta's avatar

@emilyrose: I do think there is regional variation in identification with jobs. However, while I know a lot of people in the Bay area (particularly those in the tech sector, but others as well) are really focused on their jobs, I also know there are a lot of other types of people there (artistic, and various kinds of slackers, and even people leading that kind of less-than-hip life) who have a more robust life, built on many things other than work. damn! My sentences are rather convoluted, aren’t they?

I don’t know, either, if type of job speaks to personality. My wife is a lawyer, but really she’s a dancer. I’m a data geek, but really I’m a musician, dancer and writer. Oh, yeah, cook, science fiction fan, and, no doubt, a bunch of other things. Also, I’m pretty good at all these things. that can’t really be me who said that! who is this person in my body? Anyway, you can see, I’m not enamored of the idea that what one does is a good indicator of personality, whatever that is.

girlofscience's avatar

That’s tough. My field is science, but I’ve never dated another scientist.

My first boyfriend was a cook. That failed miserably.

I’m on my second boyfriend. He’s a journalist. We’re still cookin’...

I honestly don’t think the similarity of the careers is a factor in the success of a relationship. I think that, if I were to date another scientist, the relationship would be just as likely to fail as the one I had with the cook and just as likely to succeed as the one I have with my journalist.

Supergirl's avatar

Personally, I enjoy being with someone who has a different career than my own. I am a teacher and I would get burnt out listening to someone else’s teaching woes. My husband is able to give me a different perspective and is always interested because it is so far from what he does (aerospace engineer). Plus, we are not totally consumed with what we do, and when we are home we are able to leave our careers where they belong—at our place of work.

Megan64's avatar

My husband and I have had totally different careers. When we met, I was a bartender, he was a hairdresser. Now I’m in education and food and he’s an online news editor. We don’t have similar hobbies either, but we think the same things are funny and we love our kids and each other. I think the fact that we do/did different things is/was interesting because they are fields new to both of us. My previous successful relationship was with a musician. He was very talented and quite the showman. Again, very different from me.

emilyrose's avatar

@daloon—on my run this afternoon I was thinking about the two lawyer thing and realized that in many cases the personalities would still be very different, so you got me on that one! i’m also wondering if two people with the same hobby/passion is a bad idea…..would that get boring too???? I hope not since I am set on marrying a cyclist!

wundayatta's avatar

Marrying a cyclist, if you are also one, is probably the coolest thing. Riding together, especially if you are out in the country, would be awesome! I wish my wife rode. Sigh. Can’t have everything, or so they say.

krose1223's avatar

I don’t have the job I want just yet, but for me I can’t see it really being an issue. I want to work with special needs kids and my SO blows things up for the military. He really can’t talk about what he does so it’s not really a bonding point for us. I don’t think it would really matter with what I want to go into because it will always be something we can talk about. He’s already heard all my voluteering stories and listens to me when I go off on my rants. I know it’s not something he would ever want do himself, but he is totally supportive of me. I think it really just depends on the couple, their situation and personalities. Even though me and my SO have no where near similar interests career wise, we have a lot of other things in common.

emilyrose's avatar

@daloon—maybe she could get into it!!! biking does totally rule, doesn’t it???

augustlan's avatar

I think level of committment to the job might be more important that the actual job. If you are both passionate about what you do, you’d probably have more respect for each other, than say if one is passionate, and the other is “meh”. Likewise, if you are both the type to say “work is what I have to do, so I can do the things I want to do” then neither of you is likely to take it too seriously.

wundayatta's avatar

@emilyrose: don’t think I haven’t tried… And I’m so happy Lance is going to do the TDF again

emilyrose's avatar

@daloon:haven’t even tried??? get there!...she might love it!! then you will have everything : )

maybe_KB's avatar

2 salesmen….Yikes
:(

HarmonyAlexandria's avatar

My parents are both doctors, I sorta understand why their relationship works. They can relate to each other – the odd hours, the stress, understanding what defines a bad day(somebody died).

At this point in my life, I can’t do it, I’m far too competitive, and my personality doesn’t match up with the standard one in my academic field. I’m a biology/premed major, very flamboyant, most of the other students are much more passive/aloof.

Lorenita's avatar

My father is a doctor and my mother is a nurse, they are still married.. now they DO talk all the time about work and medical stuff because they work in the same hospital.. and the truth is that it seems to work for them.. in my case , im a lawyer and my boyfriend is a chef.. im glad we are in totally different fields since i couldnt stand someone talking about courts and trials everytime.. but that’s just me.. so i belive it works different for everyone.. as long as you share the same hobbies and try to be understanding of eachother situation ( different kinds of stress..or bad days..).. it’ll be alright.

w2pow2's avatar

2 Lawyers sounds like a recipe for disaster: A couple in which BOTH of them are opinionated, argumentative and liars…

gbasham's avatar

It depends on how flexible and open minded you are. You may have the same position and yet different perpectives on it. You both could have different careers and it depends on how much you are willing to learn from the other person.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Opposite!I went on one date with an artist and that was enough for me.lol!

plethora's avatar

Opposite…...will not even date anyone in my line of work. Dont want to talk business.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

I’ve dated both, and the most successful have been with someone in a completely different field. Probably because we wouldn’t/don’t talk about work 24/7 like I did with those in the same line of business.

The key to success though is finding someone who has similar interests outside of work. It creates a well-balanced life, and it is wonderful to be with someone who delights the same things.

plethora's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Yes…excellent point.

Coloma's avatar

I agree…work choice is the least important, unless one’s work involves lots of travel which is hard on relationships.

Although, I am the free spirited, creative, entrepreneurish type, soooo….don’t blend well with serious types. lol

Common interest, intellectual compatability and similar values are the glue that binds.

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