Asking about a potential partner

Dear therapist, i’m drawn to partners who are intensely driven. There’s someone i’m talking to now - we work in the same field and I think our ambitions align, but there’s this insecurity that we have an inherent power and wage disparity given he is slightly older than I am. It also seems hard to tell if work is just busy (because it really is for both of us) or if he just doesn’t like me as much as i’d hoped - especially when we converse via text infrequently

Do you have any advice?

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Hi @flox, thanks for sharing your personal experience. Navigating feelings between work and relationship always complex. Regardless age or position, it’s important to keep in mind that work demands can vary, and people may have different communication styles. If you feel comfortable, consider expressing your thoughts and feelings to that person, fostering open and honest communication. This may help you both understand each other better and navigate the uncertainties. Best of luck, :hand_with_index_finger_and_thumb_crossed:

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It sounds very exciting to find a potential partner with similar interests and ambitions. That’s often a crucial factor to whether a relationship works out or not.

I get your concerns about feeling insecure. If he has had a head start in the industry, the power and wage disparity is probably inevitable. But the question is whether you think this disparity is here to stay?

If there’s a disparity, how do you think it affect your potential (romantic) relationship?

The gap will narrow as I progress, and we’ll both be navigating specialty training together within the next 1-2 years (he’s already in it, i’m entering)!

Just worried that meeting him this early in my career affects his perception of me and I come off as weaker or less mature than what i’m capable of. He seems to have his guard up because of it.

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Ah that’s good to hear, sounds like it’ll be good shared experience for both of you.

But I also get your concerns that he might brush you off because you’re more junior - and that’s what you wouldn’t like right? Does he come across as that kind of person?

I could be wrong but I get a feeling that his drive and ambitions attract you more than the insecurity of him brushing you off (because ultimately that gap will narrow).

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Hi there @flox,

Thank you for coming on and sharing about your concerns regarding your relationship. Your thoughts and feelings about how the relationship is perceived by both parties are valid given your circumstances of being unsure.

Nonetheless I wanna commend you for your self-awareness in identifying what’s important to you in a potential partner. No matter what stage of a romantic relationship you find yourself in - be it the early stages or many years into it, open and honest communication has always been cited as one of the main reasons for healthy relationships. I wonder if you’ve had the opportunity to speak to your potential partner about this, perhaps face-to-face using I statements: I think/feel … because… and I would prefer that (what you would like to happen). This way, you can get your concerns across and in a manner that your potential partner can listen and understand clearly. As this is a rather serious topic, choosing a suitable time and place where both are not in a hurry, a conducive location, and in a calm manner will definitely be more helpful. :slightly_smiling_face:

This could also be an opportunity to take stock on what you each value in a relationship and to evaluate as a couple what your short term expectations and long term needs are. In a way, this allows for an open discussion about middle term goals to find ways to strengthen compatibility and hearing more on shared values when it comes to spending time, raising a family, financial matters, personal goals, etc. and how each of you can support one another (or figure out how) in this endeavour.

And while you’re navigating this with your potential partner and working through specialty training together, perhaps you can consider the below practices to help when you’re feeling distressed:
• Being mindful
• Being kind to yourself
• Shifting (to a more helpful) perspective

I’m curious to hear more so do keep us updated. Remember, you deserve and can get the necessary support you need. Till then, take care! :slightly_smiling_face: