We talked about my career but not my friends. They feel judged. Should I tell them I have ‘angry exes’?

When I told one of my close female friends about my chosen career I felt a whole range of emotions. I wanted to tell her that I needed to work: I love doing it, and thought that I could actually become an astronaut, which sounds perfect for me. I wanted to tell her that there were days when I might feel like quitting — I didn’t have a backup plan to get to the next level — but I didn’t want to be controlling and thought I had to work to keep up my good luck. The friend refused to listen to me, though, and wouldn’t support me. I feel like it’s my relationship, but it’s the career that I love that’s important to me. She doesn’t care that I would sometimes feel depressed and hopeless if I gave up. On the other hand, she said she would just give up her job to raise a family. I find it hard to be that objective. What should I do?

Good question.

I understand where you’re coming from. There are certainly friends who do live their lives on one side of the fence and then act like they care about things that are important to you on the other. But it can feel hypocritical if you don’t have faith in yourself to stick it out while trying to stay on the same side of the fence. Ultimately, though, unless you want to compromise your happiness for someone else, that should be your decision.

You don’t mention whether you had a backup plan in mind. But because you mention that you loved the work, it seems that you’re highly confident that you will get to the next level. As for dealing with your feelings of depression and hopelessness, well, just bear with it. Instead of telling yourself that you can’t be depressed when you’ve been depressed before, try focusing on the good times. You may just be depressed because there isn’t enough good news in the world right now. That’s OK — that’s what the mental health community is for.

Clearly, though, you’re seeing yourself as a kid again. Time and time again we find that the older we get, the less inclined we are to want to play the role of a kid. You’ve told me that you’re passionate about doing this kind of work and that you’d like to pursue it for the rest of your life. I’d suggest focusing on the other halves of that statement. It’s good to love what you do, but the reason you’re doing it is to be with your partner. So while the decisions you make may be hard, be sure to take some time to make them with that in mind.

I hope this helps you figure out what’s right for you. It seems that you should think about things you’d really like to do, but that it may be more important to focus on spending time with your partner than ever.

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