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Professional Person’s Love Life Struggles

A “profession” is different than a job. A job is something you do. A profession is something you are. Professions take dedication and you will probably have to train and wait for it. All of this takes place during adulthood and it is common for professional development to compete with and in many cases interfere with an adult love life.

For the sake of this initial post on this love life topic, let’s divide the professional’s love life into two periods of time: first is a person’s love life while training for a particular profession, and the second is, his or her love life while functioning as a professional person. I believe the love life issues are different for these two periods of time.

During the period of time when a person is preparing for the profession they will hold in the future, their love life is active but constrained. The biggest issue on the table is “emotional availability.” Since becoming a professional requires a measure of dedication and passion for a particular field of study, a certain amount of “love” for what you are pursuing will be necessary to get there. The demands on your time and attention will probably be dominant. Basically, it’s not an easy time to have a love life.

A love relationship during periods of professional preparation is often influenced by inherent limitations of time and commitment. Although for some people, a committed love relationship during this period may be focused more on helping the person get through the hardship and stresses involved. Question is, is it really helping or temporarily shielding a person from the growth experiences involved in developing more matured forms of independence and self-sufficiency at an important time in life?

For those of us who faced a long and protracted period of academic training on the way to finally functioning independently as a professional person, figuring out how to navigate loneliness, part-time love relationships, and sexual/intimacy needs is quite an emotional  journey. There were plenty of times when the only reprieve from the struggle to stay committed to the “illusive” future attainment was to find solace in the company of others who were doing the same thing and willing to talk about it.

It boils down to cultivating supportive relationships while going through the rigors of professional training while keeping your love life expectations realistic.

As a professional person, once you’ve become a professional, the influences on your adult love life shift. Now it’s a matter of managing the intensity of the professional demands made on your time and attention, with a bunch of responsibility added now that you’ve succeeded. Making time for a love life in the middle of so much ambition and responsibility is quite a feat.

Some people equate it to a juggling act. The important point is, you’ll know your love life is healthy when it achieves equal importance as compared to your professional aspirations. You have to learn to appreciate the reciprocal relationship between developing yourself as a  professional person and the extent to which you are taking care of your emotional life.

Let me say it more simply, if you pay close attention to your emotional needs as a professional person, which most certainly includes your need to give and receive love, your ability to perform professionally will be enhanced. In fact, a healthy love life is by my estimation the most powerful professional enhancement attainable, ever. Working from the inside out of your emotional life, a healthy love life will always result in an experience of resilience that will strengthen your ability to perform in a profession.

Comments welcome, Dr. Jordan

Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

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