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You and Your Partner: Birds of a Feather? Or a Horse of a Different Color?

Once, when I was a teenager, I overheard two married women talking near me. The gist of their conversation was that men and women have different interests and your man should do his thing and you should do yours. I tossed my schrunched up hair, straightened my gummy bracelets, and agreed with the friend I was with - we were never going to live like that.

It helps, perhaps, that I don't have many interests that can be considered exclusively "women's interests." And there's also the fact that I'm a co-ed girl. When it's up to me, I will always pick a gender-mixed event over "girls only."

And certainly not say that you should share all your partner's interests, because 1. how boring and 2. I don't know about you, but some degree of personal space and apart time is important to me.

But one thing I've thought about in the last few years is how this relates to career. If you are in a particular career, would you rather be with someone who is also in that career and therefore intimately understands that part of your world, or would you rather be with someone outside that career, who has distance and isn't dealing with the exact same issues as you?

Historically speaking, the latter scenario is the traditional set-up. The husband works outside the home; the wife works in the home. Since I imagine I'll be a career girl until the day I die, I try to imagine that husband's perspective. He can go home and talk about his day, but does his wife really understand the way his friends in the office do? And does that matter?

Then there's a more modern set-up, let's say a high-powered career couple working in the same field. (Obviously, these are examples with many variations existing in between.) Sure, when they talk about work they each understand the background, the industry, the situations. But they also bring their own baggage, their own perspective, and perhaps their own exhaustion after dealing with it all day themselves.

Clearly, you don't get to just order up love - "I'd like a lawyer who just made partner just like me, please" or "I'd like a partner who will definitely stay home to take care of the kids." But it is something I've found myself thinking about: Which is the "better" set-up, if there is such a thing?

It's definitely discussed in the film industry. Partner with someone in the same world, they understand the schedule, the absurdity, the jargon - but you never see them and they're just as tired as you. Partner with someone "outside" and they often don't get the schedule (even when they thought they would going in), don't fully understand the situations that come up, and definitely tend to look at you like you're speaking greek sometimes or name-dropping when you're just talking the same way everyone you work with does. (I mean seriously, if the guy's name is Quentin and we all know who we're talking about, why on earth would I add "Tarantino"? No, I don't know him personally.)

That mild digression into rant aside, I do tend to think that it's better to date someone who's not in your exact field. Often, we just need someone to listen and who understands us - not who travels in our exact same world all the time. Someone to escape with and get a fresh perspective from. Someone who represents home, not work.

I'd love to hear other's perspectives on the similar interests & career vs. dissimilar interests & career question. Where does your current or ideal mate fit?

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Comments

I've dated both in/outside of my chosen career and have come to realise that although it's cool to be able to rant about my day without having to define and describe each procedure/medical detail...it's been easier just relating to someone that works outside the health industry.

When I come home, I just want to leave work and all it's drama behind. I'd actually rather hear about his day at the office than hash over mine. Having different professions also brings a diverse variance and better overall outlook on jobs.

So...I pick horse of a different color please for $244:)

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