As one of the partners in a relationship filled with disparities based on the success of one partner or the lack thereof of the other, it is imperative that at some point, issues related to the identified disparities are dealt with, preferably by both, but most certainly by you. In order for you to have a healthy and positive relationship, feelings and thoughts regarding the disparities surrounding the fact that one of you is more successful than the other must be addressed. In all actuality, the issues of disparity surrounding success in your relationship should have been dealt with prior to your commitment to solidify your relationship with each other. But since it wasn’t dealt with prior to your commitment, it is now the right time for you to do so.
How you deal with the disparities that exist within your relationship, as a result of one-sided success will probably differ based on your maleness or femaleness. The definition of ‘success’ must be factored in when considering the real or imagined disparities you and your mate are currently facing and have been facing for quite sometime. However, the reality is that although one of you in your relationship had already attained a greater level of success than the other, prior to your involvement with each other, you all ignored the red flags that often come with the disparities, hoping and sometimes believing that they would go away.
As a male, it is promoted, expected, respected, and accepted that you should be more successful than your female partner. However, on the other hand, when your female partner is more successful in the relationship, your male ego sometimes seems to get in the way. Sadly, society still espouses a lack of respect, a lack of acceptance, and a lack of expectations for relationships with successful females to positively exist.
One of the major problems that usually ends a relationship sooner, rather than later, is the fact that many couples ignore the larger picture containing red flags and focus on the feel good aspects of the relationship, such as sex, outward appearances, and lust. They ignore the fact of the unequal level of accomplishments in the relationship. If the disparities in levels of success are not already prevalent when you enter a relationship, as one of you excels beyond the other, the disparities will eventually rise out of the ashes. Hence, it is important to be proactive.
When one partner in the relationship is more successful than the other, it is imperative that the two of you sit together and talk honestly and openly with each other about your feelings, thoughts, insecurities, and concerns. It is also important for the two of you to discuss the current and anticipated impacts that the disparities of unequal success are having or might have within the relationship. This conversation will also be a great time for the two of you to clarify your expectations of each other, as well as your expectations of the relationship, and set written goals, especially when one of you is more successful than the other. It is best to have these conversations before you become too involved in the relationship. It is always easier to prevent issues than it is to intervene later, once they have raised their ugly heads.
Positive, healthy, and respectful conversations with each other can relieve a lot of stress and anxiety, as well as possibly save your relationship. And if you cannot discuss and deal with these feelings together, civilly as a couple, it is time to for you and your mate to visit a marriage and family therapist to help you to sort through the divisive feelings and thoughts that exist as a result of one of you being more successful than the other. Destruction of the relationship and destruction of each other are the only outcomes of harboring feelings of insecurity, resentment, anger, and sometimes jealousy.
Discussing the disparities that exist within your relationship of one being more successful than the other is only one of the major steps necessary to allow you and your mate to live happily ever after. And just in case your love grows stale in the relationship and the fire stops burning, and as you anticipate future disparities that might arise in your relationship, it is important to engage in a verbal and written agreement to not allow your differences in accomplishments to interfere with your relationship, as well as the consequences of such. A WRITTENand legally ratified prenuptial agreement is always a great way to bring some stability to your relationship when one of you is more successful than the other. It helps to take a lot of worry out of the way, so that you can focus on loving each other.
Too often, the non-successful partner takes and takes from the successful partner, without any investment, until he/she takes all and runs to someone else. This doesn’t just happen with very successful people such as Mary J. Blige, Sherrie Shepard, Melba Moore, and Jill Scott; it also happens to successful women that the world has not discovered as of yet. It’s just realizing the fact that there are real opportunists and real vultures waiting to prey on unsuspecting people, especially women looking for love.
Even in relationships with disparities of levels of success, you must learn to focus on the positive aspects and commonalities that exist within your relationship, instead of focusing on the disparities in your levels of success. In other words, you must focus on what you have in common, rather than your differences. You must allow your commonalities to be connectors and not dividers, using the success of one in the couple to guide the success of the couple as a whole. You must learn to give each other compliments, as well as tell and show each other how proud you are of the accomplishments of each, not just based on levels of success, but on the fact that God has blessed the two of you to have and be with each other.
Celebrating the accomplishments of each other removes the focus from the disparities associated with your different levels of success, and keeps you from competing with each other. You will come to not worry about or focus on what others might think, believe, or say about your respective roles as the man or woman in the relationship, as well as how your relationship should be, or how it looks, because one of you is more successful than the other. You will come to recognize that external success cannot and will never outlast internal success and eternal love.
The two of you are partners, not competitors. As the successful partner in the relationship, you must learn to see your level of success as an inflator for both of you, instead of seeing it as a deflator for you. Your success should be seen as a compliment and an enhancement to you and your relationship, rather than a disgrace or disparity between you and your mate. And if you are not considered the successful partner in your relationship, it’s time for you to find your own self-worth through having a life of your own, by identifying and focusing on what makes you “successful” in your own right, without separating yourself from your mate. You must engage with your mate without competing with him/her, and without trying to overshadow his/her level of success. Engage in public activities with him/her without shame or guilt. You have nothing to feel guilty or shameful about. Find your own shadow and walk in it!
No matter what the level of success and who is considered the ‘successful’ one in your relationship, it’s a matter of loving and respecting each other, no matter how successful or unsuccessful you are…you are in it together! Walk in it, and act like it!
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