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Why it is important to value each other’s work in a relationship

Experts say that a person belittling his/her partner's profession can be deemed a sign of emotional abuse in a relationship. To be constantly made to feel that your work or professional goals are not important can be highly detrimental to the relationship.

Written by Amrita Sharma |
October 19, 2015 10:00:57 am
When a partner undermines or devalues the profession of the other, problems are sure to cop up. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

Times have changed a lot today in terms of working couples. More and more partners today are professionally qualified and sharing roles and responsibilities that used to be a male prerogative earlier.

Society, too, is changing fast and so are marital equations. But does the changing professional aspirations and responsibilities impact relationships today?

The answer is yes. And it’s not because men are conservative or chauvinistic or women are explicitly ambitious or not ambitious at all. It’s because of the way the couples view each other’s profession and deal with it. As long as both couples approach their respective work in a similar manner, there is no problem. But when a partner undermines or devalues the profession of the other, problems are sure to cop up.

Take the case of Anya and Mohit. When Anya started working in a magazine, things were fine — initially. But when the print deadline neared and Anya had to work long hours, Mohit started resenting it. “He would not resent my salary but he grumbled when I had to stay back at work and that he would be inconvenienced. He also had to work overtime sometimes but I knew it was important. But when I had to do the same he would crib and undermine the work I did, saying it was just a magazine and a hobby and I should not be compromising our family time for it,” said Anya.

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Experts say that a person belittling his/her partner’s profession can be deemed a sign of emotional abuse in a relationship. To be constantly made to feel that your work or professional goals are not important can be highly detrimental to the relationship. It is not just the kind of work that is belittled, but sometimes also the salary bracket that can emerge as an issue of berating the partner.

Take the case of Mahesh and Sakshi. Though both had started out together, Sakshi was lucky to have some good breaks in her profession, because of which she was in a much higher salary bracket than Mahesh. But because of the income difference, every time they had a fight, Sakshi would use that as a tool to show Mahesh down. “Whether it was about her going out of town for her work, or attending parent-teacher meetings or even taking care of our child when he was ill, she would expect me to stay home because, according to her, my job was not worth losing sleep over with the kind of salary I got,” Mahesh said.

Sakshi, on the other hand, felt that since she was the one bearing the major expenses of the household because of her hefty salary, it was up to Mahesh to pitch in when the need arose. “I did not have a problem with that, because I did realise that her job was more important for us, with our expenses and our EMIs, but that did not mean my job or I had no value in her eyes,” he said.

What hurt him most was that she was very dismissive when he spoke about his office problems or events which he wanted her to attend with him, because she felt “it was not worth the effort”. “Because of her attitude I would sometimes feel inferior, though I was content with what I was doing,” he says.

Experts say that belittling each other’s profession only end up in one partner alienating the other. Since what we do usually plays a major role in defining what we are and who we are, it is imperative that couples show a certain amount of respect and value to that as well.

Appreciating the goals, profession and aspirations of our partner are integral to any relationship; and if we fail to show that in our attitude, then we may end up being professionally successful but the relationship may end up taking a beating.

Read more Two to Tango columns here

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