Is your career your first love?

Danielle Spencer and Russell Crowe split.

Russell Crowe and his wife of nine years, Danielle Spencer, announced their separation this weekend. The two were on opposite sides of the globe when the news broke, she in Australia shooting “Dancing With The Stars,” and he in Los Angeles shooting the film “Noah.” Their whereabouts might be an indication of what went wrong with their marriage. Did their careers take priority over their love lives?

Often, you have to ask yourself the question: which comes first, my love life or my career? Sometimes there’s no easy answer. For celebrities, the choice can be particularly hard since their work often takes them far away for long periods of time, but you don’t have to be a star to grapple with this tug-of-war. At some point, if you have a profession, you will most likely be forced to make a decision. While having a career should not preclude being in a relationship, the question often becomes: How much is too much?

If you’re the one left alone on a Saturday night — as one of my patients was when her boyfriend couldn’t make it to her sister’s wedding because he had to work — what is important to keep in mind is to not take your partner’s working overtime personally. It’s easy to fall into the pattern of feeling they are choosing the office over you, while typically they don’t see it as a choice but as their professional responsibility. If this is going on for you or the person you’re seeing, look to put some checks and balances in place. If it’s the sixth night in a row that you haven’t been home before midnight, it may be time to have a talk with the boss and set some boundaries.

The other thing you can do if you know you are going to be overwhelmed with work and anticipate being exhausted, is to give your partner fair warning. That way, they can make other plans and not feel ignored or abandoned. You want to preserve the emotional intimacy you share with your partner because that can ultimately help sustain you as you make your way in the world. If you work to balance it, you can maintain your career and your love life, rather than ending the relationship.

— Relationship expert Dr. Jane Greer is creator of “Shrink Wrap” – national commentary on what we can learn from celebrity relationships – and host of “Let’s Talk Sex” at Healthylife.net. Her book, “What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship,” is available nationwide.

Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages.


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