Career or Love? How to Choose Your Best Future

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Act Like A Lady Think Like A Man" by Steve Harvey. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you have to choose between following your career or your heart? How do you know which is the right choice: career or love?

Sometimes the stars align and you’re blessed with two of your life’s goals at once, a promotion and the man of your dreams. But wait. Your promotion would require you to move away. Suddenly it doesn’t feel like a blessing anymore and you’re forced to give one up. Which do you choose, career or love?

Continue on for Steve Harvey’s advice on whether you should choose career or love.

Career or Love?

According to Steve Harvey in his book Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man, a man needs to have his life in order before he can fully commit to a relationship. If you’ve been with your man for a while and he’s gone through the steps to prove he’s worthy of you, the chances are pretty good that he’s figured out enough about who he is, what he does, and how much he will make to include you in his world. 

But his business and successes are not the only ones to consider. You also have dreams and a career that are important to you. So how can you determine whether you’re able to grow together? And if your career is booming and he’s still in the development stages, how can you factor in both? Do you actually have to choose between career or love?

When Your Dreams Come True

You’ve experienced success in your career, and now you’ve accomplished the difficult task of finding a good man who cares about you and seems to fit into your world. Then, you get the call you’ve been waiting for—your dream job or that lucrative promotion is finally being offered to you. The pay is great, the benefits are enviable, and the prestige is mind-blowing. The only problem—you have to move away to get this amazing opportunity. 

Six months ago, accepting the job was a no-brainer, but now you’ve got the relationship you’ve been waiting just as long for and aren’t sure whether you can give it up. The following list provides things to consider if you have to choose between career and love.

Questions To Ask Yourself

1. Can you realistically give up this job opportunity?

Can you wake up every morning and be proud of your choice to stay behind for love? Are you willing to gamble that another great opportunity is coming and be truly okay if it never does? Be honest with yourself. You have to live with your choices, so make sure they’re the right ones for you, not your man. 

2. Will you hold your lost opportunity against your man?

You may honestly feel okay about putting your dreams on hold, but your relationship will not always be perfect. Will you use your sacrifice as a weapon when you won’t hit a bump in the road? If any part of you believes your sacrifice will lead to resentment, take the job. 

3. Is a long-distance relationship possible?

Will you truly be okay with every other weekend and FaceTime conversations? Is your man worth sacrificing your desire to have a partner by your side? You can make a long-distance relationship work if you’re truly in love and connected. But staying connected when you’re apart is hard. Really think about what a long-distance relationship looks like, and have a conversation about it with your man.

4. Do you and your man trust each other enough to be apart?

Will you feel comfortable that your man is not on the prowl three states away, and will he feel the same about you? Distrust creates problems, and there’s no shame in admitting that long distance isn’t the right relationship for you. But if you feel like you can trust your man and he can trust you, be open about the expectations while you’re apart so you both know the rules. 

5. Could he come with you?

You never know what your man is willing to do to stay with you. He may put in for a transfer or look for a new job in your new city. Don’t assume your leaving is the end of the discussion. If you’re struggling with the decision, chances are your man is too. Put the cards on the table, and he might surprise you with what he’s willing to do to keep you in his life. 

A change in location doesn’t have to be the nail in the coffin. Don’t write off a good job or a good relationship too soon. You never know what the future holds, and the distance may turn out to be temporary. 

When He’s Still Reaching for the Stars

Your man may not have all three categories of his life figured out completely, but he’s on his way to doing so, which means he’s comfortable making room for you in his life. But how can you be sure his dreams will become a reality?

The following considerations will help you decide whether you should put your faith in your man’s future:

1. Are his goals viable?

You’ve asked the five important questions, so you have a clear idea of what his goals are. Pay attention to the details of your man’s plans. If he’s been working toward the same goal since he was 18 and hasn’t made any strides, he’s stuck dreaming. If he’s waiting for luck to strike instead of figuring out his dreams, he’s not taking control of his fate. Don’t attach your life to a man with lofty goals. You’ll be waving in the wind with him, rather than building a solid foundation. 

2. Does he walk his talk?

If your man’s dreams seem legitimate but he’s doing nothing to make them happen, keep walking. A man who is ready to grow up and build a life with someone will be motivated to get his life in order. If he isn’t taking action, he’s not truly ready for his life or yours. 

3. Does he want you to save him?

Is he waiting for the love of a good woman to get him moving? Being his life force is not your job. Your man needs to pick himself up and build his own future. You can be there to support his dreams, but if you become responsible for making them happen, he won’t feel like a man. You’re not his mother or career counselor, so don’t fall into the trap of becoming one. 

4. Will you help more than you hurt?

If your man is truly driven and working to make his goals a reality, he may not have the kind of time for love that you want. If you stay with this man and take up his time, you’ll become a distraction. If he is able to make time, figure out how you best fit into his plan and support him. Be there when he needs you, and give him space when he needs it. 

5. Can you be patient?

Will you be happy waiting for six months, a year, or two years for you man to get where he wants to be? If he’s earnest about his dream and working toward it, you’ll need to be patient and give him time to make it happen. He may not be able to give you everything you want now, but if he’s the right one, allowing him time to become the man he wants will be worth it in the end.  

6. Can you support his dreams?

Can you stick with your man through the struggles of getting his life in order? Can you help him in the way he needs it, not how you believe he needs it? Can you show him you’re proud of his hard work? If a man knows he can count on you when he’s still striving, he’ll be better able to work hard and endure the struggles with confidence, and he won’t forget your love and support when he reaches the top. 

Career or Love? How to Choose Your Best Future

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Here's what you'll find in our full Act Like A Lady Think Like A Man summary:

  • How to navigate the adult dating scene
  • What men need, how they think, and how they behave when it comes to relationships
  • How women can gain an advantage and find the right man to fulfill their desires

Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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