“My gf and I are both graduating soon and heading into the same line of work. I love her, but she’s been offered more opportunities than I have at the moment, and sometimes it’s hard for me to be excited for her. Do you have any advice about how I can be supportive of her while I’m kinda bummed about my own situation?”
- Question submitted by Anonymous
Oh man, this is a great question. I feel like a lot of people struggle with this in so many ways with so many people. Maybe your friend, maybe your coworker, maybe your sister, maybe someone you used to know, it happens everywhere all the time and it’s so hard to talk yourself out of, but also it’s totally possible.
Once you get to a place where you can be just excited for her success, you’re going to fucking love life. There is no better feeling than excitement and pride for the person you’re madly in love with, y’all. It’s okay if it doesn’t happen right away AND it’s okay that you slip up from time to time. HOWEVER, one thing to remember is that there is enough success for everyone. One person’s success does not equal your failure. Rihanna is not any less successful because Katy Perry is successful. They are both successful in the same industry, in a similar way, but they don’t tear each other down, they are never “in the way” of one another, and Rihanna’s Coconut Water ad certainly doesn’t take away from Katy Perry’s Adidas ad and GTFW (guess the fuck what), they BOTH did cover girl ads… so like… they did their own things that prove they are successful and THEN did more similar things that prove they’re both successful.
THERE. IS. ENOUGH. FOR. EVERYONE. There just is, and I know your boo wants to help you.
Also, I think it’s okay if you want to talk about it. It’s okay to say “I am so fucking happy for you and this is so amazing and I got a little jealous because of course I want to be doing all these things, but at the end of the day, me being so fucking proud of you overshadows all of the jealous.” Maybe your boo can help you spice your resume or get better at interviews, or maybe you have cool ways to work together that will bring you both up. There are 20,000,000 ways to be successful in one field, you know? Help each other, fight for each other, be proud of each other, support each other. This is gonna be so dope.
I want to, first, underline Dannielle’s point about there being enough success for everyone. Jenny and I talk about this a lot, because we also (we all) wrestle these feelings, and we need to be reminded. For whatever reason, people seem hardwired to compare themselves to others… when in reality those comparisons are not at all informative about the person we are, the opportunities we have, or the possibilities that lie ahead.
The other thing that I want to stress has to do with partnership. You and your gf are partners, which means that when you succeed, so does she… and vice versa. This doesn’t only hold true for romantic partnerships, either. Dannielle and I have been side-by-side for nearly five years, working together on Everyone Is Gay. In the past year, we’ve started to work on some new projects, individually. I know that both of us have moments where we feel confused and lost and worried that perhaps we won’t be able to succeed like the other, but we anchor ourselves with the knowledge that each of our individual successes are actually successes for us both, and for our work together. It isn’t easy, and it requires reminding yourself again and again, and also talking about how you are feeling. You have to communicate!
Dannielle and I have said those words to each other: “I don’t know if I can do anything on my own, I am afraid I won’t succeed, I am unsure, I am sad, I am confused.” We talk about those things, we explore them, we revisit them, and you and your girlfriend need to do the same. You can express your feelings without making her feel like she shouldn’t succeed, and you can express those feelings while also being endlessly proud of her accomplishments.
Try, if you can, to remember that you are capable and strong. Our paths are all very different, and you and your gf will ebb and flow in relation to success in very different ways. Then, remember that you are walking a path together, which means each of your successes help to carry you both. She will learn from your triumphs and you can learn from hers.
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