Do you fantasize about being one-part of power couple? What’s the appeal for you? During a conversation with a few married/partnered women they decided to share a bit of knowledge with the younger single folks at the table: There is no such thing as power couple. Some will always take a backseat. If not, things will fall apart. Balance, they insisted, was necessary if you were going to have a healthy, functioning relationship.

The need to redefine the power couple wasn’t necessarily shocking for me. Every power couple I’d ever encountered close-up seemed like they took turns being the center of attention, took turns traveling, and honestly never seemed like they were at the height of their careers simultaneously. But they did seem like they worked, no matter the project or task, just as hard as their partner. That’s when I realized that my image of the perfect couple was more about feeling that my partner and I had a matching work ethic, that we were equally ambitious, and that we had enough going on individually to not be threatened by the other’s hustle.

Here is where it’s gotten tricky as of late. When you’re dating people in your field, the time constraints and things that are expected of you outside of the office are understood. But what happens when you work in completely different arenas? How do you measure hustle? If you work a 10-6 and the person you’re dating works crazy hours freelancing on multiple projects, does your ambition get called into question? Does the idea of ambition really just come down to having a level of respect for the type of work your partner is doing? Or is the idea of hustle not really about hustle at all, but your ability to appear busy when talking to others?

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