I’m sick in bed and feeling a little uncreative, so instead of a usual blog post I decided that I would tell you all a story instead. This is a multi-part story, so stay tuned for the last part of the story on Friday or so.
As we all know, I dated this one dude for a long time in undergrad.
After the big breakup or whatever, I met this super charming med student. I was twenty… and he was twenty nine. It was my junior year of undergrad and he was a first year med student. My friends were simultaneously super attracted to him because he was old-school handsome but also constantly commenting on his back problems and telling me that he had Alzheimer’s.
This was all cut pretty short though, when he sent me a list of problems that he had with me. He basically told me that if I corrected myself then maybe we’d have a future, but assured me that everything was fine though because he still thought that I was “super hot.” Um, okay.
I proceeded to never talk to him again, until after winter break when he invited me to hang out. Somewhere after a glass of terrible expensive wine, we went from casually discussing the upcoming semester to him giving me a $200 cashmere sweater and telling me to wear it whenever I hung out with my guy friends. To this day, I regret giving back that sweater because I looked so damn cute in it. But I digress. And somehow… I was dating him again.
I remember we were arguing… is that a wrong word to use? More like debating. We were debating over what we each felt like the most important thing in a relationship was. If you asked me today what I thought the most important thing in a relationship was, I would tell you that it is trust and honesty. But at that time, I told him that the most important thing was that my partner supported me.
I didn’t mean that I wanted someone to financially support me. I wanted someone to emotionally support me and my decisions and to be there for me. My last boyfriend didn’t really support me and he wasn’t there for me at all. Even though it felt like I was always there for him and taking care of him.
“Is that seriously what you think is the most important thing in a relationship?” He said, laughing.
“Yes,” I responded. “I want a partner who will support me and my decisions, my dreams and the pursuit of my career.”
“I think the most important thing in a relationship is sweetness,” he said. He held my hand, as I couldn’t help but remember that this was the guy who sent me a list of problems that he had with me. “You need sweetness.”
To this day, I still think that statement was very pointed and that he was calling me abrasive.
We argued, as I’m not going to even mask this, about our viewpoints, until he finally said.
“You really need someone who’s going to support your career, don’t you?”
“How could I possibly be with someone who didn’t care about my career?” I responded, giving him a look. As you all know, I’m incredibly independent and my career matters a whole lot to me!
“You act as if your career is all that matters,” he said, snippily. He gave me a look, and said, “What is going to happen with us?”
“What do you mean?” I asked, giving him a look. I knew exactly what he meant, but I think I was in denial about it.
“What about our relationship? You graduate early and I’m going to be applying to residencies.”
“What do you mean?”
“I want to get married and start a family by the time I graduate medical school,” he responded. He gave me a look, squeezed my hand, and looked straight in my eyes.
“I’m getting older and I want to settle down. But you don’t want to give up your career.”
I wouldn’t give up my career for anything, especially him. I was so taken aback by that comment and his ultimatum. I felt like he was telling me to give up my dreams and to settle down with him… to marry him in the next three years or to walk away. And I knew I couldn’t marry him and also that I wasn’t ready to marry anyone. Especially someone who didn’t see how important my career was to me.
Also to be married AND pop out a kid within the next three years? Hell no.
“I want to go to graduate school.” That was all I said, and I think it summed up my views perfectly. “We could do long distance but I want to go to grad school.”
“Long distance doesn’t work. But what about my residency?”
“What do you mean?”
“You could transfer to wherever it is, or..”
“I’m not going to transfer.” I knew exactly what was on the other side of that or. Or give up my dreams and follow him.
“You wouldn’t follow me?” He asked; there was a certain twinge of betrayal in his voice as if I had done something truly vile.
“No, I wouldn’t give up my career.”
“You can’t just care about your career. What about starting a family?”
And I knew he was asking, what about him? We stopped seeing each other a week after that. Plenty of people have told me that I was absolutely crazy for not taking him up on that offer or taking the easy route off. I could have chosen the life of some neurosurgeon’s wife and just sat around forever. But I’m not that kind of girl and I wouldn’t give up my career for anything.
And I stand by that.
I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships and happily ever after. I of course am always constantly thinking about my future and my career, but you all already know that.
Much like other people, sometimes I think about the person I’m going to end up with. I wonder what kind of man he’s going to be and what he’s going to like. But that can wait, because I’m twenty one and I still have zest in me that wants to do everything and take on the world.
I still stand by the fact that I want someone who supports me and stand by me though thick and thin. And I truly want it all… I think I can have it all. Even if there’s plenty of people who have told me otherwise. Liz Lemon got her sandwich right?
Sometimes I think of this story and I laugh at how ridiculous it was that he basically gave me an ultimatum and told me to give up my career. How he told me to transfer or give up the dream of grad school… and that he wanted a family in a three year span. I was twenty!
And sometimes, I remember that night and I smile because I remember how nothing has changed, in the sense that I still want to take on challenges and care so deeply about my career.
Have you ever been given a crazy ultimatum?