Recently, a friend of mine complained about the high competition in his company. “We fight all the time with each other because of deals. And they are all jealous of each other each time someone gets a new deal” he said. I replied it’s just human nature. When I won my award earlier this year, almost nobody congratulated me in my newsroom. I got comments like “Oh, I was also thinking about writing an article on your topic” or “That’s easy to win such an award when you know the jury” etc. The ones who congratulated me the most were those coming from rival firms.
I told him even couples compete with each other and get jealous over the success each other can get. “With my ex-wife, there was competition like that” he admitted. “She started to write for a magazine. But she wasn’t very confident, so she asked for my help. I ended up writing my articles under her name until she eventually stopped writing. I took over her. And she got jealous of me. Because I had more success than her” he said.
In my newsroom, I’ve often seen couples cooperating like that. A former coworker of mine used to let her husband (who was my editor at the time) complete her articles. But she never stopped writing. Eventually, she left my newsroom for another one. And her career is still on the right track. He, on the other hand, remains in the dark. She’s more successful than him.
Another couple in my newsroom works in tandem. They both follow the technology sector. But she’s a bit lazy and often let her husband write her articles instead of her. Yet, she’s still writing. And he’s not overshadowing her. Because he’s not motivated.
In the last case, it’s clear that this competition is taking a drain on my male coworker. When he was hired, he was a really promising journalist. But then, he started dating her, and he’s not motivated anymore by his work.
Is there a way to avoid competing with your significant other? Yes, but it implies an effort from both parties. And I believe it’s easier if you’re not evolving in the same field than your significant other. A friend of mine is a successful journalist and has the full support of his wife, who’s a well-known soprano. He’s also her biggest fan.
The problem starts when you get jealous of your significant other’s success. We may not know we’re jealous. Some of us can even sabotage their significant other. This is not the sign of a healthy relationship.