Career

How To Handle A Partner Who Is More Successful Than You

Once I dated someone who lived in a horse shed and thought shoes were ‘foot prisons.’ I was fresh out of uni and working my ass off, really determined to make tracks on my career. I was bored by how uninterested he was in making something of his life, so it didn’t work out. I promised myself I’d date people who also wanted to be successful, however that manifested for them.

The next girl I dated was at the top of her game in everything I was trying – she was the most successful person I’d ever met, ever wanted to be, and ever wanted to bang. I felt inadequate, like I was the one now living in a horse shed compared to her. The line between admiration and jealously became a tad thin. It taught me a lot though, so here are some ways to deal with dating someone who is straight up killing it when you feel like you aren’t.

#1 Look – it’s probs more about you than it is about them

‘Grass is greener’ attitudes usually say more about your lawn than they do about someone else’s. If you’re envious of where someone’s at in their life or their successes, especially a partner, it might actually be saying a lot about how satisfied you are with your current situation.

There’s a chance you’re blurring being envious with confusion about what might be happening in your life. It’s important to work on ways you can feel content without comparing your life to others.

Work on your own stuff and take it as an opportunity to think about how you can kick ass too. Definitely don’t take it out on them.

#2 Success is totally subjective.

Success isn’t a one-size-fits-all dress from some online store. Those things never fit anyway.

We shouldn’t just measure success on promotions, salaries or savings. There are so many different ways to be a successful legend; so your idea of success could be totally different to theirs. Chances are they’re admiring something about you just the same. While I was having mega career envy over my Super Success Girlfriend I mentioned, she told me she’d been secretly really respected (and was slightly jelly of) my ability to make friends quickly.

Trust me, you’re smashing it at something that maybe you haven’t even realised.

#3 Admire the shit out of them

Relationships aren’t about competition. It’s easy to get a little jealous and self-conscious from time to time, especially if your partner is killing it at life, but channel it into admiration instead.

If you’re serious about staying with them, these pesky feelings of competition and inadequacy can really get in the way. Be proud of them and obsessed with their success instead. Lift them up and help them achieve even more because seeing them happy should totally make you happy too.

#4 Take inspo from them

They’re killing it for a reason. Pick their brain because it’s certain they’ll have a tonne of tips and advice. Instead of being intimidated by their success, be inspired and use it as motivation to kick your own goals.

Maybe they’re absolutely smashing it at something you’ve been keen to try. Or they’re at the top of their game in a career you’ve been trying to break into. They didn’t wake up one day on top – they’ve probably got a tonne of advice on how they got to where they are.

Don’t be too proud to ask for a tip or two. They love you, they’ll wanna help.

#5 Be honest (sorry for the mum tip)

It sounds like such a Women’s Weekly tip, but it’s so so true that healthy relationships are built on good communication.

If you’re feeling intimidated by your partner’s successes, keeping it inside has the risk of festering until you start resenting them. Don’t let it get to that point. Don’t be a dick.

Have a chat to them and be honest – especially if you think the feelings are irrational. If it’s an awkward conversation to have, maybe it should be! Just spill your hear out – if they’re a legend of a partner, they’ll just want you to be happy.

So, society’s measure of success is pretty much bullshit. You can live in a horse shed and still be killing it at life. But you can still find motivation and drive really sexy in a partner. Just don’t let it turn you into a jealous dickhead.


Dani Leever is a freelance writer from Melbourne. Working as the Online Content Assistant at Archer Magazine, Dani’s has had work published in SBS, VICE, Broadsheet and Pedestrian.tv. When not writing, Dani is a workshop presenter for PROJECT ROCKIT, Australia’s youth-driven movement against cyberbullying, hate and prejudice.