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Leaning In: It's Never Enough, Apparently

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Numerous trend pieces have been written about women "having it all." This usually pertains to women juggling a career and family but recently, studies have shown that even women who are simply dating can't have it all. From Christina Jedra's article in USA Today College:

"An August study by the American Psychology Association found that a man's self-esteem is lower when he sees his female partner succeed than when he sees her fail. According to Kate Ratliff of the University of Florida, one of the study's authors, men understand their partner's success to mean their own failure."

As I read Jedra's article (which I thought was very well written, and no I'm not just saying that because Jedra is a fellow Emersonian), I felt like banging my head against my desk -- especially after reading this quote from psychotherapist Betty Cohan:

"In the 50s, women would go to college to get their 'MRS' degree," she says. "What I'm seeing [today] is that careers have really become the No. 1 priority. Although relationship are important, they're taking a bit of a second place. We need to 'lean in' more when it comes to learning about healthy relationships."

First, we had Sheryl Sandberg urging us ladies to lean in at work and now we're being told that because we're leaning in too much at work, we're neglecting our relationships. Can someone please tell me how on earth women are supposed to win? We just can't seem to do enough leaning in. Pardon me while I blast the Cure's "Never Enough."

It's no surprise to anyone that gender roles have changed drastically. Women have embraced the rallying cry of "girl power" and are slowly changing the face of the modern American workplace. But now we're being told (for heterosexual couples) that this shift is hurting the men. What's a girl to do?

We've all had those slacker boyfriends. They are almost like a rite of passage for the modern woman. They're the opposite of the manic pixie dream girl trope, the Jordan Catalanos and Trent Lanes of the world. I dated an art school slacker while I was in college. For a summer, I enjoyed hanging out in his apartment watching bizarre animated films and listening to the Catherine Wheel but this routine quickly became stale. The relationship fizzled out once the summer turned to fall and we never spoke again. It was no great loss.

I later dated an older guy who was quite successful in his field. When he and I split up, my motivation skyrocketed. They always say that success is the best revenge and I was determined to make this ex-boyfriend see that I could be just as accomplished. Looking back, this drive should have come from me but sometimes heartbreak is the best motivator!

Girls, if your boyfriend isn't proud of your successes and is instead threatened then it's time to move on. Healthy relationships can only occur when a couple is supportive of one another. It's wonderful that so many females are going to college and carving out their own paths. Just remember not to let anyone -- boyfriend or not -- make you feel guilty about what you have achieved.