Crisis: Career or Relationship?

I accepted a job offer in another state from my SO, who I've been with for a little over 3 years.

I searched for jobs in a different state because he had a job offer, which initially was local, but due to COVID, would've required relocation to a city that neither of us wanted to be in long-term. Admittedly, I was furious that he had even considered it but came to realize I didn't want to stand in the way of his career. He assured me the job would be a stepping stone and he'd quit after 2-3 years. Ultimately, the offer was rescinded.

At this point, I was in the early stages of interviewing for a job I had considered to be a long shot. I withheld that it was in a another state until I got past the super day and case study, which was entirely wrong on my part. The job was in a city we had lightly discussed moving to in the future several times, and upon telling him prior to the final interview, he didn't raise an issue. Leading up to the offer, he reassured me that he was supportive with the move and could see himself having a career there.

It wasn't until I accepted that he backtracked. It was a number slightly higher than what we discussed we'd be comfortable relocating with, not to mention $25k+ my current salary.

Since then, we've had several arguments, where I eventually compromised and decided I'd take the job for 2-3 years as a stepping stone. He was supportive of this decision but refused to relocate with me and opted for long distance. (The majority of our relationship was long distance since we went to different colleges).

A couple weeks pass and we get in another argument, where he says my decision was calculated, manipulative, and done out of spite, and if I went through with the job, there was no going back.

Prior to this argument, I debated taking the job as I didn't want to leave him even for a few years and put our future in jeopardy. Our relationship had been incredibly rocky the past year (to the point where we both considered ending it), but I was willing to give up a dream job to make it work.

However, the ultimatum kind of rubbed me the wrong way. I do understand where he's coming from, but it sucks to find out he'd stand in the way of my career progression when I was willing to be supportive of his.

TLDR: I accepted job in a different state and my SO is giving me an ultimatum.

What would you do in my situation? Am I completely in the wrong here?

Comments (20)

Most Helpful
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Feb 21, 2021 - 4:08am

Am having similar discussions with a significant other. The ultimatum seems like a reach for power/control in the relationship. Some part of me, based solely on the info you mentioned, makes me think that it is partly coming from you getting the job you wanted whereas his was rescinded. I would let things cool off and try to have a discussion. If he's not budging on the ultimatum, I would focus on the career imo. You know this as well as anyone but long distance blows and in all likelihood if you took the job without him coming the relationship would likely end regardless

  • Analyst 2 in RE - Comm
Feb 21, 2021 - 4:39am

I understand how he feels betrayed by my not telling him from the start. When he first considered relocating, I begged him to consider local opportunities, which he hasn't had much luck with. Now that I'm the one relocating, he's more demanding about me searching locally and insists I'm not trying hard enough. Ideally, I'd like both work, but it just seems he's not as supportive of me as I was with him. I appreciate the input - Hope it works out for you.

  • Consultant in Consulting
Feb 21, 2021 - 10:20am

I would leave him to be honest. Is he going to give ultimatums every time you have opposing views?

You're relationship is already in trouble so even if you reject the job opportunity and stay with him you'll have a bit of resentment towards him for making you choose.

Cut your losses and go, life is too short to be living on someone else's terms, especially when they wouldn't do the same for you.

disclaimer I'm a guy, so this could be terrible advice.

  • Associate 1 in Consulting
Feb 21, 2021 - 12:54pm

I'm a woman; it's good advice.


OP, you did well to take the interview, prep, and accept the job (which I think you've already done?). You could have mentioned where it was earlier, but it's never set in stone until you get the written offer and you two were already having issues. I think we all know the foundation for this relationship wasn't as strong as it could be.

Good luck in the job and whatever you two end up doing for the relationship. Just don't stay with someone because it's familiar, safe, or because you've already invested time with them. Those aren't good enough reasons.

  • Analyst 1 in S&T - Equities
Feb 21, 2021 - 11:11am

My two cents is that you should prioritize your career.

From the tone of your post, it is clear that is how you are leaning and are just looking for reaffirmation here.

He initially agreed to do it for 2-3 years so there is no reason to back out other than out of resentment/selfishness. Relationships are supposed to be accretive to your personal/professional life. Please don't let it get on the way of your success.

On a personal note, my mom was in a similar spot many years ago and chose the relationship. It ended up working out (hence my existence) but she's always had that "what if?" question, since she gave up on some professional aspirations in the process.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Ind
Feb 21, 2021 - 11:49am

No advice to add outside of the fact that you're soliciting advice on a career focused website and should be aware that responses will be skewed accordingly. I would ask the same question on a relationship focused website as well (idk any off the top of my head) as to see what the other side says as well. 

Feb 21, 2021 - 12:17pm

Agree with the general sentiment above that it's probably best to choose your career. 10 days ago my SO and I broke up for similar issues and while it sucks right now I'm starting to focus on the benefits that I'll appreciate in the future. 1) You can relocate without feeling tied down to another city or having to re-recruit. While your goal may be to leave in 2-3 years a lot can change during that time and having the optionality is important. 2) I know it sounds cliche but odds are you will find someone new who you genuinely enjoy being around, and who won't be the type to offer toxic ultimatums that impact your career and life. 

Life is long and works in mysterious ways. I say take the job and see how everything else plays out. 

Feb 21, 2021 - 2:20pm

Leave him - start fresh in the city you like - crush it at the job. Have fun - you're free.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • Associate 3 in PE - LBOs
Feb 21, 2021 - 5:43pm

I'm not sure I understand what his issue is (jealousy?)... he has no job tying him to current geography, and it's a city you both were open to. He was obviously willing to relocate for career prospects, so it's not like his current location is set in stone

Ultimatums are an incredibly unhealthy way to handle disagreements. If he's willing to leave over this, you should let him go. Clearly you were more committed to the relationship than he was

  • Associate 1 in PE - LBOs
Feb 21, 2021 - 8:19pm

Any relationship that requires an ultimatum isn't worth staying in, independent of any other considerations. 

Feb 22, 2021 - 1:04am

Listen to Future "Chase a check, never chase a bitch(dick)". In all seriousness I understand his POV, dude wants a relationship and doesn't wanna do LDR and he doesn't really see how important this job is for your career. Honestly, if he's the one he'll support your move or at the very least and try to make LDR work. You guys aren't married so I don't really think it makes sense for you to give up such a big opportunity.

To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.

Feb 22, 2021 - 2:45pm

Just to offer a different perspective.

You mentioned you were initially upset with him when he was considering relocating for his job, and in a later reply you mentioned that you "begged him to consider local opportunities".  Without having any intimate knowledge of the situation, it sounds like you were keen on him staying put.  Then, shortly thereafter, you begin interviewing for a job in another location and don't tell him until relatively late in the process.  Respectfully, it appears to me that you put your boyfriend in an emotionally tough spot when he thought he had a job lined up, and now he's putting you in a similar spot.  I think when you add to the fact that it sounds like he was very open throughout his process, but you weren't so much with yours (at least not initially), is it crazy to assume hes upset about the situation, even to the point where he feels like he's being manipulated/lied to?  I agree the ultimatum is not a solution, and not defending that at all - IMO, he's completely wrong for putting that forward.  However, despite what most of us like to put forward, guys are emotional and I know I'd feel hurt/upset/angry if my SO asked me to make the same sacrifice she just was upset with me for considering, especially if there was a time she was hiding it from me.

I can appreciate the people above who are echoing the sentiment of career over SO and that its not good for one partner to try and control the other - I fully agree with both.  Again, respectfully though, your situation isn't as cut and dry.  It sounds to me like your boyfriend is hurt by the situation and is reacting as he is because he feels as though hes been kept in the dark and now you're going to get your way after he didn't get his (I fully understand that you had no part in his offer being rescinded, but I'd imagine hes experiencing a ton of emotions right now, that definitely being one of them). 

If you guys love each other and want to make this work, you can find a way beyond whats already been put forward.  I'd imagine it starts with you both being honest about your feelings and where you were wrong and ends with how you'll make this work, if thats something you still both want.

Regardless, wish you both the best and hope it works out.  At the end of the day, I'm in university, so wtf do I know anyways.

EDIT: Added second last paragraph.

  • Analyst 2 in RE - Comm
Feb 23, 2021 - 12:33am

Thanks for the input. We talked it out and your reply is spot on.

I was in the wrong for not being open, and he realized his ultimatum was made out of hurt and anger, which I understand. While we don't have everything figured out, we're both 100% committed to making it work!

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