Monday, March 22, 2010


My husband's career is really taking off.

I know how hard he has worked for this and for how long. More than anyone I know how much he loves his work and cares for his patience, that if anyone deserves this, he does.

But standing next to him at a big professional seminar where he was invited to speak and seeing how much attention and admiration he was getting from his colleagues, his professors and his management, I couldn't help feeling sad because my own career is in limbo.

The feeling was a shock frankly. He had asked me to take the information and create figures and charts and fancy graphics etc.. to create a hi-tech presentation. He was worried the content was too dry and too technical and would be too boring. And well, I do have time on my hands so I spent a couple of weeks researching and drilling into the data to understand it well enough to be able to present it well. Not an easy task because let's face it, the material WAS dry and boring.

As time went by and the day of the seminar approached, I started to build up the same nerve attacks I would build up for my own presentations. I had more sleepless nights than he did!

As he spoke I was watching the audience, trying to read body language and reactions. I was so desperate for him to do well. Up until he finished speaking, I felt like it was MY presentation too. I felt that we were a team.

And everything went well. He was great. He may not be great with Powerpoint but he is well-spoken and charismatic and he knew his stuff. I was worried for nothing.

But then at dinner after the seminar, he was surrounded by people I didn't know, speaking a language I am trying to learn but still have a very flimsy grasp of. And he was the star.

And I couldn't help it. I thought of the times when I was the star. I remembered how good it feels to succeed. I remembered how ambitious I used to be, how much I loved challenges, how much I enjoyed meeting impossible deadlines, succeeding in the most adverse conditions. I remembered the rush that you get when you pull off something you know not everyone could have pulled off and when that is recognized. And I missed it so much.

So yeah, I think for a moment in there, I envied him. I wanted to do as well. And it hurt a lot to think how my career is in limbo, to think of what I left behind, of how hard it is to start from zero and prove yourself all over again in a new country and get to the point where you truly feel you are in your element, you know the industry and the market, you know the clients, you get invited to all the professional events, you get unsolicited job offers, you can take on anything.

Of course, he knew. It's annoying how well he reads me when I don't want to be read. He got all worried and protective, trying extra hard to introduce me and involve me so I don't feel left out, telling everyone he couldn't have done it without me etc...Everything a good husband would do. And consequently I was left feeling like a monster for worrying him instead of letting him enjoy his moment.

I love him and I always will but I don't think I'm cut out to be the woman behind the great man.

Since that night I can't seem to get rid of these feelings. I get jealous just watching him dress for work in the morning. If he takes work calls when we are together, I get jealous because I remember when I used to get lots of 'important' calls too.

Is it normal to feel you want to compete with your spouse? Why do I only feel this with him? I mean, I am not threatened by the success of friends or relatives or siblings so why him?

I hate myself for feeling this way. I mean, we're in love and we're married. We're meant to support each other. I should be supporting his success. I should be proud and happy for him. What kind of wife am I?