Recently, Jennifer Lawrence said that costarring with her boyfriend Nicholas Hoult in the movie X-Men: Days Of Future Past was “great!” Hoult added that he enjoyed working with Lawrence too because “in this business you are away from each other for long periods of time, so when you’re on set together, it’s a brilliant thing because you actually get to spend time together.”
And while most mortals don’t have the opportunity to act in a star-studded film with their S.O., experts agree that having a positive attitude about each other’s careers—especially when you’re in a similar field—can enhance your work life and relationship. “The upside to partners being in the same field is that each understands the particular strains and pressures the career has on them,” says Jennine Estes, a San Diego-based relationship therapist.
But you have to approach the topic with a similar “this is awesome” attitude. How do you get there?
1. Avoid landmines. Jealousy, insecurity, and pressure can creep into the interactions of couples that work in similar fields (or together!) more than couples who have completely different 9 to 5s. While it’s totally normal to occasionally feel envious of, say, his LSAT score or the ease in which he approaches job interviews, persistent jealousy can point to deeper-rooted issues of insecurity. If you feel competition brewing, simply saying something like straightforward like, “I get the sense we’re in competition with each other. Do you ever feel that?” will start the conversation and help illuminate red flags, says Isadora Altman, a San Francisco-based relationship therapist.
2. Use each other. Figuring out your unique strengths and using them to benefit the both of you can help you see each other as a team. If he really is great at clinching job interviews, do mock interviews with him before you’re up for a job instead of feeling envious.
3. Enforce boundaries. Don’t sweat it if you and he just aren’t great at talking shop. Sometimes, couples are amazing at collaborating, other times, they do best working on their own, which isn’t indicative of relationship strength, says Altman. Do your own thing on the clock, and enjoy partnering up for off-the-clock adventures.