Sometime last year someone (married, a handful of years older) said to me “you’re so lucky to be single; it must be great for your career”. I thought that was a hilarious perspective, mostly because I have the complete opposite point of view. As humans, our ability to collaborate has allowed us to advance the furthest as a species. Just like we run better together, we can make it professionally further with a teammate.

Being career ambitious implies that a successful career meaningfully contributes to one’s purpose. For these folks, finding a partner who supports that is crucial. Here, I compare being single to specifically having a supportive partner, because having a crappy partner is simply not an option.

Pros of being single:

  • Time. You can selfishly optimize all your decisions like how to spend your time and where to live because you don’t have to consider another person’s preferences.
  • Motivation. You care more about succeeding in your career because it’s the primary source of validation for you, and will thus try a lot harder.

Pros of having a supportive partner:

  • Shared Resources. Splitting household chores like cooking and cleaning means you’re living more efficiently. If you need to work late, having dinner taken care of is really nice.
  • Emotional support. A partner is a source of emotional support when times are tough. You can vent to them so you don’t take out your feelings on your coworkers and regret it later.
  • Security. Successful careers often imply risks, like taking a bigger opportunity for scope and growth but trading off money. If you have a dual-income household, you can take the jump.
  • Timeline. Assuming you want to be partnered in the future, finding a partner sooner means you’re not subtly worrying about third dates and timelines. Imagine being stressed out at work and also wondering if your date is going to ghost you! For women, this is an especially important factor if you want children.

So, for a career-driven person, having a supportive partner is more advantageous than being single because you have a built-in teammate. That being said, a partner is not going to make or break your career; it’s in your own hands at the end of the day.