A Partner's Perspective

Bustling Manhattan streets and I Love NY t-shirts. The Super Bowl and carefully crafted, witty commercials. Crunchy peanut butter and globs of sweet grape jelly. Mr. X and the Harvard Business School. Some things are just meant for each other, and no decent human being would have it any other way. There was a time when I thought Mr. X and I were meant for each other in that very same sense. I was hopeful that nothing and no one could ever come between us. That is, until I met my match in the form of ivy-league-charm, a sprawling campus, elegant architecture and historical revere. Not to mention the fact that her reputation is far more renowned than my own and the best of the best desire her.

Compared to HBS, I suddenly became, in my own mind, “the other woman”. I am not Mr. X’s wife, we have no kids and we did not share a four-bedroom dream home complete with a pool. We do however, have three years of attachment. Nevertheless, as HBS grew near, Mr. X’s spare time and focus became reserved for her. HBS dominated our debates, weekend rendezvous and casual conversations. He spent late nights with her and traveled to and from Boston at the drop of a dime. Eventually, he expected me with no recourse to understand that he was moving miles away to be with her.

In a nutshell, the experience has been bittersweet. I am proud of Mr. X. Through the application process, I admired his drive and confidence, cried at the news of his acceptance and told anyone who would listen that I was officially dating a Harvard Man. The distance has been somewhat daunting, but the true test of our relationship did not come in the form of long distance calls, outrageous phone bills and plane tickets. In our case, the hardship of dating long-distance and him attending HBS was instead laced with issues of envy, bruised egos and pride.

When we began dating, Mr. X was a picturesque investment banker in his perfectly starched shirts, pinstripe suits and Gucci loafers. Equally, I am an ambitious public relations executive. From day one, Mr. X and I planned and worked towards becoming the ultimate power couple-friends in high places, social seniority, sleek suits, firm handshakes, financial wealth, exotic trips and that high rise in the sky. Success was the name of the game. He sought, he worked, and he conquered. He made it all look so damn easy. So when HBS became his reality and Columbia asked me to wait a little longer for mine, the Evil Green Monster reared its ugly head. We grew distant as the miles stretched between us and our little problems became even bigger problems.

Today, as he bonds with section mates, day-by-day, rehashing these wonderful, once-in-a-life-time experiences via phone and e-mail, I am more open to accepting his success, as mine blossoms on its own accord.

I was unfortunately a late bloomer realizing after four years of college and six months in Corporate America what I finally wanted to do when I grow up. Mr. X, however, knew in the womb. Therefore, the beginning stages of our success-ridden plan of attack did not arrive at the same time, and that has been the hardest pill for me to swallow.

I’ve learned-the hard way-that there is no right or wrong way to achieving
a successful long distance relationship, just as there is no secret formula to sharing your partner with HBS. One does what is necessary to make things work and if the fit is perfectly meant to be then it will be.