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Op-ed columnists and CLE speakers always seem to mention those scary studies showing that divorce rates among lawyers are higher than the national average, which is already awfully high. So when I came across a book called Should you marry a lawyer? I was a little frightened that such a book existed. Especially since at the time I was romantically involved with another lawyer. My curiosity eventually got the better of me and I bought the thing. But two years later, that book is still sitting in a stack on my bedside table with all my other “ongoing reads.” I haven’t picked it up nor have I read much of it since I purchased it. It’s not that I think the book is bad; it’s just that what I did read scared the heck out of me. I was afraid that no sane man would want to marry me after reading that book. Since then, I’m no longer dating a member of my own species. I’m in a happy relationship with a non-lawyer. We recently began discussing marriage and I’ve had an urge to pull out the book out and read it as a measure of self help or even give it to my significant other so that he can read it. The thing is, I’ve been too chicken to do either. Confronting my own flaws, let alone directly pointing them out to my partner, is not something that comes easily for me. Why can being in a relationship with a lawyer be so challenging? Not to knock my own kind, but unfortunately, generally speaking, the stereotype fits. Lawyers as a group are competitive, argumentative, stubborn, egotistical and analytical. We work long hours and we cope with lots of stress. I can’t imagine there are too many bios on Match.com touting those adjectives as a way to reel in a potential mate. Nevertheless, while most lawyers do possess some or all of those traits, that isn’t all that we are. I think the most challenging aspect of being a lawyer in a relationship is the lifestyle we’re forced to live. We exist in a constant state of flux and our plans are always tentative. I can never make definite plans with anyone, I always have to premise invitations and RSVPs with “as long as nothing blows up at work, I can make it.” This can be very annoying to friends and significant others. And I’ve had to weed out those who couldn’t put up with it. Luckily, I don’t have to cancel plans too often and thankfully I work at a firm that doesn’t require face time on the weekends: meaning that I only have to come in if there’s work to do, which there often is. I also always have to keep my Blackberry close by, which at times is a sore spot in my relationship. My significant other and my Blackberry are not on good terms. He has, on occasion, threatened physical harm to my beloved Blackberry. I have a feeling those of you with a Blackberry, or some other form of electronic leash, know what I am talking about. Nevertheless, minus the occasional threats to my Blackberry’s functionality, he’s put up with me and my lifestyle amazingly well. I recently went through a very busy period at work. I worked past midnight every day, and even on the weekends I’d leave the office long after last call. I basically had zero free time and was living off of only three or four hours of sleep a night. Thankfully, but not surprisingly, my significant other came through like a shining star. Not only was he completely understanding and supportive, but he also did a lot of small things that said a lot. He would pick me up and drop me off late at night or early in the morning, so that I wouldn’t have to be walking around downtown by myself. And he’d pick up more than his share of normal chores and errands. He even brought me food when I needed it, and he was always there to chat with me whenever I needed it, no matter what time of night or morning it was. Bear in mind too that I wasn’t exactly pleasant to be around during those rare times when he did see me. He put up with me being exhausted and generally cranky just about all the time. I’m not so sure I would have handled the situation so well if the shoe had been on the other foot. This brings me back to Should you marry a lawyer? Now I’ve hidden it my drawer. But as soon as things slow down enough at work so that I have enough free time to do more than just flop down on the pillow, I’ve decided that I will read the book in its entirely. I’m hoping to discover if it’s my own inner flaws that lead me to this profession, or if it’s the profession that was the catalyst for my flaws. I want to find ways to make myself a good enough person to deserve the man I’ve been lucky enough to snag. He’s put up with a tremendous amount lately and has been so great about it all, I think I owe him at least that much. Dating a lawyer is no easy task. I realize that. However, at this point he doesn’t seem to notice it all that much, so why should I point out to him, in great detail, exactly how difficult I am, as a young associate, to deal with? Thus, while I do intend to read Should you marry a lawyer? I don’t think I’m going to share it with him. There’s no need ask him whether or not he “Should marry a lawyer.” He seems to have already made up his mind and I just need to make sure that I don’t do anything to change it. So thanks, significant other, thanks for putting up with my crazy schedule, my stressed out and cranky moods, my occasional absences and for loving and supporting me in spite of the fact that my chosen profession impacts our relationship more than I’m sure you would like it to. Travis, Ph.D., Fiona H., Should You Marry A Lawyer? A Couple’s Guide to Balancing Work, Love & Ambition. (2003).

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