Many of us have a moment when we feel we have to choose between a career and a loved one, myself included, but do we even have to make that choice? There are plenty of people out there following their dreams and also maintaining a healthy and bountiful relationship at the same time.
Like my friend, Liz Hernandez, for example.
Aside from being a beautiful, smart, outgoing and wonderful human being with a big heart (and I’m not just saying that), Liz Hernandez has been a prominent figure in the television and radio industry for over 10 years.
Getting her big break on the radio as a morning co-host on Power 106′s Big Boy’s Neighborhood, the Riverside-native, who earned the nickname Luscious Liz, instantly became the desire of many men, but more importantly, a role model for many women. Liz went on to become a correspondent for E! News (because a face like that needs some camera time) and also returned to radio as a morning co-host on 104.3 MYFM.
However, like any woman, there were moments when Liz found herself wondering if she could have the best of both worlds–a successful career and a successful relationship. It wasn’t always clear, but she is currently proving that it is possible to have both, and thankfully, she’s shared some of her wisdom with The Problem With Dating.
When Liz began her career, she was in a long term relationship with her high school sweetheart, and at the time, she never even questioned whether pursuing a career would affect what they had, because “my relationship outweighed any outside influences. So having to choose a career or my relationship didn’t play a role in my thought process. This was my boyfriend and this was my job, two separate worlds.”
But there did come a time when her personal life began to clash with her professional life.
“There came a point where I was becoming an established personality and it was tough for my boyfriend to make that transition with me. And understandably, I went from his high school sweetheart, to L.A.’s ‘Luscious Liz.’ All relationships go through ups and downs, but when you add in other factors like guys crushing on your girl and talking about your personal life on radio, it can be overwhelming.”
So how would a couple get through such issues? Well, according to Liz, it takes work from both partners…and a lot of trust.
“We had a great bond and bottom line we trusted each other. That’s the most crucial part for any relationship” she tells me. “So whatever turn my career was taking, he trusted me. And that gave me the confidence to continue to do the things I needed in order to make a name for myself.”
Liz adds, “I never made selfish decisions. I was very conscious about what I was choosing for myself. I wasn’t that girl doing ‘anything’ to get on. I was creating a name and brand in a respectable way that my family, my friends, and anyone I was dating would be proud.
“If your passion for your career exceeds the passion you have for somebody, that’s when it becomes dangerous. You have to support each other, and find balance. If you’re both supportive, it’s great. If you’re both able to talk it out through the obstacles, awesome. But if one person becomes jealous of what the other person is giving their attention to, that’s where the conflict can come in.”
“What can happen sometimes in relationships, too, is someone will be there to support you, but as soon as your career starts to take flight it makes them very nervous, because they’re afraid that they will lose you or you will leave them behind,” Liz explains. “The lesson I’m learning now is the importance of you both having your own lives. Then as a couple you can come together and exchange ideas, build off one another and motivate each other. You both have to have a passion for your career or other things. Your whole life cannot become someone else’s life because you’re dating.”
The relationship with her high school sweetheart came to an end, and at times she found herself questioning whether having a career and a man was possible.
“You start to psych yourself out because you feel that it’s either one or the other, ‘Do I choose a career or do I choose being a wife and mother?’…Luckily, I made the decision not to succumb to the pressure. I’ve just done things that make me happy. I never want show up to a job just to earn a paycheck. I want a job that I love. I never want to show up to a relationship where I’m just content there’s somebody warm next to me. I want to be there because I’m crazy in love with that person.”
Years later, when Liz least expected it, she found someone she became passionate about.
“I had just signed on to take two jobs, I had made the decision to say, ‘OK, I’m going to be super selfish and focus on my career, because who could I possibly date working 16 hours a day?’ I still prayed and was asking God to send someone great into my life, but I said, ‘OK, I’m going to focus solely on my career’…and as soon as I made that decision, I met someone. Life is funny that way, all in God’s timing. That’s why it’s so important you do what makes you happy and make good decisions in the meanwhile because things will fall into place.
“It’s a great feeling to know I have a teammate. We’re both excited about our careers and want to see each other do well. I’ve never had somebody be so supportive and willing to play an active role in helping me build my brand. It’s beautiful having somebody who gets it, who gets you.”
And if you’re a woman who thinks you can’t balance a career and relationship, then Liz wants you to know something: You’re dating the wrong guys.
“Women are becoming more self-sufficient and equals. A real force to be reckoned with. So with that, it can send a mixed signal in the dating world. We want to be independent, but we still want to be dependent on a guy in a relationship. We want a guy to ask us out and pay on our first date, even if we can afford to do so. We still want him to open our doors, to be treated like a lady even though we can take care of ourselves. Being independent doesn’t mean we don’t want men to take care of us emotionally.”
She adds, “Plus I feel the right guy is going be attracted to a woman who is motivated and successful…Don’t ever apologize for your success. Ever.”
Be careful when playing the “I’m so independent” card, too.
“We, as women, have become so cynical because of the difficult dating world, so we sometimes send the wrong message not only to men but even to other women. We’ll say things like I don’t need a man, ‘I got this, I can do it myself.’ No, that’s not the answer. You’re sending out the wrong energy. We need balance,” Liz said.
So what does Liz Hernandez think is the problem with dating?
“The problem with dating, I feel, is that we don’t know how to choose one person and make that work. We feel like something better may come along because it seems like we have so many options now— especially with social media. We have dating sites, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter- so it’s like, well, fine if we’re going to fight and you don’t like me, if we hit a bump in the road, I’m gonna go over here and talk to this other person who liked my picture or left me a flirty comment. Pick a person you connect with, someone you enjoy and care about and make it work with them,” she tells me.
Do you agree with what Liz has to say? Sound off in the comments!