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Guilt (a little long)

I'm in a huge guilt hole.  Have you ever been through a time in your relationship where one person is needing far more than the other?  Did you feel guilty afterwards or (if you were on the other end) did you resent the person?

For the past few months, I've been a stressball.  I've been in school for the past six years and it's all coming to an end at the end of July when I earn my Ph.D.  Everything I've had to do has just taken. over. my. life.  I've been working morning, noon and night.  My patience is gone and I'm frazzled more often than not. 

Since I live with my fiance, the poor guy has had to put up with me.  Now that I'm mostly through the hard part, I feel a tremendous amount of guilt for my behavior.  He understands that all of this is a huge deal to me and has been really really understanding, but I'm sure he feels slighted and a little beat up.  I am feeling crazy guilty that it's been all about me and my needs recently.

I know that if the tables were turned, I would support my fiance without question, but I'm just curious to hear about other people's thoughts from either perspective.  Even if it was a silly situation, just share a little.  I feel like the world's worst fiance these days and have been really sad and mad at myself.

Re: Guilt (a little long)

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    Congrats on your Ph.D!  That is an incredible accomplishment!

    I think we can all say that we've gone through times in our lives where we are stressed to the max enough that it kind of interferes with our sanity a little bit.  You just get consumed with those things and yeah, it can totally affect your work and your relationships.  I've totally been known to bite a few heads off here and there when I'm under tremendous pressure.

    You just have to take a step back, breathe, and remember the bigger picture though.  Count yourself lucky that you seem to have a very understanding fiance.  Neither of you will let stress interfere with your relationship unless you let it.
    panther
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    I'm still in school and only work 25 hours a week in a law office.  Sometimes I feel guilty I can't contribute financially, but Nick understands and he doesn't hold it against me.

    I try to keep up with housework and cooking because it makes me feel like I'm contributing to the household, maybe not financially but it makes it easier on Nick so he's not doing everything.

    I want to add, its not like he just sits on his butt, if I need help, he's more than helpful but I prefer to do it so I feel like I have some self worth.
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    My DH is usually more stressed out than I am. He owns his own business and is trying to expand while still making enough to pay the bills. I constantly hear about what's stressing him out--his workers, customers, bills, etc, and he feels the same as you. He feels guilty about unloading on me and always worries that I'll get mad at him for complaining or stressing.

    But honestly, I'd rather him talk to me about it than someone else, or hold it all in. That's what I'm here for, to help him through things or offer advice from my own point of view. Like your FI, I totally understand his need to vent and am happy to listen. Instead of him feeling guilty, I'd rather him be happy about what he's accomplishing with his business.

    I don't usually vent to him, since I typically keep stuff in and deal with them on my own (I'm more the silent sulking type than the venting type), and he's always asking me to tell him what's bothering me or stressing me out so he can help. It's a 2-way street, so long as you listen to him when he needs an ear, then you shouldn't feel bad about talking to him.
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    I fill my guilty feelings with housework too. When Scott and I met and got married we were both working 50 hours a week for the same company. I took a substantial pay cut to work at a high school and have a job I love and as a result our budget definitely tightened up.
    Whenever I start to feel guilty I clean the house, cook him dinner, or just tell him how much I appreciate all he does for our family.
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    Congratulations on your Ph.D, that's fantastic and I will hopefully be joining you soon enough!

    Your fiance has supported you through your schooling because he loves you.  I understand why you would feel guilty about needing more support from him than you've been able to give to him, but you're incredibly lucky to have someone by your side who's willing to let you attain your goal.  That's what he's supposed to do!  And you've already said that if the tables were turned, you would have been just as supportive of him.  It sounds like you share a wonderful, communicative relationship.
    If you feel like you want to make it up to him, perhaps you could surprise him with a fantastic night out or a weekend trip?  Find a nice B&B and split a bottle of wine in a jacuzzi tub and relax together.  Write him a letter thanking him for everything he's done for you.  In the end, I'm sure he'd do it all over again for you.
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    Thank you for your replies.  The last two months have been so intense for me (writing, finding a job, second guessing my job choice, finishing up experiments, applying for fellowships) that I've been really short tempered with him.  Now, the stress is starting to lift and the guilt... oh, the guilt of being so snarky over every little thing is eating away at me.

    We all go through these times when things are uneven, right?  That's just life.  I'll make it up to him.

    Good luck, Sadie!  Don't let the end kill you.  I had intense moments during grad school, but mostly is was smooth sailing.  The thesis writing, defense preparation, job finding part?  Oh god - that was brutal.  I'm glad it's almost over.
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    Congratulations on your Phd! That is a huge accomplishment!

    I recently completed a second degree program that took me four years while working full-time. I completely understand how you are feeling as I often felt the same way. FI would ask me what plans we had for the weekend and every weekend my answer was "homework". I felt like I totally neglected him and abandoned him or something.

    I also make about 1/2 of his salary so he pays for 90% of the groceries and I do all the cooking. I love cooking so it's no hardship for me and he loves the food I make so it makes him happy. Plus then we have lunches for the next day and we save money. He tells me that his coworkers are always impressed by the food he brings from home because it looks/smells good. Yay!

    I'm sure your FI understands that this stress point in your lives is temporary and once July passes you will both be able to relax and breathe a bit easier! It will all be worth it and your FI will be so proud of you for your accomplishments!
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    Yep, it's all the ebb and flow of a good relationship; if you both made it through, sounds like you're both great for each other.  I work a lot and FI just finished her MD so we just try to make the best of our time together and it's working out pretty well; we both have bad weeks and both have good weeks and we help each other deal with the stress when it crops up.

    Married in Vegas - June 2011


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    To add to this: I've probably mentioned it about a million times on this site already, but I have anxiety disorder and suffered PTSD after my divorce 8 years ago. My FI has to deal with the GAD and the fallout from my divorce for the rest of our lives and that includes leaning on him a LOT more than he leans on me. So I just try to do my best to stay on top of my illness, make sure to take my meds and do all the things that help alleviate the symptoms and try to do nice, simple things for him as often as I can. I make him coffee in the mornings before I go to work, cook dinner (like I already said), do laundry. If I'm out shopping and there is something I know he needs I'll pick it up for him so he doesn't have to make a special trip. Little things like that that just make his life a little easier, you know?

    At least you know your school situation is temporary and you have a supportive FI who loves you. :)
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    Thank you, Vegas and Bubba! 

    I think you understand all too well how I feel, Bubba.  Thank you for such kind words.

    And... I've laughed at your sig picture for months now because it's hilariously random, but is that all there is to it?  Is there another joke that is just flying over my head?
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