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Grad School, Engagement and Depression (Long)

DD'd for privacy...

Thanks for your awesomeness ladies.  There's an update down below, and I promise I'll let you guys know how things go.

Graduation was NEVER supposed to be this stressful.
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Re: Grad School, Engagement and Depression (Long)

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    That sucks for you - I (personally) don't think I could be with someone who asked me to put my life on hold with noassurance that I could re-enter the opportunity... but, of course, its a personal decision.  Why can't you FI find a job in your city?  2-3 YEARS is a long time for a LDM... I knew people with LDM in med school and it was really hard on the relationship, not to mention the budget of TWO households.
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    I'm going to be honest, LDR, as you well know, is not easy. We did LDR for 2 years and it was terrible. We fought almost daily and I really didn't think we'd ever make it.

    I think it's unfair of your FI to ask you to take a year off. You're being sensible to stay in school if you're currently unhirable (not your fault, just economy, etc). I know your FI is disappointed and just wants to be with you, but still, he needs to respect your wishes as well.

    His attitude towards this situation is not okay. Of course he's upset but to say that things are only going to get worse is just condemming your relationship and making him seem immature.

    If you both can go to counseling, do it. If only you can, go.

    It's upsetting you're questioning your relationship, but I can understand why you are currently. Don't give up yet though. Talk to your FI, ask him where he wants to go with this. Ask if he can come to you, etc. Say you want this to work and that you love him but don't see how it's going to work if you both aren't fully committed and try to maintain a positive attitude.

    Only you can figure out how you feel but I know that if I were in this situation, I'd be very concerned about the relationship. In my opinion, even if you love someone, if the relationship does more hurt than good, it's not worth it. (not saying that this is you but just in general).

    I wish I had better advice. I hope things work out for you two.

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    I'm so sorry you are in this situation.  My FI and I met in Dallas one weekend while he was here for a convention, but he lived in Lubbock.  We were in a long-distance relationship for 2 1/2 years, and it was REALLY hard but our relationship is so solid because of it.  We had to learn to talk and really communicate with each other.  It was very hard but worth it.  So my take on LDR is a little different from everyone else's.

    I don't think you are being crazy.  I can understand why you are questioning your relationship.  I'm not understanding why, if he's getting no job offers, he's not able to come and try to find a job where you are going to school. ??  I might have just missed it when I read over your entry, but it doesn't make sense.  You can't change the location of your degree program, but he can certainly try to find a job anywhere (unless its something exceptionally specific).  But if this research is your passion, you do NOT need to just let the opportunity go by. 
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    Oh, I'm so sorry.  Virtual hugs to you.  I can't really offer much advice, except to pursue the counseling and see where it takes you.  It does seem like your FI is being unreasonable, but it's possible that with counseling and time/effort, he'll come around - I don't think he's necessarily a giant a-hole (he's stressed, and it's a stressful situation that not many people deal with).  I don't think that at this point your future with him is doomed, but he's going to have to make a serious change in order for it to work.  It's hard to be practical when you miss someone so much, but you just have to face reality - graduate school is a good option for you (and you as a couple) right now, and you can't turn your back on it just because you guys hate being apart.  As a bio major, there is VERY LITTLE that you can do with just a bachelor's degree besides teaching high school.

    I 100% agree with you about taking a year off - it's an awful idea.  With the prospect of BOTH of you being unemployed for an indeterminate amount of time, it's just not feasible, and the grad school opportunity may not be waiting for you on the other side.   It seems like your FI is thinking with his heart (i.e., not wanting to be apart any longer) and not his head, and I understand that to an extent, but you have to make it clear to him that being in financial peril is worse for your relationship than being apart.  I know that the LDR is a strain, but people do it for much longer than what you're looking at - consider it a true test, if you will.  Since you don't really have the option to be physically together right now, this is a way to see if it's 'worth it' to stay together - and it's better to get all this out in the open now than after you're married.

    Best of luck, and I hope that your FI comes around (the counseling should help both of you).  If you want me to DD this, say so when you delete yours and I will.
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    edited April 2011
    Has your FI looked into getting tech positions (or post-docs, if he's getting his PhD) where you are?  Even if they're not the ideal position for him, for whatever reason, it's just a temporary position to hold him over while you do your program, and it will pad his resume with experience.  My DH is basically going to be doing that (taking a not-so-great post-doc so he can stay in the area, and then doing a 'real' post-doc at the same time I do my first post-doc).

    Edit: I'm being a total PW in this thread but feel free to PM me, if you're doing a program in the area I may be able to help. 

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    That is a tough situation and I'm sorry you are dealing with all of this *hugs*. BF and I did LD and we are looking at doing it again when I go to grad school. LDRs are hard and definitely take a toll on your emotions but where you go to grad school has such a huge influence on your future you can't turn down this opportunity.

    How far apart are you guys? Can you do counseling together, because I think he might need it more than you do. I hop that you can get this all worked out!


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    I'm sorry.

    How long has this been going on? The only advice I have beyond what everyone else has already said is that he might come around. I don't know.
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    edited April 2011
    Some counseling sounds like a good idea - I'll be honest, it sounds like you made this decision without even talking to him about it, which I would say wasn't a great idea. Yes only you can make the decisions about your future, but your marriage is much more important than your job, so choices like this need to be discussed and hammered out as a couple. Unless you choose to break up your jobs will affect him and his will affect you, so it's no longer 100% each person deciding for themselves.

    In my opinion, if you've been 2 years LD it's time to be together. I suffer from "out of sight out of mind" syndrome a little when I'm in a LDR - it becomes annoying to have to take time out of my day and talk to him, etc, etc, and the relationship becomes a burden rather than a comfort and joy. It sounds like you might be having similar feelings. Hopefully you can spend some significant in person time when you graduate in a few weeks. I'd really caution against jumping into MORE LDR for another 2-3 years.

    What type of job is he trying to get that doesn't exist where you would be in grad school? In my mind bio research usually means a university, which means allllllllll other types of jobs and people are around.... Him finding a job is certainly more flexible than you finding a grad program.

    At the end of the day, if you feel like the relationship is dissolving and looking out into a future with him doesn't make school and jobs seem insignificant in comparison, it needs to end before you get married. Yes he's hurting and has spent money on a ring, but people heal and rings can be returned or sold. I've had to end a long-term relationship gone toxic and while it was horrible, it was much better to break up before we (in my case) got engaged than after.
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    FI and I have been long distance for about 3 years now while I'm in law school and he works.

    I don't think you should take a year off, because you'll most likely end up resenting him the entire time, because you'll wish you were in school.  I think it's unfair of him to ask you to put your future on hold when he isn't even working.  It's not like he's having to give up some awesome career opportunity to move closer to you.

    I don't really have a hard and fast solution for you, but I will say that you shouldn't have to give up your dreams to be with him. 
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    Thanks for the thoughts ladies.  Sorry about the P&R, I've been out with bio club all day.  Nothing like feeding llamas and emus and being slobbered on by deer and cows to make you smile.  :)

    He's in sports, which is the problem.  With the problems with the economy and the NFL lockout, most places are firing, not hiring.  And since I'm headed to a small university, there are only 2 teams in the area.  One won't be there for another 2 years, the other has gone bankrupt every year for the past 4 years and changed ownership every year.  It's not a stable place for him to get a job.

    I have spent months making this decision.  And talked to him about it.  I've been going back and forth since I was offered lab space, and he has been a huge part of that discussion.  But, I've had my heart set on this kind of research for three years.  Knowing that there's no guarantee I'll ever get another chance to do this sealed it for me.  I'm going to be going for shark/ray physiology.  So, yes, I made my final decision to go and told him afterwards.  But, being in the position that I am, and knowing that if I don't take this chance (there is an absolute chance by the end of my program I will HATE doing this research and be completely happy with an office job), I will spend the rest of my life resenting him.  Which for me, says that we'll probably be divorced in 5 years tops, were I to not take this chance.  I don't want to be the girl who gave up everything to get married.  There's a stigma in science with women.  Especially when it comes to field research, which is what I really want to do.  And I do not want to make it harder than it already will be.

    I suggested he get an office job near where I'll be going to school.  If he's not getting calls back on his stuff, why shouldn't he expand what he's looking for?  Especially if he's looking at his other option being restaurant management.  He's more than qualified for a desk job (he was an English major in undergrad).  He threw that back at me and said that I was making it okay for him to give up his dreams but not for me to give up mine...which has made me feel even more helpless.

    If he were closer, I'd have him go to counseling with me.  And I might schedule an appointment and have him come in next time he comes down (he'll be here for graduation) so we can talk together.  Other than that, he and I are going to have to work on this this summer - I can't deal with it any more over the phone.

    I don't WANT to do the LD thing anymore.  I'm done with it.  But, I see it as necessary, and I know that our relationship (and our marriage) will be stronger if we can make it through.  I know he hates being by himself.  It's scaring me beyond belief to think that in a few months I'm moving to a brand new state by myself to live alone.  But, I don't want to feel like it's my fault anymore.  I don't want to feel like it's my fault that he doesn't sleep and that he doesn't want to do anything.  I feel like the depression that he's going through is because I'm not there, and I don't want to make it worse, but I don't know how to fix it without destroying our relationship...
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    There are PLENTY of jobs in sports nutrition besides just professional teams.  I'm in dietetics as well (although going the clinical route) but why can he not work with individual athletes, people who want to get in shape and lose weight, working with high school teams and kids preparing for college athletics, etc.  There are SO many doors open to you in nutrition -- he may not be able to have his "dream job" right now but surely there is something he can find otherwise.  Good luck!
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    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/special-topic-wedding-boards_students_grad-school-engagement-depression-long?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Special%20Topic%20Wedding%20BoardsForum:684Discussion:6b2208d4-5e6f-4002-bd0d-a56e42a7c391Post:0d4f0b7b-b57d-44c8-aaaa-0b42bbed54b0">Re: Grad School, Engagement and Depression (Long)</a>:
    [QUOTE]There are PLENTY of jobs in sports nutrition besides just professional teams.  I'm in dietetics as well (although going the clinical route) but why can he not work with individual athletes, people who want to get in shape and lose weight, working with high school teams and kids preparing for college athletics, etc.  There are SO many doors open to you in nutrition -- he may not be able to have his "dream job" right now but surely there is something he can find otherwise.  Good luck!
    Posted by angelsong21[/QUOTE]

    <div>He's not in nutrition.  He's in management...which is where the problem is.  He wants to work with community relations, and apparently doesn't have the experience for it, even though his capstone specifically focuses on agency involvement with athlete community service and how to make it better than it is.  But, apparently you need 2 years of experience to actually work, and his masters degree doesn't count as experience.</div>
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    So, does it have to be a pro team?  I don't know where your program is, but what about college teams?  There are a ton of pretty 'big name' college teams in the MD/DC/VA area, would that be an option?  Or maybe something not sports related, but still management related, would be feasible - I think that if he got some kind of administrative job where he was leading a group of people, it would help his resume.  Bottom line is, he needs a job and he hasn't gotten one yet, so I think he needs to be realistic - and that's aside from the issue with you and the LDR, just in general.

    Obviously you can't make the decision for him, but I know that I would be willing to take a job that was less than my ideal if it was just temporary, and because it would allow DH to further his career (especially if the temp job might help be get a better job down the road).  I know that in the end, both of us will be happier if either of us takes the opportunity to improve ourselves, and in your FI's situation he's not having luck getting a job anyway so it seems to me like he would have to settle on something anyway, just to start getting a paycheck.

    For you - is there a ray program at COMB, near the Baltimore Aquarium?  It's an awesome facility in a kick-asss location, and maybe if you're thinking about looking to apply to another program, it could be an option.  Again, best of luck.  This is tough because you both have to be 100% invested in order to make these sacrifices, and with so much going on it's tough to see where your head really is.
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    Good suggestions from PPs about the jobs.

    One important thing: depression is depression, and if he's genuinely depressed it's not something that's your fault. It's a medical condition, and while circumstances or relationships can bring out the symptoms, at the root his depression is NOT YOUR FAULT. Please don't burden yourself with that guilt.

    You're right, there's no reason you should give up everything to get married (I'm in grad school for physics, so I totally get you on the stigma). But I believe that the right person to marry is the one for whom you WOULD give those things up if you had to. And that statement applies to both genders.
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    Thanks again.  We talked last night about it, and I think everything's going to be okay.  He finally told me really what's been bothering him, and he agrees that I made the right decision to go.  He wanted me to talk to him about it in a different way than we actually did.  I explained to him that when we talked about grad school for him, it was very much a "Are you sure this is what you want to do? Okay, go."  And so, I assumed that was okay for me as well.  But, with the engagement, I should have done it differently.  It's definitely a learning curve with the LDR and the engagement.  Thanks for letting me gripe and talk ladies.  I'd be lost without you.
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