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EbolaZaire

Grad School + Relationship

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I've been with my boyfriend for 5 years. We met in high school (best friends), dated throughout college (long distance), and are now finally close enough to see each other almost every weekend! He's finishing up his last year in college, while I'm working for a year. We agreed that the relationship was serious enough that we'd like to go to the same grad school, which is why I took a year off (so we could choose together). Well, we both got into our top choice school (Berkeley). I should be ecstatic, but...

He's fallen in love with a different school (U Chicago). The atmosphere (students are way more laid back), the city, a certain PI.. Chicago is not even an option for me b/c it wasn't on our mutual list of schools. He applied there "just in case something happened btw us." I'm having trouble being understanding of his situation because Berkeley is the #1 PChem school (his course of study) and has a large dept. I've been (unfairly) pressuring him to choose Berkeley. He definitely doesn't want to break up and views a long distance relationship as a viable option b/c he's going to be so busy and because my program is only 2 yrs long. The closest we could be is Chicago and Michigan (~4 hr drive), but I think I've reached my limit w/ LDRs (I'm having enough trouble only seeing him on weekends). I'd also like to get really involved in grad school and not run away for the summer/every break to see him, like I did in undergrad. Really, all that got me through senior year was that there was an end in sight

Is anyone else in a similar situation? Advice? Feel free to be blunt if I'm being completely unreasonable.

Edited by EbolaZaire

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***I am copying and pasting this from the other topic, because my answer to you is identical, because it's how I feel about this particular type of issue, not b/c I'm lazy***

Do you plan on getting married? I mean, is this the real deal or just a serious relationship (I don't mean to minimize it with the "just")? In my own relationship, marriage is guaranteed and so I know I'm going to be helping him pay off his substantial college loans someday, because mine are minimal. Obviously, not everyone can bank on this kind of give-and-take in every relationship. You've got to evaluate the strength of your relationship, the likelihood of your getting a good paying job, and the likelihood of his being willing to compromise for you someday in some shape or form. I'm not saying demand compromise and pay-back, but you should be aware of the willingness of the other person to help you out when you need help, the way you would do the same for them. One or both of the people in a relationship can suddenly be hit with something horrible, and you want to know the character of the other person, to know if they're going to be there for you the way you'd be there for him. Your situation calls you to examine the "big picture," in other words. I guess I don't have a good answer here. Relationships involve sacrifice and giving on the part of both individuals. There's a lot of faith involved, too, because you never know until the shit hits the fan what the other will do. Trust and knowledge of one another means you have a clue to what will happen. It's about love, you know? In difficult situations, you do what you can for the best interests of the other person. I don't know what this means for you, only you can determine this. A good, lasting relationship is a blessing and is worth fighting for, in my opinion. I'm not saying love is about quid pro quo. But from the viewpoint of an outsider looking at a relationship, it is. From the insider perspective, you care about the other person, period, and you don't demand things. But from the outside, it looks shitty for one person to sacrifice and the other doesn't want to.

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You said be blunt, so I am going to be. I can't help but feel like your boyfriend might not be quite as invested as you are. Just the way you said that he applied to U of Chicago "In case something happened between you guys." It's just odd to think like that after being in a relationship for five years. If you guys had only been dating a year or two, fine, but that seems a bit nonchalant to me after such a long relationship. (Speaking from my own experience- my boyfriend and I just celebrated our 5th anniversary and I just can't see either of us thinking that lightly of a break up. But obviously every relationship is different so it is hard to compare)

If I were you, I would do what is best for you and your career, and choose the school you love. What if you went to Michigan just to be closer to him, and it doesn't work out? You don't want to regret the reasons you choose a graduate school, because it is an investment in your future. You are obviously a career-minded woman if you are pursuing grad school, and since he is putting his school first, I would do that same. And if you guys make it another couple years long distance, it's win-win since you got the degree you want and the man. And if you don't make it long distance, at least you didn't sacrifice your dream school for it.

I know it's much easier for someone on the outside of a relationship to say that, and I am sorry if it sounds harsh. I have to say I am very lucky, my boyfriend is a nurse and has the luxury of being able to find a job pretty much anywhere, which has taken a lot of pressure off me on my grad school choices.

Good luck and I hope it works out for you!

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He applied there "just in case something happened between us?" Big. red. flag.

Did you apply somewhere "just in case something happened between you two"? My guess is no, which is why I'm worried you two might not be on the same page.

I think men and women may approach these decisions from different perspectives. Many women would avoid making a decision that would be detrimental to the relationship, even if it means they need to sacrifice in other areas of their lives. But I often see men do whatever is best for them, regardless of what happens in the relationship.

It wouldn't be unusual for a man to decide to see what's out there, after many years in a long-term relationship (especially if he's never had other significant relationships), and they don't usually share that information with their significant other. I hope that's not what's going on.

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My opinion is that you express your strong aversion to having another LDR. You're not unfairly pressuring him all - the psychological harm of doing long distance again is too much. It's not like you're making him drop down to some no-name school - as you said, it's the top ranked in the field. You need to confront him about it, as your career choices are just as important as his.

I disagree that his "just in case something happened" reason was evidently not the only reason he applied to that program. As it's shown here - he ended up liking it so much that he would be willing to put up with another LDR for it. I wouldn't call it a big red flag in terms of commitment, necessarily - I was in a similar situation as him this year. I applied to a program were my girlfriend would be given no grad school options - If this gives you any insight into why he might have applied (and is now tempted to go), here were my reasons:

1.) Just in case something happened between us (but not necessarily because I was not as committed; it was for pragmatism's sake - if the GF didn't get into any program, etc.)

2.) It was one of the better fitting programs, and it was very prestigious

3.) More applications = more options

I'd like to think your boyfriend was in a similar frame of mind, except the fit of the Chicago program turned out to be much better than he had originally thought.

Edited by socialpsychg

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As someone mentioned before, I think you need to take a look at the big picture, and what you see yourself doing when grad school is said and done. If your career is what you prioritize most in your future, then do yourself a favor and go to Berkeley (or whichever school is YOUR dream). It sounds like you would be unhappy going to Michigan just to appease your boyfriend, and the last thing you want to do is spend 2 years at grad school filled with resentment/regret.

Personally, I am in a 2 year relationship and applying to master's programs now. My relationship is long distance for the moment, as my significant other got a job in his field that he absolutely loves, and I am currently still at college finishing up my senior year. I completely understand how frustrating a long distance relationship can be, and that was a major reason that all of the masters programs I applied to are in a reasonably close distance to his city. Although it would certainly have been exciting to go to school far away, for me the relationship is far more important than a particular school. When I looked at the big picture, I saw my relationship as the one definite, and graduate school as something I could be more flexible about.

Also, I'm not quite sure what kind of decision you are trying to make now. Whether to break up with him or pursue a long-term relationship? From what you have said (of course I don't know all the details) your boyfriend is making it pretty obvious that he wants to go to Chicago, and that for him, Chicago is a very clear part of his own "big picture". It was wrong of him to mislead you, but he has the right to pursue his dreams too. If that's the case, you won't be at the same school, or even relatively close. So all you can do now is choose the program that you would really love to be at, and see where your relationship goes from there. If I were in this position, I would have a talk with him, and be extremely clear about what would happen after grad school. Will you immediately move back to the same city together? Does he expect you to live in Chicago with him when he graduates? Are you okay with that? Relationships are a lot of work, but they are supposed to make you happy in the end! Is this what's going to make you happiest?

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Sounds like there's some relationship hesitation to say the least, especially given your statements. Especially if you two havent formally lived together. He might not be ready. Or he may be, but just is selfish or not thinking it through. If you don't want to do the LDR thing, and I dont blame you, you need to be upfront about that and say it. Explain why having both of you at the same school makes sense for the relationship, financially and academically. Do it nicely but firmly. And don't look back or be wishy-washy about it.

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My wise grandmother (RIP) once said, "The way it starts out is the way it ends up." I am 43 years old, and she's never been wrong. If this is how your man is making decisions now, this is how he will likely always make decisions. Don't ignore the data...

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My wise grandmother (RIP) once said, "The way it starts out is the way it ends up." I am 43 years old, and she's never been wrong. If this is how your man is making decisions now, this is how he will likely always make decisions. Don't ignore the data...

Holy crap that's so true. The more posts I'm reading in this thread make me think that his hesitation is a huge sign. Not to be annoying, but I know for a fact my boyfriend would not move far away from me. When he was unemployed and broke, he was faced with his parents' demanding he move back home in another state, and so he took a job in our school cafeteria to appease them. He constantly sacrifices himself for me and never once demanded I do anything for him. I'm not rubbing this in your face, EbolaZaire. I'm just trying to say that there is an alternative to what you're going through right now, and that you deserve to obtain it. Unfortunately, the how is the hard part.

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My wise grandmother (RIP) once said, "The way it starts out is the way it ends up." I am 43 years old, and she's never been wrong. If this is how your man is making decisions now, this is how he will likely always make decisions. Don't ignore the data...

THIS!!!!

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I really feel for your situation, and massively respect you've made your relationship go this far (the application process killed mine). I think these kinds of decisions are always awful, how do you choose between your career and another person, or ask them to do the same?

Saying that, I think he has to face up to what he's actually asking. Long distance only works in my opinion if there's a light at the end of the tunnel, which I'm guessing being together in grad school was for you. The fact you applied to the same schools (and my word, got into Berkeley no less, so massive congrats for that :D) shows you both want this to work. If he can't give you what you need him to, then he should take responsibility for that. Don't feel like you're being unreasonable when he's considering going back on his word for the last five years.

I suggest you sit him down and have the serious talk; Both think about the choices to be made here and all the outcomes.

I wish you all the best with making this really rubbish decision :)

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I'm sort of confused. You say that you both got accepted to Berkeley which was the top choice of BOTH of you. I think its weird that you both wanted to go to Berkeley and now he's fallen in love with a school that he didn't even tell you that he was applying too. I'm sort of a cynic so take what I say with a grain of salt. But how does a school that he doesn't even tell you he's thinking about make it over the school that was his top choice?

It sounds to me like when you guys talked about where you could go together he though Chicago wasn't an option for the both of you. So he decided to apply on his own thinking if we break up before then oh well.

Berkeley was his top choice, the top school in his field and the school that his GF of five years who waited a year for him also got accepted to and he somehow accidentally falls in love with the school that he never even told you he was interested in.....right:rolleyes:

Go to Berkeley.

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Wow!!! you people are harsh...but here's my two cents. I think that you should seriously consider his side. Maybe, just maybe Berkley was his top choice because it was yours. you can never be sure whats going on in the brains of men. Now that he has visited another program he realizes that he just may have made a mistake. Think of the courage that it took for to actually tell you that he want s to go somewhere else. A spineless guy would have followed you to Berkley and then resented you if it didn't work out there. This is still possible if you guilt him into going to Berkley...the what ifs down the road may be the death of your relationship.

Your program is only two years long...how long is his? If his is longer then he has to spend a longer time there than you do. I am a believer that you need to be happy in order to function and if you're not happy then you won't be as productive as you have the potential to be.

Maybe everyone else is right about his commitment issues but I just wanted to throw something else into the mix. If the relationship is worth saving to both of you then you will make it work. The best advice I can offer is to have an open and honest conversation about where the relationship is going and the level of commitment you are willing to devote to it.

You may think that you are in a bind, here's my story.

I am going to grad school this fall and my boyfriend isn't. To make matters worse, he's an international student (as am I) but he's going home this summer to work. He is planning to go to grad school but getting in up here is not guaranteed so he may be going to school at home. Right now our relationship is based on the present. W've discussed the future briefly but made no solid plans. We've been together for 3 years and I think we are great together. This LDR that we're about to embark on may make us or break us as a couple. In addition we have to think of what happens after Grad school. I'll be in for 4-6 yrs and he for 2yrs. I'd like to get into research which is nonexistent in either of our home countries so chances are I'm gonna want to stay up here. We have no idea where his path leads. We are walking on faith into the unknown. I wish I could gt some kind of "commitment" out of him but that's just wishful thinking and is no guarantee.

Anyway, bottom line:

1. Talk it over with him

2. It could be worse, at least you're in the same country with no visa restrictions

3. If it's meant to be then it will all work out.

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I'm sort of confused. You say that you both got accepted to Berkeley which was the top choice of BOTH of you. I think its weird that you both wanted to go to Berkeley and now he's fallen in love with a school that he didn't even tell you that he was applying too. I'm sort of a cynic so take what I say with a grain of salt. But how does a school that he doesn't even tell you he's thinking about make it over the school that was his top choice?

It sounds to me like when you guys talked about where you could go together he though Chicago wasn't an option for the both of you. So he decided to apply on his own thinking if we break up before then oh well.

Berkeley was his top choice, the top school in his field and the school that his GF of five years who waited a year for him also got accepted to and he somehow accidentally falls in love with the school that he never even told you he was interested in.....right:rolleyes:

Go to Berkeley.

This all day long.

One of a few things happened here:

1. He's a punk for not telling you upfront about his plans to apply.

2. He isn't as sure of the long term potential as you are so he planned a life without you.

3. His "just in case" plan is his way of making sure just in case happens.

4. He knew you'd follow him regardless so there was never any real danger of him having to compromise what he wants.

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My wise grandmother (RIP) once said, "The way it starts out is the way it ends up." I am 43 years old, and she's never been wrong. If this is how your man is making decisions now, this is how he will likely always make decisions. Don't ignore the data...

Crap I could've saved some time had I read this first. My grandma and elders say the same thing.

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If I were you I'd tell him that he can go to Chicago, but he will have to come see you on all his breaks, not the other way around. It sounds to me like you're not really comfortable with just breaking it off - if that's what you think would be best, obviously do it, but I don't think it's my place to advise something like that. In any case, it's not acceptable for him to drop the ball and just up and decide to go to Chicago. He at least should have mentioned it to you when he applied, so that you could have applied there as well. So, if he wants to go there, then you should make it clear that you will not be the one suffering the burden. I've been in a long distance relationship where the guy graduated, moved back home (another country) and expected me to visit him all the time despite only once visiting me! Be straight with him and let him know that if he goes, any problems that arise will likely be his doing and it will be his responsibility to straighten them out. Hate to be sexist here, but in my experience when it comes to stuff like this boys need to be told things very simply, many times over, e.g. "If you do not do this for me, I am going to break up with you." Whether or not you actually want to break up with the man in question, sometimes things just need to be phrased that way in order for the other person to understand how important a certain situation is to you.

PS... where the hell did you hear that about a laid back atmosphere at Chicago? All I've ever heard about Chicago is how competitive and soul-crushing the student environment is there - they even sell t-shirts joking about it!

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I've been in a long distance relationship where the guy graduated, moved back home (another country) and expected me to visit him all the time despite only once visiting me!

PS... where the hell did you hear that about a laid back atmosphere at Chicago? All I've ever heard about Chicago is how competitive and soul-crushing the student environment is there - they even sell t-shirts joking about it!

I also did all the visiting in undergrad! In grad school I understand his reasoning for wanting me to do all the flying (he's doing a PhD and has to work weekends, while I'm doing an MPH that focuses more on coursework). And he did offer to pay for my tickets.

Lol, I know. Apparently "more laid back" means that UChicago only expects ~60 hrs/week in lab vs. Berkeley which wants 70+?

Thanks, everyone, for your helpful responses. He just finished visiting Berkeley yesterday so we're going to talk about it on Sunday. Current status is that he "could be happy" at Berkeley, but UChicago is still the best choice for him. He didn't officially choose yet, but I think this tells me all I need to know. His PhD is his priority, and at 22 years old I can't really blame him. But at the same time his stated level of committment (he wanted to get engaged this summer) isn't matching up with his actions, so I think I know what I have to do tomorrow.

Edited by EbolaZaire

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I also did all the visiting in undergrad! In grad school I understand his reasoning for wanting me to do all the flying (he's doing a PhD and has to work weekends, while I'm doing an MPH that focuses more on coursework). And he did offer to pay for my tickets.

Lol, I know. Apparently "more laid back" means that UChicago only expects ~60 hrs/week in lab vs. Berkeley which wants 70+?

Thanks, everyone, for your helpful responses. He just finished visiting Berkeley yesterday so we're going to talk about it on Sunday. Current status is that he "could be happy" at Berkeley, but UChicago is still the best choice for him. He didn't officially choose yet, but I think this tells me all I need to know. His PhD is his priority, and at 22 years old I can't really blame him. But at the same time his stated level of committment (he wanted to get engaged this summer) isn't matching up with his actions, so I think I know what I have to do tomorrow.

Good girl! And I mean 'girl' in the sisterhood kind of way, not any derogatory way. You're obviously an adult. :)

And to be fair, you are right: at 22 years old one's priority probably should be the investment in their long-term well-being. Just remember that the same holds true for you.

And I ditto JerryLandis with that laid back UChicago contradiction. LOL

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From my experience few places are more laid back than California. Especially when you compare it to Chicago winters...

This past summer my mom said to me that women always under estimate their worth - your guy should feel lucky to have you. If you got into such a great program, at 22, it sounds like you are quite a catch. So don't settle.

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Run, don't walk. Go to Berkeley. Get a smart and kind female roommate and stay really busy until you get over him. Sorry for the harsh reply.

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And after all that...he chose Berkeley.

Boys confuse me :huh:

LOLOL Well, Berkeley's a big enough place to wander off to your own space if he keeps confusing you. Good luck! wink.gif

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I just sat down and read this whole thread as my daily dose of drama. Wow. Good luck, EbolaZaire!

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