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Education Frustration?!?!

I'm in need of advise.

 My bf and I have been dating for 2 1/2 years.  We met while he was getting his Master's degree and were local for the first year.  After graduating he moved 8 hours away to the PhD program he chose.  I've been working full time at the same job for the past four years, and am happy in the field I'm in and I plan to return to school for my Master's soon.

The issue:  LDR has been hard, but we've made it work and have a deep love and trust for one another that I wouldn't trade for the world.  However, a recent serious conversation about our future revealed that he doesn't plan on thinking about marriage until he graduates (2 yrs) and, even then, he wants to live together for at least a year before "moving forward".  He says he can't make a concrete decision because he's not sure where his post-doctoral research will take him.  This is news to me because he always makes reference to how things will be when we get married.  I never would have thought that we were on some vague timeline.  He keeps reassuring me that he loves me, but I'm 30 and can't help but wonder if it's wise to wait another 3 years or so or leave what feels familiar/secure behind to find someone new?

Is education ever a good excuse not to move forward with a relationship?

Re: Education Frustration?!?!

  • 30 doesn't make you some ole washed up ole battleaxe.:)  And there are plenty of couples who marry "older". Not every couple who marries is way under 30.

    What is it you want?

    Could you possibly think this over for a good length of time --- and give this a year to see how this plays out for you?

    He gets great big props for being honest with you.
  • well, it's the excuse he's given. Whether or not it's "good" really doesn't matter. What do YOU want? There's no point in playing a martyr if you really would like to find someone who is ready to marry on a timetable more similar to you.There are plenty of fish in the sea. Yes, it would be hard, but worth it if you are truly unhappy with the idea of waiting several more years.
  • A post doc can literally take you anywhere.  I was married when I got my Ph.D. and while my husband would have moved anywhere I wanted, I chose very differently than if I would have had I been single.  I'm not saying that's a bad thing (life is all about balance) but it's certainly a consideration. 

    If he wants a big time job in academia, he may be thinking more along the lines of "publish, excellent post doc, get an academic job then finally feel like I'm on the right track."  God knows I feel that way sometimes - like I can't breathe or quit until I'm finally in the job I want to be in.  This lifestyle offers you very little breathing room in terms of money and good benefits.  It's a race to that comfort zone that many have had since their twenties. Retirement?  Forget it.  Lots of savings?  Not possible.  Life insurance?  Laughable.  Ph.D.s are treated like crud a lot of the time.

    Aaaanyway...  these might be some of the thoughts rolling around in his head.  Only you can decide if this works for you.

    Also, it's advice, not advise.  You're going to get a Masters.  C'mon.

  • Do you want to have kids?  If having children is a priority for you personally, I wouldn't wait around 3 more years at age 30 to find out if he even wants to make concrete plans with you ever.  It's not even like he is saying he wants to marry you in 3 years; he is saying that he thinks he might NOT want to marry you in 3 years.  And it sounds like with his post doc plans, it might actually be even longer than 3 years before he is ready to make a decision.  Nothing wrong with that if those are his priorities for his life, but that's his life and you don't have to make those your priorities.  Personally, I'd be looking for a man who would wanted to make a life with me a bigger priority.  
  • If he does want to get married eventually, and can say that right now he believes it will be to you, but he just isn't ready yet then I think you should give him some time.

    I went through a similar situation that might help.  We had been dating less than a year when I moved from AZ to IN to be with him.  We moved in together.  We talked prior to my move and he did want marriage in the future but as he had been married before he wasn't sure his timeline and when he'd be ready to take that leap again.  After living here for 2 years and dating for nearly 3 years I was getting itchy.  (I should mention I was 34 at this time) I sat down with him and basically said: 

    I love you.  I know I want to be with you.  But I also know that I want to get married.  We have been together for 3 years, I moved here for you.  You told me you would want to get married again yet in those three years nothing has changed.  I need to know if you see yourself marrying ME.  Because at this point, if you aren't sure that I am the one then I don't think you ever will be and I need to move on and find someone who does think I'm the one and who DOES want to marry me.  If you can honestly say that I am it, you do see yourself marrying me, and you just need more time to get to that place then I will wait it out.  But I need to know if you are sure about us.

    I didn't want to throw in the towel with the man I loved simply because his timeline didn't match mine.  He said that he loved me and did tell me he felt I would be his wife when he was ready.  I accepted that and stayed.  I made the decision that I would rather be with him without the ring then without him. 

    He asked me to go ring shopping about 5-6 months later and we got engaged a few months after that. 

    Sooooo..............I guess what I'm getting at is finding out his feelings about YOU is what's really important.  Can he see you as a part of that future?  Based on your discussions it sounds like he can.  But only you can decide if you want to wait around for a man you love and have a great relationship with or if you want to listen to your biological clock.  Just remember........if you consider the amount of time to find someone else, feel that click again, and get to the engagement you are probably looking at 2 years of dating and getting to that point with someone else.

  • This was a really good answer and I wanted to thank you for it!
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