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Long distances and graduate school make relationships frustrating

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Old 11-29-2005, 12:51 PM   #1
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Kehau HB User
Unhappy Long distances and graduate school make relationships frustrating

My boyfriend and I have been together for 6+ years now. When we first started dating it was long distance for 2 years with him about 100 miles away from me (he was getting his master's degree). After 2 years I ended up moving to live with him and to start the Ph.D program at the same school (2 separate reasons to move) and he got a job at a local biotech company. During this time things were great--there were so many good times even though we didn't see each other except in the evening and weekends (busy with school/work). He got laid off after 2 years and decided to go back to school and get his Ph.D but that meant him moving to yet another 100 miles away from me and this time I couldn't follow him because I was already well into the graduate program. We're now going on 3 years into being apart and we only see each other maybe every other weekend. This past year I feel like things have been starting to fall apart--his graduate program has been really difficult for him and he has a demanding boss that expects him to be in the lab doing research all day and night including weekends. He's been massively stressed and it's starting to damage our relationship and I don't know what to do about it. We haven't had sex in almost 6 months and he says it's because he's really distracted but he doesn't seem to want to do anything to change it. I know stress affects the libido and all but it's making me feel really insecure. He constantly tells me that he loves me and that he's attracted to me but that he's in a really bad place. What does that mean? I've asked him if he wants to take a break, if school and our relationship is just too much to deal with all at once and he says no. But he just keeps on feeling sorry for himself and I can't seem to cheer him up or pull him out of it (I'd like to slap him every now and then--this is how frustrating it gets). I feel like his return to school is the worst thing that could have ever happened to this relationship and he's not even happy in the program but feels like he needs to tough it out and finish it (which I do respect). What do I do with a depressed boyfriend and when is enough enough? I love him a lot and do not want to end this--I've got less than a year of schooling left and then I can be with him again. I'm hoping that seeing each other more often will give him more perspective (he definitely did that for me when I was beginning graduate school). Sorry to keep rambling on but I'm just really frustrated and sad with where this relationship is going and I just want to know if there's any way to fix it.

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Old 11-29-2005, 04:13 PM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2005
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ruby84 HB User
Re: Long distances and graduate school make relationships frustrating

That does sound really difficult. It sounds like your boyfriend needs to learn how to set some boundaries with his advisor. His program may be different, but in my school, the advisors who are known for over-working and taking advantage of their students are well-known. Nobody blames the students who jump ship and switch advisors. I've also learned the hard way that if you don't say no, people will let you work yourself into the ground. Is your boyfriend willing to go to counseling? Yes, it takes extra time, but it's time well worth spending. Plus his school might be able to refer him out and student health insurance often helps with the cost. If he manages to lift his own depression, he's likely to be a lot more efficient and to save his relationship with you.

Old 11-29-2005, 05:01 PM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Gundam HB User
Re: Long distances and graduate school make relationships frustrating

You two sound like great people to me, both studying in graduate schools ... I get the impression that you two are meant to be together. You have already suggested that maybe he should take a break, & he instantly told you NO, that means you still mean quite a lot to him; & you already know that he's completely stressed out ... I mean ... being involved with a PhD course along with an agressive professor ... who wouldn't be ?! also said you don't wanna end this relationship, while he also doesn't ... so I'd say, wait for a year, finish your course, then have some serious talks with him. This is just my advice ...

1 thing though ... 6 months with no sex ... that's a bit abnormal ... make sure he's not cheating on you ...

good luck

Old 11-29-2005, 07:07 PM   #4
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Kehau HB User
Re: Long distances and graduate school make relationships frustrating

Trust me, cheating has crossed my mind--I know a couple of girls at his school who'd love to get their claws in him ...

He swears that there's nobody else but rather that he just doesn't seem to have a libido anymore. I know that stress can do that to a person but for that long??

Thanks for the kind words and encouragement, though.

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