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Try to stay together or let her go?

  1. Oct 2, 2011 #1
    Hey, so I don't know if anyone here has gone through something similar but any advice is welcome.

    This girl and I dated for her senior year, my junior year of undergrad. After a year, we recently broke up - no fights or typical reasons a couple breaks up. Instead, it was after we looked ahead to our individual plans for our futures and things just didn't seem to line up enough.

    As a physics major, I'd like to get my PhD (hence a 5-6 year commitment to one location and not much free time (right?)) and she is an entrepreneur who loves to travel and do spontaneous adventures. I absolutely adore her and would do anything for her. The reason we broke up is because she thinks that I'll enjoy having a more physics-minded girl by my side, rather than her (not true - in fact I do not want a physics girl..and I've told her this) and I think she'll be unhappy because I won't be able to travel with her much at all - since after a PhD I'll have to get some type of a job (albeit not immediately, but within a year).

    So the dilemma is that neither of us think that we are making the other as happy as they could be - particularly because we both have different outlooks on life - mine being that I need a job to support a family, and she not liking a typical job because she enjoys the freedom to be able to pack up and fly to see the northern lights on a whim.

    Should I let her go and move on with my life or try to get her back? It's tearing both of us up (me more than her though - she was my first girlfriend, she's been through this before). We haven't talked too much even though it's hard. Right now I'm at school in Florida and she's in Hawaii (doing her travel thing). Before the breakup we had plans to move in together wherever I went to grad school (it would be her "home base" during travelling) but apparently those plans went out the window at some point when we were trying to make each other happy.

    Fight for what I think I want, or move on because there's a better fit out there?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 2, 2011 #2


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    Personally, I think she needs to face the reality that unless she has a family wealth, she will one day have to get a job that will restrict her spontaneous travel plans.
  4. Oct 2, 2011 #3
    A traveling job?
  5. Oct 2, 2011 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    Break up. You need the experience.
  6. Oct 2, 2011 #5


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    I just recently read an article that said most successful marriages are ones where the couple spend little time together. Marriages where the spouses went on separate vacations, travelled independently, had separate groups of friends that they went out with on a regular basis without the spouse were the happiest. I'll try to find it. I know I was happiest when my now ex-huisband and I lived in two different states.

    If you're ok with her travelling, tell her so, it shouldn't matter that much where her home is. As long as you both are ok with the arrangement, and everything is fine between you, it shouldn't matter. Do you think she's trying to use this as an excuse to get out of the relationship?
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2011
  7. Oct 2, 2011 #6
    If she's the love of your life, then don't let her go.
  8. Oct 2, 2011 #7


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    Separate vacations and living in separate states (presumably one was separated) would be extreme, but my wife and I have separate interests as well as mutual interests. We have mutual friends and a separate set of friends. With kids, both spouses should be together, but after kids are gone/fledged, the couple can do things separately or together.

    I like hiking and climbing, which would be too challenging or impossible for my wife, so I go hiking or climbing without her. But then there are times when we can visit friends or go places of mutual interest.

    We also do gardening together, but we have separate activities. It's a matter of balancing mutual and individual interests and time.

    One critical issue is having children. Do you both want children/family? If it's not mutual, then that is a big problem!

    Are your career goals mutually compatible?

    Ideally, within a couple, both earn substantial salaries such that the couple can live-off one salary and save/invest the other, such that in 30 or so years, the couple is financially independent.

    Do both of you (or either) see each other together, or with someone else? Why did you establish the relationship in the first place?
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2011
  9. Oct 2, 2011 #8


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    Unless hanging on to her strangles her.

    Is he the love of her life?
  10. Oct 2, 2011 #9
    This is what logic has been telling me more than anything. Emotionally it's the last thing I want.
    I don't think she's using it as an excuse - unless something radically changed in her mind and she hasn't told me. When we talked about things and broke up the quote was "I don't know if our personalities will match for forever". And then she talked about how both of us might find someone else out there who was a better match and we'd each be even happier. And I'm trying not to be selfish and try to hold her back...
    First relationship..I wish I had the experience to make this judgement.
    What's going through my mind is the first thing - and my wanting to be with her is not what she wants at this time and she's trying to be nice by not telling me what is really bothering her about us.
    Particularly in grad school I know there will be times during which I cannot commit as much time to her as I wish I could.
    I don't know if this makes sense; we don't have an abundance of mutual interests, but our individual interests compliment one another. We both enjoy the outdoors, cooking..and she right now likes blogging and business. Me, being good with computers, would help her out designing her site and help brainstorm ideas for making money. I enjoy physics, and we'd talk about making wearable electronics and she'd think of how to make them fashionable. Those are just examples..our relationship wasn't just that. lol
    We've talked about family and children and are completely in sync with that part. Our career goals diverge..I would like to work in industry (perhaps a startup) and she wants to start her own business (let's say a shop). She doesn't want to work for someone else so she can travel when she likes without having to plan months in advance (as I would presumably) asking for a limited amount of vacation days.
    The relationship started after we'd been friends for about a year before I asked her out and things went from there. We were always happy when we were together; joking, bouncing ideas off each other, talking about life. We'd been apart for most of the summer and everything seemed fine - but we were able to talk and text. The breakup happened while she was in Hawaii and I can only imagine that it and the tough communication (no phone service) had amplified our differences.

    We've tried talking about a compromise - but the bottom line is neither of us wishes to make the other compromise on their dreams because down the road someone would probably feel guilty - and that guilt in a relationship would ruin it. Logic just seems to say no to there being an us.
  11. Oct 2, 2011 #10


    Staff: Mentor

    Go with your head on this one. Your heart will get over it and you will be a better person for the experience. Don't settle for a half love, where your head and your heart are not both in agreement.
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