Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Monday, July 18, 2016

Deep thoughts for a Monday

My mind has been somewhat preoccupied for the past few weeks.  You see, my dear husband would like to go back to school and start a masters degree in the fall. It's a subject he absolutely loves and is passionate about, and the program director is someone who is really well-known in his field. Sounds good,  what's the issue you say?  Well, luckily, this being France, it's not cost!  It's that this is an after-hours program.  It would be a minimum of three nights a week (and sometimes four) for the next two years, with C getting home around 9:45pm each time.

But ksam- you did your own masters and C was so supportive!  I know.  I know.  But I hunted around and chose one 1) the shortest master I could and 2) the one that encroached the least on our time together. I was lucky and had class every other Friday and Saturday, so it really only ate up two days per month of our time together.  And because I work from home, I was able to do all of my studying during the day, so it didn't really impact our time together.

This would be most weeknights, and then weekends spend studying. For Two Whole Years. I feel so selfish even writing this. My husband is one of the most selfless people I know, and has never once complained about all of my travel or asked me not to go on a trip.  He turned down a job that he really wanted because it would have required him to travel too.  When I am home, he does everything to ensure that he is home at nights so we can be sure to spend time together given my crazy travel schedule. He constantly accompanies me to the airport/train station, and is there waiting for me when I get back, even if it's just so we can take the RER together.  He spends most of his vacations on location with me, while I work.  So he deserves this. 

But I can't help be worried about us - our time together is already limited as-is, and this is going to cut it back even more.  I feel we have a strong relationship, but I also firmly believe that relationships take nurture.  We have been very thoughtful thus far about ensuring we spend enough quality time together. And C, bless his heart, is convinced will we still be able to do that.  I on the other hand am not so convinced. Out of the 30 people in my masters program, 8 people had divorced by the end of our program.  And they were all in situations closer to C's, ie needing to do all of their studying at night and on the weekends. Two more are still in an on-going affair with each other, four years later. C's take on it is that they must have already been in 'fragile' couples going in, but I saw firsthand how much time the program took up for them outside of class, and how much pressure it put on their personal life.

So I don't know. I want to be able to support him on this.  And it's really important to him that I do.  We've made my career such a priority for the the past five years. It almost hurts me to even write this, but is it time to think about slowing down on travel?  I've worked so hard to get where I am, and to establish a 'real' career in France. And I love my job and all the crazy opportunities it has afforded me. How can I give that up? But then the other half of me says "That's so selfish! You're a team. It's his turn now."

I guess the good thing is that we've got the rest of the summer to figure out how to make it work. And at least 50% of us is convinced that we will. :)  But if anyone has any suggestions about successfully combining working full-time+studying+family, I'm all ears!



Blogger Canedolia said...

Oh wow - that's a tough situation.

I don't really have any advice to give you, but it did strike me that it's a bit similar to entering into a long-distance relationship. Lots of couples do this, not because they think it's a great situation to be in, but to achieve goals that are important to one or both of them. Friends who've had successful LDRs have told me that the key is knowing that there's an end point: either in actual time, or an acknowledgement that your shared long-term goal is to be together in the same place. If C fgoes ahead with this, could you tackle it in the same way, ie accepting that it will be tough and you won't see much of each other, but that once it's over you both agree to make time and sacrifices to spend time together?

Good luck, whatever you both decide is best!

July 18, 2016 at 3:58 PM  
Blogger Leesa said...

Hey there Sam!

What a very thoughtful post... I know you worked very hard to get where you are now, and I know that Chris is a brilliant young man, with tons of potential ahead of him! I personally think that if you took two years to slow down on travel while he worked on a Master's that will be a sacrafice well worth it's weight in gold!
I know you love to travel, but in the long term, two years is just a splast in the puddle.. Two years will seem long but it will really go by quickly! You both are still so young... spoken from an older perspective... I think that it would be great for him to pursue and fulfill his dreams, as you have done...

July 18, 2016 at 9:02 PM  
Blogger Jennie said...

Leesa said it very well! Two years will fly by. Also from an older perspective. You both have developed relationship skills at a very young age and it seems like you have a very strong base to hold you both up through this exciting time. I agree with C. Those other relationships were way less strong than yours. You and C can do it.

July 19, 2016 at 2:42 PM  
Blogger A Tank said...

This is tough, but I agree with the others who've commented. I had a similar situation come up lately, and it took me awhile to be ok with it as well. S has one more semester of classes to finish up his degree, and he ended up choosing all night classes, Monday-Thursday. At first I was frustrated - couldn't he choose classes during the day while I'm at work? But, he wanted to take things that interested him with good professors, and I realized I was being selfish wanting him there all the time for me. Instead, I decided to see it as an opportunity to take time and pursue some other things I wanted to accomplish. (He's also talked about some future job opportunities which might take him away for large chunks of time, so it may not be over after this semester.) Maybe you could think about trying to find some things to occupy your time, a project to work on, that might make the next 2 years feel productive to you as well? It sounds like a really long time, and it probably won't be much fun, but I think you and C both have a healthy enough relationship to make it work and it'll go by quickly. And I imagine it won't be easy for him either, having to do homework instead of fun things with you! But if he really wants it, and it'll help in the future (either monetarily or just by making C happier), it sounds like it's worth the sacrifice. Good luck!

July 19, 2016 at 4:35 PM  
Blogger Alison said...

All great advice up there!

Keep your eyes on the prize. Two years seems long now, but it will fly by. You might need to do the occasional emotional "check-in" with C, but I'm sure you do that anyway.

July 20, 2016 at 1:57 PM  
Blogger Carrie said...

My husband worked nights for 2 years and it was exhausting and painful and definitely took a toll, but we made the best out of every weekend we had together planning super elaborate dates, new jazz clubs, cocktail bars, etc.. Since we hardly saw each other during the week we went out of our way to keep the weekends fun and interesting. I think the moral of the story is what you do with the quality time you do have together and make sure to do something super special, I'm positive you'll be ok. I can even look back on those two years as kind of fun. :-)

July 21, 2016 at 1:45 AM  
Blogger Ksam said...

You guys are the best, that is some great advice. Thank you! It's reassuring to hear that others think it will be manageable too if we do some careful planning.

July 22, 2016 at 9:17 AM  
Blogger Quantumhollapena said...

HI Sam, I feel for you. Andrew is currently in one of the most demanding training programs in the world, and it's definitely taking a toll. But, I say this coming from the standpoint of also having a baby to care for. I'm not sure if it would be quite as difficult if we were still childless, but currently I am still working (only part time) but am now the de facto homemaker as well. His training is 12+ hours daily and we get almost no time off, a few "family" days built around public holidays. Right now we are in the trenches and I'm going to be absolutely honest in that it is CRAZY hard and I've often questioned my resolve. When the baby is up screaming for 3+ nights in a row and I'm the only one tending to her bc he's got to fly the next day, or has a test, or is just not available I really question how we're going to get through 1.5 more years of this.

On the other hand, he has promised me that when we are done w/ this and get settled post training that it will be "my turn". I've been wanting to get a masters for a while (more of a life goal than a career goal) and if he were to relinquish that support I would be seriously hurt. Obviously this is our situation, not yours so you need to follow your gut about what will work for you and him and the next two years of your life together.

July 28, 2016 at 10:54 PM  

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