I Didn’t Do Enough

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Graduate school ends relationships.

It’s a mentality that many hold. No, I haven’t searched for the statistics on how many relationships actually end because of graduate school. However, a quick google search will yield numerous articles and forums all along the lines of, “Did graduate school kill your relationship?”

No, I’m not going into the details concerning the end of my year-long engagement. All I will say is, it spawned because of issues he was dealing with and hid.

But that doesn’t mean I am completely innocent either. Innocent in the sense that I didn’t leave him or call off our wedding, but I also didn’t see him struggling.

It’s hard not to blame myself. Not when you work in an environment where work killing relationships is the norm.

Should I have probed more? Should I have questioned if he was always truly happy?

He should not have hidden anything, but as his partner shouldn’t I have seen? Was I too absorbed in work to see that my fiancé was struggling?

I may never know the true answer. Even though I have regular converstions with him, I don’t think he would ever fault me for not being there enough. That’s just not what he does.

Regardless, and I may be in the minority saying this, I do not think graduate school needs to kill your relationships. I don’t just mean romantic relationships. People note that their relationships with family and friends dwindled because of the commitment to work.

Yes, working hard is an absolute must… but isolating yourself from your support system through the process? It seems incredibly unhealthy to me.

I isolated myself for a long time. I will admit that. Especially in the first year. Everyone is trying to prove themselves, and you’re fighting hard to stay. It wasn’t until the quarter life crisis that I realized it’s possible to have a balanced work life while in graduate school.

Sure, there may be periods where you are working extremely long hours and your social life is put on the backburner; however, even during those times it’s important to take some breaks. Call your family. Treat yourself to a date night. Don’t let yourself burn out because you always prioritized your work over your support system. Relationships ending because of graduate school does not have to be the norm.