Nursing school, changing perspectives and priorities...

  1. Hello all! I've lately found myself in a really awkward situation, so I decided to present my situation for some feedback and/or advice. Basically, I'm about to start my senior year toward a BA, and until March or so, had no idea what to do with it afterwards. I figured I'd get a job doing SOMETHING. My fiance, who I've been with for 4 years, is in a similar situation. He graduated last December with a BA in English, has no idea what to do with it, and has been working odd jobs like daycare, telephone sales, and home care for disabled kids. The two of us had planned to get married in September or so of 2005 (after I graduate next May).

    In March, I had this revelation that I need to be a nurse (probably because my fiance kept catching me watching the Discovery Health Channel and finally said "Geez, if you like all that health stuff so much, why don't you go be a nurse or something?"). This has given me a goal, a direction, and a lot of enthusiasm for where I plan to be in a couple of years. I am thoroughly proud of myself for figuring out what I want to do with my life.

    This, however, has caused a glitch. Because now I have goals and my fiance does not (we have discussed this at great length -- he has NO goals, period), I feel utterly detached from him. Additionally, when I approached him about the no goals thing, he told me that at least in part, he's waiting for me to choose a nursing school (we're young and portable enough that moving to a different state is an option) before he goes and gets a master's/teaching certificate/any number of possibilities he brigngs up from time to time. So now I'm holding up what goals he may develop, and that makes me feel just no good. But I'm half-thinking he's using that as a convenient excuse (because, after all, there was several months between the time he graduated and the time I decided on nursing where he was still doing nothing). I'm feeling trapped, frustrated, annoyed, and I've got this overwhelming urge to escape from my situation.

    I have a close (guy) friend in Ohio who's been teasingly trying to get me to go to school near him. I think it might be a good opportunity for me, but I don't think my fiance would want to go with me (partly because we both know this friend has had a crush on me for a few years, and there'd probably be some tension between the two of them) or, frankly, would want me to go. Unless, of couse, I were single. But leaving a 4-year relationship is a very scary thing to think about.

    On the other hand, I have done some research and found that Ohio is actually quite appealling. The cost of living is slightly lower than where I am now, the jobs pay about as well, and there's this spectacular clause in the Ohio board of regents residency policy where I can pay in-state tuition to go to school part time, and after 12 months be considered a resident. This is great because I plan to take prereqs for a year (part time) before starting a nursing program. So it would actually be very practical for me to go to school in Ohio.

    So now I'm at a crossroads -- I can keep going down the same path I've been developing, get married in a year, probably stay in Kansas, and hope that my dear fiance discovers what he wants to do in life. Or I can leave everything behind me, start a new life in Ohio where I know I can achieve my goals without carrying around what I feel is a 6'5'', 230lb dead weight.

    Am I absolutely nuts for completely changing my priorities and point of view over something like a career choice? I just feel like I could achieve so much more if I weren't in this relationship, and that really breaks my heart. I won't be able to really act on this until at least March (he and I live together and our lease expires March 1), but it's something I really feel I need to think about.

    Any thoughts?

    Meghan
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   RNNoMore
    A 'goal' isn't supposed to be a prison, somewhere you get to and then stay for the rest of your life. It's quite natural to chop and change your goals throughout your life, it's also natural not to feel the need to have goals, sometimes the idea of working towards a goal doesn't come until you are a lot older and suddenly that mid-life 'crisis' hits and you think "Gosh, I need to do something with my life!". That is precisely why there are so many older students at colleges - they are changing their goals, changing careers, embarking on new goals. Your boyfriend may just be at the stage where nothing he has tried has hit the mark, has sparked that fire in him that says 'This is what I want to do'. That is why he may be changing jobs all the while and trying new things - he's still trying to find himself, and that's OK (for him, anyway). However, his current lack of ambition is now opposing your enthusiasm for your new goals, and that is creating problems in your relationship with each other.

    People grow, and as they grow they change - some more quickly than others. You are not the same people that you were when you met 4 years ago, and you have to decide whether the deeper, underlying relationship you have with him can survive these changes, or, whether you are starting to grow apart so much that it's time to move on. Sometimes maturity will change people, but occasionally people will go through their entire lives never really reaching that stage of maturity, and will continue to remain unmotivated and goal-less. Whatever happens, it is not your task to try to change your boyfriend, or to try and force him to become more goal orientated - only he can do that, and he may be just maturing more slowly than you

    Reading your post - I think it's obvious what your heart is telling you to do, and life is too long to spend it being unhappy, and too short to waste time being unhappy - so go spread your wings

    Best wishes, Paint.
    Last edit by RNNoMore on Jun 27, '04
  4. by   kkbaroness
    My advice would be to dump the deadbeat fiance and get out of that codependant relationsip fast!! Concentrate on yourself. Put your self FIRST. Forget guys for a while and go to nursing school if that is wha you really want.
  5. by   Megsd
    Yeah, and after I posted all this (before he woke up) we went to the grocery store and it turns out he's convinced I'm about to run off with my friend in Ohio, which honestly was never my intention. He even went so far as to mention that if things get bad enough he may dump me since I'm just going to run off with this other guy anyway, and if and when that happens, he gets to keep the apartment. So I may have to start making decisions about this sooner than I had anticipated, if he thinks I have ulterior motives and plans to kick me out.

    I think after the conversation we had this morning, it's pretty clear where he lies on an issue I hadn't even approached him about yet.

    Meghan
  6. by   Energizer Bunny
    My honest opinion would be to go to Ohio if you think that is the best option for you as far as schools (certainly don't make a decision based on ANY man) If the man wants you bad enough, he would follow and if it's meant to be, it will be when the time is right.
  7. by   Tweety
    Is he happy? Is he fulfilled? Why doees he have to have goals to be good enough for you? How on earth did you become engaged in the first place? Can you accept and love him as he is? Questions only you can answer.

    People do "outgrow" each other sometimes and the dynamics of the relationship change. That's happened to me in a good friendship. We were once the best of friends.

    The important thing to know is you can't change a person. You can inspire them, be a role model, but you can't create goals and a life plan for him. You have to allow him to be who he is or you have to move on. Don't string him along.

    Good luck in school.
  8. by   LittleCatB
    Quote from Megsd
    This, however, has caused a glitch. Because now I have goals and my fiance does not (we have discussed this at great length -- he has NO goals, period), I feel utterly detached from him. <snip>
    I'm feeling trapped, frustrated, annoyed, and I've got this overwhelming urge to escape from my situation.
    <snipped>
    Meghan
    I'm married to a guy like that. I do get INCREDIBLY irritated with him, but I've made his goals (or lack of them) seperate from my goals... and realized that financial stability, etc., are up to me...

    but- I married him, I knew he was like that before I married him, and I can't just expect a complete personality change or resent him for it- it's unfair to him, you know? When you get married you marry *him*, not an perfecto-future-makeovered image.

    I feel the need to add that he's got traits that make up for the other issues. (for example, he's an incredible dad) But, it's hard and not an issue that will ever go away.

    It's great that you're realizing all of this before you get married! Ask yourself if you want to live with someone who's like that for the rest of your life. If you're cringing, probably not.
    Bethany
  9. by   lisamc1RN
    My advice is to take a break from men for a while! You don't need to go rushing from one man's arms to another. If the guy you are with isn't someone you see a future with, then it's time to be open and honest about that. If you aren't sure, you need to be honest about that, too. Talk to him. But, even if you decide to go your separate ways, running off to Ohio to be closer to another guy probably isn't the answer. Think about your goals and where you want to be and make a decision based on that. Remove the other guy from the decision making process all together. Chances are, once you have a clear goal and purpose in life, you will be able to see clearly when it comes to making decision about who you want to make a partner for life.
  10. by   Altra
    I agree that you probably know the answer in your heart. It doesn't sound like either of you is ready to commit - you both need to find your own paths first. Life is strange - it may be that the two of you are not meant to be, or it might just be that you're not meant to be for now.

    I know this will be a difficult transition, but you seem to have big plans for yourself - now go out there and chase them.

    Good luck to you!
  11. by   jaimealmostRN
    Yuck, I know that feeling of being trapped (((shudder))). You've changed, he's changed, but you don't want to dump him b/c you know it will be very emotionally charged. After all, it's hard to walk away from four years (or three in my case) with just a handshake and a 'good luck.' But, like others have said, you've answered your own question. It seems like you are ready to move on and start out fresh. I don't think my ex would have ever dumped me, but I know that he's is sooo much happier now as am I. You are a different person now than you were at 17. And please, do NOT marry him anytime soon with out some serious SEPERATE soul searching. Why don't you go visit a school in Ohio for a week to see what it's like. I'm plenty assertive, but breaking up with someone is so difficult. Just take a deep breath and... or if you just can't do it in person, do it over the phone (some will call it wussy, but it's more important for you to be happy). But do take a vacation without him, even if it's just to your parent's house, ohio, the beach and see how you feel without him....has it been three days already and you've forgot to call him, in fact has he been completely out of your head (besides the 'should I dump him thoughts'). Nursing school will really change you (in a good way) and you will grow up a lot in those 2 or 4 years, I'm near the end and I feel like a completely different person. Every once in a while I'll have a dream that I did not dump this guy and I'll have all these horrible thoughts about being trapped (the way I felt towards the end) and I'll wake up and be by myself or with a guy I"m happy to be with and I'll feel such RELIEF!!!
  12. by   DZcarrie
    i say, move to ohio!

    if he follows you, ok.

    if not, ok.

    things will work out
  13. by   smk1
    does he truly have a reason to be jealous of the guy in ohio, (sounds like he may have a valid complaint there) in any case you need to decide what is best for YOU regardless of which guy if any you are going to be with. As for the goal thing, some people are more motivated than others and others need to try lots of new things to help find direction. If you can't live that way then its best to figure this out now rather than after getting married. Just plan for you and the rest will happen the way its supposed to.

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