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Please help! my nursing student partner is leaving, advice needed!

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Hi all. Please, if you can read this entire post. I am desperate for advice even if just to soothe my soul and free me from pain. I have included as many details as I can, I wanted people to have a clear picture. Whatever help you can offer, I would appreciate. I'm being brutally honest here.

I'm 33 and in school for psychology, and my partner is 30 and has been working for years to get into Nursing school. She started in the BSN program at a high intensity private college that turns out amazing nurses that runs 19months. We began our relationship six months ago after meeting in a literature class as we both finished our prerequisites for transfer to the same college.

WE both are very prolific communicators who love very intensely and deeply. WE are also both "givers" and since we both do it we both feel really fulfilled by offering our love and support freely to the other. WE also both feel strongly about honor, partnership, and being equals as a team in life. We spent two months between the end of the last semester and the beginning of her Nursing program living life in love together. Operas, hiking, dinners, laughter, hanging out with friends, and on the down side supporting one another in her feelings related to her recent breakup. As an important full disclosure not, she had been in a relationship that was not fulfilling for several years with another man, and we met as that ended and came together ( I know that immediately was not wise, but we felt the looming nursing program merited trying while we could).

I am a sweet man, and very supportive of her. I have done everything in my power to offer her love, support, lots of patience, space, errands, cook for her, clean for her, cuddle her when she feels ill or down. She appreciated all this support but also expressed I didn't have to do it. I always replied that "If you expected it I wouldn't enjoy doing nice things for you so much" and she got flowers once a month at least.

We expressed early that we do love one another, and we have been doing well all along. We never fight, we communicate and work it out.

About 3 months into the program this really began to change. I got to see her less and less which I expected. She spent more and more time in the books, which I also expected. I always told her that "for the beautiful kind, compassionate, and amazing woman that you are, you fit me like no other ever has, it is only 19 months that I must live without the fullness of all that you love to offer and then we have a chance a at a lifetime of whatever we desire, I'm going to wait."

SHe always smiled and loved on me after. Then the stress started to mount, and there were panic attacks, she had trouble breathing some days, and began to wake up with nightmares, racing thoughts, and panic from the beginning of the day to the end. It was very hard for me as her partner to watch her coming apart at the seams and still feel safe while worrying about her. Still, I supported her and told her how proud I was, and how inspiring she was to me.

She ought out a counselor on campus who recommended that she take medication to control her stress levels until she could develop tools to do so more effectively herself. She was worried that she might lose her sense of self, but still I supported her. We do not live together, but I would often stay with her as I live too far from campus for her to even drive there.

She told me shortly after beginning the medication that she didn't know how she could do nursing school and date. We talked and she felt assured, but told me how guilty she feels that she as a giver cannot give to me. She spent what little free time she had with her nursing student friends blowing off steam after exams or with me studying or simply sleeping next to one another. It wasn't much in the way of a doing things together relationship, but neither of us had ever found so perfect a fit of body, mind, temperment, morals, communications, personal freedom to be ourselves, and passions.

About a week after the beginning of the medication I noticed she began to return "I love you" less and less. Planning for things in the future began to be ignored in conversation, and there seemed to be a growing distance between us. About a month and a half after the meds (three days ago) she decided to blow off school for a night and her roomates, two of my (our) friends, and myself had a game night. We laughed, and snuggled, and canoodled all night like the happiest of couples. Everyone went home and then she broke up with me. She cited several reasons which I will state and quote. I really need opinions from other Nurses who have tried to date through nursing school. I really do not want to lose her, but fear it may be inevitable at this time. I also have it in my heart that perhaps when the program is closer to over we may try to reconnect when stresses are on their way down. She is friends with her ex, and was very clear with me that she wanted us to stay in one anothers lives, but that she didn't feel dating and planning for a future with anyone right now was in the cards.

Her reasons: "I am of two minds, the part of me that wants to date wants to date you. I love you, you know that I do you are amazing and I am likely insane for leaving, I probably am insane for letting you go, but nursing is my dream and I've worked hard for it for a long time. Even as patient and understanding as you are, I am a giver and I feel immense guilt for not being able to give to you. I feel distracted because what little I have to offer still takes away from my studies. I also went from a failed intense five year relationship directly into a beautiful and intense relationship with you, and immediately into this intense nursing program. I am losing my mind. I don't have time for myself, for my family, for my friends. What little free time I have I usually spend with you and I can see it is hard on you, and it kills me. Even if you and I could work something out, the more I'm here doing this the more I feel I need to do it on my own with no distractions. Please understand it has little to do with you, it isn't that I don't want to date you, I do, but I don't want to date at all. I have this opportunity and I need to find myself, and find myself as a Nurse too. I can't predict the future, and I still want you in my life, I want us to be friends, but all signs are pointing to me needing to do this right now."

I countered as respectfully as I could and asked about options, but it seemed that she had her mind pretty made up, though she did say it wasn't inflexibly so, but there seems little room for change.

I broke. I cried like I have never cried before. I tried really hard to not say anything that was remotely unkind, but did say that fairness was lacking here. SHe cited also that it seemed that I had been feeling insecure in the relationship recently, and I clearly illustrated that of course I did, she was withdrawing bit by bit and I could tell. I asked her to talk to me many times about the growing distance and she didn't really get into it. "just stressed, I'm sorry" that kinda thing.

She wanted me to stay the night (it was 5am) and we made tearful crying love, and then passed out. Two hours later she had to be up for class, and our goodbye was rushed. While she was gone I packed all my things (forgetting a few things as ever) made the bed, took care of the dog and told him goodbye, left her a message in a bottle to find one day on her shelf, and drove away.

I since emailed her a few days later (this morning) to ask that we meet and have a conversation that's less rushed and with no alcohol involved to just communicate as well as we always do. SO far all she's done to unshare her calendar with me, and complete silence. We are still friends on facebook, but other than that I have no clue what is next.

THings I want to know from readers, 1) Is nursing school so epic that a relationship i nearly untennable?

2) DOes Nursing School so reshape you that you feel the need to redefine yourself?

3) For those who kept their relationship alive through nursing school what was your secret/s?

4) If you believed in hopeless romance, what is the best time to approach a Nursing student to try to kindle a romance? I want to offer her the space she needs to succeed, but also want to at least try to be in a place to try again.

5) What are your thoughts/feelings about this situation and what advice would you offer to me?

6) do you think there is any chance she may change her mind in the relatively near future?

Personally, I do love her unconditionally. I love her enough that if the stress of having an obligation outside of herself and nursing school is too much for her right now, I want to offer her what she needs, even if that is my absence from her life for now. I know that the woman that I have known these last six months has proven to me time and again that she is the astounding woman who I would love to work towards a future with. I want to keep that in mind, while not relegating myself to "waiting" forever for her since she did make the decision to leave. I'm grasping at straws of hope here, and any advice would be appreciated.

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Wow....I just happened to stumble upon this, im usually on the regular Allnurses side. Um, so my opinion is you need to give her space. She basically told you I want to date you but i dont want to date you. She seemed pretty clear that the time was not now. I guess my personality is somewhat different but how I interpret your post is, it feels kinda feels "clingy". Maybe thats how shes feeling. She went from one relationship, straight to a really intense one, then nursing school. She needs time to decompress, not focus on a relationship and just do what she wants to do. Forcing/begging/pleading will not make it better. It will push her away. Respect her wishes and quit communicating with her. If in a few months you dont hear from her, maybe wait till she is on a school break, send a quick email checking in to see how she is, you can guage from her response then which direction things are headed and how much to push the relationship again. She will have a clearer head and will be able to think more rationally.

Clearly your heartbroken so its hard for you to think of your life with out her right now, but I think you just need to let her be and whatever happens, will if its meant to.

Nursing school can be very intensive and difficult, but it really depends on the individual how they cope, how much effort is put forth ect. When I was in school, (graduated 7 years ago), a did what I had to do to get by. I had time to have fun ect, but the pay off was that my grades were only ok but I was younger and not as focused as I could have been. (that being said, I think im an awesome nurse, I get excelent reveiws ect...nursing school smarts dont always equate to awesome nurses ;). Your ex...lets call it what it is, clearly wants to focus and do her best. You should encourage it. Unfortunately yes you are hurt, but its not all about you here.

She may just be having a freak out. shes overwhelmed. Maybe talking too much about the future freaked her out a bit. who knows. All im saying is give her time and space. I think when shes able to calm down and when shes ready she will talk to you, its not like she ended it because she thinks your a tool bag. Its just that the time is not good for her right now.

so thats my objective opinion on the matter, hope it helps somewhat. In the meantime, yes your hurt, but focus on yourself, get out there and do stuff, what ever it is you do!

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THings I want to know from readers, 1) Is nursing school so epic that a relationship i nearly untennable?

2) DOes Nursing School so reshape you that you feel the need to redefine yourself?

3) For those who kept their relationship alive through nursing school what was your secret/s?

4) If you believed in hopeless romance, what is the best time to approach a Nursing student to try to kindle a romance? I want to offer her the space she needs to succeed, but also want to at least try to be in a place to try again.

5) What are your thoughts/feelings about this situation and what advice would you offer to me?

6) do you think there is any chance she may change her mind in the relatively near future?

I have not begun my clinicals yet, but I can tell you that the prerequisites and nursing courses I have been able to take are quite demanding. My boyfriend is at a completely different point in his life in that he works 40 hours a week with opposite hours from me and has been out of college for over a decade. Our lives and responsibilities are very different right now and that certainly is difficult. I feel guilty all the time, in fact he is off skiing today and I so badly wish I could have gone, but I simply have too much crap to do at home.

I find it very hard to balance sometimes and very hard to say I can't do things with him even though he understands and completely supports me. There have definitely been times in my education that I probably would have been better off academically if I were single, but I simply couldn't break it off for that single reason. It can be hard to be an A/B student, work two jobs, and be in a relationship, that is for sure!

It sounds to me like she probably does need space. It also sounds to me like she may have some serious anxiety issues, which could be interfering with her ability to cope with the many demands of life and nursing school. Unfortunately there is nothing you can do about her anxiety issues if she has them. That is definitely something she will have to work on herself, which is where she probably needs space and time to figure it all out.

Write her a letter, not an email, a letter. There is something different about a hand written letter, it means more and it is therapeutic, trust me. Sometimes technology does not help romance. Keep it fairly brief, like a page or so. Tell her you love her and you understand she needs space. Make sure she knows she can come to you for support if she needs it and you really hope she is ok. Don't focus on how hard this is for you and how much you miss her because she will only feel more guilty and more overwhelmed. Just put the ball in her court. Be sure not to make her feel like you're making an assumptions about getting back together. She needs to be relieved of the stress and feeling of being very overwhelmed. If she feels better and feels like she is able to handle a relationship she will come back to you.

I can't speculate when she'll come around, and I'm not saying wait forever, but you definitely have to let her be without making her feel you don't care anymore. You need to let her come to you when she is ready, which means you're going to need some patience my friend because usually women will only do something when they are darn good and ready. Try to push it, or pull a stage 5 clinger, and you'll make a bad situation worse.

If you love something set it free, and if it comes back to you it was meant to be! Hang in there, it sounds like you guys probably have something good and there is certainly a chance it will work out. Just need patience and a little faith.

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It sounds like your feelings for your girlfriend are very intense and that the relationship you have had has been very intense -- at least from your end.

Nursing school is also very intense, in a much more personal way, and in order to succeed you really do have to throw yourself heart and soul into the program and your studies, and surround yourself with all things nursing related.

I have a feeling that your girlfriend is feeling a lot of pressure from you to maintain your relationship at the level it was before. Perhaps you are feeling that she is pulling away, and maybe you are ratcheting up the strategies to preserve your relationship as it was, while at the same time she is becoming a different person with different needs and priorities.

I can see that this push/pull is having a profound effect on her ability to cope. It is very likely that someone who is under such a degree of stress that they need medication to cope is probably feeling stress from more than one source in their life.

What she needs is time and space to focus on herself. I think you should just step back. Don't take a wait and see attitude, that won't alleviate her anxiety as she will still feel some obligation to keep your relationship at the forefront of her life and it sounds like that is not healthy for her at this time.

Let her do her thing. That's really all you can do. And I agree that when you talk to her, either in person or by letter, you need to keep the focus off of yourself and your needs. Do not talk to her about what this means to you, how hard it is for you. That will only make her feel worse.

I know this isn't what you want to hear, but at this time, it really sounds like it is something that she needs. I'm sorry that this is so hard for you, and send you hugs and best wishes.:hug:

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Hello, thank you all for your time and advice. I feel I owe an update. Before I had read your replies I had already resigned myself to the idea that I really love this woman and that she loved me. The last thing I said to her several weeks ago was that if the only gift I could offer from my love was my silence so as to let her have her space and achieve her dreams that this is what I offer.

Then I did. I offered it and I didn't make any contact for two weeks. In the meantime I learned a lot about nursing programs and peoples experiences and learned some ways I could be more supportive particular to that field.

I knew she was changing, and though suggested that I hoped to keep our relationship operating at the pre-nursing school level--I knew that was impossible and had been doing all I could to take stress off her plate. She had been appreciateive.

She called me a week ago, and we met and talked a lot over several days. We agree that there is great love here, and the beautful possibility for a future together. In the space she had she learned that though dating is difficult, she felt that giving us up was too much. We are implementing more specific communication related to her school needs and I've made it clear that this is her time in school, and that she should feel free to ask me for anything she needs, even if it is only talk once a month during clinicals or whatever.

We are falling in love all over again and it is beautiful and amazing. I just wanted to share that while a few things respondents suggested didn't fully apply in this instance, the advice about space and letting her figure her thigns out after she freaked out, but staying true until there was clarity was great advice indeed.

I have the greatest of hope now that things shall continue to improve. I even thanked her for breaking us up for a while, we both learned in the meantime how much we really care, and how real it is, as well as ways in which we can improve our lot so that in the future things hopefully wont come to such a head. Take care all, and maybe soon I'll be posting as a nurse myself....I start the Nursing Pre-req's next semester on my way to a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner career track. Be well!

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