Staying Sane: Partners, Friends, and Places

Since I have moved to Blighted Town without my partner, I have gone on Lexapro and then tripled the dose.  The doctor doesn’t want to go any higher (turns out I am over the manufacturer’s recommended maximum dose.  But it works.).  I for real need to live with my partner.

My partner is actively trying to convert his job into a telecommuting one, though he may not be successful.  He recently found out what type of place we could rent in Blighted Town for the amount he’s spending now, and got pretty excited about that.  Even though nothing may come of this, it does give me some hope that we can have a future in Blighted Town.  I wonder what kind of living I could make as some sort of freelance editor if I quit my career and moved to be with him… probably a lousy one!

My colleagues have threatened to redecorate my living room for me.  I’m not sure how I feel about this.  They said, Just give us $50 and your blessing and we’ll do it all. One colleague is going to go around to all her friends and see if they’re giving furniture away.  She even wants to have her friend come in and do feng shui for me — though I don’t know how that would work because there are only so many ways to fill a room with bookshelves.  I told them that I would go shopping for furniture at thrift stores with them, and that if they get me a couch I demand an ottoman, too.  Rawr.

I’m getting a book about buying your first house.  I kind of want to do this, and can only afford it in Blighted Town.  Perhaps we can make a life together work here.  My dreams of having a devoted library won’t be affordable most other places on my budget.

#2 says:  Where we live isn’t perfect, but there’s a lot of things we can do here because it’s so inexpensive.  And our colleagues are also really nice and mostly sane, which I understand from my graduate cohort is exceedingly rare.  In our perfect world we’d all be financially independent living in a huge set of flats in SF (bottom floor a joint library)… but given that we’re living in a world of second best, maybe things aren’t so bad and maybe things will work out if we focus on what’s important and have a little luck.

#1:  As you can see, I’m sort of ambivalent and this post doesn’t really have a point.  But encourage me, y’all!

#2 Update:  Before offering any advice, please check out this post.  We really should have included it earlier.  My apologies.

31 Responses to “Staying Sane: Partners, Friends, and Places”

  1. First Gen American Says:

    3 months after I bought my house, I took a job that had my gone for 6 months at a time to different places and it was a 2 year jig. Luckily the last 2 assignments were at home and that helped a lot.

    I felt sorry for myself for a while and then just got really busy which helped. I took yoga 2/week and went to the rock climbing gym 2/week and made friends with some young stoners. It saved me and I really was able to make the most of being away….plus I did a lot of weekend road trips.

    The waiting is tolerable if you know it’s temporary. If you’re indefinitely in limbo, that blows. I think you’re on the right track. Make a plan to be together, set a date and work towards getting what you need done to get there. Good luck.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We’re indefinitely in limbo. I can’t move my job. We are trying to move his but it’s not really up to him. I *am* busy but I don’t enjoy it. I know our relationship will survive this, but will our sanity?

  2. 101 Centavos Says:

    When I lived and worked in the Middle East, our mostly Filipino and Indian workforce was on on two year contracts, 30 days vacation per year, but only *one* paid ticket home. 95 percent of them would elect to go back every two years for sixty days. And do this for years on end. I don’t like being away from my family for even two weeks, can’t even imagine two years.
    I understand about being away from your partner. It sucks.

    What a filthy job!
    Could be worse…
    How?
    Could be raining….

  3. Comrade PhysioProf Says:

    Thatte’s gotta sucke asse to not be with your partner. I get sad being away from PhysioWife just for a few days here and there while traveling on business.

  4. brokeprofessionals Says:

    We have been trying to purchase a small house but we live too close to New York to find anything even remotely decent in our price range. While I was in law school and my now wife in graduate school, we lived about an hour away and only saw each other on the weekends.

    We met in college so we were used to summer breaks without seeing as much of each other as we would like, but it never got easy. Good luck dealing with that, just remember that appears to be temporary.

  5. Linda Says:

    I think living alone can be very lonely. Before I got married I had my own apartment and enjoyed it, but looking back I think that being in a building where people were social was what made it so nice. That and the friends I made throughout the neighborhood. When I wanted alone time I stayed inside my apartment; when I wanted to be social, I just sat out on the porch or took a walk.

    After my divorce I knew that I would want someone else in the house with me, so I took in a couple roommates. It has helped me in more ways than just kicking the “I’m so alone here!” blahs. The house layout allows for good separation for alone time and social time, and having roommates has also decreased my housing costs.

    I hope you get to live with your partner soon. The drabness of winter and lack of sunlight can’t be helping your mood, either. If your doc is OK with it, you may want to start taking a bunch of vitamin D, too. It can help with the depression.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      #2 here… speaking from experience, I think #1 would probably kill a roommate (feline excepted).

      Though I may not be giving her enough credit… all of her housemates from college are still among the living.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I *am* taking a bunch of vitD. Thanks.

      I actually like being alone in my house. I am very introverted and interacting with other human beings is like sandpaper on my nerves sometimes. I don’t want to be around *people* more, I just want my partner. (oops, got sorta whiny there.)

      • Comrade PhysioProf Says:

        I *am* taking a bunch of vitD. Thanks.

        When you say “a bunch”, I hope you don’t mean more than a couple thousand units per day. Megadose vitamin D can cause serious problems, and I am not aware of any evidence at all that more than a couple thousand units per day is necessary to avoid deficiency.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        It is so sweet of you to worry about us so much.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Don’t worry, CPP, I “only” mean a couple thousand IU per day. 1000 iu in a supplement and I think another 1000 iu in my multivitamin. I would never take mega-doses of anything. That seems weird. I did look up the guidelines.

  6. Spanish Prof Says:

    I am sorry to hear about your situation. Last summer, I spent 6 weeks away from my husband, and it drove me nuts, so I can understand very well how you feel.

    We met when I was on my last year of my PhD, so I was in the weird position of asking him, after a month of dating, if I should take him into consideration when applying for jobs. His answer: “I want to be with you, but please, look for jobs in a place where I can live” (meaning not in the middle of nowhere South Dakota). I found a job in a mid-size city in the Midwest, pretty cheap, and although we are not interested in buying a house, we are very happy that we ended up here and not at an expensive city. Now, we have money to splurge on books!

    What you say about your colleagues sounds extremely nice. You should consider yourself lucky, it doesn’t happy very often.

  7. bethh Says:

    it does sound like your colleagues are nice, which must help. Do you have other chances to build community, like communal lunches at work, or movie nights on weekends? I’ve been single forever so am good at making other ways to have community, but if I had a favorite guy and couldn’t live near him that would suck. I hope he can move his job to be closer to you!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I have pretty solid community with my colleagues already. We hang out on Tuesday nights and Sunday afternoons, plus we frequently get lunch together on campus, etc. It doesn’t help, though. Here’s hoping!

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        #2’s social life seems to revolve around preschool birthday parties. (And socializing does help #1– she’d be worse off without it! It just doesn’t seem like it because it sucks so very much without her partner.)

  8. frugalscholar Says:

    Mr. FS and I lived apart for a few years as we had jobs in different places. amazingly, we ended up as professors in the same dept. Many compromises involved in that. After 20 years (!), I’ve almost adjusted to living in this strange–to me–place. I also now see that the relationship is THE most important to my happiness (for me)–not my career, as I had thought originally.

    Everyone has to work these things out. One partner may be underemployed, for instance. It helps to remember that you’re on the same team.

    You might see if Ms Mentor deals with any of this in her books or Chronicle column. She (really Emily Toth of LSU) is a fount of wisdom–even if it’s stuff we don’t want to hear.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      #2 here… with the economy such as it is, #1 isn’t worried about being underemployed so much as *employed.* Blighted town doesn’t have any jobs for her partner that don’t involve flipping burgers, and she’s tried the looking for any kind of menial labor (also lecturing and adjuncting and research assisting etc.) where her partner lives back when the economy wasn’t tanking before getting the elusive TT job. She was crazy miserable. She’s already had too much experience in underemployment and unemployment for her taste.

      I think we’ve read everything ever written on the dual-body problem (and are fans of Ms. Mentor and her impeccable advice) and really there just isn’t a solution. (Well, the solution is to both live in a city, but #1 isn’t willing to give up her career yet.) I solved mine by taking a chance that panned out, at least until tenure, but that is still a work in progress. Poor #1.

  9. bogart Says:

    Erm. I’m so sorry. Could your DP find any work in Blighted Town? Could you find any (not professorial, but perhaps decent) in his neck of the woods? Is Blighted Town so cheap that he could be a SAH DP with you supporting him in the manner to which is is accustomed.

    I lived apart from my DH 4 out of 5 of the first (academic) years of our marriage. It was hard. Year 1 my job was 3 hours away and I drove there Tuesdays very early and back on most Thursday nights (I stayed in a friend’s spare bedroom). It was hard, but manageable, and I got caught up on a lot of pulp fiction (mostly mysteries) thanks to books on tape. Year 2 we lived together. Woohoo! Years 3-5 were spent about a 10-hour commute apart (regardless of whether by car or plane). (Aside: what I found during those years was that when folks I’d just met asked about my spouse, his whereabouts, etc. — you know, cocktail party conversation (because of course the faculty life is one cocktail party after another) — if they’d been with their partner fewer than 5 years or had small kids, their eyes would glaze with pain; if neither of those criteria applied, they’d get a sort of dreamy look in their eyes and say, “So. Sometimes you live *with* your husband. And sometimes. you. don’t.”)

    But I digress. Anyway the point is … well, I know something of what you speak. And DH looked for work up my way and even found a job, but the commute would still have been rough (1.5. hours for one of us, or 45 minutes each way for both, or whatever), and honestly, we didn’t like the area, whereas we did like the area where he works, which also happens to be where I went to grad school. In the end, and there’s no question this was partly luck (in terms of what became available) I left the professorial life to become an administrator within academe. Which, honestly, I like pretty well (and that’s sort of where I was going with my question about work for you in your DP’s locale … if it’s academia you like and not faculty life per se, there are other ways to stay there).

    Oh, and OTOneH, nothing wrong with Lexapro or needing treatment for depression or anxiety. But OTOH, if this is “only” the case because of living apart from your DP, I think I’d just pack up tomorrow and leave (OK, not really. But …).

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      They’ve tried finding jobs in each other’s towns for a few years now. But blighted town really is blighted, and partner’s town isn’t biting.

      • bogart Says:

        Yeah, that stinks and is tough. And I was doing this back in the aughts, a, um, very different sort of economy.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I didn’t want to move to Blighted Town in the first place. It’s the only place in which I could practice my career. I tried being underemployed in Awesome City where my partner lives, and I enjoyed the amenities but not my job. My career was stagnating. That whole year is a hazy blur of stress and job-hunting and sleep-deprivation.

      See the bottom of tomorrow’s post for me talking about living on one salary.

  10. 100 Things We Have Learned Since We Started Blogging | BROKEPROFESSIONALS.COM Says:

    […] areas of expertise in their blogs.  I do not blog at all about law.  Maggie and Nicole over at Nicole and MaggieWordpress.com are untenured professors yet do not blog about their curriculum or areas of academic expertise. […]

  11. Welcome, food week! | Live With Abundance Says:

    […] to be working on small-quantity batches at the moment, since I am living all lonesome like.  (Kind of like #1 at Grumpy Rumblings.)  I just really like leftovers, too, because then I a) don’t have to cook every single day […]

  12. Revanche Says:

    Very belatedly, I offer my deepest sympathies.

    I stuck with the Job from Hell for nearly 5 years, away from PiC, to support my family as long as I could and spent almost another year after that job hunting before I landed anything worthwhile. This one’s not the Job from Hell but the responsibilities are so weighty I can’t imagine having a pet, much less a family, so this isn’t a long-term solution either.

    I still can’t believe it took about 6 years to be in the same place at the same time, so I’m already worried about what happens next if we reach a point where one of us can’t take our job anymore. We hated being apart and never want to do that again, and I hate that we can’t be sure we won’t have to be.

  13. Karen Says:

    OK, so I don’t know you, I originally came here from GetRichSlowly and subscribed, but I have to say the nicoleandmaggie/ #1, #2 stuff is maddeningly difficult to follow. You have different family situations. They’re important to the blog. But I can’t tell which is which and make separate pictures of you in my mind. If you’re serious about the blog, I think you should differentiate yourselves better.

  14. Know how to run a blog - know what to do with a blog Says:

    […] areas of expertise in their blogs.  I do not blog at all about law.  Maggie and Nicole over at Nicole and MaggieWordpress.com are untenured professors yet do not blog about their curriculum or areas of academic expertise. […]


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