Advice, personal :-(


Morning all,

I'm writing this here because I feel like I'm going to collapse if I don't verbalise this. I think I need the anonymity of the board.

Well, I started seeing my partner more than 2 years ago. At the end of the first year, I was offered a PhD scholarship at the other side of the world. After much consideration, and considerable guilt/unhappiness, I took the opportunity and chose PhD over my partner. Much to his credit, he decided to stay with me and we began a year of long distance. A year in, and we are still together.

Now his mother, who I am close to, has been told she is inoperable and will be given a 'timeframe' anytime soon. I always knew she was very ill, and this made leaving him to go abroad even harder.

I want to be with him when the inevitable happens, and don't know if I could live with myself if I wasn't. However, I don't know when this will happen, how long his grieving process will take, or whether I could bear to leave again after what I'm sure will be intensely emotional. I feel like such a selfish person.
I'm not really asking anything, but any advice/thoughts would be appreciated.



Talk to your supervisor and see if the deptartment will give you compassionate leave.


Drew, I feel so, so sorry for you all. I'm not sure if I can offer any constructive advice as it's a very sensitive, personal and difficult situation. I don't know you and can only speak for myself but I would need to be there. You are not being selfish, you have to take practical considerations into account and you are half a world away. There's no right or wrong answer to your situation but you should go with what you 'feel' you need to do. I feel so sorry for you all and just hope it's not a situation I'm ever faced with.:-(


Thanks for replies.

I'm considering whether to just jump on the next plane home (not literally, but within say the next week) and worry about the administrative stuff later. I'm not really thinking straight. But then I might just get in the way?


Talk to your partner and see what they think. You don't really know the timeframe yet. I know you have the urge but don't just jump on a plane but talk to your partner first, perhaps put the wheels in motion as regards the admin stuff with the university and try doing some work in the meantime to distract you. I do hope you have a good support system where you are.


Also, to help you think straight and clear your thoughts, if you can get access to a counselling service go and see them. Talking about things will help you put things in perspective and decide what to do for the best.


Hello Ginandjazz,

I am so , so sorry about your situation. It must be very hard for you. I agree with Delta though. I wouldn't rush up things. Do speak to your partner first, and also to your supervisors/ HoD.

Would you consider suspending your studies for a few months? I imagine that your department won't be very happy about it, but realistically do you think you would be in the shape to focus on PhD work anyway?

The suggestion about counselling is also very good. I would definitely try it. Talking to a person who is not emotionally involved, but understands your position and responsibilities, might be of help.

In the meantime: how do you keep contact with your partner and his family? Do you have any chance to Skype? I find it so much better than simple phone calls.

I send you a virtual hug.