Hi everyone. I've been around for a while, mostly lurking. This is my first thread ever, and I would really appreciate feedback from fellow NFs!
This is going to be long, so please feel free to skip to the SHORT VERSION if you don't want to read all the details. (I've just realized after I typed up the whole thing that reading the short version would do just fine)
I've been together with an INFP for almost 2 years now. I'm from Bangkok. He's from the US. We met in England during our MA studies. The connection was amazing and we had a wonderful year in England. When it was time to go home, we didn't even consider breaking up. His plan was to come to Bangkok to teach English and we would take things from there.
<side note> He was already thinking about coming to Asia to teach English before he met me, because one of his friends was doing it. Also, I made it clear from the beginning that I could not relocate. (It's probably a Chinese thing: family comes first)
After the degree, he went home, at first planning to stay for a month or so before moving to Bangkok. However, his supervisor encouraged him to apply for a PhD, so he stayed on for longer to do some more research and write up a proposal. Meanwhile, to support himself, he took on a full-time (but rather low-paying) job. (This has been going on for 9 months and we're doing long-distance right now)
He submitted his PhD proposal and the university accepted him. Because his MA thesis was so good, they will be giving him partial scholarship as well. Of course, he has always wanted a PhD and he was thrilled.
However, there's a problem. The MA left him around 40K in debt. He has no savings and even when he is working a full-time job right now, he's barely scraping by. He's got tooth pain and needs work done on it and he can't even afford it. If he's going to do the PhD, he will have to take out another 50K, even with the scholarship and provided that he could find a part-time job in England during the time. That means by the end of his three-year PhD, he will be at least almost 100K in debt.
I know if you're going for higher education, you've got to expect to be in debt. But as his dream job is to be teaching somewhere with low hours and in a stress-free environment, like in a community college, where you average around 40K a year, he might have problems paying back the 100K. (Currently they want 500 USD from him a month -- and he can barely afford to pay that amount. Now all his income goes towards food, gas and loads of bills. He hasn't totally paid off his BA student loan yet. I imagine that with a 100K debt after his PhD, they might be wanting as much as 1K a month, and there is no way he is going to be able to pay that back)
And, of course, this would totally eliminate the chance of moving to Asia -- as it won't be sensible to work in Asia where the pay is lower to pay American bills.
How I feel about this:
I'm happy for him that he is getting to do what he wants. But I really don't like the idea of borrowing more money. Right now he simply has absolutely no money. If something bad happens, like he needs medical care that the insurance doesn't cover, or if his car breaks down, or if his parents cannot afford to let him live on their property anymore -- he will not be able to cope. He's already maxing out his credit card, so he needs to pay that back too. My thought is, if he is going for the PhD, he has to try to get a better-paying job afterward. He has to really work for it. There's no easy way out. Unless he is willing to live broke probably for the rest of his life. I've been trying to tell him this and it doesn't seem to be registering very well. He always said he was bad at planning things, and all his life he never "thought that far into the future". Also, I told him that if he gets this PhD, it probably won't be a good idea to come to Asia later, and he didn't take that very well either.
I don't want to be selfish. I will respect his decision if he chooses to go for the degree, but from our current situation, it doesn't look like we would ever be together again. Of course, if there was no money problem and he could come to Asia afterward, there would be more chance of this long-distance thing working out. However, I don't want it to be a scenario where I give him the ultimatum and say "Choose between our relationship or your degree". It's simply not fair.
My INFP boyfriend is thinking about going to a PhD program in another country for 3 years. After that, due to various circumstances, there is very little chance of us being together again. However, he's got financial problems right now and is in a huge amount of debt, so the idea of taking out more money for a PhD in something that's not entirely job-search-friendly (Philosophy) might not be a good idea.
My questions are:
1) For the financial problem: is his plan sensible? Can you realistically live on 40K a year and pay back 100K of debt?
2) Should I let him know that the relationship might have to end if he does this PhD? I don't want to force him too choose. Do I say nothing and let him make his decision or should I tell him to take this into account as well? It's not that I plan to break up with him as soon as he decides to go. It's not even certain yet. But if he chooses to go, there will be almost no chance of us being together physically again and I'm not sure our relationship can survive that kind of indefinite uncertainty.
3) I have this feeling that he doesn't fully realize the implications of that much financial burden yet. However, I'm not entirely sure if my underlying motivation for not wanting him to go for the PhD is not actually a selfish one. If that's his calling, then I can accept the fact that our life paths might have to go in different directions. I just want to be certain that he knows what he is choosing. My INFP is prone to regrets -- I don't want years from now to hear that he is unhappy and regrets his choice and he's stuck with it for the rest of his life. What should I do? What can I do? Is it even up to me at all?
He is extremely stressed out about his financial situation and very confused about what he should do. I don't know how to help and I feel horrible seeing him worry so much. I want to be supportive, but I don't know how. I'm confused and I feel we are caught up in this situation where nothing seems to be working out. I feel guilty for thinking about giving up on us but I simply do not see how it can work out. I don't want to be manipulative. Sometimes I just simply don't know what to think and I feel like I'm going crazy weighing all the options that aren't even mine. Am I being selfish? Any advice?
Wow, this post is a lot longer than I intended. Thank you for reading. I feel so lost right now, like I'm being a horrible girlfriend, so any input would be extremely helpful.