User Tag List

12 Last

Results 1 to 10 of 17

  1. #1
    You have a choice! 21%'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    MBTI
    INFJ
    Enneagram
    4w5
    Posts
    2,624

    Default Being realistic in life and relationships: NFs please help!

    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)

    Background:
    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)

    Current Situation:
    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.

    SHORT VERSION
    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.

  2. #2
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    MBTI
    INFP
    Enneagram
    937 so/sx
    Posts
    6,226

    Default

    ^ as far as the debt goes, has he tapped into potential sources of grant money or other scholarships? There are a great deal of grant programs, even at the doctoral level, where the money does not need to repaid.

    100k is a huge burden when one is just starting off in a career. I would advise a ton of research to find free money to get this done. If he never does the PhD he may regret it, so creative ways to make it happen are imperative. Have a doctoral fund-raiser party - does he attend church, some folks there would likely offer gifts for his education - set up a web-page to "help John Doe do his doctoral research" - VA offers grants to students of veterans ..... just a few thoughts that come to mind.

    It can be done. Find the inspiration!
    "Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one."
    Eleanor Roosevelt


    "When people see some things as beautiful,
    other things become ugly.
    When people see some things as good,
    other things become bad."
    Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

  3. #3
    You have a choice! 21%'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    MBTI
    INFJ
    Enneagram
    4w5
    Posts
    2,624

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PeaceBaby View Post
    ^ as far as the debt goes, has he tapped into potential sources of grant money or other scholarships? There are a great deal of grant programs, even at the doctoral level, where the money does not need to repaid.

    100k is a huge burden when one is just starting off in a career. I would advise a ton of research to find free money to get this done. If he never does the PhD he may regret it, so creative ways to make it happen are imperative. Have a doctoral fund-raiser party - does he attend church, some folks there would likely offer gifts for his education - set up a web-page to "help John Doe do his doctoral research" - VA offers grants to students of veterans ..... just a few thoughts that come to mind.

    It can be done. Find the inspiration!
    Thank you Peacebaby! That was very helpful! Your post actually made me suddenly a lot happier. I really want him to be able to do this PhD, because I know it's something he's truly good at. The university has a deadline of when you have to decide to accept the scholarship, but we will try to see if there are other options. You're right! We need to first believe it's possible.

    Now that you've mentioned other possibilities, I realize that maybe he doesn't even have to take out another loan right now to go this year. We were so caught up in the complications that we didn't see that. Thanks so much!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Phoenix_400's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    MBTI
    INxP
    Enneagram
    5w6
    Posts
    297

    Default

    That kind of financial burden is unfortunately becoming more and more common these days, though you usually see more of it in the medical fields.

    The debt could be handled, but its going to require a strict adherence to a budget and I would suggest he have a long sit-down with a financial advisor (some banks offer a free consultation if you have an account with them). If all of this is in student loans, he should see what he can do about deferred interest/payments to buy him time and put his money into putting other affairs in order. Cutting spending, paying off any other debts, reducing bills, etc. Think like a business: Lower your overhead and increase efficiency.

    As for pursuing the PhD, that's something to be proud of. If its something he really wants, I would say "go for it". If its more about getting a job, I would do a thorough cost/benefit analysis. Look at the type of work he wants to do and the education level required. Then look at the pay increase you would receive for having a higher education. If the PhD is unnecessary for the level in which he wishes to work, or the increase in income from having a PhD as part of his credentials doesn't offset what he'd be paying to get the PhD, I'd pass. If he's got an MA, that should be more than adequate for teaching at a community college and its already a higher education than most people achieve. There's nothing wrong with stopping there if it meets the requirements to get him exactly what he wants.
    "People in glass houses shouldn't use Windex when living near bird sanctuaries."- myself

    "We are never alone my friend. We are constantly in the company of victories, losses, strengths and weaknesses. Make no mistake, life is war...and war is hell. Those who fight the hardest will suffer the most...but that's what you have to do: Fight. As long as you're feeling pain, then there's hope...because only the dead do not suffer." -RD Metcalf
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  5. #5
    4x9 cascadeco's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Enneagram
    4 so/sp
    Posts
    6,931

    Default

    Others have given decent advice, and I especially liked Phoenix's advice - seems very reasonable and smart.

    Only aspect of all of it I'm not clear on is the whole 'relationship' element - i.e. If he gets the phD it sounds like you'll never see him again? Not understanding if he'd eventually come back or if he'd never come back? If he'll never come back, even with the degree, and you already know you don't want long-distance, then isn't that your answer as far as the relationship bit? Is that still the unknown? But sounds like even you aren't sure yet re. your feelings on that piece.
    "...On and on and on and on he strode, far out over the sands, singing wildly to the sea, crying to greet the advent of the life that had cried to him." - James Joyce

    My Photography and Watercolor Fine Art Prints!!! Cascade Colors Fine Art Prints
    https://docs.google.com/uc?export=do...Gd5N3NZZE52QjQ

  6. #6
    Superwoman Red Herring's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    MBTI
    INTP
    Enneagram
    5w4 sp/sx
    Posts
    5,532

    Default

    Hi 21%!

    You definitely aren´t a bad girlfriend for whishing your boyfriend all the best with his projects and wanting to be with him at the same time!

    I have several friends who do/did a PhD in philosophy, all of them had a scholarship and were able to do it wothout accumulating too much debt. My little sister finished her PhD in Molecular Biotechnology a few weeks ago and financed it working for the university as a research assistent. There are many possibilities. (But then again I am talking about Europe, I don´t know what tzhe situation is like in America). You might want to do some research into different possibilities at different universities as well, since the conditions vary from university to university and country to country!

    The question is if your boyfriend wants to continue in Academia (which would mean he definitely needs that PhD as a philisopher) or if he decides to work abroad as an English teacher. Both paths have their strengths and weaknesses.

    That being said. Is there really no way you could eventually relocate instead at some point in time? Oh, and the somewhat careless attitude towards money sounds very INFP, I´m afraid
    The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. Neither love without knowledge, nor knowledge without love can produce a good life. - Bertrand Russell
    A herring's blog
    Johari / Nohari

  7. #7
    You have a choice! 21%'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    MBTI
    INFJ
    Enneagram
    4w5
    Posts
    2,624

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Phoenix_400 View Post
    That kind of financial burden is unfortunately becoming more and more common these days, though you usually see more of it in the medical fields.

    The debt could be handled, but its going to require a strict adherence to a budget and I would suggest he have a long sit-down with a financial advisor (some banks offer a free consultation if you have an account with them). If all of this is in student loans, he should see what he can do about deferred interest/payments to buy him time and put his money into putting other affairs in order. Cutting spending, paying off any other debts, reducing bills, etc. Think like a business: Lower your overhead and increase efficiency.

    As for pursuing the PhD, that's something to be proud of. If its something he really wants, I would say "go for it". If its more about getting a job, I would do a thorough cost/benefit analysis. Look at the type of work he wants to do and the education level required. Then look at the pay increase you would receive for having a higher education. If the PhD is unnecessary for the level in which he wishes to work, or the increase in income from having a PhD as part of his credentials doesn't offset what he'd be paying to get the PhD, I'd pass. If he's got an MA, that should be more than adequate for teaching at a community college and its already a higher education than most people achieve. There's nothing wrong with stopping there if it meets the requirements to get him exactly what he wants.
    Very sound advice about how to deal with debt, Phoenix. Thanks! I'll talk to him about it. As for the PhD, he's already got "this paper that needs to be written" in his head, so it's more of a personal fulfillment than anything else. I think he wants to go "all the way" with his interest -- pursue it in depth and devote his life to it if he can. I just wish he didn't have to risk everything for it, because in the long run it's probably not going to earn him an easy, comfortable life that he wants. He also wants to travel and see the world. I guess in the end it just comes down to whether you have money or not

  8. #8
    You have a choice! 21%'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    MBTI
    INFJ
    Enneagram
    4w5
    Posts
    2,624

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by cascadeco View Post
    Others have given decent advice, and I especially liked Phoenix's advice - seems very reasonable and smart.

    Only aspect of all of it I'm not clear on is the whole 'relationship' element - i.e. If he gets the phD it sounds like you'll never see him again? Not understanding if he'd eventually come back or if he'd never come back? If he'll never come back, even with the degree, and you already know you don't want long-distance, then isn't that your answer as far as the relationship bit? Is that still the unknown? But sounds like even you aren't sure yet re. your feelings on that piece.
    Cascadeco, I admit I'm still pretty confused right now about the whole thing. We've been doing long-distance for nine months and it hasn't been easy. If it was just me, I would have packed up and moved to be with him long time ago. But I also have my family to consider. There are other people who need me, too, and I'm not willing to leave them. It seems no matter what I choose, I'll be letting someone I care about down.

    We originally had a plan: he would come to Bangkok for a little to see if he liked it. If he does, he's moving here. If he doesn't, then we'll decide if we want to end things and just be friends or to continue with our long-distance and be content with occasional visits. Ultimately, however, I think I want to settle down someday and have kids, and I don't think I will truly feel fulfilled with just yearly visits.

    The unknown lies largely in that opportunities do happen. If, after his degree, a miracle happens and he can find a job in Bangkok that will pay enough for him to repay his loan, that would solve everything. If there is even a little hope of us being together afterward, I'm more ready for this three-year long-distance. And to be honest, even when there's no hope, I think I'm going to go with it anyway. Sometimes I just can't help but wonder if I'm just being too naive and that a brave decision now would save us from so much pain in the long run.

  9. #9
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    MBTI
    ISTP
    Enneagram
    6w5 sp/sx
    Posts
    9,489

    Default

    I tend to agree with what the others wrote, but I'd be far more cautious about doing it. 100k is a ridiculous amount of debt to pay off, particularly if it's with a degree that isn't financially...productive. It might be worth taking a break from school and working for a while, to pay off some of the debt so he won't be stuck paying huge amounts in interest (or simply with impossible amounts to pay per month) later on. This is assuming he can't get more scholarships/grants/bursaries, which hopefully he's already applying to like crazy! If he can't survive after graduating, is the phd now really worth it?

    Depending what your costs of living are vs. expected income, 1000$+/month payments might be literally impossible to survive with. If he doesn't "get it", you could have him try to make a balanced budget with your expected numbers...and maybe even try living on it now, to see what it's like.

    When thinking about these kinds of degrees, I tend to liken it to a hobby...would you take out a 50k, or 100k loan to go travelling, or to do some expensive hobby? Even if it was really inspiring and fulfilling? Or would you wait until you could somewhat afford it?

    You can always go back to school and get a phd...you can't return it though.

    edit: this is all assuming that a pHD in philosophy won't really help his job prospects/salary where you are (it definitely doesn't where I live, in my experience). If it does, that changes things somewhat.
    -end of thread-

  10. #10
    movin melodies kiddykat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    MBTI
    ENFP
    Enneagram
    4, 7
    Socionics
    IEE
    Posts
    1,115

    Default

    1) For the financial problem: is his plan sensible? Can you realistically live on 40K a year and pay back 100K of debt?
    Depends on what kind of job he lands, if what's offered is something that a school is willing to help re-imburse? I don't know how the system works in the U.K. I'm thinking it would be sensible to pursue our passions that we're really good at. Those who stand out stand out for doing what love doing, and make it very successful, because their talents/hard work shine, if it's recognized for the current trend.

    If his dissertation is something that his work of choice recognizes would be beneficial to their reputation or financial gains, then I wouldn't see how they won't help out with paying back the cost of his education. It also depends on who we know, connections, etc.

    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.If it were me- no. Weigh it out a little more. It sounds like you guys have something pretty serious going. I don't think that he'd be willing to jeopardize what you guys have. Telling him that will add to his stress even more.

    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?I don't think there's much a person can do in this case, because it's his dreams he's pursuing.

    Tough call. I think you have a really difficult decision to make. On one hand, you don't want to let go of the one that you love, in hopes that one day you can marry/have kids with this person. On the other hand, there is this agony of distance, time, schooling, finances, and it seems like the externals are really outweighing the relationship that you guys have.

    Call me an idealist, but I think if you two truly love each other, it can work out. It will take lots of effort. Anything in life takes effort though, right? It's about how much we're willing to compromise? Really depends..

    I've seen couples who were apart for 5 years. The guy went back to the girl's home country to marry her, and they reunited eventually to have twin girls. I've never seen any couple as genuinely happy/in love with one another. They're struggling financially right now. Still have that spark after over 15 years of marriage. Every time I see them, it makes me realize the power of love and its effects on happiness- that is- if a couple both genuinely cares/respects one another mutually the same, which sounds like the relationship you guys have.

    I think finances are a bit of a burden right now for most people. I get this feeling that if you do let this relationship go, will you find another like this or more rewarding? Only both of you guys know that answer.. Sorry. I wish I could've been more of help.

    As I see it, if it's an external issue. I think if the relationship is strong internally, if what's shared is solid, you can/will work it through some way somehow..

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 54
    Last Post: 05-07-2016, 09:16 PM
  2. [ISTP] ISTP (and all others), please help to understand if this situation at work is normal
    By Juliette in forum The SP Arthouse (ESFP, ISFP, ESTP, ISTP)
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 03-19-2011, 05:42 PM
  3. Replies: 9
    Last Post: 12-25-2010, 10:59 PM
  4. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 12-24-2010, 05:25 PM
  5. [NF] Defining Moments in the life of an NF
    By SolitaryWalker in forum The NF Idyllic (ENFP, INFP, ENFJ, INFJ)
    Replies: 20
    Last Post: 05-01-2009, 10:27 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts