I need help.
I'm female, 33, TC 350k.
I've been in a relationship with this man I completely love for around 4.5 years. I'm in SF and he lives on the east coast, is completing his PhD as of end 2019 in mathematics. The topic of marriage has come up and we are running against a wall.
He wants to apply for faculty positions and is willing to go through as many post doctorates to make that work. In the process of this, he wants to keep his options open to US, Canada, Europe and India. He is saying that, if you want stability or be with me, you need to be prepared to scale down your career. He says that he has no choice given his academic ambitions, and he is not going to be willing to be made to feel guilty for messing up my career, he absolutely wants children and that if I have to marry him, I need to be prepared to scale back my ambitions if it means that he finds tenure track in a small town with no tech growth.
I on the other hand, have worked really hard to get to where I am. I've worked at 3 early stage startups, two of which got acquired, am currently at Amazon. I'm based in SF. Honestly, I don't think tech is worth it outside of SF, Seattle and NYC, and if you extend internationally, maybe London. But honestly, outside of these places, I'm not hopeful. I feel anger that he's asking this kind of one sided sacrifice from me.
I told him, for us to be happy, we both need to feel self actualized. If I sacrifice in the initial stages, I'm doing to need you to return the favor later in even if it means not being in academia for a while. We both need to have our chance at success. He goes like, I can't promise to that. I told him, then let's keep kids as optional, and consider it if our careers can converge to a location. He's like, he is not willing to sacrifice having birth children.
We've been fiercely arguing last few months. He's made it damn clear that if I have to marry him I need to take on the burden of moving to make things work.
I also suggested that why not we wait a couple of years to marry. He's against this as well. He's like it better happen now, if we don't marry in 2019 it's not happening. I can't wait longer.
He claims to love me and says he cannot live without me. Asking the blind community for help. Will add more details as needed.
- Trust me... tech won’t be worth even in SF in 6 months time.. the party is over.. take long term perspective..
- I’d echo much of what is being said here, however as a women I do have a bit of a different perspective (assuming this is a women OP) about the “take the long view approach”.
It is a fact: Tech isn’t kind to women having kids. Ageism is a thing that hits women really hard in this industry (look around - see many grandma’s? Many moms with college age kiddos? They are outliers at best). Women with babies are considered cute, even novel, most the time (...afterall, the PR pro’s need some of us around to look like they are legitimately “women friendly”). But when you hit toddler through middle school years- there will be a burn out. Managers who are understanding are rare. Promotions are rarer. You will be forced into a slow-down even if you don’t want it and are working hard to prevent it.
Your bf demands of you are asinine - I’d leave him - but don’t kid yourself that Tech won’t make the same demands here down the road if/when you choose to have children.
I once long-distance dated a hard core academic. Towards the end of his PHD he wanted assurances I would support him financially and emotionally during the tenure struggle. He wasn’t particularly confident about me as a financial provider so he bailed. It hurt and sucked. But looking back he did me a big ass favor. I am willing to make career sacrifices for the man I married - and the 2 kids I have - but part of the reason I’m willing is they don’t demand sacrifices. They merely ask I do the best I can to get what I want with the limitations that exist.
It’s how you ask for the sacrifice that can be a deal breaker here. Personally - he’s definitely asking in a way that makes me think he’s a coward trying to goad you into breaking up with him - so you should.
Narcissistic cowards are common in academia. They also are more negatively impacting on one’s career then all the sexism in tech would be.
Good luck. I know this is tough.
- Makes sense, but "asking in a way that makes me think he's a coward trying to goad you into breaking up" is far fetched. An unwillingness to compromise on given terms isn't the same as wanting it to end. It's what's called a "shit situation" and just needs more ideas and more discussion. Having been in his shoes, I'd wager he just feels locked in and is creatively too overwhelmed by the idea of an institutionalized process to look for other options. Given enough conversation, I think he can be made to see that there are options
- @Dje8474 - I’d say a supportive partner is a must. I would’ve lost my mind and career trajectory ages ago dealing with the industry tech-bro’s had I not had my husband.
My husband and I have similar backgrounds, though of the two of us - I am notably more ambitious. It sounds like your partner is just ambitious as you, which sounds very challenging, but that’s not my biggest concern with what he’s saying. My biggest concern is that he’s not trying to encourage you to be all you can be despite the limitations in your respective scenarios (i.e. you a woman in tech, and him an academic in a tough market).
He isn’t thinking about how you both could work together to get ahead on your goals (ex: hire help or move near family if you have kids and still want to gun it as much as possible for your career) - but rather what you need to do to make this work for him. He’s starting this conversation with the wrong attitude in my opinion.
Add kids and I guarantee you will have some epic and painful fights with his “me me me” attitude. Kids quadruple your work on a home front to a scale that’s hard to imagine when single. Also women with pregnancy, breastfeeding, and delivery really pay up the nose for a full 2 years for kids.
I have worked full time (by choice) in tech throughout both of my pregnancies and deliveries. Pregnancy plus the infant years AND the workplace sexism made those 4 years some of the hardest working years in my life (and I’ve battled cancer in early high school, top-10 undergraduate life, and Stanford EE Quals. Believe me - I know what hard work is. Infants + FT SDE was the hardest.).
Even though I was promoted between pregnancies - I still went through a lot. I would’ve never survived it and still made some sort of headway (I’ll be it slower once I had the kids) if I hadn’t had my husbands full and unconditional support.
Good luck. I sincerely hope you find an answer here that opens all the doors you want in life.
- Guys, I've been thinking about all this. I did bring up a lot of this with my boyfriend. He reiterates his position:
1) a long distance beyond 2 years is unacceptable.
2) it will take him up to 7-8 years for tenure and he expects me to move around with him to small towns as well.
3) he thinks I should be modest enough to survive on an academics salary if needed if I can't find employment.
4) he's not willing to wait to marry
I told him,
1) i would like to wait till we have more info, maybe a year to 18 months to marry
2) I cannot keep moving every year or every other year, inter country, wherever his post doc works. But I'm willing to hold down a family and deal with it alone. I'll move only once it looks like he's putting down roots (tenure track) to the closest city I can find an opportunity (not to a small college town)
3) I told him that I've supported him through his academic journey (his first PhD was a drop out and this is his second attempt at which he's doing really well) only because I'm an extremely strong woman. Part of that is having my own professional situation and needing to maintain that. That my strength isn't free of cost.
4) I need to maintain my income because he won't be able to support my lifestyle. Also he will need to reduce his workaholism if he wants any compromise from me, because if I do that I'll be making him the center of my life, giving up my income potential and I'm not going to be second fiddle to his work all the time.
We aren't talking. It's stalemate. I'm praying for the best. Preparing for the worst. Give me strength :(
- Qualcomm TcTcTcmorewhy are you dragging it out? it seems that the cleanest solution is to break up. It may not be the best time to break due to the holidays and emotions going around this time of the year, but you should do it so that you can start a new year fresh and with a clear mindset.
btw, kudos to you for standing your position.Nov 263
- This guys is dumb and too egotistic. Survive on academic salary? Does he understand what that even means? When he realizes he can’t afford vacations or nice stuff for his kids or his kids college tuition, who is he going to complain to? When good healthcare isn’t affordable, what is he going to do? You need to dump him ASAP. Divorce comes often from financial struggles. Don’t do this OP. Don’t give up your career to follow an egotistic dumbass who you can’t depend on. I have seen this happen before, and the guy dumps the girl because he looks down on her the moment he becomes stronger.
Plus, he failed his first PhD.... gtfo. He isn’t going to get tenure. Tenure positions are basically nonexistent, and people from ivies have a hard time getting them. And it means nothing nowadays considering tenured position won’t even hit 100k for majority of places. You are literally downgrading not only your lifestyle but your golden years and retirement funding.
2 year long distance is unacceptable? So is having to worry about putting food on the table and when the economy goes to shit and he is making 30k for 7-10 years. Forget about marriage. You won’t be able to afford to have kids at his salary, or afford the hospital bills from delivering the kids.
He might be hardheaded about this issue became he failed his first PhD and is doing this to prove something. His attitude, future TC, and ability to communicate and compromise aren’t marriage material. You gave him many options and he isn’t willing to budge. Marrying him means you will be his maid and cater to every single part of his need esp if you depend on him financially.
Break up and get on Hinge / Tinder / CMB.Nov 264
- Both of us dropped out together in the middle of our first attempt. Shitty advisor. And no funding. I joined a startup founding team and he started at a different University because he wanted to do pure math. Both of us did really well in our respective careers after that hiccup. Thanks for your message. It's putting things in perspective. But it's hard because we have shared so much together.
- I’m going to call out some things that I hope help you break the stalemate. Look up “sunk cost fallacy” online. It’s real, very compelling and we humans are a sucker for it every time, whether it comes to investments, relationships or jobs.
You also sound a lot like hiring managers I encounter in debriefs, unable to get off the fence yet also unable to accept the risks of a candidate. I know the amazon leadership principles don’t apply at home, but they often provide some insights. This guy won’t disconfirm his beliefs and digs in his heels (not Right A Lot). He holds you to a higher standard than he holds himself. He is frugal to the exclusion of so many other important things. He cares more about his career and improvement than yours as a couple (lack of Ownership). Red flags every one, for an employee as well as a partner.
Lastly, I have two daughters, one of whom is a preteen and has an academic tilt to her like you do. When she dates she is likely to encounter such a man. What I would tell her (and you): you deserve to be happy, and it doesn’t sound like this guy will contribute to that; better to move on, and do so quickly.Nov 266
- "Be modest enough to live on an academic's salary" 😂 😂 😂
I dated a guy who lived in his mother's basement during his postdoc. He couldn't even afford an apartment. Your guy won't be able to support himself let alone you and children. The pressure to marry now is a massive red flag. It's all about control.Nov 262
- Academia is a brutal industry and has limited geographical flexibility unless you have a Nobel or a Fields Medal or similar.
Tech is *way* more flexible with remote work jobs anywhere in the world.
The logical thing is for you to follow his job. I’ve seen couples with the genders reversed where the man in tech moved and sacrificed some career growth in order for the woman in academia to have any sort of career at all.
This was true even when the academic had a strong postdoc publishing record in top tier journals like Nature and Science. Academia is brutally competitive.
If you are not willing to do this (which is well within your rights) and he is not willing to pursue opportunities outside of academia, you are a bad match, end it now.
The probability that this fixes itself (that your SO wins the lottery and finds a job in one of the small number of cities that is top tier for tech) is extremely small.
- I've asked him to promise to restrict within an hour flight from SF, NYC, Seattle, Vancouver, Toronto, Singapore, London, Bangalore and Delhi. He will have to do the travel and I can fund it. I told him if he can't make that, please leave academia or try to be an adjunct. He's not willing to.
I realistically cannot find a position in the middle of nowhere.
- That is not a realistic plan for an academic unless he is in the top 1% of the field and even then probably not until later in career. You go where the job openings are. Academia is not like tech.
I would encourage you to talk to an academic community instead of Blind as it seems like almost no one on here knows how that industry works.
To pick an extreme example, “just get a job at Stanford” is kind of like saying “anyone whose first startup isn’t worth $10B is a failure.”
That your list is so narrow indicates that career is your first priority above everything else too.
Career-minded ambitious people sacrifice partners in that pursuit all the time. No one has to be wrong or an asshole for there to be irreconcilable differences.
The only real question here is which one of you is going to step up to stop the bleeding first.
- West coast includes uwash, Oregon State, UC Davis, UC SC, UC Riverside, UC Irvine, UC la, UC Santa Barbara and San Diego, USC, Colorado University, University of Utah.
An hour flight from NYC includes Rutgers, UConn, all of Dc and Virginia, etc.
We keep arguing about this. I'm not expecting him to be in the bay area, only an hour flight away.
He wants to keep his entire world option open.
I then asked him, "what are your academic peers doing with their personal lives?"
He goes like"they are either single, marry people with less ambition or get lucky".
We don't know what to do.
- He sounds toxic. Sometimes it takes a long time (4.5+ years) for someone’s selfishness and toxicity to show.
One “compromise” (I say this in quotes because it would actually be you sacrificing) is to work remotely. But if you two are on different pages with kids, this isn’t going to be a happy life. One of you, or both, will be resentful.
- We both want kids. But I just don't want to bring them into an environment with long distance parents. I'm little concerned about career growth working remotely. I'm a very ambitious person and need the adrenaline gush of success, pushing new products out, leading teams etc. Not sure if a remote job beyond few years will be sustainable for mental health 😰
- What this thread has really driven home me is why so many women drop out of the workforce.
So much vitriol (hate might even be applicable) towards and negative character traits assumed of the economically weaker partner who has the temerity to want to pursue a career and asking someone who can realistically work anywhere (since tech is so flexible) to sacrifice a bit of growth to enable pursuit of that dream.
This thread is anomalous only because it happens that the economically dominant partner is a woman, the vast majority of the time it’s the other way around. It’s a great way to cut through any effects and claims of misogyny and see what people really think.
As someone who supports equality of opportunity for careers, as a society we have a long, long way to go.
- See my reply under my previous post very early in this thread. OP has a better chance of finding a higher ranked position in other cities than a math PhD. I know people who get into tech or finance after PhD in a pure field. One of them was comfortable selling their soul to make HFT algorithm backdoors that made traders and themselves rich. Techies can find a job anywhere. Above a certain level, the industry doesn't matter if you can see the big picture.
- It's funny how most people in this thread are fully taking his side and saying the she is unwilling to compromise because she won't completely give in to his will. That's not compromise, that's submission. She has proven she is willing to compromise by suggesting many different compromises, all of which he will not accept. Yet you don't say that he is unwilling to compromise.Nov 255
- People, no need to fight. It is impossible in this day and age to have two strong personalities in different fields to get married and have a family. Either one has to sacrifice, or they both have to be in the same profession. It's that simple. It would have been less of a problem if OP and the guy were both techies, or if both were doctors, or if both were STEM PhDs.
- You can have kids, raise them properly and do so with others raising the child. It can be grandparents (she said family would help) or hired help. It takes a lot of self awareness to realize that you don’t want to be a parent, but it takes a lot of resources to replace those services. With high TC (doctor, lawyer, senior engineer) it’s possible, and likely a good choice for someone with OP’s disposition and goals. Sacrifice for children doesn’t always mean giving up a career. It means doing what’s right for them. Sometimes it means taking yourself out of the equation. I know this is true for me: I was raised in a household with a lot of bickering, fighting and backbiting; my wife and I have a peaceful, happy marriage without such things, and one reason our kids are doing well is because I do not talk about when I was a kid so they don’t see my family as model behavior. It’s also occasionally come out at times when I interact with them in certain ways. It pains me terribly to spend less time than I want with my kids, but they get a better upbringing as a result. *That* is a sacrifice, and I would gladly do it again.
- @JustDont12 To be clear, you think it's perfectly fine for him to be demanding and not concede on one detail, but her being willing to scale back her career at the start as long as there is a promise that she will get something later on is not a compromise? You think that him getting everything he wants and her conceding everything is the only "compromise"?
- I strongly believe women should always have our own money and not be dependent on anyone else. He is already showing you his selfishness. That bodes very badly for a marriage/partnership, especially if you don’t have a way out once you’ve been out of your career for a few years and have kids to care for.
As nice as it sounds, love is just not enough. My husband wouldn’t dream of trying to hold me back. I read him your story and he was appalled at your guy’s behavior.
You can do better. Best of luck.
- ^ this... the guy isn’t being selfish either - he’s supposed to throw his PhD just to be with this chick thought, right? That’s just as ridiculous as it is for her to sacrifice her career.
Some people don’t match because of career ambitions - these two just don’t make sense together. They need to find different people.
- The problem seems to be that he is unwilling to compromise his career at all, and has been clear that she is the one who must do all the career sacrificing. That position is absurd and telling as to his either lack of character or commitment to the relationship, IMO.
I agree they should find other people if he is unwilling to work out a compromise that works for both of them.
- Hey wanted to thank all of you for the inputs. I did tell him I want to exit the relationship because his constraints are not suitable for my personality and I don't see myself being happy with them, and that this has nothing to do with my love for him, but more to do with my love for myself.
He's been crying and getting angry and basically calling incessently, since then, and his family have been calling me as well asking me to reconsider. He goes like "I can't live without you." When I say, "please make your life and requirements more suited to me so that I can be happy if you actually cannot live without me", there's more crying. His mother who has health problems calls me and says "we were wishing to welcome you into our home, please don't do this, family is also important, your career will take care of itself, etc etc etc"
I've not been able to commit a single line of code in the past week, not able to get up from the bed in the morning, thinking of seeing a psychologist. This is getting pretty messy. All I'm doing is being holed up in my apartment and playing my musical instrument non stop to deal with the pain.
I've finally told him and his family, that we both need some time of no contact. If he doesn't give me that I'm definitely going to have to take an action like block him on WhatsApp. We can talk in a few months. That's where I am now.
Thanks to all of you to help me state my position and get off the fence. Else I guess I was just enabling his behavior by being with him inspite of his unreasonable demands. This is going to be a messy process.
As of now I'm just trying to keep my job!Dec 26
- Although I’m sorry you’re having to go through the tough part, you sound strong and sure about your decision. His mother should not be contacting you as this is none of her business (another warning sign).
Good for you for doing what’s right for YOU. If he really cannot live without you (so dramatic!), he will find a way to meet you halfway in compromise. Stay strong OP! I promise it will get easier over time.Dec 22
- He’s not wrong or selfish, and you’re not wrong or selfish.
Sometimes due to goals people don’t work out - it’s happened to me.
The reality of this “Sheryl Sandburg - Lean In” shit is that it’s all bunk, you cannot have it all. You can’t have a stunning career, children, the perfect husband, and have all of your dreams come true.
Sacrifices have to be made... same thing with him. It’s up to you to figure out what you want the most - and then make sacrifices, and learn to live with them.
- You should break up. Are you willing to sacrifice everything for him? Resentment is amazing recipe for divorce. He is being selfish. There are plenty of academic places in California and west coast. If he can’t make it, he should evaluate his own skills and ambitions. Everyone says they want be Elon Musk. He won’t be able to support a family on academic pay. Blind makes fun of TC less than 100k. Wait until the reality hits that TC for academia is like 60k in most places and less for new faculties. Post docs barely make 30k. Break up. You can do better.
Either that or ask for a complete remote job.
- Apple iPhone XsAge is badly against you for kids. Pregnancy risks increase exponentially once you are past 35. So this may be why your boyfriend wants you to have kids earlier. But you can still insist on just having one kid now. Second kid is a lot easier even if at 40. Ask him to try faculty positions in your preferred areas first. If he is willing to try his best there then that is a good start and commitment
- Microsoft BlinderzzTHIS ^ what iPhone XS said. Unfortunately for women and pregnancy, the biological clock is way too real. There sure are options like egg freezing and IVF but it’s a long road with a lot of added physical and emotional stress. It should be THE absolute last resort if you can conceive normally.
- Google / EngironcheffMost high powered men prefer to marry women who are a career support for them, women who will handle the home life. Instead you need a man who will either treat your career as equal, or be your own career support. I've seen mostle the latter-- high power women marrying blue collar or stay at home men etc. High power men who want high power women is rare and hard to find.
- Speak to people who are in your career track for 10+ years. You think you've 'arrived' with 350 TC and working at Amazon - you're overestimating your achievements (no, it's not a small achievement, but it's not that big either), and you're underestimating what it would take professionally and emotionally for a Math PhD to get back on track if he moved off his track however temporarily. There will always be resentment and sense of having given up too much in either one or both of you. Both of you are strong personalities and not ready for compromises that are required in a marriage.
- I understand what you are saying. I gave him few options.
1) let's wait a couple of years and then get married (he didn't want to wait)
2) let's have a long distance marriage with regular visitation and use our families help to raise children till we both can find a place which mutually works. (he said that if I move to a different continent or Canada and you can't make it, I'll have to divorce)
3) I asked if he can restrict to the coasts of North America for now. Not Europe, mid West or India, so we are within an hour flight from NYC and SF. (Not ready to promise that)
I'm finding it hard to reconcile that because I'm not a math PhD I don't deserve to aspire for say a VP position at tech or be a startup founder or some such in the future :(
I asked him: let's say I was an academe as well- what would you say then? He goes silent :(
I don't know what to do.
If you have ideas please suggest compromises I can talk to him about. I'm running out.
- Tumblr gzYO08Wow these are all huge red flags.. my initial vote was try to work it out but now I’d say leave 100%. If he has an ultimatum for divorce already that’s a bad sign.
Also, I agree that some said he wants to have kids to have them, not to have a family together, which is a bad sign too.
What are his goals with the PhD? I’d say make a plan to be together now, but even then the fact that he’s this firm and uncompromising now is scary for any future.Nov 244
- I read several other posts adding this point. A math academic cannot "leetcode" and get a job at a university. There isn't continuous attrition like in tech, and new math departments don't start up every time someone gets a new idea. An academic might make it big in top universities in the US, or may have to grab an opportunity that comes up in Israel, or Italy, or Germany, or Kolkata. Working at a community college in Bay Area would be less prestigious than working at Hebrew University or at Trieste, Italy. However good he might be, he cannot guarantee landing a prestigious job in a location of his choice. While as a techie, and later as an executive, you may have a shot at a career anywhere in the world. Do you see yourself as a programmer a few years from now? If not, then there are opportunities in many top positions in the vicinity of prestigious universities around the world. As a lower ranked techie, our views are different, and our exposure is different. If you want to make this work, figure out what opportunities you could take up outside of the cities you have specified. There's more to success than a high TC. Tech hot spots are also very uniform with no other exposure for kids either. My kids feel we live in a dull neighborhood - homes are millions of dollars worth, but all parents in their school are techies and homemakers.
- I'm an applied scientist level 6. Don't want to give more info. Yes I see myself going on this track and maybe (fingers crossed) starting something of my own as well at some point.
Israel is ok. Italy is not. I get what you are saying, however I feel if I marriage has to happen now, both of us have to set some rules by which we play. Don't know if you noticed my comments, but he's not willing to wait. :/
- Yes, I caught up on several replies. I suppose he thinks that the rules would be only for him and not for you. Put down several of these points from this post on paper and let him process. Do not discuss until he comes back. Ask him whether he thinks he can make it work and if he's committed to this relationship. Besides actions/plans, if he doesn't even want to see your side of things, then it's better to not marry right now. That's your prerogative, regardless of biology, etc. It's unfortunate reality that while tech, like medicine, has offered financial independence to women, but it comes at the cost of sacrificing family unless you find a SO in tech (or medicine). You need to insist that he gets his first gig before you discuss anything more. Right now, he's insecure. Some confidence from a gig and some bank balance would create better conditions to discuss marriage.
- I don't want to generalize but I feel that even with economic leverage if I cannot convince him, I'm not seeing much hope once he actually gets his first happy job. I feel because of the Dynamics of the romance and my future family being at stake I might just cave in to whatever he asks for after a marriage The guy isn't once saying that "your career and your happiness is important to me". He only says, "you need to step down from your high flying tech career. You need to learn to live with less money. I have no choice, I can't assure anything. I can't deal with more emotional uncertainty, I need to get married soon. "
With this, I obviously want to constrain the location because it's pretty scary otherwise.
I will put forth these points to him, I hope for the best.
- Sounds like he has a lot of resentment against techies too. Your TC is double of what my peers and I make much later in our careers. You may need to give him confidence that you're there for him despite this (and don't have anyone else in your life?) and that his resentment against tech should be separated from your relationship. If he doesn't budge after that, you should move on.
- Apple / EngSchneiderYou know what you want. Do it. The guy is at least honest that he won’t compromise on his career.
Picture this if you go along with this - in 5 years time, you’d be home alone raising a kid in some college town in India, with your peers being housewives who’ve been married straight out of college. Meanwhile, the things that attracted your partner about you will be gone along with the respect, and he may even find someone in academia instead.
Don’t be that person, please. You owe this much to yourself.
- Amazon / ProductAmzgGracemoreThis won’t get better after marriage. You’ll resent him for the sacrifices you’ve had to make, and he will always expect you to bend to his will. Better move on now before you have children; you will be more stuck with fewer options after children. There are many fishes in the ocean; choose one who respects your accomplishments and life choices, he’s out there.
- All other personal issues aside, I’m curious what kind of twisted, bogus logic makes you think tech isn’t worth it outside of the 3-4 cities you listed... ??
- I'm not sure you can find opportunities outside of us and Canadian coastal cities, London, Singapore, Bangalore, Delhi, Hong Kong. I've told him to restrict within a short flight of these places. He's not willing to assure that. According to him Singapore and Hong Kong don't suit his liberal politics so he doesnt want to live there.
- Then there’s Europe... Paris, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Barcelona, name it. tech is everywhere. That’s one of the beauty of our profession /skill set. They apply everywhere.
But I’m not saying you should move with him wherever he goes. You both sound like you need to figure some stuff out first.
You should know for yourself if you want children or not, etc. Just don’t put obstacles up that don’t really exist in reality.
- I do AI/ ML and am an applied math PhD dropout myself. So generic software positions might not work for me. :(
We want children. But to me our mutual happiness is more important. For him, children is more important than me finding a fulfilling career.
Yes your right- we might have deeper issues.
- This is spawning a bigger conversation which I’m not sure you want to get into. But I’d be happy to answer any specific questions you might have... I worked elsewhere than the Bay Area before coming here, and I’m just about ready to leave. I don’t like the area, and there’s nothing special about this work I’m doing that I didn’t already have but better anywhere else. I came here for the money, and I’m gonna leave because for me there are more important things than that at this point in my life.
- Forget about the kids and a normal family is my advice. You’ve invested too much of yourself into being a powerful woman, except no one obviously told you about the price tag that comes with it.
- I’m not convinced she has to abandon having a family for her job. It depends on how flexible her boyfriend is about when they would have kids. Would he be ok with having a nanny? If so, it could work with a remote tech job in a town where is is on tenure track. If he wants her to abort her career for family, she is likely going to have to find a different guy.
- Amazon BB!2nd paragraph is Red flags red flags red flags.
You are talking about kids and marriage. Thats several steps ahead of the career planning he's doing- career planning that ultimately doesn't take you into consideration.
I'm really sorry but I think you need to reevaluate the relationship. I know you must have poured a lot of yourself into making long distance last. Please don't trick yourself into trying to make his dreams happen over your own
- He is being honest and you are worth someone carrying about your needs too! Dump him and let him focus on his career.
You are describing the exact same situation that I was in when I was 25 years old! Except, I was young and stupid and when he got a tenured position at a school in Boston, we got engaged and I moved with him (quit my job at a major company that had no prospects in the Boston). Funny thing, we broke up shortly after! Now I am happily married with a kid and am very happy! I dodged a bullet.
- Amazon nullvalFinding a single man that perfectly matches your expectations is the easiest thing in Bay Area. That place is like an ocean of single men of all kinds, including tens of thousands of really amazing ones that'd be perfect for you. On the other hand, if you leave this dude, he's screwed, ain't gonna find anyone soon.
- My perspective, as a woman with a PhD who did the academic job search thing: neither of you are wrong, nobody is being unreasonable, there just isn’t a good compatible compromise. Sucks but true.
He is right, if he wants a career in academia, he cannot limit his job search the way you’re asking him to. Market is too tight. He is forced to cast a wider net than that. And yes, he will also probably be forced to move several times.
You are right, there are lots of cities where it would be difficult for you to have a fulfilling and ambitious tech career. Small college towns in the Midwest are not going to let you advance your career very far.
It’s possible you’ll get lucky and he’ll find a tenure-track position in a city that works for you. If not, one of you would need to make major (not minor) career compromises in order to be together and have a family.
The long distance thing works for some people but is extremely difficult. I would personally break up rather than try to make that work, so I don’t blame him for dismissing that option.
Web search for “academic two body problem”. Usually applies when both partners are in academia, but same general issue in your case.
- New timberSorry to say this, but I think you should break it up. I have been in academia, and I completely understand his and your situation. Academia is a really tough job market. It is probably even worse if you are a math PhD. I won't be surprised if your bf has to go through 5 years of postdoc to get an academic job. Furthermore, this job could be in a completely undesirable location. Getting an academic job, in a location with a fantastic tech scene, is going to be super super hard. At the same time, it will be unfair to ask you to work remotely forever or find a non- existent job at some random location. Given all the constraints, I do not see a better solution.
- Intel / EngplebHW->SWWhile I understand why he needs location flexibility, it seems pretty lobsided for him to demand 2019 marriage, kids, and you sacrificing your career. Relationships require compromises but he seems to want none of that.
I will also add that long distance without a termination date is miserable - even small conflict may go unresolved and sour the relationship little by little.
- Cisco AvenattiIf you worked so hard for your career then it's very important to you and you will not be happy if you make the sacrifice now. It will cause more arguments, dissatisfaction and fights.
Sometimes just love is not enough. If you both don't have similar goals and he is not ready to do the same sacrifice for you then maybe his love is also not equal. You need to make a choice you can be happy with.
- Salesforce Bigly123Even though he is very honest, he is unwilling to compromise. Can't he get a job in any of these areas: Seattle, Redmond, bay area, LA, New York, Boston, Boulder. All these areas have decent tech presence? If he can commute 20-miles radius around these areas he would be covering atleast 1/4th of the universities in US. If he can't find a job in one of these areas and asking you to sacrifice whatever you've built so far is not acceptable.
- He wants to be an academic.
UW is extremely hard to get a job at.
Stanford and Berkeley? Same.
Boston? Several universities - all difficult
Boulder? CU is up and coming... maybe, but they are pretty selective as well.
Those are not 25% of the universities in the US - not even close. The academic job search is not like working for a company - his best offer might be Nebraska or Minnesota - at this point, he has no clue.
- I wouldn't just bend to an ultimatum of "marry me immediately and then do whatever I want and live wherever I want no matter where that might be even though I don't even know where yet and you have all the money"
Set your own minimal terms. He could probably find a post doctoral position in some major city somewhere. You have far better maternity leave at Google than you'll get nearly anywhere else.
You're 33 and he's just completing his PhD... How old is he? Younger?
I do think you could come up with a compromise, could cast the net wider than just nyc/sf/etc... There are fun places to live and work and continue your career or create your own startup even if the tc isn't quite so high, but starting a marriage with a blind commitment to whatever secret destination he has in mind certainly doesn't sound fair.
What's his urgency? It's long distance, maybe there's someone else he wants to date if he can't get everything imaginable from you.
I personally wouldn't want to marry someone I hadn't at least lived with first. If waiting a bit causes him to dump you, that's really on him not you. What's on you is just if you want to waste time waiting for someone like that.
- My wife took 11 years to finish her PhD and we had two kids in between when she started and when she finished the program. I know a few CS graduate students who took 16 years to finish because they had horrible advisors and had to start over with their research. He could also be as young as 26-27 if he started right out of the gate and had solid research.
- New hapysundayI'd like to correct one misconception of yours: there's plenty of places with a lot of tech besides the cities you've mentioned. Sure, you'll have fewer choices, but you can still have a great career on other places. If he drags you to some hell-hole with no tech at all that's a different thing, but to me relocating to an amazon branch at some non-tech-hub AND having a family with the man you love sounds like a pretty good choice.
- You do not need to be with a pompous broke-ass academic. Do not compromise your career for a moody control freak. He will never pull his weight in this relationship. If you give up your ambitions, one day he'll look at you and tell you he's eclipsed you and that you're no longer worthy of him. FURTHER, he isn't even going to crack 6 figures for the next 20 years. He'll NEVER make what you are making right now. RUN.
- New / MgmtLOVE221) Don't get married
2) Don't have kids.
Everything else I'm sure you'll figure out what's best for you, in due time. You're a smart gal, hang in there.
- Amazon / EngIAmJobYou are getting older and it becomes harder to have kids with age. You wanna wait for this guy who is choosing his academia over you plus hes long distance? Have you even lived together yet.
You are clinging to what you have because you dont think you can find better. You live in a tech hub with insane male to female ratio. You can find better if you ask me.
- Work will never give you the personal satisfaction of a happy family over the long-run.
Prob should break up since neither of you should compromise something that is significant to either of you.
Kudos to him for being direct - would be a lot worse to figure this out after you are married with kids.
P.S. People don’t change.
- Pinterest gshshPeople in academia sometimes have very narrow perspectives on what they want with their careers. Some of them look down on industry work - some of it is just because of peer pressure.
My advice is - wait till he graduates and then see what his perspectives are then.
You have a good career and high TC - don't give that up.
We don't know what the economy looks like in 6 months, so be cautious of losing what you have now.
- Walmart.com / Eng$/\$Getting dream jobs at the same location when people are from two different streams is difficult. You both need to write down the places you want to go and have a realistic chance of getting in. I would say either both should compromise or if one gets a dream job (like Harvard/Princeton for him) then the other one should compromise.
I am a PhD so I can understand why he won’t even entertain the thought of scaling back his ambitions, especially if he is really good.
On the other hand, if you say you won’t go out of SF, Seattle, NYC and London, it shows that you are already not compromising. So why should he (this is assuming he doesn’t have his dream job in these 4 cities)?
Lastly, it is my personal opinion that two high achievers in different fields cannot be super successful in career and marriage at the same time. It is to much conflict.
Bottomline is, think what you want to do. If you want to progress and will be happy with sacrificing your personal happiness, go for it even if you have to leave your bf.
- I've told him I'm fine with an hour flight from SF, Seattle, NYC, Toronto, Vancouver, London, and less than ideal Bangalore and Delhi. I felt that was reasonable. I know he won't get into Stanford or Berkeley now.
An hour flight helps us spend 3 days a week together which I'm happy to finance. Am I being unreasonable?
- Lay out the scenarios.
Scenario 1. You decide to work it out and he gets a job at a place which is 1 hour away from yours. You think both will be happy? I don’t think so. How long will you continue to spend only 3 days a week together? What happens when you have kids. Finally, you will have to scale back on your ambitions because he can say that I told you I will not compromise and you agreed. I hate to say this, but technically he would be right because it looks like, him not compromising will be a cornerstone of your relationship going further.
Scenario 2. You scale back and go with him. You will be unhappy. You may become happy after an year or so with your underachieving lifestyle or may get irritated till a breaking point reaches. Usually, people prefer a relaxed lifestyle after having kids.
Scenario 3. He scales back. It looks like he won’t do this and even if he does, he will be extremely unhappy and it will affect your marriage.
Scenario 4. You both scale back modestly. This is the only scenario which will work out frankly.
Now you have to figure out your answer to your poll after considering all scenarios.
- Thanks, Walmart. I honestly think scenario 4 is most optimal.
Knowing me, scenario 2 will build resentment on my end :( I'll get angry esp when I compare with what I could have been.
For scenario 1, we might be able to get our families to help out and I might be willing to deal with that compromise. But he's not willing to restrict to that. :(
Facebook, I get what your saying. But do you feel you cqn have a career in Facebook if you were based out of say Ohio, or say Champaign IL, or Ithaca NY, Calgary or Hamilton Canada? :( Some of the places he talks about.
- If I were in your situation, I'd give it a shot (but my spouse and I are not ambitious, and share a similar vision of a peaceful, stable, uncomplicated family life). *Both* of you should try to get whatever you can in good faith (him in bigger cities, you in smaller ones), and then figure out how best to manage the compromise. Incomplete knowledge is not a good basis to make decisions.
- I might be ok with scaling ambition, but trust me it gets hard when you are with a workaholic. He was here for one of his internships at Berkeley, and I found myself doing all cleaning, cooking, making sure he takes his medicines on time, staying up night to debug his code, make our breakfast before sunrise so he can get the 8 am train. I will gladly do all this because I love him, but if I had to do all this after giving up my high growth trajectory career, I foresee myself feeling terrible. 😟
In addition, we had huge arguments in the beginning of our relationship, when he kept insisting that I was pretty much doing a crappy job with low impact and it would be better for me to be an RA in the place he finds post doc/ faculty- at least I will be contributing to science. All this makes me want to maintain my career because otherwise I might get angry.
- Actually, I didn't ask that you, solely, restrain your ambition. Both of you ought to be willing to make compromises when it comes to one dimension of your lives - the professional - for another dimension - the personal. In a healthy relationship, there is an effort on both sides to do so, and comfort is derived not from the final outcome being beneficial to one of the individuals, but from a fair process being followed that is built on a foundation of mutual love and respect.
- Sorry, I had to vote on the break up option after reading this: “I was pretty much doing a crappy job with low impact and it would be better for me to be an RA in the place he finds post doc/ faculty- at least I will be contributing to science.”...
Have you read about the waiter test? See how your partner treats people with less attractive jobs and it will tell you a lot about his/her nature. That is what exactly this is!
I am an ML PhD and have keen interest in mathematics and respect for those who do theoretical maths. It is hard, period. However, this does not give you right to insult the other person.
On the other hand, if he is so engrossed in work always, you will get frustrated at some point. Not to sound pessimistic but the cloud of love will fade away in a year or two if you keep
doing all the house work while he does his “prestigious” research.
- Yes I'm an ML PhD who went abd after 3 years myself and I disagreed with him. I also do have a keen appreciation for theory. But when your in love with someone you forgive a lot of nonsense. He's improved a lot in the four years he's spent with me - I don't want to take credit for it, but I guess it's true.
- What attaches you to tech? His motivations with a career in academia are straight forward and indeed location restricted. On your end, remote work is possible. It kills career growth, but if you just like development or whatever and don't aspire to management, it should be fine, no?
- I don't just like development. Being in the bay area has allowed me to be part of two acquisitions and pretty much lead the product from scratch. I've been at Salesforce, apple and now Amazon. I just don't see a tensor flow or mxnet developing in a remote corner of the world or spear headed by a remote employee.
- I'm ok to compromise for few years but I wanted an assurance from him that he will later. Maybe both of us will achieve 50% of our goals but we'll live together and have our chance at success. He's not willing to consider this. Has said that he will never move without a job lined up.
- Have you two discussed you supporting him if nothing pans out at a tech hub? If you lead projects like that, why does he really need a guarantee of work anywhere at all, vs doing independent research with all bills paid? Or is one of you not comfortable with a joint budget that skewed? I know it's out there, but it's an option...
- An assurance means nothing. People die, meet new folks, change their minds for things as crazy as opening lemonade stands in the Caribbean. What you need to do is decide if you can compromise your two desires.... Not wait on him to make a decision for you. Ultimately you may have the same problem even with a guy in SFO.... I'm a parent and I can tell you right now that even with both of you in the same place your career will be drastically impacted as the mom. Watch Explained on Netflix..... The mom tax is real. If you are that worried about your career, avoid motherhood.
- Oracle, he seeks prestige. He once said that it'll be a failure for him to accept a postdoc short of MIT, Stanford, Caltech and Berkeley, Princeton. He wants to be influential and works a hell lot.
That's another reason compromising for him seems hard for me. He'll be a workaholic. I'm always going to be second fiddle to his work. Which will be impossible to deal with if I'm not maximising my potential myself. 😟
Regarding being a mom, if I up the TC and take my parebts help I should be able to manage through it. That's what I hope.
- You both want different things from life. He is very clear what he wants and will not compromise.
As I see it, your options are:
1. Compromise your career and be with him. Tech is everywhere. You'll get a job no doubt.
2. Break up and choose someone whose ambition matches yours.
You have to choose between your career and your man.
If it were to be me, I'd pick the guy. Career doesn't meant shit if you're not with someone you love and have a family (esp for a woman). Ask an unmarried, childless, successful woman in her 40s if it was worth it. You'll have your answer.
- I just feel that my ability to love comes from my ability to provide for myself and a family. (and him!) If that power to create and provide is taken away, I'm not sure I'll be stable enough to provide nurturing and love. For some of us who have invested all their lives in scholarship and career, it becomes part of who we are. :/
- Capital One qwertybobSeriously wtf. I’m a woman in tech too and if a guy told me something like that I’d break up with him. Our careers are equally important.
- Just curious, what does he think a relationship should look like? A wife who is willing to relocate every few years of post doc? That wreaks havoc on kids too. And to India? That’s like another world.
What if his academic career doesn’t work out? It’s always a long shot. I’ve never understood academic types. Glad I never had the academic bug.
- I've asked him this. The reply I get is: "I have no choice! "
He is even willing to go to Kolkata, India or kanpur, India for a job in the worst case.
I told him, "the only cloud they have heard of there is the one which brings rain. How do you expect me to do any cloud computing/ AI/ ML/etc there?"
And he will start on his self pity thing and change topic. 😕
- That really doesn’t sound like it could work. Expecting someone to move to Kolkata for a career is pretty unreasonable. The thing is that academics can switch to industry pretty easily, while making a lot more $$ for less work - while still working on interesting problems. If his dream is important to him that he won’t settle for anything less, then that could turn into a nightmare for you.
- I truly empathize with him. At this point I'm just at a dead end. Thanks to you guys as blind I'm getting shown some unbiased perspective. No matter how much I empathize with him I guess I'm not able to just move around for him to do mathematics and make babies and work remotely endlessly :(
- If you both cant prioritize things and converge after 4.5yrs id say its best to break it off, it seems like you both are holding on to this because you dont see better options
- Apple zleebOn a good note, he is being honest and clear with you about his needs/wants and seems you are doing so which is a sign of a healthy relationship.
Now a question that you gotta ask yourself is what do matters to you in the long term(10+), building a family or career? Of course both could coexist yet which one would be a P1?
Also, maybe an option is to discuss several timelines with different dates for both people to compromise.