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My partner is taking the bar exam the morning after my best friend's graduation party. What do I do?


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My partner for the last 4 years is taking the bar exam for the second time in August. He has failed once and it's keeping him from being able to get a job in his field, and this is driving him crazy. He's been suffering from anxiety and exams like these make him very, very nervous. The thing is, the exam is going to take place the morning after one of my best friend's graduation party. She has attended my graduation party and I feel so torn between these two major events from people I love. I want to be there to support my partner before the most important exam of his life and given his mental situation, instead of leaving him alone and going to a party that is going to last all night long. But I also understand that it's one of the most important days of my friend's life and I'd like to be there to cheer for her too. I am afraid that my friend won't be so understanding since she's living the single life, and it may make her feel like I'm the annoying friend who won't go out without her partner and that "I'm choosing him over her". I would be absoutely ok to go without my partner, it's about the emotional support I want to give. What advice do you guys have? 

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4 minutes ago, mcardi said:

the exam is going to take place the morning after one of my best friend's graduation party.  I feel so torn between these two major events from people I love.

Why? Let him study and rest while you go to your friends party. In fact some alone time may help him rest, concentrate and study. You don't need to hang around.

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Does he needs you there? I had a very anxious roomate who throw up before every exam and was on the verge of nervious brekadown. She needed somebody there to reassure her that everything will be fine. Even though she always did study hard and had good grades.

So what I am asking is would you being there actually make a difference? If not, I cant see why you cant go. Provided that if you live together you dont disturbe your partner by coming late at night or something.

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1 hour ago, DarkCh0c0 said:

That's a good point. Did he explicitly ask for you to be with him?

He did say he would feel much better if I was there with him. But he said it was my choice to make and he’d understand. 

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1 hour ago, DarkCh0c0 said:

Why not go to the friend's party and then leave early? A good friend will absolutely understand.

I’ve thought about that too! The thing is, the party starts super late at night. If I went, it wouldn’t really matter what time I come home because he’d most likely be asleep anyway. But since it’s a pretty formal event and it’s taking place in another town, it would take me some hours to get ready and drive there.

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34 minutes ago, Kwothe28 said:

Does he needs you there? I had a very anxious roomate who throw up before every exam and was on the verge of nervious brekadown. She needed somebody there to reassure her that everything will be fine. Even though she always did study hard and had good grades.

So what I am asking is would you being there actually make a difference? If not, I cant see why you cant go. Provided that if you live together you dont disturbe your partner by coming late at night or something.

He did say that my presence would make things better and make him calmer, but that he’d understand if it wasn’t the case. Obviously he wouldn’t demand something like this from me, but if it was up to him, he’d rather have me there.

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Posted (edited)

I’d be concerned if this is the dynamic of your relationship long term. I understand you’re caring about his mental health but I also think you’re enabling and too enmeshed. This exam is something he needs to muster the courage and strength to complete and I don’t see how one evening apart will make a difference in whether he passes or fails. 

You must realize that you are not responsible for his not passing the previous exams and you are also not responsible for his mental health or his results of the exam coming up. 

Don’t take on that kind of burden and be mindful of your independence of each other as separate individuals and your separate careers.

Edited by Rose Mosse
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You were probably with your boyfriend the day before his first exam. But he didn’t pass the exam, so your being there didn’t make any difference. Maybe he will pass if you’re not with him this time, and your boyfriend told you to go if you want. 

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12 hours ago, mcardi said:

he said it was my choice to make and he’d understand. 

He's right, go to your party. He doesn't need a babysitter, he's a grown man. If he's using passive-aggressive pouting like this, rethink the relationship.

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55 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:

He's right, go to your party. He doesn't need a babysitter, he's a grown man. If he's using passive-aggressive pouting like this, rethink the relationship.

I know it may sound like it, but it wasn't passive-agressive at all. He stated his preference but never in a demanding way or to guilt trip me into staying with him. The conflict is more in my head than anything. 

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14 hours ago, mcardi said:

He did say that my presence would make things better and make him calmer, but that he’d understand if it wasn’t the case. Obviously he wouldn’t demand something like this from me, but if it was up to him, he’d rather have me there.

No conflict here. Support him especially since he is anxious and failed once. This is his life and career. It’s only a party for your friend not even the graduation. If your partner was very sick would you leave him to go to a party if he wanted you there ?take your friend out for a nice meal or dessert another time. 

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1 hour ago, mcardi said:

The conflict is more in my head than anything. 

Is it? 

If I knew I had an exam the next day and my partner was invited to a party I wouldn’t hold anyone back. What kind of support is he getting for his mental health and is he on treatment, seeing his doctors? I wouldn’t play this game guilting myself into staying if it doesn’t feel right. 

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18 minutes ago, Rose Mosse said:

Is it? 

If I knew I had an exam the next day and my partner was invited to a party I wouldn’t hold anyone back. What kind of support is he getting for his mental health and is he on treatment, seeing his doctors? I wouldn’t play this game guilting myself into staying if it doesn’t feel right. 

This is a life changing bar exam that he already failed.  Not just an exam. Many of my friends went through it and I went through similar exams.  She should do whatever it takes to be supportive. For one night. And skip a party. In my humble opinion. If he fails again he may abandon the career and that will affect her life if she stays with him long term. He should get help. It’s only one night of sacrifice. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

The fewer people I had around me before a big exam like that, the better.  But, that's just me.  I don't see this being that big of a dilemma, but I'm not you so it's easy for me to say that.

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I think it would actually be better for you to attend your friend's graduation party while your partner  remains focused on his bar exam day with zero distractions.

You can give your partner moral support the day before the exam and after the exam.  He should be by himself so he can concentrate on the bar exam IMHO. 

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11 hours ago, hub49 said:

The fewer people I had around me before a big exam like that, the better.  But, that's just me.  I don't see this being that big of a dilemma, but I'm not you so it's easy for me to say that.

Everyone is different in a stressful life changing experience like this one - some want to be alone, others want a specific person around, etc.  I wanted to be alone the night before my big exams.

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