Should I get married or study abroad?

By Ngoc Anh   September 5, 2023 | 03:00 pm PT
My boyfriend and I are both 27. We started dating three years ago, have brought each other to meet our respective parents, and are deeply in love.

My boyfriend really adores me, but I do not want to get married yet because I think our careers are still unstable.

I used to work in the tourism industry before Covid-19. As the pandemic hit and the industry was affected, I switched to be an English teacher and started pursuing a second degree in English language, since I thought it would benefit my career in the long run.

But my boyfriend did not like it when I spent three years and hundreds of million dong (VND1 million equals US$41.52) for yet another degree, as he thought a language certificate would be enough for a freelance teacher like me.

In my opinion, both of our careers did not advance much over the past three years. I have been teaching English at training centers and as a private tutor at the same time while completing my course.

My monthly income is around VND15 million. With this income, after giving my parents VND3 million and extracting costs for tuition fees, dating expenses, and shopping for myself, I save around VND8 million a month.

My boyfriend’s income is a bit higher than me, but he has more expenses, ranging from housing rental fees, living costs, traveling and dating expenses, to occasional allowances for his divorced parents.

He has changed his workplace twice, but he still works as a low-ranking employee in the field of architecture. I think the problem is mainly his habits. For example, he goes home and sleeps or goes out with his friends after work while I take my time to study to complete my degree.

I do not blame him for that, I understand that I have my family supporting me while he does not, and because of that, he struggles financially.

But honestly, I do not feel secure given my boyfriend’s occupation and income. If we get married, we will have to rent a place to live, and we will not get much support from our parents. Not to mention that we may have to carry his parents as well.

So every time he mentions the topic of marriage to me, I turn down, citing that I still need to complete my degree and achieve career stability as my reason.

I know some people might think I am too materialistic, but I can say that I have never taken advantage of him, and have been encouraging him to improve himself over the past three years.

I recently completed my second degree and my application for a master’s degree abroad. My boyfriend showed his approval of me pursuing the academic path like that, even though I am still waiting for the result.

He said nobody studied without any specific goals at age 27 like me, and blamed me for using my courses as a justification for not wanting to get married with him. He also said he did not believe in distant relationships and if we had a bad ending, we would lose another two meaningless years.

I did not agree with him. I told him that both of us could use that time to focus on improving our careers and raising our income.

He did not even reply to me. He probably thought I was looking down on him.

But that made me reconsider our relationship. I thought about getting engaged with him before going abroad to make him feel more secure, but was disappointed with his reaction. I will probably have to choose between getting married and studying abroad now.

On the one hand, I still want to save our three-year relationship. On the other hand, I feel tired thinking about how we hold different values and that may be a big problem in the future.

What should I do?

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