1 week into long distance with fiance-turned-medical student.. and struggling.

posted 1 year ago in Relationships
Post # 31
241 posts
Helper bee

graces7 :  I am so sorry, bee.. for everything that you are going through. To me, it seems that he is super stressed out and sad about his situation. You and your relationship used to be the happiest part of his world and now it’s a point of sadness. Like he is mourning the life he had before. 

I know you have a career and a life where you are, but is there anyway you would be willing to look for jobs in his area and move with him? Bring your dogs? Be with him?

He is having a traumatic time. I know you have some hard feelings toward him. Those are valid, but if you want this relationship to last and work… you might think about moving to be with him. 

Post # 32
7851 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

Maybe this is selfish, but I would be done. At some point, you have to look after yourself, and being in a “relationship” with a man who tells you he’s enjoying not being around you, doesn’t want you to contact him at all, period, for the forseeable future, etc. – it’s too painful and too degrading. Even if it is due to depression, it’s still unacceptable to treat your FIANCE this way. For fucksake, your grandmother is dying and he doesn’t even know because he’s forbidden you from contacting him – that is beyond the pale bee. 

I’m really sorry you’re going through this. You sound like a strong person with a lot going for you, and I hate that you’re blaming yourself even a little for your fi’s behavior toward you. Things like tagging him in your engagement photos, decorating the house the way you want…these are not things that should break up a healthy relationship even if they did bother him. They dont’ justify the way he’s treating you. 

ETA: Another thought…it sounds like there’s been a pattern in your relationship of HIM being the needy one and you making big sacrifices to prop him up. You were the one he leaned on while quitting drinking, you helped him get into med school….yet he has the audacity to say he’s happy to be away from you and not dealing with you “needing things from him”??? Fuck him, seriously.

Post # 33
2243 posts
Buzzing bee

graces7 :  okay so look…don’t keep yourself available for a man who straight-up told you that he doesn’t want you around (in fact, that he’s ENJOYING having you not around—what a shitty thing to say!!). I am appalled that he’d say that to you. He sounds like a total POS. You built him up, helped him grow into someone worthy of marrying, helped him get his shit together to get into medical school, and now he feels like he doesn’t need you anymore. 


Hes a fucking POS. 

Post # 34
3929 posts
Honey bee

Oh wow, I’m sorry. I’m sure you didn’t expect this to happen. 

For whatever reason, he’s decided he doesn’t want a relationship with you. The smart move for you is to consider yourself no longer engaged and cut him off completely. Then you can take some time to heal.

You definitely do want to date other men as soon as you’re ready, maybe even sooner. Don’t even think about the med student, he was willing to throw you away. 

And now the hard part to read….I suspect that there is more going on than just studying, if you get my drift. 

Post # 35
2733 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

Bee I’m so sorry this is happening to you. But I would be done. There is a 0% chance that I would consider uprooting my life to a new city for a man that doesn’t even want to be with me. You deserve way better than this. A lot of relationships survive through med school, your ex has made his choice. 

Post # 37
787 posts
Busy bee

Nope his behavior is unacceptable medical school doesn’t give you a pass to be a complete dick. It sounds like you’ve done A LOT for him, a little too much. Creating detailed study plan, cooking him a months worth of meals, helping him write admissions essays he needs to be doing this things himself and be a functioning adult. Now that you aren’t managing his life for him he’s tossing you aside, what an asshole. Drop him.

Post # 38
8 posts

I don’t post very often but your story and updates are making me so angry. I am an attending, and have been through medical school, surgical residency, and fellowship in a competitive field, so I have some perspective on what your fiance is currently facing.

First, let me tell you this: people who use medical school and the level of stress they experience as an excuse to not be a legit human to their significant other are not worth your time. The PPs are right – medical school IS a tough time, for some the toughest in their lives. Residency is worse. Being an attending – ENDLESSLY more stressful (med school students and residents just don’t necessarily realize that yet). Pay and hours are better, but the level of angst skyrockets. Constant studying, lack of sleep, stress, uncertainty about future, yes those all suck. But having someone in your life that you love and care about makes it EASIER to get through all that. You love and cherish this person, not tell them you don’t have time for them. 

I started medical school while in a relationship with a man who was very sweet and intelligent but not very well equipped to deal with life. He was intermittently out of work, and not bringing in a reliable income. I had worked during college and some of med school and was the one paying the rent and the bills, as well as managing the household. It didn’t bother me that I was the one making sure that everything ran smoothly in our lives, because I figured well he loves me and it’s not that onerous for me to take on this role, so why not. In his past, he was heavily into cocaine, but he quit cold turkey for me and started to attend regular NA meetings. I realized at some point in the first few months of us moving in together however that the relationship had run its course. I was no longer able to juggle the household AND school, but I still loved him, and also felt responsible for him staying sober. Surely, the emotional trauma of me breaking up with him would cause him to go back to his ways I thought. I eventually did break up with him, and later found out he had been dishonest with me essentially the entire duration of our relationship, had never really quit the drugs, and instead of goign to NA meetings he would go off somewhere and get high. I was too busy with school to notice the (in retrospect) obvious behavior changes. That experience taught me that addicts cannot quit “for you”. Only when they want to do it themselves. No matter how much they love you, say they love you, want to make you happy – that step needs to come from them and you can only offer support and understanding (to a degree). 

Shortly thereafter, in medical school, I started dating a classmate. He was perfect on paper, was going to be a doctor like me, and surely this was the love story I was looking for. For him, however, school always came first. Tests stressed him out, studying made him anxious, and he considered time we spent together a detraction from our mutual educational and professional responsibilities and committments. So I made sure to stay out of his way when he was stressed but be available if he found a moment to hang out. I tried very hard not to overtask him with my feelings and needs. I didn’t burden him with my own worries and struggles about the future, or the difficulties of whatever I was going through at the time. Here’s the thing: he graduated at a top of our class, he scored nearly a perfect score on every test, and he still was deeply unhappy about his place in this life and this profession. No amount of professional success was going to fix that. We did end up in the same city for residency, and engaged – that seemed like the reasonable next step. I matched in a highly competitive highly busy residency in general surgery, and he in internal medicine. We broke up not even a year later. The relationship issues we had in medical school only became intensified with the stresses of residency. It wasn’t the hours or the workload though that killed it – it was, for both of us, the knowledge, that we would rather be spending time at work than with each other. 

The following 5-6 years I spent variably single or in short-term relationships that went nowhere. I was trying to figure out how to express and communicate what *I* wanted and needed in a partnership, not simply be there to make a cushy existence for my significant other. A few months before I was going to leave to yet another city for a 2 year fellowship, I met another man. He is in a completely different field, which however happens to be equally stressful and time-intensive as mine. 

He made time for us to have quick chats or meals between my surgeries. He carved out time for us to meet by moving around his meetings to fit my crazy schedule. He never stopped telling me how much happier hearing my voice makes him in the midst of the craziness that is his day. He couldn’t move with me when I left for fellowship, but for the next 2 years we did not spend more than 10 days apart from each other. We were 400 miles apart, and we each took every opportunity to fly, train, or drive to see each other. He would spend HOURS on the greyhound bus in the cold dead of winter to come even for a weekend. Though logistically we were in a LDR, it did not feel like we skipped a beat. I am back in our home city now, and we are married. 


The point I’m trying to make, bee, with this long (and possibly rambling) story, is that you deserve better. You deserve a man who is an equal partner in life’s ups and its downs. You deserve someone who is excited and happy at the thought of you, not emotionally burdened by your presence. I know you don’t want to let go of 5 years of what seemed a great relationship with a great person. But this man doesn’t have the emotional reserve to be a good partner FOR YOU. You sound like an incredibly intellinent, kind, considerate human. Please don’t let this person leech that out of you and continue to take advantage of your kindness. 

Take care of yourself, and good luck. PM me if you have any questions. 


Post # 39
152 posts
Blushing bee

Hi Bee, I’m sorry you are going through a hard time. 

Maybe this is out of left field, but is it possible you have a clinical codependency? Based on his alcoholism, you overcoming it together, and what you have said about doing everything together, it might be worth exploring. 

Post # 40
2733 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

graces7 :  In response to your update bee,

1. One small fight over Skype was not the reason he broke up with you. He did not throw away five years of a perfect relationship over a minor disagreement. He already had one foot out the door. And he is choosing to spend his time going to bars instead of having the decency to even reply to a text message from you.

2. I know this is very easy for me to say as an outsider, but if he is drinking or using drugs it is not your concern. He is no longer a part of your life.

3. If you let him drop you on a whim and you continuously wait around for him to come back to you, you are teaching him that he is allowed to treat you like shit and completely ignore your own needs and feelings. You are teaching him that he can do whatever he wants to you, that he is the more important person in your relationship. And when the going gets tough again later in life, he will do the exact same thing again. 


I cant imagine how tough this must be for you right now bee. I am sorry if my advice sounds cold but I am genuinely pissed off for you. You have given him so much and he did not deserve any of it. He doesn’t deserve another second of your time. And some day you will meet someone who loves you the way you deserve and would be devastated at the thought of not being in contact with you even for a day. 


Post # 41
412 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2019

buzzerbeater :  “medical school doesn’t give you a pass to be a complete dick” +1

OP, I’m sorry, but hanging up on you, ignoring you, avoiding talking to you, asking you not to contact him or “burden” him… this behavior is not acceptable in any relationship. Lots of people are in very busy, stressful, and demanding careers, and they don’t all treat their significant others like this. Yes, he’s very busy, but that’s all the more reason why he should cherish the time you have to talk and catch up, instead of ignoring you and treating you this way. Personally, I’d be done. You do not treat a partner who you love and respect and intend to marry this way.

I understand it’s so hard to move on from this; I dated someone for almost 5 years and really thought that we were going to get married and spend our lives together. But he just couldn’t treat me the way I deserved, and I had to break it off. I know it’s so painful to walk away after all the time you’ve invested into the relationship. But who knows if your fiance’s behavior will even improve once he’s done with med school? Is this how he will cope with stress in the future? You may be dodging a big bullet here, as painful as this is right now. 

Post # 42
207 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2018

Gosh, when I started reading this thread, I kind of had a sinking feeling where this was going.  I saw some positive remarks from other bees and thought maybe I’m just being a downer.  But after reading your updates, I’m so sorry that you are going through this, it really sucks.  From your few posts, you come across as a caring, sweet, intelligent, thoughtful, articulate, level-headed, and supportive person (amongst other great qualities).  

I agree with PP about medical training, as I am currently an attending as well.  My thoughts are shaped from my experiences, and they are limited and different from everyone else, but I hope it gives you some insight.

Medical school is hard, and residency is even harder, fellowship is about the same, and being an attending might be easier physically, but mentally the hardest by far.  Medical training changes you.  Period.  I can’t explain it well, but being under constant stress, being pulled in so many different directions all day, seeing people in so much pain and suffering, while trying to retain the ability to empathize and be kind and compassionate, is beyond exhausting.  Couple this with his history of addiction and depression; if you get back together or try to make this work, it is going to be a long, difficult road.  I’m not sure he has the ability or capacity to be in a healthy relationship right now.

What to do?  Put one foot in front of the other, just like you are doing.  It sounds like you are going through a lot, maybe having someone to talk to would help.  It could be a parent, mentor, pastor, or counselor.  I understand it would almost be easier if he did something so egregious that you had to leave, because this, on some level, seems like regular life stuff that lots of people go through.  Again, sorry you are going through this.      

Post # 43
9615 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2016

Your update completely changes my perspective on the situation. This is not at all acceptable behavior from him. Some freaking out one week one? Fine. It’s been a month and he’s made you a zero priority and is basically asking you to dump him.

Girl, do not wait around for this guy! You deserve so much better! 

Post # 44
88 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

This is one of the few threads I’ve read that I’ve felt compelled enough to add a response. First of all, I am so sorry for how he is treating you. I truly can’t imagine having your fiancé of 5 years treat you this way. Like many others, my initial response was that he was probably overwhelmed and you could have been a bit more understanding. After reading your update, I agree with the other responders that he is completely out of line. 

No matter how much he is dealing with, he can and should be able to make time to talk to you and care for you. Your world has also been turned upside down. You are an equal part of this relationship. Based on your responses, it does appear that there are some co-dependency issues and that you do way too much for him. And while I think it’s likely he’s struggling, it is no excuse for his behavior. If I were you, I’d be honest with him — ask him when he has a good time to talk for a while about how you guys can move forward, how you can support him, what you need from him, and what you want the next 4 plus years to look like. If he doesn’t even want to have this conversation, or is dismissive, etc. , you have your answer. I understand you not wanting to give up, but I think he is showing you who he really is. 


Since you you seem to be looking for some personal experiences, I’ll briefly add mine. My now-husband and I dated long distance (plane ride apart) for three years during law school. I’m sure there were times I was in my own world and not the best partner I could have been, but my partner was the light in my world. I cared for him, visited him, and honestly, both of us look back and say long distance really wasn’t that bad. I never had one moment of doubt, and being with him was the least stressful part of the whole experience. I saw many long distance relationships succeed, and all involved mutual love, respect and building a future together even while you’re apart. Seeing each other as often as possible (we tried to do once a month) also helped. Good luck, you are not alone 

Post # 45
248 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

Maybe you answered your own question…..

Since he’s going to bars rather than talking to you…and you’re wondering if he’s drinking again. My thought is most likely. He may not be handling the stress well and dealing with it by going to bars. 

No new stressful situation gives him the right to be a dick. If you were a priority to him, he’d make the time to text or chat. It doesn’t even seem like he has any plans to see you for the next four years based on his comment. I would think as a fiancé I’d have some plans or tentative plans to see each other on breaks or something.

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