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

posted 1 year ago in Relationships
Post # 46
265 posts
Helper bee

I’m wondering how much of it is due to classmates expressing surprise that he is in a LDR and them telling him (or giving him the feeling) that it’s not going to work. I would wait another month or two to see if he comes to his senses. – I wouldn’t say this if you were just dating, but you were planning on spending your lives together. If he doesn’t come around, go. You deserve better. 

Post # 47
285 posts
Helper bee

I was reading through this thread and back before your update that he broke up with you, I had a major issue that you were so involved in his medical school apps, among other things. Why was it YOU staying up late looking for resources?  And as a recovering alcoholic, he should be nowhere near bars.  I think he used you and got what he wanted and now is done with you.  I’ve seen it happen a million times.  Hell my college bf did the same thing to me.  Men like those are bastards who don’t deserve your pining.  So block his ass, get angry, and never look back.

Post # 48
439 posts
Helper bee

Med student here.

Edit: Read the update. I’m sorry it didn’t work out, but it may be for the best, you can find someone who can provide you with the consistency and the emotional support you need, and he can focus on school. TL;DR version of what I posted below is basically, LDRs in med are hard and relationships that survive without both partners being in the same program are the exception. My SO and I did 3 years LDR with him in med, now we live together and we’re both in the same program…I’m just 2 years behind. Everyone we meet expresses their surprise we survived. 

My SO is 2 years ahead of me (same MD program) and we did it LDR for 3 years, including 2 years while he was in Med. I won’t mince words, your SO needs your support, he needs time to adjust to a new environment and a demanding training program…now is really not the time to pick fights about your needs because of the changes that are going on in his life.

Honestly, everything takes a backseat to medicine, most couples breakup in the 1st year of it because it’s difficult to understand the demands and the strain unless you’re in the program yourself or you’re training to get in. It’s also the reason med students often end up dating and married to each other, no one quite understands how rigorous it is except someone else going through the same thing. And when someone understands what you’re going through vs a partner who stays home and insists that things don’t change despite the increase demands…then often times, the choice is the fellow med student. 

If you need more constant reassurance than normal that he still loves you and you’re important to him, then honestly…this might not be the relationship for you. Can LDR with a med student work? Of course, my SO and I are proof of this. Is it difficult? Yes. Does it take a certain type of personality to do it successfully? Yes, on both ends of the relationship.Takes a lot of commitment and a lot of trust.

I’ve known only ONE couple where the girl managed to convince the guy to give up on his doctor-dreams and head back to their home state…he’s not particularly happy with the relationship, but married her and now he’s training to be a DO. Less rigorous and same city…but I should hope no one here thinks that making their SO give up their dreams is the right thing to do. Most of my peers would sooner give up their partner than their dreams.

Post # 49
715 posts
Busy bee

I too had a sinking feeling when I read the beginning of this thread a few weeks ago. It had mostly to do with the way he had hung up on you, and if I remember correctly, he refused to talk to you for 48 hours? I’ve seen this behaviour before, and it’s never a good sign.

Men who are not very emotionally mature or who have addiction issues and unhealthy coping mechanisms will usually revert to those coping mechanisms in times of stress. I’ve seen it. So if he had a problem with alcohol or drugs in the past, now will be the time when he will be very likely to use these in order to cope. Especially since he does not seem to be a good communicator so he probably doesn’t have the capacity to talk about his stress and his feelings and seek help in a healthier way. It is very common for students in demanding degree programs to melt down mentally and emotionally. That is why campuses have psychologists and counsellors based there permanently. This happened to my brother last year – he is in a PhD program.

I say this because I don’t want you to blame yourself and think that you *did* something to cause your relationship to break down. I can see from your posts that you are very ready to take responsibility for your part – that’s a good thing and a healthy and mature attitude, but be careful not to take it too far. There is nothing you could have done to prevent this from happening. The issues he had personally, coupled with the stress of medical school and of moving far away, were a perfect storm. From my experience of men, he is most likely perfectly aware that he is being a dick, and communicating with you is just a reminder that he is mistreating you and failing you. Which he is, and you should not put up with that, but I’m sorry to say that it doesn’t sound like he has the emotional maturity or the awareness to work through that with you.

He is a poor communicator, as evidenced by his hanging up on you, stonewalling you, not contacting you for days and weeks at a time, and not being able to have a healthy discussion with you about these things. You’ve heard it before, but good communication is the backbone of a healthy relationship. Relationships are very hard without it, and LDRs I’d say are virtually impossible.

Despite what some posters on here have said, I think you have been an absolutely stellar partner – supportive, caring and accommodating, and not demanding or needy at all.

What he’s doing is not acceptable, and you shouldn’t stand for it, but I say all of this so that perhaps it helps with your understanding of the situation. Understanding always helps me in a break up. I wouldn’t expect him to communicate on your level, but if you are determined to have it out with him, I would ask him very calmly when is a good time to talk. Have some questions pre-prepared and make sure you get clear answers to them. This will help give you closure. But it really does sound like the upshot is that he doesn’t want the relationship right now and can’t cope with it. You need to draw a line in the sand sooner rather than later for your own self-esteem sake. I would not agree to a “break.” I would say you need to break up indefinitely and you take time to focus on yourself for now. If it’s meant to be later on down the line, then it will happen, but don’t put your life on hold.

(sorry for the essay, but I had a lot of thoughts as I’ve been in these kinds of situations myself.)

Post # 50
1760 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

graces7 :  “He also started going out to bars instead of talking to me, so I didn’t buy the whole ‘med school is crazy I just don’t have time’ excuse.”

Are you telling me a 3 year recovering alcoholic in a highly stressful life transition phase is in bars and exhibiting out of character behaviour? treating you horribly? Communicating shittily and accusing you of being needy? Hurting you with comments like the dogs will be dead by then? 

And you are still wondering if you are the problem? You are wondering if he is drinking/using again?

Just read your last list of things again. You know the answer. If he isnt drinking / using he is winding up to do so. And it has zero to do with you and your failures as partner. it has to do with his ALCOHOLISM. He is an addict in stress. And it is not your fault. 

Do I think y’all were naive as f*** thinking the intesne stress of medical school and a 3 year recovering addict was a good idea? Yup, sure do. Do I blame you? Nope not a bit. He has to do this on his own and if he hasn’t learned enough about how to keep himself safe in dangerous situations he wasn’t nearly as far in recovery as he should have been before starting such a huge endeavor, as Med school is. 

Addicts can always start to drink again. It’s a horrible horrible disease. And I do feel for him in this stressful terrible time and I certainly think it’s going to end up badly. For which he has my every genuine compassion considering how powerless he must be feeling and how messed up this situation will probably become. 

But your compassion has to start with you. Do not put yourself through this trainwreck. Get yourself to a meeting, like fast. 


Post # 52
10664 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

graces7 :  

Oh, Bee, honey. Just stop. You are ruminating, obsessing, and analyzing the situation to the point of madness.

Of course you feel wrecked. Anyone would. You had the rug yanked out from under you.  Hard. You’re grieving, not for your ex (he’s not much of a prize), but for the life you thought you were going to have. Grieving is absolutely essential to healing.  Let it happen.

No, Bee. Do not send him a Care Package. He is not stationed in a combat unit, he’s in medical school. Do not send him a Care Package, a fruit cake, racy photos, dead tarantulas, your underwear, chocolate chip cookies, the water bill, or anything else. It’s over. He’s using the term “break” to foam the runway and make it easier on himself.

He’s out, Bee.  It’s just that simple. You have to work on hearing the “No”. Virtually everything he said to you would drive any healthy, confident woman away.

Yes, your posts just scream codependency. It’s costing you big, Bee.  My suggestion is, including going to your psychologist, which is very wise and necessary, that you also attend some Al Anon meetings. Al Anon is a group for people who’s lives have been affected by someone’s drinking.

And, allow me to state, uncategorically, that I have nowhere even close to the information I would need to come to any conclusions; but, have you done any reading about narcissism? A person can be high in narcissistic traits without fitting the criteria for the personality disorder.  It’s probably worth taking a look.

Medicine is a profession that attracts many narcissists, as does law, entertainment, politics, and law enforcement. That is not an indictment of anyone, it’s a statistical reality.

Bee, you are suffering way too much. You don’t have to, you can find happiness. But, you have to say goodbye to this dead relationship and let it go.


Post # 53
439 posts
Helper bee

Right, read all the updates. 

Dear OP, like I said in my original post before I read anything beyond the first page, breaking up in medical school is the norm not the exception. Unfortunately, not every student who gets in can handle the stress of the program and some of them make the decision that relationships are a distraction not a support system. Either way, he’s shown you that when he gets stressed, you’re one of the first things he thinks of cutting out of his life…that should tell you enough. Grieve the relationship but also, recognize that it’s still for the best, at least you found out what he’s like under pressure before marriage…now that you know, you can move on, find someone who is bomb proof and solid. 

I know it’s easier said than done but I’d focus on myself first too, and your pups. And go no-contact with this guy, don’t be his punching bag for school. No partner deserves that, med school or no.

As for medical professionals and narcissism, eh…the consentious (if there is one) is that narcissism in health care professionals is bred, not born…it’s produced through stressful situations, being questioned, being criticized and having to defend your confidence during training that makes narcissistic doctors – I’m not sure a narcissistic med student could even survive rotations and being told “Your grasp of X is horsecrap”without imploding. And even then, surveys still show that the dark triad of trades are still less prevalent in healthcare staff than in the general public. 


PS. I hope he disclosed his past addiction to someone at school, an alcoholic is never truly “recovered”, they’re always “in recovery”…in that it takes just one lapse in judgment to go right back into alcoholism. And he sounds like a functional alcoholic, that doesn’t mean he’s not an alcoholic, it just means he’s not a degenerate drinker. He really shouldn’t be at bars…although again, part of that problem is that the motto of “work hard, party hard” is also quite dominant in med school culture….the problem is that an alcoholic in a high stress environment who just returned to bars is a ticking timebomb, especially when he’s going to be responsible for someone’s life at some point. >.>

Post # 54
285 posts
Helper bee

graces7 :  I think you need to start referring to yourself as broken up with this guy.  He broke up with you.  I mean, I’m not a person that believes in “breaks” but I think you need to realize there isn’t anything else to say.  I know you’re heartbroken, but please don’t obsess about what there is left.  You have to, for your own sanity, accept that there is nothing left between you.  Otherwise you end up 2 years later crushed seeing him on FB.

Post # 55
7814 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

One thing that caught my attention in one of your updates is that you said you “don’t want to give him the satisfaction of dumping him” – you want to make him be the bad guy. Bee, honestly, this is petty as hell and I promise you it is not something you’ll care two shits about in the long run. I’m not trying to be mean – I understand why you feel that way – but seriously. You know in your gut this relationship is doomed. When you look back on this time in your life in one, two, five or thirty years, I promise you, not one part of you is gonna think “good thing I stuck around and forced him to break up with me rather than just making a clean break myself!”

Post # 56
10664 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: City, State

littlemissdimsum :  

Not quite. Dr Banja’s point is interesting, but contradicts decades of research, and more importantly, new evidence coming in via modern technology.

The article failed to cite any research to support the hypothesis that narcissism is learned behavior. 

What we now know about the low/no conscience disorders, ie Cluster B in the DSM V (Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder), is that the brains of these people look and act differently than the brains of normal people. Without getting too technical, there are neurochemical differences, reduction in brain volume in areas that regulate emotions, neurotransmitter abnormalities, and even differences in the corpus callosum, the part of the brain that regulates communication between the right and left hemispheres, making for faulty transmissions.

There is plenty of good science behind all of this. It’s theorized that the no/low conscience disorders once had adaptive value.  In primitive times, the cave dweller with no compunctions about doing anything he deemed necessary was probably the one who lived to reproduce.

This not to say that narcissistic traits can’t be exacerbated by the environment. And, it’s worth mentioning that people who are drawn to certain professions are higher than average in narcissistic traits, without being narcissists. Remember, it’s a spectrum disorder. And there is such a thing as healthy narcissism.

It requires a certain amount of narcissism to wake up on day thinking, “hey, I really should be leader of the free world”, or I should have the power of life and death via a career in medicine.

Post # 58
7814 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

graces7 :  I’m so sorry about your grandmother bee. Your partner should be your rock during this time – instead, he’s adding to your despair.

Coincidentally, it was my grandfather’s sudden passing that made me finally decide to break up with my shitty ex. After not being there for me in a million small ways over the years, he let me down in epic fashion when my grandfather died – couldn’t even be bothered to make it to the funeral. That was the last straw for me – it finally gave me the boost I needed to dump him and free myself from the endless cycle of angst that was my life with my ex.

A relationship should be a source of strength, stability and joy when everything else is crashing down around you. It shouldn’t add to the turmoil. You deserve someone who will be there for you all the time, and most especially when you’re dealing with something so devastating as the death of a beloved family member. You deserve someone who can’t wait to call you at the end of a long, stressful day – not someone who considers you an added burden (after you sacrificed so much to prop him up and get him where he is today!).

Big hugs bee. You are strong and you will get through this, and you will be happy again. I promise. So many of the bees posting in this thread have been where you are…maybe not the exact situation, but we’ve invested years in a dead-end relationship that once seemed like bliss – and we’ve managed to pull ourselves out of it and find something a million times better once we healed. You will too. <3

Post # 59
1303 posts
Bumble bee

graces7 :  Hey Bee, this update sounds much better than your previous one.

The fact is, you’ll never understand exactly what happened and please, please, please do not waste your time trying to figure out “why”.  Not that this is anything near the same, but my ex Fiance cheated on me less than 2 months before our wedding.  He hooked up with an ex girlfriend.  I cancelled the wedding and broke up with him and I spent many useless hours asking myself if I had driven him to that, what I did wrong, etc.   His only excuse was that he “panicked” at the thought of the seriousness of marriage and vows.  Whatever; I don’t want to be with someone whose first response to stress is to go and sleep with some one else….nor should you want to be with someone who decides he’s better off without you after you supported him all those years.

I do want to point out something you said in your original post – you said you had a fair amount of arguments (paraphrasing here).  I don’t really think a good, strong relationship is one riddled with arguing.  So maybe take this time to realize that the relationship may not have been that great to begin with.  Maybe his breaking up is a blessing in disguise.  I mourned my old relationship for a while (naturally) but now that I’m married to a different guy, I realize that this relationship is so much better than I ever thought I would have.

Continue to take this time to focus on yourself.  You noticed you have a pattern of falling for guys that you want to help, but you have to remember that while no one is perfect, you have to be able to help yourself first before you can be a good partner to anyone else.

One last thing – I went to physical therapy school.  The first year was hell.  It was meant to be a weed out program.  I remember freaking out before a gross anatomy exam where I had to name every single muscle in the body and pass with a 93% in order to go onto the next class.  The relationship I had at the time did not survive the first year.  I did everything I could to be a good girlfriend while try to keep up with the rigorous program.  Unfortunately my then boyfriend didn’t understand and broke up with me for someone that was more available.  The first year of many profressional programs are like this and many relationships don’t survive.  But as a PP said, it doesn’t give you an excuse to be a jerk, which is what your ex did.

Post # 60
439 posts
Helper bee

Deleted. I’ll PM instead. 🙂

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