(Closed) Are you married to a medical spouse?? sorry it’s so long…i’m just a bit scared

posted 7 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
Member
481 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I can’t give you advice as a spouse of a medical student/doctor, but I can give you some insight from the perspective of someone who is a medical student herself – I am just finishing up my schooling this summer, right before I get married. While we were obviously not married while I was in school, my fiancee has been in a serious relationship with me the entire time I have been in medical school. Seriously, I would say that, for me, it has not been NEARLY as bad as you are describing. I heard horror stories about how awful and completely all-encompassing medical school was going to be and they were all over-exaggerations. Don’t get me wrong, it has been a lot of work and required a lot of dedication and sacrifice (and sure, there have been weeks here and there – during exams for example – when it has been really really difficult), but it is nothing that is unmanageable and I have been able to lead a fairly well balanced life. I go to family gatherings, I make lots of time for my fiancee, and I make sure to make time for my girlfriends as well! I have had numerous discussions with my fiancee and he assures me that he does not feel like me being in medical school has ever been a serious strain on our relationship. He has been wonderful and supportive and, in return, I have made sure to be supportive and invested in our relationship as well. If anything, I think the way he has supported me through my schooling has only strengthened our relationship.

All this being said, I really do think that the quality of life of a medical student/doctor heavily depends on what area you go into (some areas are much more demanding and time consuming than others) AND how your fiancee handles stress. I have seen fellow medical students (and people in general, this isn’t unique to medical school!) who are just very anxious/high stress individuals and these people tend to have a much more difficult time. People who tend to be more laid-back and easy-going usually manage to keep their life better balanced. What area of medicine is your fiancee planning to go into? Does he know yet? Also, is he generally a high-stress person, or more laid back? I think the answers to these questions will tell you a lot about what medical school will be like for the two of you as a couple.

The point of what I am trying to say is that I DEFINITELY do not think that partners of medical students/doctors always experience the awful, lonely road you are fearing. In fact, most of my medical school friends are in happy, well-balanced relationships. So, please don’t fret. Just be proud of your fiancee for making the decision to follow his dreams and support him through the process, as you have been doing all along! Good luck to both of you!

Post # 4
Member
284 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I can’t offer a whole lot in the line of advice here, as I’ve never been married to a doctor or med student. However, I am a nurse and I did once date a resident. What I can tell you is that you have already fought 1/2 of the battle…meaning you are mentally preparing yourself for what life will be like as a doctors wife. Being in the profession, I know many people that have gone into a relationship like that blindly, thinking that the other person would change, or that they would switch careers–I’m not really sure what they thought, but they were very out of touch with reality.

I think that cousins are probably not lying, and it seems as though you have seen first hand that they have celebrated holidays, birthdays, etc alone. They can probably also vouch for the fact that residency is generally the worst, and things get better as they move up in the ranks. As a resident, they are the “grunt” and normally do spend long hours at the hospital (especially if it’s a teaching hospital). The resident that I dated would often get to the hospital between 6:30-7AM and it wasn’t uncommon for him to be there for a good 12 hours. When he was on call, he spent 36 hours in the hospital. We met when he was doing his rotation on the unit that I was working on, his next rotation was in his focus (what he wanted to do after he finished school) and this is when things became grueling. He was spending more time at the hospital than he was spending home, and we rarely ever saw each other. Our relationship became one of late night text messages and intermittent phone calls. It was something that I couldn’t and didn’t want to deal with forever. I was at a point in my life where I was looking for Mr. Right, and knew that I would never be able to live that life.

Then I met my husband–he doesn’t have a job that is so demanding on his time, but he manages a hotel–so he still works long hours and gets stuck at work when we have a blizzard, etc. What works for us, is 1. open communication, 2. one of us is flexible. I no longer work in the hospital, and my job is very flexible in terms of work schedule…I try my very best to be off or home when he is so that we can spend time together. I will likely never go back to the hospital because the hours are so rigid, knowing that at least one of us has the flexibility with scheduling and will be around on holidays, etc makes me feel much better for whenever we do have children.

Also–make friends with your hubby’s fellow classmates significant others. When all of the doctors are working all of the rest of you can spend time together–you will “adopt” another family!

Post # 5
Member
187 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I really identify with what you’re saying, but from another perspective.  I am the future doctor spouse and I worry a lot about how the stress of chosen career is going to affect my future husband and our life together.  I think it’s difficult to fully know how life will be until you’re in that lifestyle and it’s easy to underestimate your ability to adapt.  While yes, in any given moment at work, a sick patient will come first, but honestly, this is true of every profession in which a person needs to keep their job.  No one drops everything for their spouse at work, be it an emergency and I can tell you this… In an emergency, there will be other doctors on staff to pick-up where your husband has to leave off.  Ultimately, you will be the most important factor in helping your husband through the tough road ahead, and while you may have to give more initially, marriage is a balance of giving and taking and if he is the man you know him to be, it will be recipricated.  I agree that what he said is pretty hurtful, but I would also attribute it to nerves and agitation and that happens to everyone, not just medical students. I think it’s important to express these feelings, but in a way that is non-threatening and calm.  I think it’ll be important for your husband (and me, too!) to remember that there are two people in the marriage and that while sometimes work comes first, you always prevail in the end.

Post # 6
Member
50 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

Hey there. Totally understand your concerns. I am married to a 2nd year peds resident currently in the process to apply for neonatology fellowship. What you descibed is exactly a mirror image of myself 2 years ago. We dated since 17, for 3 years, then 2 years of long distance when he was finishing med school in canada. Then, came back for 2 months, we got married at the court house and we had to move literally 10,000 miles from home (malaysia) to US. At that time, i was 22, and had no idea how taxing a resident’s life is. I came to a foreign land alone and had to adapt within days. There was no time for self pity. We were in survival mode. Buying a car was a hassle since we have no credit score history. Later, was a whole strand of paperwork for ssn application, driver’s license, rental and car insurance, buying furniture, getting cable and internet (i could go on and on). Next, was the loneliness phase. Since i am on a spouse visa, working is not really an option. I became a stay home wife. Prior to moving, i was a lab researcher involved in genomics and DNA sequencing. Being a medical spouse is a whole lot different then a normal couple. My husband brings work and readings home every night. He works on all holidays including thanksgiving and christmas.

Post # 9
Member
148 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2012 - The Old Field Club

As another medical student about to graduate this May, I can tell you that med school was not NEARLY as bad as I anticipated.  I kept telling my Fiance (then live in boyfried) that I would never be aroud, but truth be told I had a lot of spare time, with occasioal month long bursts of really long hours.  He thinks I’m the girl who cried wolf, becuase he definiltey didn’t lack seeing me at any real point in time. 

I am currently on the interview trail for pediatrics residency, and I know that residency is a lot tougher with much worse hours than medical school.  But at the same time, I think you can focus residency applications on towns/cities near your families and support systems.  I think if you are in a committed relationship your desires about where to live should be considered in making these decisions, not just your FIs. 

Also, a lot of the residents have spouses not in medicine, and if the residents are friends, they do a lot of actiities outside of the hospital and spouses/SOs are always invited. 

 

Post # 10
Member
50 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

As a medical professional, he has to keep himself updated with journals and research. Then, there is board exams, yearly in training exams, USMLEs, preparation for fellowship application, interviews… Medicine is a life-long thing. That being said, he cannot drop his work when you need to cry or take emergency leaves when you need to go for a picnic trip. We still do have mini outings to the park and such, but everything is revolved around his monthly schedule. Life as a medical spouse is hard and often lonely. You might have to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries one or two days ahead. Husband knows how much i sacrificed for his carrier and he never shouts at me. At least you are better than me, you still have a job and family around. Oh, forgot to add, medical families need to move – at least once during residency and once in fellowship. Google international medical spouse network. You will find a lot of med spouse support

Post # 12
Member
722 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

My SO’s Uncle is an ER doctor, him and his wife got married at 19 years old and have been married for 40 years! They went through it all! If you’re marriage/relationship ends up half of what theres is, trust me everything will be worth it! His Aunt contributes how strong they are today to those tough times when they were younger, good luck!

Post # 13
Member
433 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I’m engaged to a 1st year resident in internal medicine, and we’ve been together since before he started med school. There WILL be ups and downs, but you’ll survive. Find other med student spouses to sympathize with you. Know that no matter how hard it seems at the time, things will always improve (ie. fourth year of med school ended up being a breeze for my Fiance after a tough third year– I totally wasn’t expecting that!). Even now, my Fiance has months that are really hard for both of us; we never see each other, he is grumpy and exhausted. But then there are months that he works better hours and we appreciate the time together SO much more. You just have to set yourself up with a positive mindset. Be flexible, be there for him, and seriously learn to love the time that you get to spend together. If you’re grumpy during the one night a week he takes off from studying to go on a date, and fuming about not seeing him the other six night, it takes away from the time you do have. When things are bad, I remind myself that I love my fi BECAUSE he is so motivated and has such high aspirations for himself. Also, learn to not keep score about who does things around the house, who cleans, who gets errands done. It won’t be even most of the time, and you’ll learn that he’ll contribute to the relationship in other ways, but won’t necessarily have time to get things done. And then when he has free time, he can spend it with you instead of doing his laundry, etc. 

Post # 14
Member
50 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

Yes! It is totally possible to set your interview to somewhere near or at your hometown. That would make things easier. Another thing is that sometimes the top training hospitals are not in the states that your hometown is. For us, since our families are far, i told Darling Husband, if you want to do it, aim high and far. Apply for the best programs in fellowship. After all, it is only three years. Each specialty is different, different level of competitiveness, different work schedules. You will eventually find your zone and both you and your husband has to discuss and work things out unique to your situation. Financial wise, we save a lot. Not a lot of fancy dinners. Residency pay is not a lot. I don’t work, so i cook approx 6 days a week. Need to save cash for exam expenses, interview expenses and since the gov cut funds to hospitals, residents need to pay $400 each year to renew their med license. We are still able to live on one income, no kids but not the lavish doctor lifestyle that movies often portray. Life is simple, but fulfilling. I feel happy when he acheives or saved a patient at work. Recently, he received a card from a premie baby’s parents, gushing about how my Darling Husband saved their little daughter. And that, reminds me that all our sacrifices are worth it.

Post # 16
Member
121 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

My two cents – Yes, some tough times really do lay ahead, but it wont be horrible and it can be done. Like PPs have said how life works out will depend on how you and your SO handle stress and what field he goes into. I’m lucky that my Fiance is hardly ever on call, doesn’t bring work home with him, and we will get so spend most holidays together.

My Fi just recently finished school and entered the health care profession. We both finished graduate school at the same time which helped us understand the stresses the other was facing (even though mine schooling was non medical). For being understanding, also being in school helped. But so many of the SOs of my FI’s fellow students were not and they really supported each other and made some lasting friendships (which I missed out on because of my schooling). I think that will really help you make where ever school/ residency take you feel more like home.

Money will likely be tight while in school and for a while after (oh student loan payments), like labmouse said no lavish lifestyle. Sometimes this can cause added stress, especially if you are the one in charge of the budget and he doesn’t always understand the need for budgeting.

For me the smallest things often seemed so difficult. Like Miss Great Dane said, chores probably wont be equal, and being a guy he might not realize that a little appreciation goes a long way. Also, stress doesn’t always bring out the best qualities in people (for us he’d get moody, I’d wonder why I had to put up with it when I was working so hard to be nice), eventually I realized that those times were when he needed me to be the most supportive. 

In between all busy school/life stuff enjoy spending time with your best friend, you believe he and his goals are important and want to support him. Sounds to me like he’s lucky to have you. Good luck to you both.

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