Any advice for my spouse who is struggling with having to move with me for medical school?

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Calizboosted76

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Hello everyone, I was lucky enough to be accepted to a DO school that is only 6 hours away from my home at the moment.

My spouse is having trouble with moving away from her family. We will be making visits as much as my schooling allows. However I have also told her that she is more than welcome to stay behind and we can have a long distant relationship ( this would kill me because of our daughter however I know sacrifices must be made.) My spouse is completely against staying behind but she is having a rough time any time we speak about it.

Does anyone else have any suggestions?
 
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AnatomyGrey12

She needs to talk to spouses of people ahead of you in the process.
 
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Does your school have a student spouse organization? Mine does and it’s mostly students’ wives with small kids, they get together regularly, swap babysitting, and help with the family transition to a new city.

If your school doesn’t have one, maybe your wife could start one and build a support system in your new city?
 
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Calizboosted76

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Does your school have a student spouse organization? Mine does and it’s mostly students’ wives with small kids, they get together regularly, swap babysitting, and help with the family transition to a new city.

If your school doesn’t have one, maybe your wife could start one and build a support system in your new city?

I believe they do have one. However I am not 100% sure. My spouse is very introverted and has anxiety when it comes to meeting new individuals. However I am trying to help her as much as I can with that.
 
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I believe they do have one. However I am not 100% sure. My spouse is very introverted and has anxiety when it comes to meeting new individuals. However I am trying to help her as much as I can with that.

I understand, being extremely introverted myself. Our organization has a meeting with the students’ spouses during our orientation, just an informal “what to expect from your time in Med school” type of thing.

Just a thought...would your wife be comfortable with connecting to other student spouses over Facebook or text first? Sometimes getting to know someone without that face to face pressure helps.
 
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hallowmann

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One thing that my wife found extremely valuable in times of med school and even moreso in residency (prior to COVID) was regular trips back home even if I wasn't able to join. She would go for weeks at a time and later with the kids. In residency, she's often gone before I had a vacation and I would join them out there and we'd come back together, or I'd go with them and come back early and she'd stay weeks longer.

Obviously its not like living right there, but having a 2-3 weeks every few months wasn't too bad, and honestly my wife would have been driven crazy by her family if it was any longer.

I agree that the long-distance plan sounds terrible with a child, but I've known people who did it. First priority is both of your health and sanity. If being closer to her support system is what it takes for you two to make it through, that's what you have to do.
 
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Calizboosted76

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I understand, being extremely introverted myself. Our organization has a meeting with the students’ spouses during our orientation, just an informal “what to expect from your time in Med school” type of thing.

Just a thought...would your wife be comfortable with connecting to other student spouses over Facebook or text first? Sometimes getting to know someone without that face to face pressure helps.
She would definitely be open to connecting via social media first for sure!
 
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Calizboosted76

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One thing that my wife found extremely valuable in times of med school and even moreso in residency (prior to COVID) was regular trips back home even if I wasn't able to join. She would go for weeks at a time and later with the kids. In residency, she's often gone before I had a vacation and I would join them out there and we'd come back together, or I'd go with them and come back early and she'd stay weeks longer.

Obviously its not like living right there, but having a 2-3 weeks every few months wasn't too bad, and honestly my wife would have been driven crazy by her family if it was any longer.

I agree that the long-distance plan sounds terrible with a child, but I've known people who did it. First priority is both of your health and sanity. If being closer to her support system is what it takes for you two to make it through, that's what you have to do.

I told her she should feel free to take as many trips back home that she wants. I’m hoping it doesn’t come to my daughter and her living here and me living closer to the school. However I am going in very open minded and I want her to be happy. She has sacrificed a lot for me to get to where I am.
 
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Hello everyone, I was lucky enough to be accepted to a DO school that is only 6 hours away from my home at the moment.

My spouse is having trouble with moving away from her family. We will be making visits as much as my schooling allows. However I have also told her that she is more than welcome to stay behind and we can have a long distant relationship ( this would kill me because of our daughter however I know sacrifices must be made.) My spouse is completely against staying behind but she is having a rough time any time we speak about it.

Does anyone else have any suggestions?
She's going to have to cut the cord sooner or later. She has you and your daughter to worry about, and her family should be coming second.


Family came second the day you put that wedding ring on her her

It's only 6 hours away, and they should be able to visit her as well
 
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Weirdy

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Has she had a chance to personally check out the new area?
Physically walked around, scouted neighborhoods, see if there are places she likes?
Have you both looked into her job opportunities?
Have you sat down and explicitly asked her "What are you most worried about?" Concrete details, not emotions.
Worse case have you just asked her that and just sat and listened?

Its going to hurt either way. You can't change that. But if both of you are in agreement and go all in, as soon as you pack the car and start driving- it becomes an adventure. Its about mitigating that feeling of discomfort and building her confidence that this move will be uncomfortable, but can work.

Another thing- and this varies between every couple and person- you yourself need to be 100% on board with the decision and steadfast.

I found that my wife (also introverted, also had to move because of my schooling, did more for me than I could have ever asked to get me to where I am) was more likely to hop on the train if she knew
1) I genuinely liked what I was doing
2) I had a firm decision in mind and wasn't wishy washy about it
3) Put into consideration what her concerns were, sat down, understood, and acknowledged what she was worried about and what she had to give up to go with me.

After that 1st semester, it was easier and easier to get into the swing of things regarding the feeling of missing home. Depending the location you are going for school, after the 2nd or 3rd visit coming home- we wouldn't miss "home" at all because the location we were in and the life we had built for ourselves was different and newer than what home was. Come home for the holidays and it was like time stood still. Little to nothing changed.

Home is where your family is. Home is where you and your spouse create a home for yourself. The location does not matter so much as you two are 100% on board with each other, understanding what the other is giving up, acknowledging it- and doing your best to make it a positive experience.

You have a child so this is even harder. Be supportive, be confident, be understanding and acknowledge her concerns. When push comes to shove, you just have to tell her what you think is a good idea for your family- staying together or being apart- and stick to it. Sure you'll feel guilty, people will tell you you're selfish- but I've seen couples with children make med school work even if they have to uproot their entire family. I've even seen 4th year pod students bring their wife and kids with them every month they're on a sub-i.

The other way will work as well- but that requires a mature relationship because you will be away from both her and seeing your daughter grow. You will never get that time back with your daugther. Your relationship with your wife will have to change. You two will have to be comfortable with the fact that you may go hours without saying a word to each other or months without seeing each other pending how far school is. When you come back in person you'll have to start from scratch again. You'll be upset that she cannot comprehend the amount of duress you are under, and she will be upset you cannot understand how she is raising your daughter alone.

Make up a decision in your head and stick to it. Talk to her and see what her concerns are.

Then both of you need to sit down and decide: Is it better for your family to stay together or be apart?
 
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fldoctorgirl

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I told her she should feel free to take as many trips back home that she wants. I’m hoping it doesn’t come to my daughter and her living here and me living closer to the school. However I am going in very open minded and I want her to be happy. She has sacrificed a lot for me to get to where I am.
It is very sweet of you to be so understanding and willing to work with your wife. I can try to offer some perspective from a mildly similar situation.

My SO moved with me for med school, but much farther-- from the east coast to the midwest. We also don't have any children yet. It was a huge adjustment and sacrifice for him to make and I am grateful every day for it. He missed a lot of events in his family and friend's lives (people having kids etc). We did something similar to what others have mentioned on here; we took frequent trips home in M1 and M2 because I didn't attend classes and so I was able to take extended weekend trips home (think Wednesday to a Monday or something like that as long as there were no on-campus required activities). He would also often stay longer than me if he was able to make it work with his schedule. I never held that against him or got upset that I had to leave and he was staying.

I think your wife just needs help with the adjustment. 6 hours is literally nothing, home is easily accessible. I am of the belief that a couple, especially a married one with a child, should be together unless extraneous circumstances exist (one absolutely cannot leave a job, etc.). It's sweet that you are open to the idea of living apart, but this would personally be a no go for me. Like others said, you (and your daughter) should come first from the day you got married. I think having her connect with other spouses is a great idea, and also reminding her that this is just a blip of time in the grand scheme of things. If you're hoping to return home for residency/future life, remind her of this. Lastly, it goes by quickly. I had a really rough time adjusting when we first moved, but now I'm an M3 close to (hopefully) returning home. You both will be on many difficult journeys throughout your lives together, and this is just one. Go in as a team and get it done.
 
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ciestar

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OP, im sorry. My husband and I did the opposite. Granted, im closer than 6 hours to them, but it’s still hard. My husband has been my rock and you’ll need her too.
 
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drstranger

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@Calizboosted76 find her a group I know ACOM has a pretty active student advocate Facebook page for spouse and significant others. I know quite a few students with children also so just finding a group they can mesh with is key. I will say it might be a little harder with COVID sticking around. My wife was able to find a good group of medical school spouses and it really helped her with supporting me and knowing the time commitment of medical school

also I wanted to add that with you guys only being 6 hours away she can drive home for a weekend that you have a test and come back if she is not planning on working
 
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Calizboosted76

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I really appreciate all of the responses. I’m going to sit down again with her after the holidays and try get this figured out. I know she wants to go but she is worried about her grandparents (who raised her).
 
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One thing that my wife found extremely valuable in times of med school and even moreso in residency (prior to COVID) was regular trips back home even if I wasn't able to join. She would go for weeks at a time and later with the kids. In residency, she's often gone before I had a vacation and I would join them out there and we'd come back together, or I'd go with them and come back early and she'd stay weeks longer.

Obviously its not like living right there, but having a 2-3 weeks every few months wasn't too bad, and honestly my wife would have been driven crazy by her family if it was any longer.

I agree that the long-distance plan sounds terrible with a child, but I've known people who did it. First priority is both of your health and sanity. If being closer to her support system is what it takes for you two to make it through, that's what you have to do.
Agree with this 100%. Our children were very young when I started school and my in-laws lived about 4.5 hours away. There were numerous times, even to this day, where she and the kids would go visit grandma and grandpa without me. This was a necessary sacrifice and something we agreed to before even being accepted to medical school. Medicine is an incredibly long journey but it makes life more enjoyable to have your best friend/significant other by your side.
 
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iceclimb12

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If you want to talk to someone with small kids who is on the other side (graduating in May, Lord willing), feel free to PM me. I’ve also spent some time in the military and have moved around so I know what it’s like to be far and close to home. We’re fairly close to family now (~2 hours), but residency is looking like we’ll be 8-16 hours away more likely than not. We are having those conversations now. With kids in the picture, no doubt your wife will be the MVP of med school and residency. Mine is.

I’m actually currently sitting in a parking lot while my kiddos get a car nap so their mom can have a break haha! Should’ve brought a book.

I sympathize with you and understand how you want to accommodate your wife. I think that’s super admirable of you and speaks well of you as a man. That said, the conversation that you need to have with your wife is coming to a mutual agreement that you are in this together. You are already married, and have a child - who needs a father as well as a mother. While it’s possible to do long distance, it’s not going to be good for you, your wife, or your daughter. Medicine is a job but it’s a job that requires commitment; a calling... it is most helpful when the whole family is on board. You cannot forge ahead without them, and your willingness to do anything and everything for them, to lay your life down for them, will make you a better doctor (no matter what people say). But it’s a shared commitment, and if your family cannot do the same for you it will be very hard going forward.

My wife sounds very similar to yours in terms of temperament. She does not do well with major transition, to prefers to be close to home, and is introverted, and (very admirably I might add) loves her family very dearly (for the record I do too). But that’s where mission comes in. If you share that mission, a passion with her, you could take her to the ends of the earth. My wife has been literally everywhere (even on the other side of the globe) with me because of that shared mission, and she doesn’t regret a second of it. Has it been easy? Absolutely not. Fulfilling? Yes.

It has taken a lot of self sacrifice on both our parts also. I have had to limit my ambitions to a degree, and certainly my desire to do anything other than read, study, or be dad/husband (I.e. no ice climbing :)). She has continually had to lay down the desire to be completely in control and have total stability (for a time).

That mission translates to making friends, also. My wife (despite her temperament) has actually made far more friends than I while in school. Partly from shared experience with other moms who are going through the med school process, and partly from the very real need for support outside of just me. So it could also be tremendously good for her in that regard.

As an aside, the first two years of school are busy with studying, but you can still see your kid(s) a lot in that timeframe, which will be nice for the family. Third year is a bit busy, and fourth year so far has been not so bad, so I feel I have been very available in this time for them. Residency will definitely be harder no doubt.

But it seems like your attitude has you on the right track, even if you don’t have all the answers. As I indicated before, you will do well if you prioritize your family before anything else. It just takes a little bit of discipline and sacrifice, and a lot of grace and love.

Her being raised by her grandparents does make this more difficult, I am sure. And important to be available for them as much as possible. There may be a happy medium; a way she can spend adequate amounts of time with them and with you and that is something you can figure out together.

Anyway, I wish you the best on your endeavor as a med student and in your marriage and fatherhood. This may not be popular ‘round these parts but I will pray for you. Genuinely.
 
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calivianya

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Doing the long distance thing during med school (sort of, my spouse was gone for 4-6 weeks at a time, home for 1-2 weeks) destroyed my marriage. Literally. We're divorced. Absence does not always make the heart grow fonder - it increased our arguments significantly. We are giving it another go after a year apart, actually, but nothing is the same and I feel like we're more like FWB than anything else and I'm not sure of the long term potential of the relationship at this point.

I'm not saying this is going to happen to you, but we were rock solid before I moved for med school - I never in a million years thought this would happen to us. However, the changes in our lives of me going from the higher earner of the relationship to becoming a dependent unemployed student, both of us leaving our families and friends behind, med school stress on my part with added frustration with feeling useless since I wasn't working, then with the long distance dropped on top, proved to be an absolutely fatal combination.
 
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iceclimb12

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That sounds rough, I'm so sorry that happened to you. I will pray for you and your spouse too. Proud of you for giving it another go, even if it hurts.
 
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OP, im sorry. My husband and I did the opposite. Granted, im closer than 6 hours to them, but it’s still hard. My husband has been my rock and you’ll need her too.
Do you mean you did the opposite as in you live near your med school and your husband stayed behind? If so and you're willing, would you please DM me any advice about this? My partner and I own a condo and I was accepted to a school out of state. They want to keep the condo, which may result in us doing long-distance.
 

ciestar

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Do you mean you did the opposite as in you live near your med school and your husband stayed behind? If so and you're willing, would you please DM me any advice about this? My partner and I own a condo and I was accepted to a school out of state. They want to keep the condo, which may result in us doing long-distance.
No, i meant moving away from my family. He came with me for school!
 
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Hate that you’re so stressed about all of this. It’s normal though. Deep breath before the plunge and all that.

it works for some of course. But I’ve never gotten the whole live apart for medschool thing. Maybe if your spouse has some baller job I guess. It’s not like you’ll both be living back in your current town once med schools over. You might move back, but the match might take you literally twice as far away. Moving is sadly an unavoidable consequence of this process for most people.
 
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Calizboosted76

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My fiancé says there is no way she will be able to stay here. She knows that would destroy me because of our daughter.

She has been wanting to move out on our own for a while (we still live with my mom) but it hasn’t been a good move financially.
I think once we get past that initial shock of being in a different state she will get better. However I want to give her as much autonomy as possible because I know this is a big deal.
 
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I highly recommend moving earlier than your estimated start date. You need to be available to your spouse to process living on your own in an unfamiliar state without being preoccupied by medical school. The first few months of med school can be rough and you want to be in a stable living situation before you start. Look into moving in May or June. Financially it’s not the best move but having time to settle makes a huge difference.
 
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Calizboosted76

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I highly recommend moving earlier than your estimated start date. You need to be available to your spouse to process living on your own in an unfamiliar state without being preoccupied by medical school. The first few months of med school can be rough and you want to be in a stable living situation before you start. Look into moving in May or June. Financially it’s not the best move but having time to settle makes a huge difference.

We actually talking about this and we will be moving in June!
 
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We actually talking about this and we will be moving in June!

This is a great idea, especially since you have a family. We moved in July and only had 3 weeks to settle in, deal with the mountain of paperwork that comes with moving across the country (DMV, insurance, doctors, school stuff, etc). It was very stressful and I would have loved another month.
 
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Matthew9Thirtyfive

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She could talk to my wife. We moved 7 times in 7 years thanks to the military, including to an island in the middle of the ocean where we didn’t know anyone while she was 8 months pregnant. You get used to it, and one think I’ve learned from experience is that you can build a network and make a place home almost anywhere if you’re open minded.
 
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Calizboosted76

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She could talk to my wife. We moved 7 times in 7 years thanks to the military, including to an island in the middle of the ocean where we didn’t know anyone while she was 8 months pregnant. You get used to it, and one think I’ve learned from experience is that you can build a network and make a place home almost anywhere if you’re open minded.

I really appreciate that. If you want to DM a way she could contact her I will give it to her.
 
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