Sep 24, 2017
Other Health Professions Student
My boyfriend started medical school about a month ago and Im having some tough moments relating to the stress he's going through. I do my best to be supportive, I do more of the chores, cooking, cleaning to make things less stressful for him. I do my best to help him calm down when he's stressed and work with him to make plans to get all of his work done when he's overwhelmed.

I know his schedule is incredibly demanding and will just continue to become more so as he continues through school. I thought it would be a good idea to ask him if we can set aside a time once a week for 2 hours where we do something fun together and disconnect from school work. We tried that for the first time today and it went terribly. He was distracted, not present and seemed to rather be studying.
I told him I was upset about that and that I understand in some scenarios our relationship will have to take a backseat to medical school but that I think it's still important to have regular moments where we check-in as a couple.

For background, my boyfriend and I have been dating for about 3 1/2 years. We went to undergrad together, did long distance for over a year while he was studying for the MCAT while working full time and we have lived together now for about 14 months. We're both on the same page about our future as a couple and have talked seriously about marriage ( not any time soon).
I also just started my MPH at the same time he began medical school, (at the same university) so I am dealing with my own sense of newness, school pressure and anxiety in my masters program.

My question is how can I be more supportive to his needs without completely compromising my own?

Am I asking too much to make sure our relationship remains as an important piece of his daily life?

How can I make this so our relationship doesn't become a burden to him or me?

How can I cope more with this new constant feeling of guilt he has whenever he's not studying?

My boyfriend says sometimes that he only has so much emotional band-with in medical school because he has so much to deal with, how can I juggle that when he is the person I am so used to turning to when I have my own stress or frustrations?

I appreciate your feedback


OVC c/o 2015
7+ Year Member
Dec 24, 2009
Midwest, US
I am in a similar situation (boyfriend is a 1st year med student) and I think at this stage all med students feel a little panicked and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of material they are supposed to learn in a very short period of time. This may be something that gets better with time as they adjust to the rigors of medical school. I don't think it's wrong of you to want to spend quality time with him, but it may also be very hard for him to disconnect when he's stressed out and is worried that he should be using any free time he has to study for his next test.


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10+ Year Member
Aug 1, 2005
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He will adjust to the pressures of med school. So, he will feel more comfortable especially after the first semester. I started dating in my first semester but about halfway through so I was better prepared. For many years, he is not going to probably be able to handle his crap and your crap too. I would recommend for you to try and find another person to be the one to talk to about your school problems and such. Compared to what we have to deal with it it will only seem trivial to him and may drive you further apart. I know he is supposed to be the one there for you but he can't right now. That is the biggest problem I have had as well in my relationship. I have nothing left to give after dealing with this crap all day and the stress. I hate to tell you it will get worse in residency where you are are the actual decision maker and do the work. However, once things slow down, I think it is reasonable for him to be able to set aside a date night roughly once week. Some weeks will be hard due to having multiple exams that week. You just have to be there to support him and wait it out.
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May 29, 2018
I agree with the above poster. It will probably take a semester or even a year for him to adjust to the new stresses. It's important to have a conversation about what both of your expectations are moving forward with your relationship and medical school so that you're on the same page with how you'll spend your time. For us s/o's, we definitely have to compromise and accept that our time together is limited over the next however many years and to try to appreciate the take advantage of the time we can spend.
As far as some tips to help him de-stress, I'm sure the chores are helping him out a lot. But make sure not to overdo it, as you may start to resent how much you are doing for him and how little you are getting back. It's great to help out but don't make yourself feel like a maid!
Here are some other things you can do:
- plan a fun distraction, like a trip, a concert, or a date night (you might not get those 2 hours every single week but it's great to have a chunk of time to look forward to together)
- encourage self-care (exercise, doing things he loves to do, etc)
- be positive (remind him that he deserves to be there)
Hope that helps! It will get better!!
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