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Lack of spousal support?

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rainbowconnection

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I guess this post is more fit for a marriage counselor, but I’ll ask here anyway. My wife has been getting extremely cold feet ahead of my application to SMPs next year. Primarily about not seeing me and being alone a lot while I’m in training - and I’m not even sure how to dispel her anxieties, since they all seem to be founded in reality. I think her feelings are particularly magnified because I’m non-trad and have come to pre-med from a relatively cushy research gig. Has anyone altered or delayed their career path due to a lack of spousal support? As a note, we’re still in our 20s, so kids are far in the future post-training.
 

M&L

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I guess this post is more fit for a marriage counselor, but I’ll ask here anyway. My wife has been getting extremely cold feet ahead of my application to SMPs next year. Primarily about not seeing me and being alone a lot while I’m in training - and I’m not even sure how to dispel her anxieties, since they all seem to be founded in reality. I think her feelings are particularly magnified because I’m non-trad and have come to pre-med from a relatively cushy research gig. Has anyone altered or delayed their career path due to a lack of spousal support? As a note, we’re still in our 20s, so kids are far in the future post-training.
well, have you tried talking to her about why that is important to you? have to explained to her financial benefits of doing that? usually, when ppl see the financial benefit for the whole family, they become more flexible......

what does your wife do? does she have a career?
 

Rapsidy

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You have to weigh the pros and cons of pursuing this path. Ask her why she is getting cold feet now when she was (presumably) okay with it before hand. What changed from before other than the reality of being alone is closer now? How far away from home is the SMP's that you are doing? You might want to consider ones close to you only if you are concerned about her anxieties.

Almost no one gets through medical school alone and having your wife's support will be critical on this path, so make sure you listen to her anxieties and fears and find whatever ways you guys can compromise without risking lowering your success in the SMP. As M&L said, reminding her about the financial benefit down the road may be a good place to start, especially if you plan to have kids once you finish medical school.

Finally, ask yourself why you are pursuing this path. I'm sure you have the passion and drive for a reason so you have to show that all of that to her. If she sees that, most likely she will be able to work through some of her own fears and anxiety. Also, I don't know your relationship but maybe see if there is more to her anxiety than just you being away. Maybe she has fears that you guys will grow apart or you'll find someone else in medical school? I don't know what she does as a profession but there is potentially a huge power dynamic change when you become a doctor and she may be feeling left behind or like she isn't good enough anymore, but may be afraid to voice those fears as she doesn't want to feel like she is holding you back or getting in the way of your dreams.

Good luck!
 
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gollypogs

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Medical school (and the career afterwards) can be very hard on spouses. I'm also a non-trad and was really worried about my spouse when I started working toward this path. See if you can find a good marriage counselor in your area. Seeing a counselor/therapist doesn't necessarily mean you are in crisis or failing. It can be a great platform for discussing hard issues. I did marriage counseling all through first year of med school and it was so helpful. Highly, highly recommend.
 
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calivianya

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    My spouse didn’t offer me an option - didn’t even want marriage counseling - he was just unhappy and decided the best way to handle it was to cheat and then leave. And he had been completely on board and even excited about me going to med school before I started.

    Hate to be the Debbie Downer here, but if your spouse is showing signs of dissatisfaction before you even start, I would really sit down and think about which you want more: to keep her as your spouse, or to become a doctor, because while things might work out and it might be fine after all the reality is that you may end up having to choose. There’s arguments for either option - there are always other people you could marry later if you really couldn’t be happy in any other career, and the only one who’s going to take care of you and put your best interests first in your life is you, but there are also plenty of other careers if you really love your wife.

    Good luck.
     
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    samc

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    Without getting too personal, medical training has been very hard on my relationship (I'm a 40s woman, he's a much older guy). It conveniently happens that I'm interested in one of the dark horse "lifestyle" specialties--forensic pathology--but I am really not sure if we'd be together if I was training in internal medicine or worse. Kids were never on the table for us. I was initially in a nurse practitioner program but dropped out to start premed prerequisites, and now I'm a resident. If I had it to do over again, I can't say that my choice would definitely be medicine again. Really think it over, and investigate NP/PA. People are always talking about the extra knowledge of physiology, etc., that physicians have, and that is certainly true, but med school is more rote memorization and fewer concepts than you might think. NP/PA plus a physiology textbook on the side might very well get you enough book learning to be satisfied. The difference in clinical training is inevitable, but you'd be in practice and learning tons of stuff before you know it.
     
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    M&L

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    different situation, and maybe people will hate me for it, but ill put this out there for the sake of showing a different perspective.

    never married, but was engaged, and we lived together for a year before splitting up. From day one my partner knew that medicine had been my plan for a long time, my dream that i worked on for 4 years before the relationship even started. at first he was excited (he was from a very wealthy family, and dating a doctor was cool. I am dirt poor, immigrant, but i have 3 degrees, play musical instruments, educated in art, finances, science, speak several languages, blah blah blah, so i was a "good fit" for the family. they cared about this cr**). Then, as i was going through the application cycle, and finishing my last year of college (my second bachelors in biochem), and working full time in addiction treatment facility and as a TA, he started getting upset that i was not there enough. But while he was complaining, he wouldnt do anything to help make time... For example, i was still expected to cook, take care of the animals, etc. I would ask him "well, if you fixed dinner, i would finish up, and we can spend time together".... he didnt see it this way..... I was still expected to do everything in addition to my work and school load... "because he was tired from work" (he worked only 40 hours a week, while i worked 40 plus school plus travelling to interviews). Anyway, there was a week when i had flu. 102 fever, all the works. Had to go to work, school, all of it. Came home at 10 pm.... he was about to go to bed to get his 8 hours of sleep.... There was nothing for me to eat, dog was not walked. I ended up staying up till midnight making dinner, walking dog, feeding her, and studying with 102 degree fever. Was up at 6, - 30 min before him.
    then he started getting jealous and say how i "got lucky" that i got into medical school. LUCKY???? anyway, you can even imagine how mad i was. As the time to move for medical school was nearing, our relationship was collapsing. he didnt even congratulate me for my birthday. He became jealous of my success, and that i achieved the goal i was working for. His mom told him that she never thought i would actually get in (because she didn't back in the days). Anyway, everything just turned into resentment, cruel comments. He was saying that i was heartless because i took MCAT after my brother died (instead of taking several months off to grieve - i couldn't even afford to skip one day off work but being the rich kid he didn't get it). anyway... things went really bad.
    we split up in May, after i finalized paperwork with EVMS. In July i moved to Norfolk and never looked back.

    What i learnt from it (just for myself, i am not saying that this is what you should do, i am just sharing my personal experience): If your partner is worried about general stuff, but loves and supports you, - work on things. If the partner starts getting jealous because you are more successful, or resenting you for achieving your dreams while they maybe failed (so dynamic changed in the relationship), then walk away and never look back. Thats just my experience, of course. I just realized that my own life that i worked so hard on building is more important to me that someone who doesnt understand.

    PS: me and him talk once in a while, and he admitted that he was definitely wrong, and he is sorry. Now i see that splitting up was the best thing for both of us.
     
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    D

    deleted1005514

    different situation, and maybe people will hate me for it, but ill put this out there for the sake of showing a different perspective.

    never married, but was engaged, and we lived together for a year before splitting up. From day one my partner knew that medicine had been my plan for a long time, my dream that i worked on for 4 years before the relationship even started. at first he was excited (he was from a very wealthy family, and dating a doctor was cool. I am dirt poor, immigrant, but i have 3 degrees, play musical instruments, educated in art, finances, science, speak several languages, blah blah blah, so i was a "good fit" for the family. they cared about this cr**). Then, as i was going through the application cycle, and finishing my last year of college (my second bachelors in biochem), and working full time in addiction treatment facility and as a TA, he started getting upset that i was not there enough. But while he was complaining, he wouldnt do anything to help make time... For example, i was still expected to cook, take care of the animals, etc. I would ask him "well, if you fixed dinner, i would finish up, and we can spend time together".... he didnt see it this way..... I was still expected to do everything in addition to my work and school load... "because he was tired from work" (he worked only 40 hours a week, while i worked 40 plus school plus travelling to interviews). Anyway, there was a week when i had flu. 102 fever, all the works. Had to go to work, school, all of it. Came home at 10 pm.... he was about to go to bed to get his 8 hours of sleep.... There was nothing for me to eat, dog was not walked. I ended up staying up till midnight making dinner, walking dog, feeding her, and studying with 102 degree fever. Was up at 6, - 30 min before him.
    then he started getting jealous and say how i "got lucky" that i got into medical school. LUCKY???? anyway, you can even imagine how mad i was. As the time to move for medical school was nearing, our relationship was collapsing. he didnt even congratulate me for my birthday. He became jealous of my success, and that i achieved the goal i was working for. His mom told him that she never thought i would actually get in (because she didn't back in the days). Anyway, everything just turned into resentment, cruel comments. He was saying that i was heartless because i took MCAT after my brother died (instead of taking several months off to grieve - i couldn't even afford to skip one day off work but being the rich kid he didn't get it). anyway... things went really bad.
    we split up in May, after i finalized paperwork with EVMS. In July i moved to Norfolk and never looked back.

    What i learnt from it (just for myself, i am not saying that this is what you should do, i am just sharing my personal experience): If your partner is worried about general stuff, but loves and supports you, - work on things. If the partner starts getting jealous because you are more successful, or resenting you for achieving your dreams while they maybe failed (so dynamic changed in the relationship), then walk away and never look back. Thats just my experience, of course. I just realized that my own life that i worked so hard on building is more important to me that someone who doesnt understand.

    PS: me and him talk once in a while, and he admitted that he was definitely wrong, and he is sorry. Now i see that splitting up was the best thing for both of us.
    Yeah, you dodged a bullet. Yikes!
     
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    M&L

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    Yeah, you dodged a bullet. Yikes!
    definitely....
    i do know that of course there are a lot of spouses that maybe seem unsupportive, but for a different reason. THey might have legitimate reasons to worry, for example, and it doesnt mean they are my case. But i put my story out there, because maybe someone will see familiar patterns. You see, i did not see the problem in our relationship for a long time, - i thought we had good days and bad days. but over time the pattern emerged.
     
    D

    deleted1005514

    definitely....
    i do know that of course there are a lot of spouses that maybe seem unsupportive, but for a different reason. THey might have legitimate reasons to worry, for example, and it doesnt mean they are my case. But i put my story out there, because maybe someone will see familiar patterns. You see, i did not see the problem in our relationship for a long time, - i thought we had good days and bad days. but over time the pattern emerged.
    Oh, I agree! My husband and I have been married a long time, and we've both had our insecure moments where we worried the other one would change due to more education, better job, etc. We've also had times where we each "dropped the ball" on giving 100%, but usually a good discussion (or a good fight, lol) would set us back on course, and when you take a big picture view we always support each other in our goals, and try very hard to work towards making both of us happy. Sometimes the day-to-day frustrations can cloud that though...and that works in reverse as well. Sometimes you think things are going well because you're ignoring or biting your tongue on a lot of red flag issues.
     
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    M&L

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    Oh, I agree! My husband and I have been married a long time, and we've both had our insecure moments where we worried the other one would change due to more education, better job, etc. We've also had times where we each "dropped the ball" on giving 100%, but usually a good discussion (or a good fight, lol) would set us back on course, and when you take a big picture view we always support each other in our goals, and try very hard to work towards making both of us happy. Sometimes the day-to-day frustrations can cloud that though...and that works in reverse as well. Sometimes you think things are going well because you're ignoring or biting your tongue on a lot of red flag issues.
    sounds like a great attitude!!! i believe in marriage, and i hope i will meet someone i can share a life with.
    my ex completely lacked any desire to fix it, and the relationship was just so toxic. But i do know that any relationship has ups and downs and ppl need to work on things. (but really - not even walking a dog when the other person has 102 degree fever, - thats just wrong :)))
     
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