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Long distance relationships

Entol

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    Here's my situation: I'm leaving for medical school in the fall to a city at least 2000 miles away from my girlfriend. She still has (at least) two years of undergrad left, but because we attend a state school, transferring is nearly out of the question for her. We've been dating a while and hope to stay together, despite how difficult it is to maintain a long distance relationship.

    My question... for those starting med school in the fall or those already in medical school, how have you dealt with having to leave a significant other behind as you attended medical school? Did you stay together?
    Any tips on how to make a long distance relationship work?
    Is it true people generally start to lose their passion for eachother when long distance?

    -Entol
     

    Cerberus

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      Originally posted by Entol
      Here's my situation: I'm leaving for medical school in the fall to a city at least 2000 miles away from my girlfriend. She still has (at least) two years of undergrad left, but because we attend a state school, transferring is nearly out of the question for her. We've been dating a while and hope to stay together, despite how difficult it is to maintain a long distance relationship.

      My question... for those starting med school in the fall or those already in medical school, how have you dealt with having to leave a significant other behind as you attended medical school? Did you stay together?
      Any tips on how to make a long distance relationship work?
      Is it true people generally start to lose their passion for eachother when long distance?

      -Entol

      end it on good terms
       
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      quideam

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        TTSD,

        I hear ya! I am going to have something very similar coming up... very much in love with the perfect person for me... and will probably be going at least a few hours away, and possibly about a 7 hour drive away next year. He's in med school here, and it will be two years before he can even attempt to get a residency near where I will be.

        I've heard both positive and negative outlooks; if you do a search, you'll find tons of threads on this topic in a bunch of forums. I think that it depends on the people - if you're willing to try and make it work, it's possible. There are stories on both ends - people who break up immediately, break up eventually, and those who stay together and end up getting married.

        I think that come the fall, we should set up a support group for people with far-away sweeties....

        Anyway, good luck and know that you're not alone!

        - Quid
         

        Entol

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          Originally posted by Cerberus
          end it on good terms

          I was hoping there was a way to avoid breaking up in the end though. Since this girl is the one that I feel is perfect for me, I would really hate to have to do this if it wasn't a last resort. Of course, if we DID break up, I would hope it would be on good terms, but I would only consider that if the long distance relationship was harmful to her.

          -Entol
           

          nrosigh

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            well try and see... long distance relationships can work if there's a clear end in sight. but open ended relationships almost always fail.

            it's a hard path to take, you may find yourselves drifting apart naturally, especially if you start med school and find yourself in a totally new environment, make all new friends, etc...
             

            Cerberus

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              Originally posted by Entol
              I was hoping there was a way to avoid breaking up in the end though. Since this girl is the one that I feel is perfect for me, I would really hate to have to do this if it wasn't a last resort. Of course, if we DID break up, I would hope it would be on good terms, but I would only consider that if the long distance relationship was harmful to her.

              -Entol

              I speak from experience. In the end it wasnt the long distance as much as it was the med school. Trust me, the "relationship" wont be worth it. Get the "my life isnt worth living" phase over with now - you wont want to deal with it in medschool.
               

              gimmedog

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                This is a totally individual and personal decision. Don't look for answers from complete strangers here!

                Just because there's a big break up contingent here, I'll add that my SO (also med student) and I have been separated for >5 years by 3000 miles and manage. Residency will be the end point for us. Before the dawn of cell phones, we wouldn't have stood a chance. I know plenty of other couples that have survived the separation and are engaged or married (transpacific, transatlantic even).

                What will you regret more, that you didn't try, or that you did?
                 

                bella_dottoressa

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                  it can be done!! i'm living proof. the first few months will be hard, though. it is very possible to beat distance and med school! i won't get into the details of my own personal account, but pm me if you're really that interested :)
                   

                  Citrus

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                    If it was meant to be it will be trust me!! you can make that work as long as you have the understanding that you might not see each other alot. Long distance relationship are only for the strong commited people. If your love is strong then miles cannot divide you.
                     

                    Citrus

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                      If it was meant to be it will be trust me!! you can make that work as long as you have the understanding that you might not see each other alot. Long distance relationship are only for the strong commited people. If your love is strong then miles cannot divide you.
                       

                      ironey

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                        I'd say that about 30% of my class is involved in committed, long-distance relationships - myself included. I'd heard all those rumors about how they would all end by January and that we'd all end up single and out in the cold this winter. However, three more people came back after break engaged with no rumors of breakups.

                        I'm in the NE and my boyfriend is in Oregon. We try to talk on the phone for a few minutes each day so we can remain involved in each others' lives. However, we are a both a bit older (27 and 30) and are sure that this is it. Neither of us is in a hurry to get married, and we are lucky that his job gives him time to visit me almost every month (for a weekend at least).

                        It wasn't easy in the beginning. It's not exactly easy now, but I have lots of friends and medical school is really great for keeping busy. So, in the long run, it depends on the two involved. How committed are both of you? Are you both willing to be celebate for long periods? Will you be able to plan out times for you to connect - by phone or on weekend visits?

                        Long distance relationships are all about delayed gratification. Are you willing to be lonely now based only on the promise of a fabulous future? Hmmm, it sounds a bit like studying medicine . . . .
                         

                        linuxgrl

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                          It's a tough question... my husband and I are facing the same thing in a few years - he wants to go to law school and I want to go to med school. We're 25 now and have been together since we were 18. Neither of us can afford to be selective with the school we go to - we'll probably be lucky to get in anywhere, so it's very likely we'll end up in different places. I honestly don't know how we'll be able to be apart! And so you have to ask yourself, why am I really doing this? What's more important to me, my husband or my career? We still haven't decided how we're going to make this work, but I guess you just have to believe it will work itself out. Hopefully we'll at least end up within 400 miles of each other and we can visit each other on the weekends.
                           
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                          Mimicat

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                            I'll add my towel in the "it can be done" corner. I was in a long-distance relationship for 5 years - 15 hour drive, or shorter plane ride.... and we survived. Now we are married and have 3 young children, and are looking at doing it again, this time closer (2 hour drive) and with the kids staying with him. I'de be home on weekends.

                            In our case there were a few things that made it work.

                            1) Get really friendly with the phone

                            2) Respect each other's goals and have a common view of what the future will bring

                            3) Make NO ROOM FOR JEALOUSY - you MUST get over any issue you have with your partner socializing with others (including members of the opposite sex) - that is just part of life. Jealousy has no positive outcome, it is destructive to you, to your partner, and ultimately to the relationship!!:smuggrin:

                            If this relationship is meant to be, it will work out. But you'll never know unless you give it a try.
                             

                            twinklz

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                              I'll weigh in on this discussion with my own predicament.

                              My boy and I will probably be at least 5 hours apart. He'll be working on his PhD, and I'll be off to med school. We've pretty much come to the conclusion that (a) we break up face to face when the time comes instead of a long drawn out horrendous ending (b) we make the plunge and commit seriously to the long term (a.k.a. engagement). We'll have been together for 4 years when we go to separate schools and have lived together for the past year, so its not like engagement is a weird next step. I just know from previous experience with LDRs that a half-hearted relationship (i.e. just boyfriend and girlfriend) between us two won't work.

                              Right now the big thing is communication. We've been talking about this situation for the past 6 months and know each others feelings on the matter. Regardless of what we choose to do, it will be a mutual decision that we arrived at together which is key to having no regrets.
                               

                              Chrisobean

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                                well seeing that i only see my boyfriend on the weekends as it is.. im sure if i go more than 2 hours away it wont be that big of a deal. im pretty used to having a weekend boyfriend. we talk a million times a day tho.. a stupid little email saying hi can go a long way...
                                you have to prepare for it now tho, that is the big thing. dont just wait until you are ready to leave to discuss the situation. have a plan, b/c when you have one they usually work.
                                 

                                Spacekat

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                                  I think that being apart, and relying on phone and e-mail communication to keep your relationship going, pares it down to the bare bones very quickly. If there was nothing at the core to begin with, the distance will certainly not help matters. If what you have was already strong it will look even stronger with all of the distractions removed.

                                  Despite my worry about this issue, I truly think that it has made my relationship with my SO better by forcing me to see what is really important between us, and teaching me to ignore the rest. We've been at it for 3 years, so it can be done.

                                  It's a lot of work, but so is marriage - better to find out now whether it's worth it to you.
                                   

                                  quideam

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                                    I think the worst part of all of this for me is the guilt. I've already been accepted to a med school very close to my bf, but my dream schools (one of which I have gotten into, 3 more that I'm waiting on) are all fairly far away..... I feel guilty if I end up going to one of those, since then it would be basically my fault that the relationship is in long-distance-jeapardy... :(

                                    - Quid
                                     

                                    musiclink213

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                                      LDR's are really really crappy, IMHO. i was in one, and it kinda died because he hates using the phone, so I would basically only talk to him once or twice a week until i see him, pretty much every other weekend. but you both have to be willing to make an effort. that's why mine didnt' work, i was making all the effort, he was just sitting back. for example, i was always the one who had to commute to go back to our hometown (he went to a city school) and he came out to see me in school once. after almost 7 months together. You have to be willing to talk to each other, even if it's for 5 minutes just to say hi, how are you? neither one of yuo should be the jealous type, nothing good comes out of that. but most importantly, you have to trust each other. if you're truly meant to be together, a few miles won't mean a thing. it's just an obstacle to get over. you need to have a serious talk with your SO. maybe try taking a break when you get over there and see how you feel without her.
                                       

                                      stomper627

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                                        The whole thing is situational dependent. I would think that since she is still in undergrad that you guys are young. How long have you been together? How many other people have you each dated? Or better yet, been with sexually? How jealous do each of you get when the other is talking with the other sex? What about each other having close opposite sex friends that the other does not personally know?
                                        I never had a girlfriend for more than 2 months (committment phobia) when I started med school, and began a relationship with a classmate that was ending a 5+year relationship when I got in the picture. We are now third years and engaged. And we have survived the rotations apart (although briefly, at 4-8weeks apart). There have been very many breakups of LD relationships in my class. And more than 3 divorces. Some relationships survived.
                                        Story: My exroommate stayed with his girlfriend. Very jealous couple, very immature couple....fought constantly. He stayed, she made him stress. He did not fair well on the boards.
                                        My advice? Agree to stay together, but be able to see other people. If that works, and you guys can stay together as friends....it will workout.
                                        stomper
                                         

                                        Entol

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                                          All these stories are really inspiring. I'm glad to hear that I'm not alone in this one! Keep those posts coming if you guys have any more interesting stories :)

                                          I also really appreciate the advice! Really helpful since this is my first time in a LDR (long distance relationship).

                                          -Entol
                                           

                                          gary5

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                                            Originally posted by Entol
                                            I was hoping there was a way to avoid breaking up in the end though. Since this girl is the one that I feel is perfect for me, I would really hate to have to do this if it wasn't a last resort. Of course, if we DID break up, I would hope it would be on good terms, but I would only consider that if the long distance relationship was harmful to her.

                                            -Entol

                                            Leave it open so you can date other people. Chances are, you'll both meet other people. If not, maybe she'll move to be with you when she graduates.

                                            Long distance relationships don't count as real relationships. For example, if you dated long distance for 2 years, it's not really 2 years. It's comparable to dating a few months with someone locally, 6 months max. By the way, marrying someone after a long distance relationship is a great way to earn yourself a divorce.
                                             

                                            NYCheartlMD

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                                              I also think that it depends on where you are in your life. I dated this guy for about 5 years, most of it long term. I tried to brake it off a few times, because it was too hard but I felt that I had a closeness with him that I had not experienced with anyone else. So we stayed together, and when we finally lived on closed proximity I realized taht we were totally different people. The general trend was, I was excited about the world and contributing to its wellbeing. And all he wanted to do was stay home, play with his computer and browse certain sites.

                                              I knew that it had to end... And it did. However, he never allowed an actual coversation about it to take place... so we never really reached an agreement that things were just not working out. Then every few months he will come up and say lets get back together, or be friends, but he never allowed a conversation about the problems to take place... We now have totally seperate lives, cannot really be even acquintances when we accidentally bump into each other.

                                              The point that I am trying to make is, long distance relationships are not easy. Many people grow apart. The most important thing is to keep the conversation open, be apart of each others lives and aspirations... Be honest, and if the relationship doesn't work specifically because of the distance you might be at least able to stay friends. And who knows, if it is meant to be then may be one day you will find each other in the same city and figure out the rest.
                                               

                                              Sweet Tea

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                                                I think it can work, but both of you have to be willing to work and do things that you wouldn't normally do for a relationship. You both have to be willing to use all forms of communication available to you...the phone, email, IM, whatever you can find, and you both have to be very up front about your expectations. You also have to be willing to give up certain things in exchange for making sure you have the time to devote to your relationship.

                                                In some ways, being in an LDR has been an advantage to me with med school. I have to study more during the week than some of my other classmates because I want to keep the weekends free so I can visit him. It also helps that both of us are in med school, so we understand if the other person is too busy or stressed to talk. However, even when we're busy, we both take the time to make a quick call to say "Hey, I can't talk but I wanted to let you know I was thinking of you".

                                                It can be done, but I don't think everyone can do it.
                                                 

                                                Nutmeg

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                                                  Originally posted by Entol
                                                  I was hoping there was a way to avoid breaking up in the end though. Since this girl is the one that I feel is perfect for me, I would really hate to have to do this if it wasn't a last resort. Of course, if we DID break up, I would hope it would be on good terms, but I would only consider that if the long distance relationship was harmful to her.

                                                  -Entol

                                                  If she's perfect for you, defer med school until she graduates and can come with you. If she isn't worth that sacrifice, you should just end it on good terms.
                                                   
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