SDN members see fewer ads and full resolution images. Join our non-profit community!

MD-PhD couples

Discussion in 'Spouses and Partners' started by dhutc002, May 7, 2008.

  1. dhutc002


    May 7, 2008
    If anyone out there is one half of an MD-PhD couple, I would appreciate some advice on how you made it through the various trials that such a situation presents for early-career individuals.

    My husband is in his third year of medical school and I'm finishing up a postdoctoral fellowship. Besides the stress of his current surgical rotation, things are going well for us.

    We will have to live apart for nine months of next year while I start my new position as an assistant professor and he finishes up his MD. After that, he will try to get matched in the state where I'll be working and then we'll hopefully have children. The anticipation of this situation really worries me. I know that he will be working long hours during his residency (most likely in anesthesia), and at the same time, I'll be working toward tenure by teaching, doing research, writing grants, serving on committees, and mentoring graduate and undergraduate students. Needless to say, we will both be extremely busy over the next 5-6 years. I'm hoping that someone can give us tips on how to keep our marriage strong and do a decent job of raising children in this situation. We are not in a position to hold off on having kids as I am already in mid-30s.

    Thank you.
  2. SDN Members don't see this ad. About the ads.
  3. xanthines

    xanthines decaying organic matter Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Feb 22, 2002
    Well, I'm guessing by MD/PhD you that one of you has the MD and the other one a PhD. :)

    A common theme that seems to pop up in successful relationships (long-distance or not) is good communication. I think as long you talk to each other and let each other know how you feel, that will go a long way. As for having kids, I can't comment too much on that since I don't have any. However, I've seen lots of couples in different situation with children and they seem to do OK. I think once you have kids you figure out a way to take care of them. Your husband should be aware of the "good enough" theory of parenting, so I wouldn't worry too much about that.

    I hope someone else chimes in with their experiences and advice. Good luck!

  4. MaddieMay

    MaddieMay 2+ Year Member

    Feb 25, 2008
    Whoo! You guys will want a lot of strategies to make this work out as best as possible, and you'll find them with the right couple's therapist. Honestly, the average person hasn't been trained to navigate an LDR followed by a limited amount of time together followed by children. We're just as unlikely to know how to proceed as you, not to mention, each situation is unique.

    Good luck!
  5. veggie lee

    veggie lee

    Jul 8, 2007
    Erie, PA
    I haven't experienced your situation and apologize for adding another inexperienced voice to the mix. You probably already know that there are couples out there who have gone through worse and survived. I think a lot depend on your level of commitment and willingness to see things through. Personally though, if it were possible, I would try to delay your beginning the new job a few months if possible to avoid such a long seperation. I would think it would be worth it in the long run to protect your relationship since our marriages will outlast most of our careers (we hope). Whatever you decide I wsh you and your hubby the best.
  6. jsydc

    jsydc 5+ Year Member

    Feb 22, 2008
    I'm a bit earlier on in a similar situation. My wife is in 2nd year med while I'm just starting an MD-PhD next year after finishing my Masters. My PI actually went through a similar situation, as his wife is a clinician. They ended up living apart for 1 year during her residency, but things worked out eventually, they have 3 kids now and he's one of the most family oriented profs I've ever met. (While still being incredibly productive academically). My previous PI spent his first 2 years in his lab commuting back and forth from Montreal to Boston while his wife was still working there in academia, but they still seem to be doing well. I'm a little worried about going through similar situations when my wife starts her residency, although she's interested in FM right now, so location probably won't be a big problem where we are. Still, it's a concern, but one we hope we are prepared to deal with.
    I know several other MD/PhD couples that have not had as good a fortune, but it really depends on your relationship. If you both make your relationship a priority in whatever way you can, that is the best anyone can do.
  7. dhutc002


    May 7, 2008
    Thanks to everyone for their responses. This year of living apart has been difficult (paying two mortgages doesn't help either)! However, we emerged victorious and we're hoping that Match Day will bring good news. If so, my hubby and I will be able to live together again in a couple months. Ah, the joys of being a dual career couple! Good luck to everyone on Match Day, if you are at that stage!

Share This Page