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Med Students and Getting Married

DrBubbles

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    I can't seem to find an appropriate thread on sdn that addresses my question, so I thought I'd post one. And if this belongs in another thread, please feel free to move it.

    For med students who are unmarried but in a relationship when they start school, when are they most likely to get engaged, or get married? Do most men propose during third or fourth year? Or is there really much of a correlation between class year and relationship progression?

    (My current situation: we started dating while we were applying, go to the same med school, and are currently MSIIs.)
     
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    bambi

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      You a guy wondering when to propose or a girl hoping your guy will?

      I don't there is any specific pattern in terms of engagement, marriage maybe because of the time and money it takes.
       
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      DrBubbles

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        bambi: I'm a gal wondering if I should bring up the issue with my boyfriend anytime soon or wait a couple more years.

        Tired: I do have faith that at least some men propose, but I see your point. Thanks for the reality check!
         

        MsKrispyKreme

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          Bring it up. You're not getting any younger so why would you potentially want to waste your time with someone that might not want to make a serious committment to you? Bring it up. :thumbup:
           

          bambi

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            You haven't really been together that long, you seem a bit over keen! I personally wouldn't even dream of bringing it up directly. If you are desperate to know his thoughts on the matter, discuss with him a friend that has just got engaged or someone you know that got married during med school and see what he says. Don't be surprised if he doesn't even consider it during med school, I would say most people would rather wait until they have finished. How old are you by the way? If you are both a bit older than the norm then maybe during med school isn't as unlikely but I still wouldn't hold your breath.
             

            Tired

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              Tired: I do have faith that at least some men propose, but I see your point. Thanks for the reality check!

              Okay, dialing myself back for a second.

              (1) Most relationships do not end in marriage, they end in breakups. But obviously some turn into marriage (my last one did) and some men propose (I did). Sorry for the snippy comment, just feeling ornery.

              (2) That being said, there's something a little incongruent about your question. On the one hand, you want to know the best time to get married. On the other, you imply that you're waiting for him to ask you. Those two statements don't really go together.

              (3) Basically, it seems like you have two options. Either wait for him to ask, at which time you can decide if the time and relationship are right; or you can tell him that if he's going to ask you to marry him, he should do it during a certain time period, or it's off.
               

              DrBubbles

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                Yeah, my gut tells me not to bring it up, and to let him come to his own conclusions on his own.

                We’ve known each other about two years, I’ll be 27 next month, and he’s 31. So we’re not straight out of college.

                I do agree that most relationships end in break-ups. In fact, all of my previous relationships have ended in break-ups. (That’s the nature of the beast, right?) But I think this one’s different—I’ve got a good feeling about us.

                I’m not in a huge rush to hurry things along, just a small rush. (I feel like my clock’s started ticking, and I’ll be 33 or so by the time I’m done with my training.)

                What it really comes down to is that I’m a huge planner; I just like having my calendar set. And I’m struggling a bit with leaving this one to fate.

                I guess what I’m asking is more along the lines of: since I’ve kind of decided to leave it up to him, can I hold any reasonable expectations on an average timeline?
                 

                Meli308314

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                  Quite a few people at my school were engaged coming into med school and got married between MS1 and MS2 year. I am an MS2 now and my fiance proposed at the beginning of this year. We have had quite a few engagements in the past 6 months in our class. Many of the people who are engaged are planning on getting married either during fourth year or after they graduate. My fiance and I are planning on getting married between my MS3 and MS4 year, but I only know of one other couple planning on doing that at my school. It might be good to think about getting married before fourth year so that you could couples match.

                  We talked about engagement for probably at least nine months before he proposed, so you might want to at least bring it up and see where your SO stands on the subject.
                   

                  MsKrispyKreme

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                    We’ve known each other about two years, I’ll be 27 next month, and he’s 31. So we’re not straight out of college.

                    Whoa.

                    I think at ages 27 and 31, two years is more than enough to make a decision about marriage. (Hey, I think even one year is sufficient, but I'm a decisive person. :p)

                    BRING IT UP!!!!
                     
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                    Jolie South

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                      Yeah, my gut tells me not to bring it up, and to let him come to his own conclusions on his own.

                      We've known each other about two years, I'll be 27 next month, and he's 31. So we're not straight out of college.

                      I do agree that most relationships end in break-ups. In fact, all of my previous relationships have ended in break-ups. (That's the nature of the beast, right?) But I think this one's different—I've got a good feeling about us.

                      I'm not in a huge rush to hurry things along, just a small rush. (I feel like my clock's started ticking, and I'll be 33 or so by the time I'm done with my training.)

                      What it really comes down to is that I'm a huge planner; I just like having my calendar set. And I'm struggling a bit with leaving this one to fate.

                      I guess what I'm asking is more along the lines of: since I've kind of decided to leave it up to him, can I hold any reasonable expectations on an average timeline?

                      it sounds like you *might* be trying to force things. you've been with this guy 2 years and there haven't been discussions about your future yet? or the idea of marriage? i think you should talk about this with your boyfriend before you go making plans and setting expectations for yourself. i think that will lead to a lot of letdowns and unnecessary pressure. if you really want to get married, you should express this. also, i don't know why there is this need to have the "traditional" proposal. after you're married, none of that will matter and isn't that the point, to just be married. who cares how you get there?

                      i've only been married 2 years, but marriage can be difficult when both of you ARE on the same page. the stakes are much higher and getting into a marriage just because "your clock is ticking" really won't help things.

                      i know very little about your situation, but those might be some points to think on. i apologize if i was a little blunt, but that's how i see things.

                      PS: i don't know the answer to your actual question.
                       
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                      Jccripe

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                        I am currently and MII and I got married this summer. This seemed to be the best for us but my guess would be during fourth year. It seems that everyone has a blast that year however I dont know how busy it would be(but most likely much less busy than residency)
                         

                        DrBubbles

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                          Thank you guys for all your input--keep it coming!

                          Keg, congrats on your decision! I wish you both the best.

                          Jolie South--thank you for your bluntness, that helps me too. I'm not intentionally trying to force things for the sake of having children sooner. And we have had minor discussions and made off-hand comments about our future together, like where we want to match if we get to couples match, and where we want to live, and we've briefly talked about children, and he made a comment about being together when we're 60.

                          He's just really quiet, and we don't argue ever. So when we have something important to talk about, it's always about something that's significantly affecting our relationship. Getting married in the future doesn't affect how much we enjoy being around each other, and it won't perfect our relationship...so I haven't brought it up. I feel like we're on the same page (and this could be a gross misread of the situation, certainly), but if we are, I just don't know what kind of a timeline we're on. And I feel a lot better about things when I can plan them out. Not the details, just a general schematic.

                          Ultimately, I want him to decide if he wants to be with me for the long haul; I don't want to pressure him into anything. So I'm still debating whether or not to check in and bring it up, or wait another year or two, and give him that time to come to terms with things on his own.

                          The majority of his friends are already married, and some have started their families already, so we've been to weddings together, and he's comfortable with his friends' situations. Also, his parents are still married after 34 years, so that's encouraging for him.
                           
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                          Keona

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                            I just want to encourage you, while I am not in medical school yet, I am accepted, and I am currently married. We got engaged after 11 mos of dating and were married after about 2.5 years. We knew a long time before we got engaged that this was the direction we were heading in, I just didn't know when he was actually going to ask.

                            I obviously can't give you a general time line, but I think you all will have to have a conversation about where you want this relationship to lead. I personally left it up to him to bring this conversation up. I think you both need to decide about that before you start wondering about when you should get engaged and married. Good luck!
                             

                            fahimaz7

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                              Hopefully the guys don't come here looking for advice as to when he should get engaged! When the time is right, you'll know! That is the instant at which you want to have your wife!

                              I couldn't have been more excited, about my wife, when I got engaged two years ago. When it's right, she's the only girl you see yourself with and the only one that you want to.
                               
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                              MrBurns10

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                                Thank you guys for all your input--keep it coming!
                                DrB, there is absolutely nothing wrong with bringing up the subjects of marriage and your future together. You are both adults who love each other, there should be nothing you can't say to each other. And 2 years is more than enough time, especially since you both are a bit older and have had previous relationships. For goodness sakes, I'm an MSIII and there are THREE couples in my class who are now engaged...and met first year! So there's nothing wrong with talking about it.

                                Also, I have a girl friend that asked her boyfriend to marry her, so there's always the nontraditional approach... :) good luck!
                                 

                                nogolfinsnow

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                                  He's likely not going to propose if you guys don't talk about it first. Proposing takes a bit of effort. You have to have money set aside for a ring. You have to buy the RIGHT ring. You have to be pretty sure your gf will say yes. My wife and I talked for several months about getting engaged before we actually did. I knew what kind of ring she wanted (how much would it suck to have to take it back and get one she likes?), I knew that I could afford the ring (working a few years before med school). She didnt' know when I woudl propose, so it was still a lot of fun, but it didn't come out of the blue, either. Maybe he's thinking about it but looked at the price of diamonds and then at his accruing debt. Maybe he has no idea where you stand on the issue. You guys should definitely talk about it.
                                   

                                  Dirt

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                                    As an MS I currently planning a marriage for this coming summer I can tell you what is important.

                                    1. Cost: Weddings usually cost a ton of money. A "standard" 100-150 person wedding at a banquet hall will probably cost between $15,000-$30,000 with some great variability on the top end. I would suggest thinking about how much you want to spend, then tripling that. That is how much money you would need.

                                    2. Time: You get married in one day, two if you count the rehearsal. But do you really want to get married on a saturday and have to be in the hospital on Monday? There is also the more pressing (for me at least) issue of the Honeymoon. I am planning on a lengthy one so we figured at least three weeks off was needed. As such we rushed to do it this summer rather than wait.
                                     
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                                    MsKrispyKreme

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                                      Cost: Weddings usually cost a ton of money.

                                      Not if you stay within your means...which most people don't because the ceremony is meant to impress other people rather than actually celebrate the unity of 2 souls. :rolleyes:

                                      Many churches will marry you for free (with the older ladies of the church making the banquet food in the church's reception hall).

                                      Justice of the peace.

                                      Vegas.
                                       

                                      Jolie South

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                                        Not if you stay within your means...which most people don't because the ceremony is meant to impress other people rather than actually celebrate the unity of 2 souls. :rolleyes:

                                        Many churches will marry you for free (with the older ladies of the church making the banquet food in the church's reception hall).

                                        Justice of the peace.

                                        Vegas.

                                        yea, isn't the marriage the important part? as long as everyone has a good time. mine was small and cost probably $500 max.
                                        granted, i did elope in africa, but still. i'm sure something similar could be done here.

                                        do you really need 150 people there?
                                         

                                        GreenShirt

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                                          I think an engagement can come anytime during medical school. The only rate limiting-step I can think of is the time/money involved in planning a wedding which you may not want to undertake during busier times of the year. However, if you're not planning a big wedding or your family can help you out, this is not as big an issue. If you would like to enter the couples Match, then you will have to marry by your 4th year.

                                          Whether or not you want to bring up this issue with your bf depends on how important marriage is to you. If you are someone who wants to find a life partner and start a family, then you may not want to waste X amount of years dating someone who does not have similar goals when you are reaching the last 8 or so good reproductive years of your life. If that's the case, I think you should find out what your bf's life goals are and how he views the state of your relationship. I know guys are supposed to hate these kinds of talks but it's your life and you can't wait for things to happen.
                                           

                                          NJDIF

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                                            Just came to give my 2c...

                                            Currently an MS1, getting married this summer. i just wanted to echo the sentiment that there will ALWAYS be a million excuses if you are waiting for some perfect, magical time period. the further you go in your medical training, you are only getting busier. if you know this is the one for you, youll know its right.
                                             

                                            MrBurns10

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                                              If you would like to enter the couples Match, then you will have to marry by your 4th year.
                                              Just FYI, you don't have to be married to enter the couples match. Heck, you don't even have to be dating. You could couples match with your best friend if you wanted to.
                                               

                                              MrBurns10

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                                                Some programs down South might not be too keen on that...
                                                You don't have to tell the programs that you're couples matching if you don't want to (e.g. if you're partnered and worried about how this may be perceived in a rural part of the country). In the end, it's just a computer that matches you together.

                                                One of the advisory deans at my school had a humorous take on it. She said you could couples match with your most hated enemy just to ensure that you're not anywhere near each other (i.e. you rank New York first and he ranks LA). It isn't such a bad idea... :)
                                                 

                                                alwaysaangel

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                                                  yea, isn't the marriage the important part? as long as everyone has a good time. mine was small and cost probably $500 max.
                                                  granted, i did elope in africa, but still. i'm sure something similar could be done here.

                                                  do you really need 150 people there?

                                                  Agreed. Huge weddings are fine and dandy when you have $30k just lying around, but people who take out loans or break themselves for it - whats the point?

                                                  There are actually studies that show that weddings hurt marriages. People spend a year or two planning these elaborate weddings, their entire relationship shifts to revolve around the wedding. Then the day comes, goes, and there's nothing left. Their relationship changed so much in the time before the wedding that they don't have the same one they had when they decided to get married, and they end up having huge problems.

                                                  I don't have time to look for them right now but I'm sure you can find it if you google it. They are a pretty interesting read. Certainly solidified my desire to have a 10 person wedding in a tiny church somewhere.
                                                   
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                                                  jackbauer

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                                                    we saw a study in class recently that having a child before age 24 protects against cancer, while having a child after age 35 increases the risk of cancer. just an FYI for you future mothers
                                                     

                                                    DrBubbles

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                                                      we saw a study in class recently that having a child before age 24 protects against cancer, while having a child after age 35 increases the risk of cancer. just an FYI for you future mothers

                                                      I don't know about age cut-offs, but I did read that the earlier you have your first child, the more protective it is against breast cancer. I *did* mention this to my boyfriend casually while talking about working with a general surgeon who focuses on breast oncology, in light of the fact that my mother passed away pretty young from breast cancer. I don't know if he made the connection though between the study and my hint of "I would prefer to have children sooner rather than later." If 24 is the cut-off though, I'll stop worrying--that birthday has come and gone.
                                                       

                                                      TMP-SMX

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                                                        The whole thing about the cancer risk is the difference between looking at absolute risk differences and relative risk differences. The absolute risk is actually pretty small. You can make it seem like a much bigger difference than it is.

                                                        As a physician, you have to know which one to use for which purpose. When you have a patient that is watching CNN talking about the huge relative risk increase she has for breast cancer you have to tell her that her absolute risk is actually pretty small.

                                                        Though Dr. Bubbles, Family history is more telling and increases your risk.
                                                         

                                                        GoBuckeyes913

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                                                          Yeah, my gut tells me not to bring it up, and to let him come to his own conclusions on his own.

                                                          We’ve known each other about two years, I’ll be 27 next month, and he’s 31. So we’re not straight out of college.

                                                          I do agree that most relationships end in break-ups. In fact, all of my previous relationships have ended in break-ups. (That’s the nature of the beast, right?) But I think this one’s different—I’ve got a good feeling about us.

                                                          I’m not in a huge rush to hurry things along, just a small rush. (I feel like my clock’s started ticking, and I’ll be 33 or so by the time I’m done with my training.)

                                                          What it really comes down to is that I’m a huge planner; I just like having my calendar set. And I’m struggling a bit with leaving this one to fate.

                                                          I guess what I’m asking is more along the lines of: since I’ve kind of decided to leave it up to him, can I hold any reasonable expectations on an average timeline?
                                                          I hate when girls do this.... relationships on a timeline thing. It just doesn't work that way. It will happen when the time is right, if at all. I'm not being pessimistic, just honest. You already got some type of vibe when bringing up the "breast cancer and children" thing. He either said something positive or negative, or nothing at all (negative). You know should know by now after 2 years if you're both on the same page. This question should be posted on Cosmo.com, not SDN.
                                                           

                                                          nka1985

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                                                            I'm currently trying to plan a wedding while studying for step 1. That whole 10-person wedding thing sounds pretty good right about now...

                                                            I planned my wedding during 1st year, got married over spring break. Oh yeah, and the wedding was 3000 miles away from where I go to school. I was fortunate enough to use a place that arranges all of the services for you-I picked the colors, told them how I wanted the cake, and made some basic decisions about the service and they took care of organizing everything for me. All I had to take care of were my dress and the wedding parties clothes. It made life so much easier.
                                                             

                                                            sprinkibrio

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                                                              I hate when girls do this.... relationships on a timeline thing. It just doesn't work that way. It will happen when the time is right, if at all. I'm not being pessimistic, just honest. You already got some type of vibe when bringing up the "breast cancer and children" thing. He either said something positive or negative, or nothing at all (negative). You know should know by now after 2 years if you're both on the same page. This question should be posted on Cosmo.com, not SDN.

                                                              I think most girls ask about a timeline is just assure that they actually are on the same page about the relationship (that is, it's heading towards marriage). If you don't ask, how you gonna know? This sentiment is probably why the OP and a lot of us girls can't initiate that talk.
                                                               
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                                                              GoBuckeyes913

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                                                                I think most girls ask about a timeline is just assure that they actually are on the same page about the relationship (that is, it's heading towards marriage). If you don't ask, how you gonna know? This sentiment is probably why the OP and a lot of us girls can't initiate that talk.
                                                                I wasn't referencing specifically "the talk". Sorry if it came off that way. The "talk" is a good thing to have with anyone you've been dating for some time and want to take the next step, but not because of "life timeline schedules". I was speaking in a timeline sense such as "I want to be married at 26, have my first kid at 28, second at 31, etc. " I hate when people do that, that's just the vibe I got from the OP
                                                                 

                                                                MrBurns10

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                                                                  I wasn't referencing specifically "the talk". Sorry if it came off that way. The "talk" is a good thing to have with anyone you've been dating for some time and want to take the next step, but not because of "life timeline schedules". I was speaking in a timeline sense such as "I want to be married at 26, have my first kid at 28, second at 31, etc. " I hate when people do that, that's just the vibe I got from the OP
                                                                  I see your point, and I can understand why a guy would hate that. And there's certainly no reason to have a timeline when you're not even dating someone. But it's a bit tricky as a female med student trying to plan out your married childbearing years that just happen to coincide with residency. Every couple I know that is either engaged or heading in that direction has talked about when the best time to have kids would be, and I've had that conversation with my fiance. As for the OP, I especially think it's appropriate to have the marriage conversation with someone whom you've dated for 2 years, especially when you're not some inexperienced 22 year old. Just my opinion.
                                                                   

                                                                  DrBubbles

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                                                                    I hate when girls do this.... relationships on a timeline thing. It just doesn't work that way. It will happen when the time is right, if at all. I'm not being pessimistic, just honest. You already got some type of vibe when bringing up the "breast cancer and children" thing. He either said something positive or negative, or nothing at all (negative). You know should know by now after 2 years if you're both on the same page. This question should be posted on Cosmo.com, not SDN.

                                                                    Hey, thanks for your response. I can totally see the other side's perspective, especially based on your thoughts. This is why I do want to leave it up to him. I just want to be sure he's not just keeping me around because he'd rather be with me than without me. (Based on previous conversations, I don't think that's the case, but he's quiet, and doesn't share his feelings much, so I don't want to assume anything.)

                                                                    I guess I was just hoping to get some perspectives from other med students in relationships, and those with friends in relationships, who can shed more light on how their experiences have unfolded.

                                                                    I apologize if I came across with a Cosmo question, but I feel like med students would be much more familiar with the topic than friends I have who are out of med school, and I don't want to ask my classmates for fear they'll start giving him a hard time.

                                                                    Anyhow, thanks for your thoughts :)
                                                                     

                                                                    GoBuckeyes913

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                                                                    Night’s Watch
                                                                    1. Attending Physician
                                                                      Hey, thanks for your response. I can totally see the other side's perspective, especially based on your thoughts. This is why I do want to leave it up to him. I just want to be sure he's not just keeping me around because he'd rather be with me than without me. (Based on previous conversations, I don't think that's the case, but he's quiet, and doesn't share his feelings much, so I don't want to assume anything.)

                                                                      I guess I was just hoping to get some perspectives from other med students in relationships, and those with friends in relationships, who can shed more light on how their experiences have unfolded.

                                                                      I apologize if I came across with a Cosmo question, but I feel like med students would be much more familiar with the topic than friends I have who are out of med school, and I don't want to ask my classmates for fear they'll start giving him a hard time.

                                                                      Anyhow, thanks for your thoughts :)
                                                                      I re-read my first post, and it sounded really snippy. I apologize, that really wasn't my intentions. You should absolutely discuss the next step of a relationship, nobody wants to waste their time if it isn't going anywhere... especially med students whose time is very limited, or if you're getting older. I misread your original post as if you were on the scheduled-life-timeline. Again, my bad. I hope everything works out for the best ;)
                                                                       

                                                                      DrBubbles

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                                                                        I re-read my first post, and it sounded really snippy. I apologize, that really wasn't my intentions. You should absolutely discuss the next step of a relationship, nobody wants to waste their time if it isn't going anywhere... especially med students whose time is very limited, or if you're getting older. I misread your original post as if you were on the scheduled-life-timeline. Again, my bad. I hope everything works out for the best ;)

                                                                        Hey, thanks. I appreciate the kind words.
                                                                         

                                                                        themudphud

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                                                                          do it when it feels right for you. your stage in med school should be a factor in whether or not to propose (or be proposed to). the only event of med school that may push the procrastinating male (who already knows that he will propose) into proposing is applying for residency and couples matching. i think it is difficult to couples match with someone if you are not married. i know a few people who have done it but i've never understood it. so many people break up--it would stink to be stuck at the same hospital with an ex- from med school. not that people don't get divorced, but it's a lot easier to break up than it is to get divorced.
                                                                           

                                                                          sprinkibrio

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                                                                            do it when it feels right for you. your stage in med school should be a factor in whether or not to propose (or be proposed to). the only event of med school that may push the procrastinating male (who already knows that he will propose) into proposing is applying for residency and couples matching. i think it is difficult to couples match with someone if you are not married. i know a few people who have done it but i've never understood it. so many people break up--it would stink to be stuck at the same hospital with an ex- from med school. not that people don't get divorced, but it's a lot easier to break up than it is to get divorced.

                                                                            Couples matching onlly puts you in the same city, not the same hospital. This mistake was said already, I wonder why so many people think this.
                                                                             

                                                                            alwaysaangel

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                                                                              Couples matching onlly puts you in the same city, not the same hospital. This mistake was said already, I wonder why so many people think this.

                                                                              Couples matching puts you wherever you want. It can be the same city or the same hospital or just the same state or general area. Totally depends on how you and the person you're coupling with orders it. All it does is makes sure you both match to the exact same preference number. Eg. if the highest rank that you can both get is your 5th choice then you both go there. This explains it pretty well: http://www.nrmp.org/res_match/special_part/us_seniors/couples.html

                                                                              So its not like you say couples match and the program intelligently puts you in the same city - it all depends on the number preference and you have to make your lists match up in choice order to make it work.

                                                                              I thought the best explanation was what someone in another thread said: you could technically couples match with your worst enemy to be sure you end up on opposite ends of the country. You would just make sure your number 1 and his number 1 are on opposite coasts, same with 2, 3, etc.

                                                                              I don't think very many people understand how the match in general works let alone how couples match works.
                                                                               

                                                                              pasdechat28

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                                                                              1. Medical Student
                                                                                I have a question that involves marriage and medical school, but not the original question that was posted on this thread. Hope that's ok...feel free to move it if needed.

                                                                                So, I am a newlywed--just married May 2008. I am applying currently for medical school entrance in 2009. Hoping that I will be accepted, I was wondering if any married medical students could give some advice about balancing a new marriage and medical school. Luckily, this year my schedule has been very light so we have gotten to spend alot of quality time together--I am grateful for this knowing that starting next year (if accepted) that might not be the case.

                                                                                Advice, suggestions, helpful tid bits are appreciated (especially from those of you with spouses not in the medical field). Thanks!
                                                                                 

                                                                                JeffLebowski

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                                                                                  I think most girls ask about a timeline is just assure that they actually are on the same page about the relationship (that is, it's heading towards marriage). If you don't ask, how you gonna know? This sentiment is probably why the OP and a lot of us girls can't initiate that talk.

                                                                                  Yeah...a word of advice to women - feel free to maturely bring up a discussion like this. But for the love of god, DO NOT do it with any of the following tones:
                                                                                  1) nagging
                                                                                  2) whining
                                                                                  3) passive-aggressive
                                                                                  4) defensive
                                                                                  5) threatening

                                                                                  I actually think this is a big hole in women's understanding of men. They think we can't stand to talk about our relationship. The reality is that we can and do and are generally willing if it's conducted properly. But when you women infuse the above 5 tones into the conversation, that's what we can't stand.
                                                                                   

                                                                                  DrBubbles

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                                                                                    I actually think this is a big hole in women's understanding of men. They think we can't stand to talk about our relationship. The reality is that we can and do and are generally willing if it's conducted properly.

                                                                                    Thank you for this--your comment is really insightful. I have always assumed men (in general) prefer not to think about things they are unsure or undecided about, which would infer that they don't want to talk about them. But if I'm hearing you right, it's okay to bring the subject up. I usually preface my serious talks (which happen maybe three or four times a year) with, "Can I ask you about something?" or "Can we talk about something that's been on my mind?" Then he knows I'd like for him to be all ears, and it's not brought up in the context of any other frustrations or emotions. This way it's never nagging or whining, or any of the other three things you mentioned.:)
                                                                                     
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