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Spouse/SO issues with med-school

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by aspirationMD, Apr 6, 2007.

  1. aspirationMD

    aspirationMD Rookie of the Year
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    I figure a lot of non trads are married, so I'm asking here. Anyone have a spouse or SO that thought the idea of med school is ridiculous, and selfish? Don't get me wrong, he's otherwise very supportive and will (I presume, he says he will) support me doing it, even if he thinks it's not the wisest thing to do. It's just hard, I feel like I can't share this process with him and be excited about things, grades, schools etc. I can't imagine him moving when the time comes, it's kind of sad. Anyone deal with this?
     
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  3. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    Med school is a huge drain on your time, and as a result a strain on relationships. Expect this to only get worse if he's not fully on board by the time you start. You need it to be a team effort.
     
  4. viostorm

    viostorm Senior Member
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    Sorry to hear that. You will definitely value his support through the process.

    Is he uncomfortable with your career success?

    Either way, it sounds like you two have to agree on

    1) You will almost certainly be moving
    2) He will be responsible for earning and caring for you during school.

    (my wife is in school with me, so I can't directly relate to your situation)
     
  5. ShyRem

    ShyRem I need more coffee.
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    I'm sorry, aspiration, but my spouse is exactly the opposite. And Law has it right - med school has been an outrageous strain on EVERYTHING. And not just because of the drain on my time, dedicated brain power, etc... my honey had to start his whole career from the bottom rung. He's stuck on graveyard shift so we only get to see each other for literally 10 minutes a day or so. He's just as chronically exhausted as I am. We just keep looking at each other and reminding ourselves that nothing lasts forever and this too shall pass. He is SO going to deserve to retire when I'm done!

    But i think a bigger issue here is what you're going to do with your SO. It sounds like you've got your heart set on med school even tho it may mean the end of the relationship. Perhaps this is something you two should really sit down and discuss to see where your relationship is going.
     
  6. Faze2

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    I got dumped for med school.:(

    Other factors contributed, but her having no time for me certainly didn't help.

    However, I will say that going through this whole postbacc process,as busy as I am, is a little easier without having to worry about maintaining a relationship, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't get involved with someone.

    And my ex will come around eventually.;)
     
  7. aspirationMD

    aspirationMD Rookie of the Year
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    Figured it was going to be like that. And yes, I will go to med school even if that means our relationship is going to end. Gosh how bitter and resentful I'd end up being (years and years) down the road if I gave up my one and only dream for another human being (a SO anyway).

    It's strange because, he knows fully what I intend to do, we do talk about it. I don't doubt that "we" as a couple couldn't handle the stress, because I've always been good with manging my time (i'm already really busy with working, school, being a mom, and girlfriend, plus other things I am doing, EC's etc). It's just the moving that worries me. I told him the other day which schools I'd really love to getting accepted, UCdavis, OHSU (in my state) and UW, and he just kinda smiled and didn't really say anything!

    Guess time will tell, like I said though, one way or another I'm going...
     
  8. apnea

    apnea Forgot the safe word...
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    i'm fighting with mine too. He's a commercial studio photographer, and he's incredibly picky about where we move...the chances of him liking the area, getting a job, and me getting accepted are starting to look pretty slim :(
     
  9. gotmeds?

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    My wife is a med student. When she got in, I had to give up a job that I loved and move to a city that I hated. I didn't regret it for a second because I wanted her to be happy (not to mention that it's so much better to be married to happy person than a depressed, resentful one). To make a long story short, I'll be starting med school next year (at my top choice, no less), and I couldn't have done it without her support and encouragement. Med school is arguably the toughest path you can choose. You can't do it while someone else is trying to drag you down. If you end up choosing med school over a guy who doesn't seem to care much about your happiness, I doubt you'll regret it.
     
  10. Scottish Chap

    Physician PhD Moderator Emeritus 15+ Year Member

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    I'm married and so are several students in my MSII class. I am blessed to have a very supportive spouse.

    In MSI and MSII, you may be physically present, but mentally you're absent because you will need to study harder than you ever have before. In MSIII, you will drop off the face of the planet.

    I echo L2D's sentiment that it is a strain - even on a healthy, supportive relationship - so choose very, very wisely before you commit to medical school...which is just the beginning. Assuming one takes the shortest residency, it's really a 7-year commitment, and more likely a 8-10 year commitment post-fellowship. You can do a LOT with that time and, in my humble opinion, no career is worth more than a marriage.

    Good luck!

    Edit: I just read your second post, and this really is a sad, sad situation...........in the end, medicine really is just what you do for a living, as hard as it is. Keep that in mind. I appreciate, though, that many people seem to be defined only by their career, but that's not for me.....
     
  11. aspirationMD

    aspirationMD Rookie of the Year
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    Well fortunately we are not married, and neither of us really want to get married (I've been married before, 75% divorce rate isn't something I'm looking forward too lol). I think of being a physician as a lifestyle not something I'll do for a living, so I guess maybe it would define me.

    I just think of it this way, he's got big dreams (music wise), I have mine, I just don't like to be looked down up for the one I choose to have. I'll support him all the way to multi platinum status if we are still a couple, I just hope he'd do the same. My commitment to medicine isn't something I question, but his commitment to our relationship is. I'm basically ready for whatever, at least there is still a good 2+ years to go, so we'll see!
     
  12. Krisss17

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    So when are you doing to do this for him? When you graduate medical school and at least 3 years of residency (i.e. 7 yrs)? Does he want to wait 7 years before you support him in his dream? I think it is sweet of you, but I don't think it is realistic. Just as some of the other posters have stated, during your MSI and MSII years, you'll be deep in study and probably whatever time you do have free, I'm sure that you'll want to spend time with your child(ren), which will further pull you apart.

    There are no easy answers, but you need to make a list of your priorities, and most likely, right now...your SO is sitting on being #3 per your response that becoming a doctor is one thing very important to you...more so than your relationship with SO.
     
  13. RevGood

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    This is something I also have concerns about. Not that my wife would not be supportive (I know she will be), but the time that I will be unable to spend with her and my son. I am debating if that is worth it. I am leaning towards the side of "yes," but it is still a troubling thought nonetheless.

    If I'm luck I will hopefully go to IU Med school in Indianapolis after I finish my pre-med, and my wife would be closer to her family. That would make it easier on her and my son.
     
  14. aspirationMD

    aspirationMD Rookie of the Year
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    By support, I mean many things. Being encouraging, taking a role in important decisions (which direction to go, when, why etc) being understanding of his needs while he does this, giving him space to fulfill what he needs to do. I ask for that in return, and I can do that for him no matter what year of med school I am in, it doesn't take much time to lend an open ear, or heart to someone you love.

    Basically, if by the time I am ready for med school, I decide our relationship comes number 1, then I will only accept going to the school in my state. Well, if he won't move to another. Of course I will be discussing this with him as an ongoing thing, but it's just nice to get opinions from people who have gone through it, or will be :)
     
  15. aspirationMD

    aspirationMD Rookie of the Year
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    Isn't it hard to even think about? Life is exhausting enough as is, luckily for me, my kids will be much older when the time for med school comes. So they will be out of that stage where they want my full attention at all times! I love giving it to them, but it makes studying much harder :eek:
     
  16. Krisss17

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    No, normally it doesn't take much time to lend an open ear...however, what you will be going through during medical school will be extraordinary at times, and you may find yourself totally involved with your studies, especially as you are preparing for a major exam,and he'll want that open ear...and it just won't be possible for you. That open ear is not going to be that open, no matter much you wish it to be (your brain is going to be on overload at times, and even though you may be sitting there giving your open ear, your brain will have other things to consider, i.e., your upcoming biochem exam).

    Well, your heart...that won't change...you just need to have a strong relationship, willing to put up with the hardships and struggles that.

    Best of luck though!
     
  17. Pemberley

    Pemberley Senior Member
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    Don't be too confident going in -- this restriction may be the same as "I will accept not going to med school at all," because when it comes down to it, the chances of one particular med school accepting you isn't all that high. I think the number of people who even got interviewed by more than 50% of the schools they applied to is vanishingly small. So if this school is one of the >=50% that doesn't interview you, what then?

    Putting up with a medical student is a major sacrifice. Moving is a minor one (unless moving away from the possibility of employment or some other major consideration like that.) Spouses make sacrifices for each other, always keeping in mind the long-term good of the marriage. You have no long-term plan, no marriage, so for what are you asking him to make this sacrifice?

    My advice -- either marry the man or don't make any major career sacrifices for him. (Going to your second-choice school isn't a major sacrifice; not going to med school at all is.) The bitterness would be too much if you end up not being a doctor for the sake of somebody who isn't 100% committed to being with you for life.

    Bottom line: "I'll just go to the state school" might let you dodge the question -- until the residency match -- or it might not.
     
  18. Scottish Chap

    Physician PhD Moderator Emeritus 15+ Year Member

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    PM me if you want to talk, brother. I have a child, too.
     
  19. apnea

    apnea Forgot the safe word...
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    ...i think you just found your new signature ;)
     
  20. Airzonk

    Airzonk Senior Member
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    Medschool is the relationship crusher.
     
  21. aspirationMD

    aspirationMD Rookie of the Year
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    HAHA ... I'm sure that isn't funny, but still I laugh.

    I have no doubt that he and I can't with stand the stress of med school, I just don't know if he will be there to experience the stress with me. I am 99.999999% sure he will be, but until then I hate the fact I get those "looks" from him when I talk about med school stuff. Which has now caused me to share very little info with him, but I have SDN so whatever :D
     
  22. melissainsd

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    Getting into medical school is hard under the best of circumstances. I am sure getting through it is even tougher, but don't let other people dictate to you what is possible or not.

    I was lucky and my husband has been very supportive (even when he was just a SO). He was great during undergrad when I studied all the time, great when I applied, but I think he was more theoretically supportive. We compromised on the schools I would apply to, but when I actually started interviewing in places like Providence, Boston, Rochester, New York, etc...he started freaking out. I believe his response to my interview invitation from Harvard was, "It's cold there." I was frustrated until I put myself in his place and realized he was just scared. Scared of leaving his job, scared of the cold, and scared of losing me. Perhaps your SO is just afraid he will be you will grow away from him. He may just need time. A few weeks ago my husband actually encouraged me to write a LOI for Mayo, and that is in the coldest location by far. He said he decided I deserved it:love:

    Anyway, as I said- don't let other people tell you what is possible. Not every school has you in lecture for 8 hrs a day. I know for a fact OHSU (your state school) has class 4 hrs a day most days of the week. It isn't impossible to have a healthy relationship while in school. When people fail at something they will tell you it is impossible. Just tell him how you feel and hopefully he will turn around :luck:
     
  23. menaniac

    menaniac Moxious!
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    When I said that I wanted to go to med school, at first I was ridiculed, then when he saw I was really serious (got great post-bacc grades), got kicked out of the house while studying for the MCAT. Once I did great on that too, got hit with a divorce. It made interviewing awkward when the interviewer asked "How does your husband feel about your going to medical school?" (And someone did ask that in every interview).

    Anyway, the whole situation was incredibly painful (especially since I put him through 7 yars of graduate school), but in the end I know I made a good decision going where I really feel I'm happy. I don't need some guy hanging off my neck holding me back with little slices and quips all the time. I'm sure when the time is right I'll find someone who's excited by my successes, not threatened by them. Do what you know is right for you, and everything else will fall into place. Don't let someone else keep you from your dream! You deserve someone who will support you as you support them (we all do)! Sometimes its just best to say the timing isn't right with this relationship and move on to do what you have to do. Good luck with this...its really tough!:luck:
     
  24. 1Path

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    To the OP, I was once in a relationship with a guy like yours...........a guy who is now referred to as my EX-husband.:smuggrin:

    PS- 25% success isn't all that bad either.;) :D
     
  25. aspirationMD

    aspirationMD Rookie of the Year
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    Great reply! I have to work at not allowing myself to make decisions based on someone else, so far so good. Like I said he isn't "nonsupporting" it just seems like he isn't enthusiastic about my aspirations, and he thinks it will be too difficult for me considering I don't have an ideal life for it (kids etc).

    I will not know what will happen for some time, but I'll enjoy what I have now and hope for the best in the next few years. I don't fear anything at this point, this hope for med school fuels everything for me. I'm just gonna keep going and see what happens when the time arrives. I'm mentally and emotionally prepared. So I think ;)
     
  26. aspirationMD

    aspirationMD Rookie of the Year
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    Which is why we won't get married for a looooong time :D

    We have a great relationship as is, we don't need a paper to complicate things (I've been married before so I know).
     
  27. melissainsd

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    Good attitude :D You'll do great, and don't worry about having kids. I had morning sickness during the MCAT (threw up twice!), and was pregnant my senior year with a full course load (and received a 4.0). I even gave birth on a Monday and took a biochem test Thursday.

    It may be tougher to find study time, but your motivations are that much greater. I may end up in Oregon soon, so PM me if you ever want to chat. :luck:
     
  28. CmePaddlin

    CmePaddlin Deciding the next step...
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    Sorry to hear that, sounds like you're better off without him.
    When I told my fiancee that I changed my mind and that I want to go to medical school she was all for it, said she loves the fact that I'm not like the other guys she met at college and that I look for a challenge instead of the communications degree checkout counter. Guess I'm lucky.
     
  29. Iluvdocs

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    Yeah I'm in the same boat. My husband started out thinking of it as unrealistic now that he KNOWS I'm serious.. (we seperated) he says he will support me ( we are trying to work things out..) I also have a 2 1/2 year old. Anyway I have a hard time understanding how anyone could give someone a hard time for wanting to do something that makes them happy. Hell I could only wish he would decide he wanted to be a doctor!! lol
     
  30. aspirationMD

    aspirationMD Rookie of the Year
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    Well see, I personally can see how a person (certainly a SO) would be hesitant to follow a loved one down the MD path, but yet I don't see how you couldn't want a person to "be all they can be" ya know? Especially for married couples, or my SO and I (we've been together for about 3 years, live together etc). All this is a huge deal, but I just don't think he takes me seriously, maybe when he sees me busting my a** a bit more he'll come around.

    I will be honest, right now I am catching up on math and doing lame 101+ gen ed stuff, so I'm not putting much effort to get decent grades, but in a few months I will be!!

    Good luck to you with your situation :thumbup:
     
  31. Sarikate

    Sarikate Full of antioxidants
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    When I began the application process the second time around, I was living with my SO, and at first, I was worried about the same thing you described...that he would think my zest to get to med school was selfish or irrational (although it could have been that maybe I was projecting on him, maybe I was the one who thought it was irrational!) But I (gently) tried to help him see how this career path would benefit our family, and how it would fulfill me personally. I figured he would eventually understand where I was coming from.

    He saw me bust my arse to get 12 applications completed, then fly all over the country and spend a gazillion dollars for interviews. He started to understand the process, and I tried to involve him as much as possible (by having him read my application essays, research the schools with me, research the areas we possibly would live in). He also saw me feeling pretty miserable in my current job as a social worker...and somewhere in the midst of all this he started to really "get it." Then he proposed :) and now he's all excited about moving 4,000 miles away to begin our new life in the desert.

    I think the key is to involve your partner as much as possible in the process, so s/he realizes that you are not just thinking of yourself.
     
  32. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California
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    If he thinks you dreams of med school are ridiculous and selfish, he's not being supportive. Sorry to hear it.

    My wife has been great about it, but I've broken her in very slowly to all the little SO-unfriendly aspects of the profession (away rotations, the Match, etc.).

    I think the impact med school and the road to becoming a physician has on SO's is understated, if anything. They have to quit their job and move to a totally new place, where they will have no friends and possibly no job prospects. In four years, they will probably have to do it again for residency. And maybe a third time for your first job.

    My wife is consoling herself with the idea of being a "doctor's wife" once we get our heads above watter, sitting on the couch watching Oprah and eating bon-bons. Her words, not mine (and she's actually a strong feminist). I think I'll show her my loans/interest/salary/prospects spreadsheet at a much later time.
     
  33. Dianyla

    Dianyla in denial
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    Let's face it, noone's SO/spouse is going to jump for the joy at the idea of you undertaking a massive endeavor that may also involve relocating. I would expect anyone in this situation to taking a big swallow and kinda glaze over as they figure out how to process this information and assess whether they're willing to make the sacrifice or not.

    Pooh-pooing your ideas, patting you on the head, rolling his eyes, and other such behaviors indicate that he doesn't respect you regardless of your career choices. :(
     
  34. aspirationMD

    aspirationMD Rookie of the Year
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    Exactly what I expect, not just sticking around saying everything is cool, until I'm actually applying and then deciding he's opting out. Do it now and get it over with instead of "pretending" (not entirely literally) that everything is fine.
     
  35. aspirationMD

    aspirationMD Rookie of the Year
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    Oh gosh, I'm not sure how you managed with the morning sickness and exams after birth!!! I'd almost bow to you lol :laugh:. Good luck coming to Oregon, hopefully I will be staying :luck:. I realize that it's a long shot, but I'm gonna remain hopeful :)
     
  36. Dianyla

    Dianyla in denial
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    Maybe he's just waiting for you to apply and get rejected and get over this "silly little idea" already. Um, yeah. He'll see. :rolleyes:
     
  37. lil'trooper

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    I think the key is to involve your partner as much as possible in the process, so s/he realizes that you are not just thinking of yourself.

    That's an awesome idea... if your SO gets it at all. My SO is not a science person nor particularly organized nor the least bit excited about me applying. I full well expect that our relationship will not survive Med School (or maybe even the next year) but it sure is a bummer to love and be loved and to know that your goals will virtually eliminate this.
     
  38. jvinlv

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    Interesting posts above...just thought I'd share my experience...

    I've been pre-med for about 10 years now, originally applied to med school back in 1999, granted an interview but declined it in order to move to Ontario to be with my wife (we met on internet). I assumed I could simply apply to schools in Ontario but I was wrong (immigration, etc.) Anyway, after shelving med school dream for six years, finally began applying this year and actually got in. But in order to apply, my wife and I had some...let's just say emotional talks about this new direction we were heading into. Once we realized that we could either continue living paycheck to paycheck for the rest of our lives, or do something about it, we were fine with the decision. I compromised on which schools to apply to, but that's no big deal...I just wanted in. She has been so supportive in all this, and I actually think the first year will be more difficult for her than me since she has to remain in Ontario until she can get her green card.

    Anyway, for all those out there with supportive spouses, don't take it for granted....

    ....and if the support isn't there, don't defer your dream.
     
  39. aspirationMD

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    Oh have I done some soul searching these last few days/weeks!

    Btw, he seems much more "with me" on this now. He still thinks it's risky business for me to go for it, but he understands my wants and needs. When I gave him the PA perspective he was thrilled, though I don't think I'll be able to take the roll of a PA, over MD just to please others (family, boyfriend etc.)

    I'm really just going to take things one day at a time, I seem to get carried away with questions and ideas that relate to a med school future. What I need to do is relax, enjoy my under grad experience, get through the struggles I face now, and seriously appreciate his support NOW, and the support he says he'll continue to give me when it happens. I know we'll get through it, no matter which path I take, so I don't even need to keep worrying :)
     
  40. ViolinCello

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    I just applying this year, but from the very start(taking the post-bac classes, mcat, etc), my husband has been phenomenally supportive. This is a journey we are taking together. He knows that if I fail, we both fail together. Which is why I have kept him involved every step of the way. It will be hard, no doubt -- in ways that I can't even imagine until I'm in neck deep. But that is the beauty of a strong relationship: it doesn't matter that there will be tough times, but how you get through them and past them. If you can't get past an issue even when he's just an SO, how will you get through all the struggles of that tiny little thing called marriage?
     
  41. nlax30

    nlax30 Fellow
    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    I wish ya'll the best and glad to see that you're both still talking through things, that's really the key.....communication.

    I just got accepted this year and luckily my wife is totally supportive of my goals/dreams. She is fixing to graduate from law school here and so she understands what it's like to have a career goal that involves a lot of hard work and schooling. When she first started (before we were married) I moved up to be with her and had to make this same decision that I'd support her through her schooling, with both us understanding that in a few years the roles would be reversed with me applying to med school.

    We went into this knowing that for the next few years our lives would be crazy, we may have to move for school, our schedules will probably be very different, etc... and we both accepted all that and decided we'll do whatever it takes.

    I couldn't imagine going through all this with my significant other not 100% on board though, I definitely feel for you and others who have to face this dilemma.
     

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