Starting residency at 30, no spouse or kids but really want a family :(

Mar 27, 2010
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Hi everyone,

I'm new to SDN and am impressed by the outpouring of support and opportunity for discussion on this forum...

As my title says, I just turned 30 and will be starting intern year this summer. I've been in multiple serious relationships over the last decade and a half but am currently single (have been so for the last 1.5 years) and don't have any new prospects that I can foresee (I don't anticipate on having any time/energy to meet new people/date during intern year; furthermore, after intern year is over, I'll be starting residency at a small-program with 11/class, 70% of whom are already married based on what current residents there have told me). I don't mean to be overly dramatic and I don't mean to catastrophize my situation, nor can anyone ever predict the future (in my experience, relationships tend to 'happen' when you least expect them); but I feel like I've hit "a wall" that many women at this age do...and am afraid that my opportunities for marriage/family are dwindling, fast.

As far as life balance goes, I know that some are better at it than others. I've seen classmates of mine get married and/or pregnant during med school and residents who have done the same. That said, I personally cannot see myself being able to do that; if I couldn't handle a serious relationship during medical school, how am I supposed to do so during residency, let alone with marriage and kids? (kudos to those of you who are able to do so; I honestly don't know how you do it!). Best case scenario is if I meet someone after residency, but by then I'll be in my mid-30s and well...we all know the stats on pregnancy with aging. Should I give up the idea of ever having a family/kids and focus 100% on my career at this point? Or should I consider freezing my eggs or adopting in the future?...

The thought of living out the rest of my life single and alone greatly saddens me...and makes me feel at a loss with regard to achieving my personal life goals.

Thanks in advance for any input or thoughts.
 

TDX

Jan 2, 2010
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First of all, at 30 it's a bit early to start worrying about living out the rest of your life single and alone - especially since you've only been single for a year and a half. Even if it may seem differently to you right now, chances of you finding a new relationship are probably close to 100%.

Secondly, the next few years will be a perfect time to meet someone and slowly build a lasting relationship. Sure, you'll be busy - but since your career is in medicine, any man you have a relationship with will need to realize that and accept it anyway.

The fact that most of your colleagues will be married isn't necessarily a bad thing. You might not meet someone at work (who wants that kind of drama, anyway?), but social gatherings with your colleagues should give you the chance to meet lots of new people... possibly including the guy you end up starting a family with.

Of course, you will need to make some decisions, too. If starting a family is this important to you, you need to find a way to balance your priorities if someone comes along. Work is great, but if you want to have a life next to it, balancing it with other parts of your life is essential. While that can be hard (and quite likely involves passing up on some hours of sleep), it's by no means impossible... not even for you.

So really, try to worry a little less, see what comes along, and make time for the good things in life. You're still young, and you have far more opportunities to get all the things you want than you might think right now.
 
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OP
D
Mar 27, 2010
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Thanks for the response TDX, I really appreciate your feedback.

First of all, at 30 it's a bit early to start worrying about living out the rest of your life single and alone - especially since you've only been single for a year and a half. Even if it may seem differently to you right now, chances of you finding a new relationship are probably close to 100%.
That may be true - looking back at my med school years, there were several (5+) guys in my class (and 3+ outside of my class) who were interested in dating me - something that I completely did not expect. That said, of those who expressed an interest, I only ended up dating two of them, and found both of them grossly incompatible with me. :rolleyes: There may be opportunities to start new relationships, but I don't want to be in a relationship just for the sake of being in one. I'm looking for someone who is the right partner *for me*, and after several long-term relationships, I'm starting to think I may never find that person. It also gets harder the older you get, because even though it's in your favor to have a clear idea of the type of partner you're looking for, knowing that also makes you more stubborn/picky, and less willing to settle for anything less...making the pool of potential, datable people less than it may appear.

Secondly, the next few years will be a perfect time to meet someone and slowly build a lasting relationship. Sure, you'll be busy - but since your career is in medicine, any man you have a relationship with will need to realize that and accept it anyway.
I completely agree, which is why.... (see below)

The fact that most of your colleagues will be married isn't necessarily a bad thing. You might not meet someone at work (who wants that kind of drama, anyway?), but social gatherings with your colleagues should give you the chance to meet lots of new people... possibly including the guy you end up starting a family with.
....I think you have a better chance of a successful relationship if you were to date someone within the same profession, as they're much more likely to understand the nature of your work/schedule. I'm not going to bet on meeting someone within my program (it's too small, and like I said, the majority will already be married), and you're right, after all the drama of dating fellow med school classmates, I definitely don't want to repeat *that* again, but I still think the odds of my having a family/kids rests on whether or not I'm able to meet someone within my work environment (proximity plays a huge role in most, if not all, relationships).

Of course, you will need to make some decisions, too. If starting a family is this important to you, you need to find a way to balance your priorities if someone comes along. Work is great, but if you want to have a life next to it, balancing it with other parts of your life is essential. While that can be hard (and quite likely involves passing up on some hours of sleep), it's by no means impossible... not even for you.
And this is where I have the most difficulty.. Hypothetically, even if I were to meet/fall in love w/ someone during residency, I really don't know how I'd be able to balance it with work. Residency is going to be much, much harder than med school. I already had a great deal of difficulty balancing my life the past few years - I can't fathom doing any better over the next 4 years. How do people do it?? I mean, does anyone feel like they have a balanced life during residency? I went to a physician panel on work/life issues a few weeks ago and, when asked how they deal w/ the issue of balance, one female doctor (who has a family and kids) responded.. "There is no balance!" Instead, she portrayed having a chaotic, unpredictable family life and having to juggle work with kids/family all the time...sounds like it's no picnic, and yet she's one of the better female role models we have here at school.

So really, try to worry a little less, see what comes along, and make time for the good things in life. You're still young, and you have far more opportunities to get all the things you want than you might think right now.
I never thought I'd be one of those women who freak out when they turn 30, but here I am, at 30, still a student, up to my neck in loans, no significant other, and a long road ahead of me still before I earn anything respectable..this journey is really quite the marathon, and it may be easy to tell yourself "you're still young, you still have time" when you're in your 20s, but once you hit 30, it's like reaching a stop sign that tells you, hey, you really need to reevaluate your priorities or life may pass you by altogether. I don't like to worry about things I can't control or predict, but starting residency at this age (and being female) does tend to activate/accentuate these fears about the future.

Does anyone else feel the same way or similarly?... I guess being an older med student puts me in the minority to begin with.

Anyways, thanks again for listening. Any/all thoughts/comments are appreciated.
 
OP
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Mar 27, 2010
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102 views and only one response huh?...

Anyone else have any thoughts, insights, comments to share?

I can't be the only older/non-trad/female med student/doctor-to-be who's thinking and worrying about these issues? I'd post this in the forum for the specialty I'm going to, but it's a male-predominant specialty, so I thought this women in healthcare forum would be more appropriate. I'm noticing very little discussion on the threads here though (besides the 'would you change your last name' thread).. which is disappointing. :(
 

dotdash

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102 views and only one response huh?...

Anyone else have any thoughts, insights, comments to share?
From an older age than yours: don't panic, you have time and opportunity. You are about to be working elbow-to-elbow with a whole new crop of men your age and will be able to meet all their friends, too.

If you want to meet someone with whom to start a family, then my advice is to take that goal seriously. Don't go out with guys you know you wouldn't marry, tell your friends and new acquaintances that you are looking for someone (if 30 people are thinking of single men they know, you will be inundated), and get to know yourself and your needs. Every day, do something to further your goal, even if it is a tiny thing.
 
Mar 7, 2017
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Medical Student (Accepted)
Hi everyone,

I'm new to SDN and am impressed by the outpouring of support and opportunity for discussion on this forum...

As my title says, I just turned 30 and will be starting intern year this summer. I've been in multiple serious relationships over the last decade and a half but am currently single (have been so for the last 1.5 years) and don't have any new prospects that I can foresee (I don't anticipate on having any time/energy to meet new people/date during intern year; furthermore, after intern year is over, I'll be starting residency at a small-program with 11/class, 70% of whom are already married based on what current residents there have told me). I don't mean to be overly dramatic and I don't mean to catastrophize my situation, nor can anyone ever predict the future (in my experience, relationships tend to 'happen' when you least expect them); but I feel like I've hit "a wall" that many women at this age do...and am afraid that my opportunities for marriage/family are dwindling, fast.

As far as life balance goes, I know that some are better at it than others. I've seen classmates of mine get married and/or pregnant during med school and residents who have done the same. That said, I personally cannot see myself being able to do that; if I couldn't handle a serious relationship during medical school, how am I supposed to do so during residency, let alone with marriage and kids? (kudos to those of you who are able to do so; I honestly don't know how you do it!). Best case scenario is if I meet someone after residency, but by then I'll be in my mid-30s and well...we all know the stats on pregnancy with aging. Should I give up the idea of ever having a family/kids and focus 100% on my career at this point? Or should I consider freezing my eggs or adopting in the future?...

The thought of living out the rest of my life single and alone greatly saddens me...and makes me feel at a loss with regard to achieving my personal life goals.

Thanks in advance for any input or thoughts.


Hi! I will also be in your situation, will be starting my residency at 30 (late 30 almost 31 since my birthday is in September), and when I read your post which is from 7 years ago I thought WOW THIS WOMAN IS ME!! I have the exact same fears and I also thought i'd never become one of those women who fear being 30 and let it give them anxiety about the future but there I AM! This would be absolutely NO PROBLEM if I was a man but as I woman I have to face reality biologically I want to have my kids at 35-37 great max, which means I need to meet someone in the next couple years. Although it does reassure me that I know or see more and more women having kids at 35-37 (it's becoming a normal thing).
It's crazy that even the part where you talked about freezing your eggs and adopting are something I too thought of...

The fact that your post is 7 years old is a chance for me because I get to see how your story turned out. I know you must now be a very very busy doctor and hopefully successful, but if you could take time to answer me that would be greatly appreciated! Please be straight up honest and don't sugarcoat anything, just say how it truly was, were your fears exagerated or was it actually a prediction ?

Thank you very much!
 

Smurfette

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Hi! I will also be in your situation, will be starting my residency at 30 (late 30 almost 31 since my birthday is in September), and when I read your post which is from 7 years ago I thought WOW THIS WOMAN IS ME!! I have the exact same fears and I also thought i'd never become one of those women who fear being 30 and let it give them anxiety about the future but there I AM! This would be absolutely NO PROBLEM if I was a man but as I woman I have to face reality biologically I want to have my kids at 35-37 great max, which means I need to meet someone in the next couple years. Although it does reassure me that I know or see more and more women having kids at 35-37 (it's becoming a normal thing).
It's crazy that even the part where you talked about freezing your eggs and adopting are something I too thought of...

The fact that your post is 7 years old is a chance for me because I get to see how your story turned out. I know you must now be a very very busy doctor and hopefully successful, but if you could take time to answer me that would be greatly appreciated! Please be straight up honest and don't sugarcoat anything, just say how it truly was, were your fears exagerated or was it actually a prediction ?

Thank you very much!
Just FYI, that user hasn't logged in since 2011, so you are probably not going to get a response.
 
Mar 7, 2017
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Just FYI, that user hasn't logged in since 2011, so you are probably not going to get a response.
Hi. Thanks for the heads up and yes I noticed too when I wrote the message but I thought MAYBE she still checks her mails and sees there is a reply under her question. I know the probability is low but it doesn't cost to try...
Could I ask you how you, as a woman handleled residency, did you get pregnant during it? was it doable?
thank you
 

DrCommonSense

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Sep 20, 2016
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Hi. Thanks for the heads up and yes I noticed too when I wrote the message but I thought MAYBE she still checks her mails and sees there is a reply under her question. I know the probability is low but it doesn't cost to try...
Could I ask you how you, as a woman handleled residency, did you get pregnant during it? was it doable?
thank you
The biggest issue for female physicians is largely hypergamy.

Female physicians will MOSTLY date/marry men who MAKE more money than themselves with a prestigious title such as physician/attorney/investment banker.

When a female gets to her 30s, those men become EXTREMELY rare due to the fact they are usually married/often in serious relationships/dating younger women due to their higher SMV as a result of their resource acquisition.

Successful men in their 30s will have many options and if they are marriage/children minded, they will often date women in their 20s that are more than willing to marry/date them due to their status. Men in their 30s who are successful are VERY willing to marry attractive women in their 20s who don't have much "status" in their job as long as they are physically attractive.

Ergo, if the hypergamy thing can be neutralized whereby you date a "blue collar worker" or some other guy with a "lower prestige job", I'm sure you can find someone.

However, if you want to shoot for only the TOP caliber men, remember, most women are ALSO shooting for those men. This will make it a much more difficult task to achieve.
 
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DokterMom

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Slight twist in tone --

If you limit yourself to dating only men who are as/more educationally and financially successful than you, you will have constricted your potential dating pool considerably.

But if you can broaden your definition of male attractiveness to include dimensions other than career and financial success, you will find a whole wide wonderful world out there. Your own financial strength brings a valuable asset to any marriage -- one where you are free to choose a partner who contributes something wonderful but different. Consider artists, teachers, social workers, carpenters, writers, etc. Your own earnings will assure your family's financial well-being, so look for your complement, not your duplicate.
 
Mar 23, 2018
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Slight twist in tone --

If you limit yourself to dating only men who are as/more educationally and financially successful than you, you will have constricted your potential dating pool considerably.

But if you can broaden your definition of male attractiveness to include dimensions other than career and financial success, you will find a whole wide wonderful world out there. Your own financial strength brings a valuable asset to any marriage -- one where you are free to choose a partner who contributes something wonderful but different. Consider artists, teachers, social workers, carpenters, writers, etc. Your own earnings will assure your family's financial well-being, so look for your complement, not your duplicate.
I agree just make sure

1. This is truly your desire
2. These men truly desire you, because men can be insecure about your status.

As a rule though men aren’t very interested in your money and status, we simply aren’t. But nothing wrong with fighting conventional biological/social conditions.
 
Jul 31, 2017
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I guess things don't change that much...I clicked on this and started reading, then realized it started almost 10 years ago. If anyone out there is still looking at this and willing to offer advice/ thoughts/ wisdom, thanks in advance.

I did grad school before medical school, and am finishing up my first year in residency, with 4 years ahead of me (been offered/ planning on doing my fellowship at the same institution). I'm kind of shy and have dated fairly regularly on and off, but don't have much experience with longterm relationships. I always put school/work/helping my parents and siblings ahead of my personal life. Of course, I'm 30.

I'm pretty sure the first year of any residency is pretty brutal, and I'm glad I've just about made it through, but I'm overall pretty unhappy with my current situation, and especially my life outside of work. Match was a surprise that forced me to move across the country to a "town" (pop with all the undergrades ~50,000) that's quite different than the place I lived my entire life. I had no contacts outside of the program in the entire state. My traditional family was not supportive at all, and for months they didn't really talk to me. I was able to make some friends within the program, but it's a specialty and there's no interaction with general medicine/ other interns so when I leave the hospital I feel pretty lonely. Actively searched the internet for openings/ swap positions at places I thought might be a better fit, but nothing ever came up.

The heart of the matter that I would really appreciate some insight into how does a single female resident meet someone? I've always been blessed that I have strong female friendships; I'm still in close touch with friends from back home and I have some friends after being here for almost 1 year, but I'm very worried I missed the boat for finding a partner. I'm not sold on kids, but I 100% would love to be married someday. There was 1 guy that I could see myself with for the long haul, but he matched pretty far away. I tried reaching out but never heard from him. I have never tried online dating (shyness/doubt and genuinely really busy)-- I was wondering if other professional women have had luck with it? I'm not planning on dying anytime soon, so I hope that I do have time, but since I've been single for most of my adult life, I don't know if I'll ever find my match. I'm sure this probably sounds melodramatic, but I know some professional women who never married/ were in longterm relationships, and if that's my future, I'll be heartbroken but I guess I need to start accepting it.

I read the previous posts and think there's a lot of sound advice in them. How much money he makes is far less important to me than if he's a good man and compatible with me, but I also don't want to settle/compromise. I know some women in unhappy relationships because they were afraid they wouldn't/ couldn't find better and stuck with the guy. Education level and intelligence are not the same thing, but as someone who went through a LOT of education, I want someone who understands and respects how much I've pushed myself, and has also challenged himself (basically at least a Master's). Since I've started residency, I've already run into the guy who's "intimidated" by the fact that I'll make quite a bit of money at the end of my training. But, being a practicing physician has been a dream come true and that's not going to change.

Wow, that was a lot longer than I thought, but I suppose I needed to get it off my chest. If anyone can comment on how they found someone, if online dating is worth the time / any hints or suggestions I would greatly appreciate it. I 100% know a person makes themselves happy, another person cannot do it for them, but I don't want medicine to be my whole life. I still want to live it, and take part in the human experiences that define us. Thank you, and I genuinely wish anyone reading this peace, love, health and happiness in their own lives.
 

YouMDbro101

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Apr 2, 2014
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I guess things don't change that much...I clicked on this and started reading, then realized it started almost 10 years ago. If anyone out there is still looking at this and willing to offer advice/ thoughts/ wisdom, thanks in advance.

I did grad school before medical school, and am finishing up my first year in residency, with 4 years ahead of me (been offered/ planning on doing my fellowship at the same institution). I'm kind of shy and have dated fairly regularly on and off, but don't have much experience with longterm relationships. I always put school/work/helping my parents and siblings ahead of my personal life. Of course, I'm 30.

I'm pretty sure the first year of any residency is pretty brutal, and I'm glad I've just about made it through, but I'm overall pretty unhappy with my current situation, and especially my life outside of work. Match was a surprise that forced me to move across the country to a "town" (pop with all the undergrades ~50,000) that's quite different than the place I lived my entire life. I had no contacts outside of the program in the entire state. My traditional family was not supportive at all, and for months they didn't really talk to me. I was able to make some friends within the program, but it's a specialty and there's no interaction with general medicine/ other interns so when I leave the hospital I feel pretty lonely. Actively searched the internet for openings/ swap positions at places I thought might be a better fit, but nothing ever came up.

The heart of the matter that I would really appreciate some insight into how does a single female resident meet someone? I've always been blessed that I have strong female friendships; I'm still in close touch with friends from back home and I have some friends after being here for almost 1 year, but I'm very worried I missed the boat for finding a partner. I'm not sold on kids, but I 100% would love to be married someday. There was 1 guy that I could see myself with for the long haul, but he matched pretty far away. I tried reaching out but never heard from him. I have never tried online dating (shyness/doubt and genuinely really busy)-- I was wondering if other professional women have had luck with it? I'm not planning on dying anytime soon, so I hope that I do have time, but since I've been single for most of my adult life, I don't know if I'll ever find my match. I'm sure this probably sounds melodramatic, but I know some professional women who never married/ were in longterm relationships, and if that's my future, I'll be heartbroken but I guess I need to start accepting it.

I read the previous posts and think there's a lot of sound advice in them. How much money he makes is far less important to me than if he's a good man and compatible with me, but I also don't want to settle/compromise. I know some women in unhappy relationships because they were afraid they wouldn't/ couldn't find better and stuck with the guy. Education level and intelligence are not the same thing, but as someone who went through a LOT of education, I want someone who understands and respects how much I've pushed myself, and has also challenged himself (basically at least a Master's). Since I've started residency, I've already run into the guy who's "intimidated" by the fact that I'll make quite a bit of money at the end of my training. But, being a practicing physician has been a dream come true and that's not going to change.

Wow, that was a lot longer than I thought, but I suppose I needed to get it off my chest. If anyone can comment on how they found someone, if online dating is worth the time / any hints or suggestions I would greatly appreciate it. I 100% know a person makes themselves happy, another person cannot do it for them, but I don't want medicine to be my whole life. I still want to live it, and take part in the human experiences that define us. Thank you, and I genuinely wish anyone reading this peace, love, health and happiness in their own lives.
I'm not female, but I will be starting intern year as a 30-year-old resident. It seems to me that the average age of an intern varies somewhere between 27-30 since a large proportion of students follow the nontraditional path to medical school nowadays. I was fortunate enough to be in a relationship when I started medical school at 26. We did long distance for four years (intermittently seeing each other for about 3.5 months out of the year) and got married when I was 27.

That's not remotely similar to your situation but I will offer some advice as best I can:
1) It's never to late. You have a commitment to your residency but that doesn't mean you can't have a social life.

2) Real men aren't intimidated by successful women. My wife has been making more money than me since we met and in return and I hope she will make even more money than me when I am done with residency. We like our space and are very independent but the idea of having a successful person you can lean on is also appealing to a man. I don't want my wife to settle down - in fact, sometimes I feared I held her back.

3) You don't have to have a Masters Degree to be compatible with an MD. There are plenty of successful people out there that are more intelligent as college grads with a bachelors than medical doctors with fellowships. My wife has a bachelors but she is more organized, harder working and emotionally intelligent than I am.

4) Kids: the average age of a mother in the United States has been increasing steadily. In the US it's 27, but in other industrialized countries it's closer to 31. We have sophisticated medicine that allows women to have children in their late 30s. But on that topic, I'm on the fence on children, too. My wife, who is your age, hasn't even thought about the prospect because she is focused on her career - I can't blame her.

Bottom line: you aren't alone, you have a lot of time, and you have a lot of options.
 
Oct 6, 2018
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This is something that I am also going through and found some of the posts in this thread somewhat comforting, so I thought I'd share as well. I'm about to start residency in a new medium-large city where I don't have any friends or family. I'm a guy, but also single in my early 30s and worry about dating/finding a partner during what I expect to be a very busy residency. I understand that the biological urgency isn't there in the same way as it is for women, but I still feel a lot of pressure to find someone soon. Almost all of my close friends are married (some are even starting to have kids) and it is becoming more and more lonely to be single.

I went to med school in a smaller, more rural area (near my family) and found it very difficult to date during my time there. Like most people in this thread, I want to find a partner who is an ambitious/high-achieving type and can appreciate the amount of work I've gone through just to reach this point. Outside of my med school class, those types of people were almost impossible to find. I expect my new location to be an upgrade in terms of the dating pool, but worry that I won't really have time to date. On top of that, I also worry about trying to make new friends in a new location at this point in my life and just the general unhappiness that comes with being alone for whatever free time I have out of the hospital. I'm not the most outgoing/social person and am really scared that developing a social life in a totally new environment (both romantically and just making friends) will be a struggle. I can see myself spending all my free time sitting in my apartment watching Netflix, which really depresses me.

To try to offer some advice to Aurora_Black: I have tried some of the online dating without much success throughout med school. I think it is absolutely worth trying if you haven't yet, but if you aren't in a major city the number of quality people you'll find are going to be limited. I went on a handful of first dates that never went anywhere, but also met a couple of people who were great that could have led to a more serious relationship if things fell into place. I'm sure there are men (like me) in a similar situation to you and hope you find someone great.
 

Dave1980

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Don't worry too much my friend. You will magically become more attractive once you finish training. It's odd how that happens...

I'm a guy, but also single in my early 30s and worry about dating/finding a partner during what I expect to be a very busy residency.