Financial Stress of Dating a Medical Student

Future Dr. B has been away this week, traveling throughout the eastern half of the U.S. interviewing every day for a residency position. This has not only been exhausting to him, but has also been exhausting to me, as I have been trying my best to help him coordinate his schedule and figure out how to pay for it all. What I find the most nutso about this entire process is not only that Future Dr. B not only has little control over where he ends up (the U.S. match process which I am sure I will get into more in another post), but that he is forced to finance these interviews completely on his own without the help of the programs that he is interviewing with. I fondly call the interviews mini vacations for him, because he is jetsetting across the country on a daily basis. If we could all be so lucky! While I am half-heartedly joking about the vacation, I am very concerned about how all of these interviews are going to be financed and from who that money will come from.

Everyone told me that M4 was going to be the best year yet because Future Dr. B was going to have a lot more time when the stressors of clinicals passed. While I have seen more of him at times, I feel like this has been the most stressful year for me thus far. I’m not sure if it is the combination of the fact that shit just got real for everything. Not only am I going along on this crazy adventure in the same way I was as the “Girlfriend”, but now I have the added pressures that come with “Future Wife.” These stressors include determining if we are going to be financially stable in our marriage, and this is with the added expenses of his interviewing and our upcoming nuptials. On top of all of that, we don’t even live together, so I am constantly wondering if I should just pay for things he needs, like interview travel and assorted other expenses that come with his medical career, or do I put that burden on him as we are still two independent people?

I have sought a ton of advice recently from couples married for decades. How do you get around financial struggles, and what would be the best course of action to take in our situation? Do we split our accounts up? What about Future Dr. B’s loans? How do I pay for things while we are engaged? Does it make more sense for me to help him financially now because I am the bread winner, and he would have to put it on his loans? How do I protect myself since I am a working woman and have been saving every dime I have made for the last six years? Should I even worry about any of this?

Phhew…it is completely and utterly exhausting. I fall asleep to dollar signs floating out of my head, watching the money float away in my dreams. Unfortunately, I haven’t exactly gotten many answers that have been helpful from married couples I know. This isn’t because I haven’t met and spoken to some amazing married couples, including my own parents (30 years married and counting). It is more that I haven’t honestly met too many other people in my situation. For as much as I am connected in Brendan’s medical school community, we don’t know many medical school couples who have been long distance and are in different parts of their careers. I have found some wise information on the internet, including these awesome tips from 7 Things I’ve Learned as the Wife of a Medical Student

However, I am still soul searching and seeking some great advice…If you have please let me know and comment below!

For now…

I have decided to help Future Dr. B in many ways financially and what I fondly refer to as administratively (I am his personal assistant after all). I figure we are most likely getting married (no bad juju here) and we need to start working as a team. As much as it has been difficult on me to carry both the financial burden and the future wife burden, it has definitely challenged us to communicate better and be open and honest about our financial situation. I am sure the coming months are going to be even more challenging as we find out where he is matched for residency and start making the BIG decisions such as: where we will live, what my job looks like following him to wherever it is we are going, and how we handle the massive pile of debt he has already amassed in his quest to becoming a doctor. Oh boy oh boy…so much more to write about….

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