Relationships with Residents

Dating a medical student is my blog namesake, but obviously my relationship has evolved past dating, and Dr. B has graduated medical school. I have actually been blogging since 2012, if that is even possible! Last I checked, medical school didn’t take 6 years  – then again, it sure felt like it did.

I figured I would take this time to explore relationships with residents a little further, since that is the season Dr. B and I are currently in on this journey to attending. Dr. B is on the eve of starting his third year of residency, but really his PGY 2 year since his first year was research block. Reflecting on the last two years, I have realized my life has been a whirlwind. I went back and read my first ever blog post titled “Medical School Girlfriend = Constant Waiting Game.” After thinking about that title, I realized this blog should really be called: “Resident’s Spouse = Alone in Empty House.” lollllz – I literally just laughed out loud. But in all seriousness, as much as I wanted residency to get easier, it comes with its own set of challenges. For Dr. B and I, residency meant we would finally be in the same place, living together, married. This was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, because just the idea of getting to spend time with him daily was a true treat. However, adding the benefit of being in the same place has also added the difficulties of a residents schedule. Dr. B has been on trauma rotations the last few months, and he comes home utterly exhausted. He eats dinner and hits the sack almost every night without so much as say two words to me. I feel so bad that he is that worn out, I don’t even protest. He only gets off 4 days in a month, and even those days I feel are meant for him to catch up on some much needed sleep, the kind he doesn’t get the rest of the month getting up at 4am and arriving home late into the evening.

For anyone who has followed this blog, I am a pretty independent person. So normally these maddening hours would just give me an excuse to throw myself into my hobbies, passions and friends. Moving to a different city for his residency has really thrown me for a loop, however. In the past, I had my sets of friends that I could easily hang with when he wasn’t around. In the city that we are in now, I feel like I don’t have enough strong relationships to have that same support system. In addition, we bought a house that has needed a fair amount of work. Doing a lot of these tasks alone adds to my general difficulties and loneliness.

Today was a good day overall. I need to count my blessings on days like today. I had an awesome lunch conversation with a newer friend I met during my MBA. I was also able to go to happy hour with a developing friendship I made during time at my last job. Today my social calendar was filled, and I was able to spend time cultivating new relationships. Yes, I am alone typing this blog. Yes, Dr. B barely has seen me this week. But days when I can laugh with friends over a marg and some guac are days that should be cherished.

I so want to love this time Dr. B and I have together. We are still newly married and our two year anniversary is only two weeks away. I sometimes kick myself for wishing away the days, and go back to my older blogs to remember the right way to handle this loneliness. I know I need to refocus and live in the moment. I need to enjoy being with myself. I need to trust that this journey does not come with a beginning and end, but an ever-winding path, with good turns and bad. I am happy to be 30 and in this season of life. My focus needs to be the good, not the loneliness and wishing for more. I’m just glad I still have a place to talk about these issues.

For anyone dating, engaged, married or in a partnership with a resident or someone with a resident  like career – how do you handle the time apart?

9 thoughts on “Relationships with Residents

  1. Hi!! I stumbled on your blog and boy am I glad I did. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and insight. I’ve been dating a med school student for about two years. It’s been long distance the whole time. I am also in the medical field and furthering my education so I understand the drama a bit. He’s studying for Step 1 right now and it’s been extremely difficult. He’s struggling with a whole bunch of other issues psychologically with sadness and so forth and horrible exes trauma. I’ve try to be understanding but he really shuts down emotionally and I don’t hear from him for a couple to the most during step studying an entire week. I’ve spoken to him about communication before. Lately during Step 1 studying I only get curt and short responses to messages. I understand that he need space and time to study for Step so I don’t expect much.

    I am reading your post about residency and I can’t imagine going through this for that long. I can deal with the medical stuff but I can’t deal with the lack of emotion and so forth. It will only get worse I assume into the next couples of years. I wanna have faith because I love him but the more it feels like he pulls away from me the more I lose hope.

  2. Also, he refuses to say that he loves me so now I feel like I am waiting in vain for him … because he says it’s too soon and people through the word around. I don’t want to waste my time but I feel like I am. I am trying to figure out if this is normal med school student behavior or what?

    1. Hi Sarah – I know how tough it can be. I don’t think there is a simple answer to your question unfortunately. As far as med students being busy, sometimes it gets a little better in the 3rd and 4th year after step 1 is over. However, med students and residents are really busy throughout their training. Dr. B chose a particularly demanding residency in surgery which doesn’t completely help the situation. I say you have to do what is best for you. If you feel like you aren’t getting the amount of attention you need, you should explain this to your bf and maybe see if you can figure out a schedule that works. Sometimes just focusing on activities that make you happy also helps. If you read my blog I went through an evolution as Dr. B went through medical school. The more I focused on my own activities, the easier the distance and time spent apart was.

  3. Ah yes, I understand the feeling of just living together, it’s just amazing. Yeah I remember when my husband would come home after working 2 weeks straight with no break had night shifts during that time (aka, did a night shift followed by a day shift – brutal), and when he would come he, he would just sleep. Completely understandable, I agree with your feelings regarding their days off, it feels like they should have that time to recharge and rest. Most of the time, I take care of the house completely, I don’t really mind it because I don’t want my husband to worry about the house and chores etc with his job. Your question about time apart, I guess I just go day by day and do what I feel like that day, this includes doing NOTHING if I was having a lazy day (i.e., porridge for dinner? Yes please!). Otherwise I do what you do, hobbies and generally whatever passes the alone time. I too moved cities for my husbands work, so I know how it feels to not have friends or family nearby.

    P. S. In your post, where you wrote ‘independent’, the Destiny’s Child independent woman has been playing in my head!

    1. Thank you so much for the supportive message. Reading your words put a smile on my face and reminded me I’m not alone. So many people come to this blog to ask how to be in a relationship with medicine. It’s a rare treat to get some advice and inspiration in return. Your post is the reason I stay on here and keep posting forward. Thank you!

      Is your partner done with residency now or are you still on the journey?

      Also I love that Destiny’s Child song. Pretty much sums up my middle school experience and subsequent life really!

      1. We must stick together! I feel we can uniquely understand each other regarding what it’s like being the other half of a doctor :).

        Yep, he’s done with his residency years. In the UK, this is called the foundation years which is normally 2 years. He is now in in speciality training (Radiology). Entering his second year of this training soon!

        The Destiny’s Child song is again… Back in my head. Lol

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