Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Of Course, Something Else

After all was said and done about knowing what my rank list will be, I was hit with a major obstacle. I showed the presumptive list to Wife, after we had talked about the locations of my top 3-4 programs a week earlier, and she calmly stated that, wait for it…she wouldn’t move to my 3rd choice.

Of course I was rational about the whole event – not. You see, I’ve tried to keep her involved in this decision, let her know where I was thinking about applying, and asked her opinions of the cities and overall locations where we’d potentially be moving. A few cities where I had wanted to apply were lost in this process and I proceeded to interview with the assumption that, despite not wanting to move, she’d be OK with where we ended up.

The other notion that ran through my head was an absolutely selfish one: I’ve sacrificed 7 years for her to be near Stepson, lost a year of undergrad, gained $15,000 in out-of-state debt, and was forced to only interview at 2 medical schools (of which only one actually interviewed and accepted me). I’ve done a lot for her and this was my training: 4 years to become an Anesthesiologist, board certified and all. I felt that, given the fact that I’ve put up with 4 years of bad experiences at my medical school with feelings that I might have been happier at another location, I should be able to rank programs based on where I feel I’d receive the best training.


This argument eventually ended up in discussions by her about going separate ways. Wife feels we’re not on the same path anymore – and all because I got upset about one program. Now, don’t worry too much at this point – she brings this idea up every now and then when we have a heated argument. However, I feel somewhat betrayed at the suggestion that I just went about “interviewing all over without talking to me”.

I felt I had taken a great deal of steps to try and avoid this problem – only to have her start 2nd guessing the whole notion of moving. So now I feel that, unless we end up in the program we both want as our primary choice, she’ll decided that it’s not worth it and stay here.

There is a burden I’ve carried for a while now – the idea that she has sacrificed her aspirations for this process. I also worry about where we’ll end up because Stepson will not be coming with us if we move. I’ve spent more time at home, trying to be helpful in order to assuage these concerns, but I’m getting sick and tired of feeling like I’m the bad guy in this situation. It sucks, yes, but I honestly feel that I attempted to keep her involved throughout.

So I’ll move the program low on the list (despite being an outstanding place) and try to patch things up later today. But you know, residency is not going to be easy – anywhere.


Noel Hastings said...

This is tough. I am entering into a serious relationship and we have had several "future" talks about residency. She is a professional in a new leadership role and picking up and moving would be a major loss for her. I am not looking forward to this decision...

Bostonian in NY said...

I have this conversation with the GF about once a month, and twice on holidays. She's a law student in Vermont, I'm a med student in NY. We are 5 hours apart right now. She wants to go home to Boston for her job, but wants to come down here to be with me. I don't want her down here alone while I go through third year (with the whole sleep deprivation thing and all) and the 4th year interview misery. The distance is why she's GF and not fiance. You guys will find a compromise point and things will work out once you swap viewpoints for a minute and get past the fighting. Hang in there.

Doc's Girl said...

Wow...that is a very, very tough situation. I'm so sorry.

The bf has to start debating where he'll end up for fellowship...and I will be finishing school at the same time, so I hear ya. (Thankfully, it's only a year that we might be in different states.) But, I guess I'm different. I look at all of the bf's education and I've made it clear that I don't want him settling when it comes to his fellowship. He did well throughout school, med school, residency (most of it before I even came into the picture!) and I would feel quite selfish to place demands on something like that. I want him to be happy. :)

I really think that you should consider everything you've done as a whole--are you willing to take all that you've mentioned (the debt, 4 years of med school, etc.) and feel like you are settling in the end?

That might make your wife happy... but I'm sure it will brew resentment on your part, understandably so! It's also not very fair if you are going to be the one with the larger income in the future. . . . . . .

Is the reason that she doesn't want to move to #3 related to being closer to family? Stepson? She doesn't like the area?

I wish you guys lots of luck!

MSG said...


#3 would have placed us around some family members that she doesn't like (on both sides), the COL is higher, we'd be 1500 miles away from Stepson, and she's already lived there before and she didn't really like it. Despite the feelings of resentment at having to make a decision between what I feel would be a great opportunity and where she wants to live I really was able to make the majority of the decisions without drastic change. I moved that 3rd spot low on my list (but not at the very bottom) and moved everything else up one. No biggie...but it sure seems like it at times.

And yes, relationships in medical school are hard to manage. They seem to get even harder once you start getting closer to residency even though 4th year is really easier than 3rd.

The Lone Coyote said...

Deciding the rank list just based on the programs is a challenge. Then adding in the input of another person is even more challenging, no matter how good the communication and intentions. We've been going around and around on certain aspects of this since I started interviewing and thought we had it pretty set. Of course, I started having some reservations about one of our higher ranked programs, and she has reservations about another program's location. It is just going to be tough, but I think if we all keep talking and compromising, it will work out okay in the end. Hang in there. I feel your pain.

Doc's Girl said...


Oh, I'm so glad that you worked this out--this is HUGE. :) The good (and maybe a little bad) part is when you get there, where ever you are, and start with the craziness, I'm sure you or your wife won't have time to think about it. :-P

adventures in disaster said...

I have some misgivings about this because having read your blog this is not the first hint of trouble.

I think before you hand in that list you better sit her down and make her spill. I have an awful feeling she is not moving away from her son despite what she may say. When push actually comes to shove you may be going alone.

That is fine as long as it's a decision reached honestly. Meaning she doesn't hit you with it a week before you are supposed to be leaving.
She honestly may not even realize that she has made this's your job to drag it out of her.

You are already feeling like you are making sacrifices here and you are already aren't hiding it...but if she lies to you well that spells doom.
Time to stop making nice here even if it's going to hurt.
Ask her point blank if she can leave her son, don't be judgmental or angry.
Be pragmatic.
You do not want a resentful wife sitting at home during your training furious because she isn't close to her son. She will be unable to support you.

This has to be done with positive supportive allies not a resentful, unhappy enemy.
Much better to come home weekends and holidays to someone joyful at your appearance and happy with their life don't you think?
And maybe a little time apart being self reliant would help.

Doc's Girl said...

AID - I hope you don't think I'm jumping on you...but...

Honestly, I don't think that MSG's relationship is in trouble. I think he is being very honest about a lot of the tough relationship issues that happen when you are dating someone in medical school or residency--one being sacrafice for a better future. I admire his honest posts. :)

Not only will MSG benefit from having a good residency--his wife and his children will also have a good future. This is not all about one person and one person's needs...this is about a family and a marriage. . .

Sacrafices are necessary...and not easy. (I'm out of state away from my teenage brother that I'm co-guardian of for a four month rotation of my bf's so I can relate.)

Anonymous said...

Your happiness should be just as important, there's noting worse then waking up and being miserable everyday. Having a baby changes everything. Life just sucks sometimes.

Neil said...

Pretty worthwhile piece of writing, much thanks for the post.
check | 4 | his site