Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dating

Last night I had a dream that I was dating two different men. The first I took to a friend's wedding, the second I took to a dinner party at Oprah's! (She makes one mean mango martini.) As I said, in my dreams.

Dating during medical school is hard to do. At least, I find it hard to do. Most of the days' hours are spent intensely (or not-so-intensely) studying, so when I find myself with "free time," all I want to do is relax. I'll watch one of my Netflix movies (the three I currently have have been sitting here for 5 weeks), I'll walk to the park and just sit and listen to the cascading fountain, I'll do some light reading, or I'll sleep. The last thing I want to do is get all dressed and primped to go out to some meat-market to find a man. I don't have the time.

OK, that's not completely true. You can make the time. It takes some effort, but it is possible. Last year I dated occasionally, but ultimately I couldn't devote the time needed to develop a real relationship. So, it didn't work out for me. However, it seems to be working for some people in my class.

Many in my second-year medical school class have been dating for some time. Some became engaged during first-year and were married this past summer, others have been in long-term relationships for many years, and a small group have been dating within the class or between classes. Now, not all of these relationships have been rosy. As in all relationships, there have been rough spots. Understandably, in the relationship, it's hard when you are not the one in medical school -- when you are not priority #1. I've been on that side of the coin. After a while, it hurts.

I keep saying to myself, Just wait until you're through with medical school. . . residency. . . fellowship? I ask myself, When will there be time? Will I end up old and alone without a family of my own?

At the core, I'm a hopeless romantic. I mean, how many times have I watched Ever After? You -- and I -- don't want to know! It will happen when it's supposed to happen. Love will happen when I make time for it to happen. As Oprah would say, That I know for sure.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I'm currently dating a med student and I find is absolutely hard to understand how busy he is. I do in way know what I got myself into but our relationship first of all, is long distance. Second, he has to make time to study when he comes home from his rotations, so he briefly talks on the phone. My point is if you're so busy and don't have time for yourself, then why involve someone else when you don't have time for them. I think it's a selfish interest. I feel hurt about his inability to make phone time and sometimes feel like he's not into me afterall.

DC Med Student said...

I hear ya. I was in your position about 3 years ago. It was really tough. I can totally relate to the feelings of hurt and not being wanted. Back then, I didn't understand it -- the absence, the lack of time. Now that I'm on the other side, though, I can see how it's possible to have that other person in your thoughts, and care about them deeply, yet not have the time to express or show those feelings. In my case, we ended up agreeing that it was better for us to part and, if in the future we ended up in the same city and still had feelings for each other, we would try again.

I don't think I could or would involve someone else in this crazy busy life right now -- especially when I'm thinking of moving across the country in two years. I wouldn't want to put anyone in that position.

All the best to you.

Anonymous said...

Dear DCMedStudent:

I just met a WONDERFUL resident and I have fallen HEAD over HEELS. I just want to be that girl who brings him warm soup and hot cocao to the hospital on his long hours...I want to be supportive and send nice texts to his beeper to remind him that I care about him. I want to be that girl...but i don't know how to get the relationship started since he is REALLY busy with residency. What do I do and why did I fall for such a seemingly impossible situation? He really is the man of my DREAMS!

Good luck in 2nd year :)

DC Med Student said...

Dear Head over Heels,

I don't know what to tell you. All I know is that it's going to be difficult.

How does he feel about you? How would you feel about being in a relationship where you don't really see or spend time with that wonderful man of your dreams? How many years of residency does he have left? Is he planning on staying in the area? Would you be willing to move if he took a position in another part of the country?

It sounds like you just met, so perhaps you haven't even thought about those things. However, bringing warm soup and hot chocolate to the hospital may be fun for a minute, but then what? Could you handle not getting that same level of attention in return?

All the best to you.

Anonymous said...

Dear DC Med Student:

Thank you for your response, first of all. Well, he just began third year of residency. He will be here for two more years.

If we were committed, yes, I would move with him. He is thinking of staying in the area where we both are now. My job gives me flexibility in that sense fortunately.

As for how he feels about me, we really did just start communicating and met once so yeah...don't know just yet. Is it okay to phone him and ask if he wants to hangout?

I am trying to keep my expectations lower because I know he's super busy. Why do I fall for such guys!?

Would I be okay in a relationship where I didn't receive the attention? Yeah, I'm pretty strong and independent. I would just treasure the time that we DID have together.

Anonymous said...

Oh sorry...that was "Head over Heels" who just posted!

Do I really need to re-adjust my dating paradigm with this guy? Like most guys should phone within 48 hours etc...do I need to change all the rules for my McDreamy? :)

DC Med Student said...

Head over Heels,

I've never been a fan of rules when it comes to dating. Do what feels right. Just be yourself. No games.

All the best to you.

[Anyone else wanna chime in?]

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your help DC Med Student but McDreamy is no more...I have to keep my dignity at some point right? I just feel like the emotional availability will be an issue. i wish that it weren't - i'd be happy to tell you that things will be okay but i think i'd be lonely. plus, he smokes marijuana sometimes! what kind of doctor DOES that?

wish me luck in finding a nice teacher and tell me to stay the hell away from doctors! haha

good luck in school:)

Anonymous said...

Dear Med student,
I was very glad to see this site/blog after googling dating a med student. I'd been dating this guy (long-distance) for about 6 month in last yr of residency as radiologist. We spent almost every weekend together despite the distance. Now that the boards are coming up I feel that I am lucky to hear from him couple minutes 5 times per week (only past 2 weeks). But I too have been going thur a difficult time (just laid off, cleaned out recently deceased father's house b/c sold). I am understanding and have been ok w/ the distance. but it is hard to not feel like a burden (although I let him be). I like how you mentioned that just b/c one may not get a call, doesn't mean they aren't thinking/caring about the other. He has been so loving and 'reaching out' until now and he appologizes constantly about his busy schedule, but- being a skepic- I can't help but wonder what he's thinking. I know you can't tell me that but it is good to hear info from the other side of the 'table'.
thanks.

DC Med Student said...

Dear Long-Distance,

First, I'd like to say that I'm sorry to hear about the recent loss of your father. I know how hard it is to have to go through that. It took me a long time before I could clean out my mother's belongings after she passed.

As far as the relationship, you're right, I can't tell you what Dr. Radiologist is thinking. However, I do believe that it's possible that he's thinking about you and wishes he could be there with you during this difficult period in your life. I say hang in there if you can. See what happens once he's taken the boards. Hopefully you'll be able to spend more time together then.

All the best to you.

DC Med Student said...

Dear Head over Heels,

I'm glad that you made the right decision for YOU. Mr. Right is out there somewhere. Stay away from Dr. Wrong!

All the best to you.

Anonymous said...

Reading these posts is making me a feel a bit better about my current situation. I've been dating a first-year resident for the past 2 months. We met at the hospital he worked at (i also work at the hospital), so we can have the "medical-talk" if we want, but he doen't seem to like to talk about what goes on at his work.
He's simply a wonderful guy and we have way too many things in common that it's sometimes scary... (were we ever twins in past life??) When we first met, he was in ICU and the rotation was pretty easy apparently. We used to meet every 2-3 days, go see a movie, or go see a play. He was very romantic, would call/text me every day.
Now that his rotations are getting worse, sometimes I don't hear from him for 4-5 days (no texts either) and as others have said, I totally start doubting where this is going...or how he feels about me...or does he have someone else in his life...? I think to myself...can't he at least text me to let me know he's okay??
But then, reading these posts...I understand that he's probably having one of the worst experiences he'll ever have in his entire life and I just need to sit tight.

By the way, how much better would the 2nd-year residency be? More weekends off? Less on-call days?

PUNKY10 said...

WOW. I FOUND THIS SITE REALLY HELPFUL.. I STARTED DATING A MEDSTUDENT 2 MONTHS AGO AND RIGHT BEFORE HE STARTED TRAUMA ROTATION WHICH HE SAYS IS THE WORST ROTATION. ITS DEF HARD I GO TO WEEKS SOMETIMES BEFORE I GET TIME WITH HIM. AND I FELT THE SAME WAY AS THE FIRST GIRL. IT STARTS TO FEEL U WANTED BECAUSE HE DOESN'T CALL. I JUST COULD UNDERSTANDING HIM BEING THIS BUSY BUT SEEING OTHERS GOING THROUGH THE SAME I KNOW ITS NOT JUST ME. I GUESS I WILL RIDE IT FOR LIL LONGER AND SEE IF IT GETS BETTER AFTER THIS CRAZY ROTATION. WISH ME LUCK

Jennie G. said...

So my boyfriend just started medical school in West Virginia and I'm still in college (final year) about 4 hours away. I just went to see him and was very excited because I hadn't seen him in 7 weeks (I went out of the country for a family thing for a while). Well, I was so excited to see him, as we had left the relationship at such a good point (promising it was a priority and that we could make it work, keeping in mind the fact we knew he was going to be very very busy). When I got there, however, he didn't seem that excited at all. In the weeks leading up to my visit, he almost stopped saying "I love you" on the phone (unless I said it first). He paid way more attention to his new friends and didn't seem to be into us so much anymore. Plus, we didn't have much to talk about because all he seemed to think and talk about was medical school. He hardly calls me anymore as well. He just seems uninterested and I wonder: is it because of me or is it totally the medical school thing? At the same time, he did just start and is probably trying to figure out where he fits in (he certainly hasn't figured out where I fit in). When you guys dated medical school students, how was the transition for you? Did s/he start treating you any differently?

Anonymous said...

Boyfriend of a medical student in ostopath. Thank you to everyone so much for blogging and also I don't feel alone in my quest to date a medical student. Talk about a distance and appreciating quality vs quantity of time, here's a quick one. Both of us in our mid 20's. She used to live in VA (my location), we dated for 2yrs. She then moved to CA while I stayed in VA and saw one another every 3-4 months for a week at a time (2more yrs). She is now in her 3rd yr in NY which is making it easier to at least be on the same coastline!
Here's my big worry. She knows that I am THE ONE, I am not so sure and think I have been super scared b/c of not knowing how after this year, the next 6 years of her residency will go (wants to be in TX b/c that's where her family is). If I knew she was the one, this would be a no brainer. But have been hesitant to be sure of myself and possibly commit that amount of time plus leaving everything behind. Could anyone PLEEEASE give me any insight to if I have reason to worry about the road getting rockier before it gets better and making the sacrafice or am I thinking too much. Thanks all!

RED HOOTTT DEALS!!!! said...

i have been looking forward to dating a medical student,but can't really find one.I am also not living close to any of them.i'm living in UK.

can anyone help me

email:praisecharacter@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I have been reading some of the comments left,and it's been helpful. I have been dating a guy in his 3rd year of medical school. We have been dating for about a month and a half. I really like him and i have been trying to make things easy for him (cooking for him, washing his dishes). I only get to see him once and week and I just wish I could see him more. I proposed a commitment and he said he wants to wait a little longer because he doesn't want to commit to me and then he can't give me the time I need to be happy. We communicate everyday and we have both expressed that we are not dating anyone else, but yet he won't commit to a relationship. Should I stick it out? Are his reasons for not wanting a relationship right now valid? I'm willing to wait if his reasons are sincere.

Nathan said...

Hi all, interesting blog.

I've been dating a pre-med student for about two years now. She is a double-major, an RA, a math and science tutor, and the president of the campus Model UN. She focuses on her grades, volunteers at a hospital, job shadows, works as a receptionist, and is starting an advocacy group. With all of this going on, her schedule is so busy that we usually just do homework together and something fun for a few hours on the weekend. Communication is sparse during the week.

Her undergraduate lifestyle sounds nearly as busy as a med student's, and so I wonder: will there be any hope during and after med school? I would appreciate any insight you may have on the following questions:

1) Are all med students about equally busy or do some take on work proportional to their high undergraduate achievement?

2) You mentioned med students who seemed to be doing alright in their relationships. Could you define 'alright?' Did they ever mention how this was possible?

3) Do you know anyone who stuck it out with a med student beyond the residencies? Was it any different for them when the student became a doctor? Was it better or worse than before?

Thanks for reading.

Cheers,

Nathan

nurse of nurse said...

I am currently dating a first year nurse anesthesia student. I know it's not the same as med school, but I hear that the ruggedness of the curriculum can be pretty similar. We've already been dating for roughly two years, but let me tell you-- It's been a really tough semester! He's been an absolute doll, seeing me at least once, sometimes even twice a week. But finals really took a toll and I haven't been able to see him for over two weeks (and we live really close to each other in NYC, where transportation is never an issue), occasional phone conversations never lasting more than 10 minutes. It's killing me, and I KNOW that he's so busy and that it's not like he's goofing around, but I just don't know if I'm cut out for this type of relationship. We're talking about moving in together soon, but I wonder if living together is really the answer to our problem, or if it's very much like the whole "save your marriage by having a baby" solution. Anyone have any advice or similar story to share?

Kyra said...

To Nurse of nurse said...
My boyfriend and I have been dating for the last 2.5 yrs , lived together, the works. He just moved to Australia from Canada to begin med school. It has been a brutal transition (fighing emotions of not being wanted, lack of communication, ect) Our plan is for me to move to Sydney this May, he wants me to join him in Australia. I am not ok with how hard our long distance has been, and I am hoping that some face to face time will improve our outlook. I am terrified that the lifestyle he has adjusted to, will have a hard time including me. And to be honest I don't know how well I can, or how willing I am to adjust to a position secondary to his career. I am only 22. I know it is not fair for me to ask him to spend time with me if it comprimises his studies, but then what is fair to ask out of a relationship with a bf in med school? Where is the line between proper needs being met and selfishness?
Is there hope out there? I hear many negative warnings... and yes I hear them loud and clear... but am I nieve in moving across the world for the man I love if he is in med school?
Can it work?!
Thank you,
K

Anonymous said...

Really glad that I found this site. I've just very recently met a 1st year pediatric resident. We've only been on 3 dates but I feel we have a great time together. Yes, the things mentioned above are totally true. I could go days without hearing from him and I've initiated what little "texted" conversations we've had. Sure there is a human part of me that wants to be swept up in the whirlwind beginning romance of a new relationship but there needs to be an extraordinary amount of patience and realism going into something with a med student or resident or doctor for that matter. You will be second on most levels. I know that I will probably only see him once or twice in some months and quite possibly have no connection with him since he will be drained and exhausted. It's not easy, by any stretch. But I just know what I would appreciate if I were him: the opportunity to relax with someone that cares once work, daily life, sleep and necessary alone time commitments have been taken care of. I'm learning that if our relationship was meant to be, then he will give as much as he can and I will too and it will be enough. Or not. Good luck to all of those in the same situation!!

Kat Lano said...

I'm dating a med student now and it is very difficult at times, we had lots of fight about it and sometimes I do feel like I'm not being prioritized or even in his life.

http://katlano.blogspot.com/2010/11/romancing-impossible-when-dating-med.html

this is from my blog and I hope this can comfort those who found themselves in love and sad at the same time with a med student.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...so I'm kind of "seeing" a med student too. He's in his 3rd year. We've been on/off for about 7 years. We're never in the same city at once. We see each other once a year, have a great time together and part ways for another year. I adore him, but I'm married. I know it sounds really bad, but it works for both of us. I have no expectations and he doesn't either. I think this works for him just as much for me. As some of the women here mentioned, I could easily fall in love with him, but his lack of time would kill me, so seeing him once a year is good enough for me.

Anonymous said...

I'm an experienced ICU nurse dating a third year medical student. We also live together. I am in school too, for my MSN to become a family practice nurse practitioner. This is a tricky relationship.... I give all the kudos in the world to my boyfriend and his med school curriculum---but I feel he grossly underestimates the working knowledge I have from 5 years in critical care, and also my training as an advanced clinician. I'm at the point where I'm writing prescriptions, and he is just starting in his first month of performing patient care (physical exam, H&Ps, etc.) I love him to death but sometimes I feel he does not appreciate my background nor does he view me as a resource. I realize our education is not the same. I am not training to be a physician. I do, however, "know the ropes" of the health system, so-to-speak. I have also worked in Emergency, OR, as well as in hospital administration, and education (teaching MDs the new EHR). It's so funny to me when he comes home from a day at the hospital and tries to tell ME how things work. Or he tells me a story about a "crazy" patient---as if I've never taken care of a patient before. I know this is all new to him, so I am patient and try to be as nice as possible---I do love him and I think he's wonderful. Regardless, it's a difficult relationship and I need advice! ---ahem, thanks for letting me vent on your wall.

Anonymous said...

@ICU nurse. like you said, this is all new to him, and maybe he doesn't mean to come off as conceited as he sounds. i'm a resident, and i've always found that the plus of dating someone else in the medical field is they understand what you are going through more intimately and maybe you can swap stories and learn from each other. he can learn from your experience and you can feel a bit refreshed from his perspective when you probably at this point have seen way too much.

RED HOOTTT DEALS!!!! said...

hello I am an engineering student on PG studies. I need a med student to start a relationship with.

Anonymous said...

I know this blog is old, but I need advice too... the love of my life is enrolling in med school and I'm nervous about our relationship. I'm in school to become a Nurse Anesthesiologist, and he wants to be a Neurosurgeon. We plan to start our family once he becomes a general doctor, but what should I expect until then? Him barely being home? Me spending all my time alone? Or will I be so busy with CRNA school, that I won't notice?? Please help.

Thank you<3

Anonymous said...

If he really follows through with becoming a neurosurgeon (and most med students don't), he will probably have 1-2 hours a night, and ~5 full days a month to spend with you if he doesn't just pass out from exhaustion during his 7 years of residency.

Rose Piper said...

Thanks for sharing. I have been dating a lot, but being a a medical student makes meeting people very difficult. My sister found medical dating and wants me to try it out. What do you think? Is it worth a shot?

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that I am not alone lol. Thanks so much for sharing this. I met a lovely guy on his trip back home and we started messaging each other. Pretty soon we were messaging each other every single day, talking about everything and nothing. He was the pursuer and boy did he pursue lol.

I knew we were at different stages in our lives - he was in the middle of his residency matching period and I have a life here at home. MILES away from each other (did I mention that I hate LDRs?). So I tried to keep it casual even though he kept persisting. I finally gave into opening up to an LDR earlier this year on his trip home before starting his residency.

We had a great time on his trip home! Even after he moved to the city where he is doing his residency, he called and messaged every day. We spent hours on the phone and maybe I got spoiled by having his presence.

However, this residency has been hard on him - he is miles away from friends and family, from me (!!) and he is wrapping his mind around how rigorous his programme is. Plus he has had a fairly tough combination of rotations, so he is dealing with that.

In dealing with it, I have noticed that he has become emotionally distant. I don't want to add to his stress by bothering him with my insecurities about it. I try to give him space to do what he needs to do; I hardly message him at work except to wish him a good day or let him know I'm thinking about him, because hours will go by before he answers. What makes it worse is that I feel as though he makes time for other people who do message him without regard for his level of hunger or tiredness, while I am here trying to sacrifice and say nothing so that I don't add to his stress. Sometimes I feel as though he isn't as into me as before, even though I am trying to assume that he is doing his best and that if he had the time, he would spend it with me as before. There is that little voice in my head that says he could make the time...at least five minutes.

This is really tough. :(

Anonymous said...

As a med student I have some advice for the people posting on here in regard to dating a med student.

First, please understand that we are very busy. It's not important to quantify how busy we are because we can't just stop reading halfway through our lecture notes or chapters in the book to FaceTime if we're learning a new concept, especially if we're preparing for exams. We need to lock in the information and be able to apply it.

Second we are chronically tired since we are up early every morning and go to bed late after a long day of studying. We know it's hard on you when you want to talk. We want to talk too in order to take a break from studying but we have a limited amount of time to learn a ton of information. I would much rather hang out than study but I also need to pass my classes, so school always becomes my first priority.

Third, when we do have free time we just want to chill and vege out. If you have interesting stories to share from your work or things that are happening with you when we don't see you, which is most of the time, we want to hear it. We would much rather hear about your day than tell you about how we're trying to memorize the various neoplasias and drugs for our upcoming block exams.

Fourth, we are not cheating on you with our study partners. We have study partners so that we can lock in the information and keep each other accountable for studying the material before we meet for focused study groups. Being insecure about this and accusing us of cheating is a sure fire way to push us away and make us reconsider this whole "I don't want to sacrifice my personal life for med school" thing. If being in a relationship feels like extra work to us we will cut it out because we're already overworked. Someone on here posted that we are selfish if we want to date, I think it is people who don't understand how hard we work and how long our journey is that are selfish. I think it's wonderful that some people work 9-5 jobs and have time to fit in the gym every day, pick up a new hobby, take vacations etc. I would love to do all this too eventually, but it's not possible while I'm in med school. Rest assured while you're gymming or hanging out with your friends I'm grinding so that I can get the grades that I need and board scores I need in order to get the residency I want to pursue the career that I dream of every night.

Fifth, if you want to date a med student you better bring more to the table than soup and love notes, these things do nothing for me. I'm attracted to ambitious girls who are go-getters and are busy with their own lives. The pain of med school is temporary and ambitious people know this. We have to go through this rite of passage in order to get to where we want to be, so if you're not independent, ambitious or confident enough to deal with the periods of absence while we're grinding away and locking ourselves up in the library then I'm sorry to say that you do not deserve to be with us when we are saving lives and making tangible differences in the lives of our patients, families and friends in our communities when we are successful physicians and surgeons.

So my advice is to have a mature outlook in regard to dating a med student and understand that you'll be dating a workhorse who is on his/her A-game 24-7. If this does not appeal to you then avoid us like the plague.

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