Long-Distance Relationship

How to make a long-distance relationship last when dating a Resident Physician

Long-Distance Relationship:

Your partner (the physician) recently ‘Matched’ at a Hospital that requires them to relocate for the next 3-5 years for their Residency Training to become a Board-Certified Specialist. You, on the other hand, have a great job or you are still in school and moving is not an option. What are you to do? The best advice we can give you is don’t panic; this arrangement is only temporary, and a lot of things can (and likely will) change within a year: you could get a new job (a better job), you could transfer schools, or you could finish up your plans & move later-on.

Tracey’s View: Jake and I did long distance for almost 8 months in the early stages of our relationship, and then again for 3 months later in our relationship. We made time to talk on the phone when he could (FaceTime/Skype) and texted often. On weekends, when he had off and did not need to devote his time to work, we made plans to see each other, whether he was coming to me or vice versa. It was extremely hard-for-me at first, but maintaining a long-distance relationship is possible, and more common with physicians.

Jake’s Views: I agree that moving isn’t fun. It’s expensive right out of Medical School (technically I hadn’t had a job for the last 4 years!) and just knowing I would have to move, didn’t make it any easier for me and it defiantly doesn’t help ease the uncertainty with being in a new/young relationship.

After making it this far, I can tell you, even though Tracey and I would finally be living in the same State; it still didn’t instantly answer all of the questions about our young relationship. If I’m being honest, it probably increased the intensity a little bit knowing we would see one another more often but also knowing that I would be in my Surgical Residency. I think we were both nervous. Nervous about how things would turn out.

Now, after surviving my Surgical Residency, Tracey and I were not the only that made our relationship work. There were several residents in my program that had long-distance relationships and made them work. A few started dating in Medical School and are still together today, so it’s possible if you know what challenges lie ahead and if you have friends you can talk to about this life. A few of my co-residents, lived in Cleveland while their partners ‘Matched’ to different specialties at different hospitals: in NYC, Chicago, and Los Angeles. One of those couples also spent 5-years living apart, and are now engaged.

One friend of mine actually moved away from his wife and 2 children for a year after going through residency and being married for the last 7 years. He is a surgeon who wanted to pursue a Super sub-specialty training. His wife is also a physician in another specialty, so it would have been tough for her to find a new job for 1 year, and to move the kids out of their schools.

A lot of people don’t realize the sacrifices that many Physicians make, but it’s even harder being a Surgeon. We make these personal sacrifices for our future patients so that we can offer the best care that anyone can receive. Our families make their own personal sacrifices too by choosing to be with us. They choose to support this type of life, and they choose to support our careers. I know plenty of Surgeons and other physicians that go through it alone, but I feel like I have a much more rewarding life with Tracey’s love and support.

Jake’s Tips: Now that Match Day is over, spend as much time as possible with family/friends/classmates cause you won’t see the majority of them for at least the next 5-7 years!

Mutal Tip: If you find out that your partner has to move away to complete training, and moving along with him/her is not an option, don’t panic. If you are having doubts that your relationship is too new/young to handle the long-distance, then maybe either you or your partner aren’t ready to commit. Regardless, if you do move, keep in mind that their training will be more demanding and their time with you will be very limited.

Do you have any questions about ‘Long-Distance Relationships,” or need support during this time?

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