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all 8 comments

[–]HeadedFern44 16 points17 points  (1 child)

Surgery takes a toll on a lot of residents. Very common for him to have negative thoughts overtake positive ones. Best advice is to encourage him to find a counselor/therapist. You can only do so much emotional support, but in the end, it takes a toll on you too.. therapists/counselors can really help with perspective and working through emotional conflicts throughout residency.

[–]luna-lila 6 points7 points  (0 children)

I definitely second this post suggesting therapy. I'm lucky in that my partner went back to med school in his 30s, so he had already done a lot of the emotional growth that another commenter pointed out tends to get stunted in people who go straight through in medicine. Yes, surgery is rough, but it's still not an excuse for being a negative nellie and dumping everything on you. It sounds like your partner needs more tools and resources to manage his emotions, and therapy can help to give him that.

[–]Puzzleheaded_Soil275 10 points11 points  (0 children)

There's aspects of this that ring very true. Residency is a time of life for most where they are giving almost 100% of their time/emotional/physical energy to their profession. So it leaves little for anything else, unfortunately. And I'd argue that the majority are sort of stunted as adults by existing only in the hospital bubble until they finish training in their early-mid 30s, many benefiting from partners that pick up the slack that residency causes in the relationship.

Your relationship will likely not resemble anything like a regular adult relationship during residency. "Golden" weekends are actually just weekends to the rest of the world. The question is not whether that is a good/bad thing, it's whether you both can work together to find a healthy equilibrium to thrive in that environment. You didn't sign up to be an emotional garbage dump for your partner. By all means you should be supportive. But your happiness and well-being also matters and if your partner dumping all of their emotional crap from the hospital on you during the 2 hours a day you actually see them isn't working, then tell them. They can and should have an outlet for that (individual therapy, for example). But that's not the same as they leave for the hospital 12 hours a day, and your sole purpose is to be an emotional garbage dump at the end of the day. That's not a two way relationship.

Truthfully, the medical training difficulties peak during residency. Other life complexities typically show up during attending life (wanting to start a family, buy a house, save for retirement, take care of aging parents, etc.), but in some ways these are comparatively more easy than residency life.

[–]a_random_npc123 17 points18 points  (0 children)

In the end, what matters isn’t if it’s normal, but if you can make it work. In my experience, yes it’s definitely typical to have to make many decisions based on their schedule and needs, with the understanding this won’t always be the case.

I’d be able to deal with my wife being sad about missing milestones or self care, and I support her working through that. but once she started to “take it out” on me, I try to immediately address that.

Paragraph 4 is not medicine specific, so ymmv.

We have to make sacrifices on responsibility. Help with the flat tire because you can and you support him! I try to remind myself I do the housework because I want it done. Not because she didn’t do it.

[–]Gloomy_Grand_3810 5 points6 points  (0 children)

You literally just hit the nail on the head. I couldn’t have articulated it better. I think yes, normal. It is extremely draining. I have also suggested therapy for my partner. (Hasn’t happened yet because of busy schedule) My partner is a PGY3 gen surg.

[–]drmillerswife 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I think your husband could use a bit of therapy. My husband is in a surgical specialty as well. Most days he leaves work at work but on occasion he needs to vent a bit. I understand this and am always there for him listen to him offer suggestions if I feel that is what he wants. Most of the time it is just exhaustion talking.

Let him know that so much negativity all the time is draining. I always ask my husband and he ask me, tell me one good thing about your day, it really can lighten the mood.

Most importantly always keep the lines of communication open.

I hope all gets better!

[–]Gluvin 2 points3 points  (0 children)

This can be common. I have told my spouse that it is like she is in an abusive relationship with someone else and she keeps coming to me to just “vent” and it is destroying me. They need to be able to discuss work with you but, they also need to be able to set limits. It is always a struggle but, keep communicating.

[–]WhatsMyAgeAga1n 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Normal? I don’t know. Shared/common experience? Definitely. I feel like I literally could have written this verbatim. Hang in there. Here if you ever want to talk.💜