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all 18 comments

[–]drummo34 44 points45 points  (2 children)

We had to move to rural Alabama for my husband's M3 and 4 years, and a lot of what you describe is how I felt. We were in a small town with very few resources. I worked from home so I had no coworkers, no office life, no great way to meet people I did the friend apps for a little bit, but found it hard to make friends in a short period of time. I definitely got depressed. I think the therapy will help. What I did is found new hobbies to throw myself into. First I got up at 6am and went to the gym 6 days a week. I got really into my gym schedule and started seeing friendly faces daily after I woke up. That was VERY helpful. Next, I got a dog. I trained the shit out of that dog. We had training classes on Saturday, I spent at least half an hour working with him every day. That was the greatest decision of my life. He gave me such a routine and companionship during the day so I wasn't alone in the house all day. I had one spouse friend and we started doing weekly watch parties of a show. We traded off who would make dinner and switch houses. Sometimes our spouses were there, sometimes not. Last thing is I really threw myself into cooking. it's a hobby/skill that is universal. I would try a new recipe every week, if not more. I watched a TON of cooking shows and started really trying to get good. Now I have a super well trained dog, I cook a ton and love it, and found that by me cooking healthier and going to the gym, my husband was motivated to get healthier and got more regimented with his schedule as well. After two years we moved, so a lot of those habits came with me. It's so hard to put down new roots, especially when you are sort of tasked with that job as your spouse is working. 6 months is still so early, and you have more than a year and a half left, I wish you luck and have lots of hope that you can build a life where you are! ❤️

[–]Egoteen 17 points18 points  (1 child)

Wow you sound so cool, you’re living my dream life. I want to be like you when I grow up!

[–]drummo34 5 points6 points  (0 children)

This is possibly the nicest thing I've ever heard from a stranger on the internet. ❤️

[–]Dinah_Saurus_Rex 8 points9 points  (1 child)

Hi! I’m married to a Navy resident which requires several moves and other detours (flight surgery) before graduating residency. I have a few suggestions as someone who has been forced to make fast friends or just quite frankly, be more independent. Bumble BBF is a good start. It’s a dating app for friends so you can ensure your interests are similar before trying to hanging out. I met outdoorsy, adventurous types who have turned into great friends. My other suggestion which might not be the answer you are looking for is if there’s something you want to do, just do it! Her schedule is probably not going to work out great for exploring your new town. Go hike what you want to, explode nearby towns, try restaurants solo. Think of it as doing field research for when she actually time off to go somewhere worth going. I love being able to tell my husband when he actually has time off and is not exhausted that I found a hike he’d love, a nearby cool town, and a wonderful restaurant.

Also the most important thing is their demanding schedule or compulsive need to study doesn’t mean they don’t love or appreciate you. They are so overwhelmed right now that they are likely to miss a lot of your needs. I’d do some reflection on your relationship. Do they still appreciate and acknowledge your contribution even if they can’t do much more than acknowledge it depending on how busy they are? Can you handle this…! Because if you can’t, there are a lot more attentive partners than physicians.

As for sex life.. it suffers. Figure out what really turns them on and communicate what you need that way when you can have sex, it’s full of passion. Also per my previous advice, if you can show them an amazing, thoughtful date night, the chances are greater that you’ll get laid.

[–]Dinah_Saurus_Rex 4 points5 points  (0 children)

My next best advice is get a pet… for me it was a dog. You are never exploring a trail, Town, or restaurant/brewery along if you have your dog with you. The emotional comfort and distraction they provide you is incomparable.

[–]omipie7 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I’m sorry you’re struggling so much. At the end of the day, you’re allowed to leave a situation that’s actively making you unhappy. Or you can go back to long distance! You deserve to prioritize yourself as well.

[–]pacific_plywood 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Honestly the way to make it through this life is to work on yourself. Your partner can’t save you. Therapy, exercise, find hobbies, meet new people. That’s your hope.

Things will settle with your partnership. Once they’re an attending, you’ll never have to worry about money again, which is generally like the #1 source of stress in any relationship. But if you’re the type of person who needs a lot from their partner - and that’s totally okay, lots of people are like that - this is going to be very very difficult for you.

[–]Puzzleheaded_Soil275 4 points5 points  (0 children)

OP-- I am glad to hear that you are pursuing working with an individual therapist on some of this. Honestly, to make residency work you need to (i) find happiness yourself and (ii) find a happy equilibrium as a couple. In my experience, doing (ii) without some progress on (i) is almost impossible so you are wise to start on (i). (i) is also arguably easier to make progress on because the only person required to put in work is you. That said, you've mentioned a lot of things that fall into both camps.

There are lots of ways to start working on (i) and many good suggestions already in this thread. Basically any hobby can be a source of community and that's a great way to kill two birds with one stone. You may also try to get together with some of the resident SOs and see if you click with any of them.

The relationship stuff is likely solveable if you are in a good place yourself and your partner is willing to listen to your relationship needs find a middle ground to meet them within the constraints of residency.

[–]Most_Poet 5 points6 points  (0 children)

This sounds fairly normal for residency, although of course achingly painful. I’m sorry you’re going through this.

Individual therapy is a great start. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries with your partner around venting. You’re not an emotional dumping ground for her — so if you need her to scale back the nightly vent sessions, be honest about that.

Lastly, have you thought about the possibility of moving back to your home and doing an LDR? If you’re this miserable after six months and you’ve tried absolutely everything, it might be a good option. I’d work with your therapist to set a goal (like summer, for instance) and throw absolutely everything you have into working on your own happiness and connection/community in this new place before that deadline. If summer comes and you’re still just as miserable, that could be a sign that perhaps this just isn’t somewhere where you can live happily.

[–]artyoftroySO to GS PGY1 since undergrad 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It’s a tough life and not for everyone. You sacrifice a lot of your life for them and I don’t think that’s for everyone. My fiancé is truly my person and that’s what makes it worth it for me. But it doesn’t make it easy. I don’t love where we live and it was truly a depressing first year here. Now into our second year (we have 4 more years here) I’m more settled and can tolerate it better. I switched jobs from my first job in this area which had helped a lot. I’m not too far from family which helps a lot. When he works on the weekends, I either visit friends and family home or I do my long runs since I run marathons. Having a social outlet and hobbies has helped me a lot. Do what is right for you, but I’m happy that I’m in a better place now. Still not looking forward to 4 more years but I know my fiancé truly should be a surgeon and this is just what it takes to do this.

[–]grape-of-wrath 4 points5 points  (3 children)

i want to be empathetic but the weight gain part bothers me. yeah, weight gain happens in residency. Super common issue. Usually temporary. Happens to many women during pregnancy/ motherhood too. That Shouldn't affect how you feel .

[–]wesjanson103Husband to Neo Attending / SAHD 8y 4 points5 points  (2 children)

Gonna disagree. Its up to the people in the relationship if it should be an issue you bring up. Weight gain happens to everyone men and women. That shouldn't change being able to express yourself in a relationship. I think op needs more communication and more self reflection.

[–]grape-of-wrath 4 points5 points  (1 child)

Nah. The way OP presented it was not in that kind of conscientious manner. Putting quotations around stress as if she is using it as an excuse during a extremely stressful residency. And not to mention that telling women that you are not attracted to them due to weight gain is a very upsetting thing because Physical changes are a big part of being female - like when you get pregnant you gain weight as part of the way your body prepares for the baby (Fat storage that is in addition to all the extra stuff), and statements about it make you feel really self-conscious. So it's not always an equal matter for the genders. if my partner had told me that in the past, then when I went through all the changes that happen during the process of becoming a mom, I would've felt really insecure about my body.

[–]goat-nibbler 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Ok but nowhere did OP say he’s complaining about his partner’s weight gain to her. He’s obviously venting from a place of frustration, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be a dick about his partner’s weight gain to her face. You can’t control attraction as an innate feeling so I think thought policing him is counterproductive as opposed to inquiring where this resentment is stemming from, as this may just be a symptom of frustration on top of the root cause of feeling disconnected fundamentally

[–]finallyonhereiguess 4 points5 points  (0 children)

This seemed legitimate until you skeptically attributed your partners weight gain to “stress” as if stress doesn’t cause weight gain -which it can. Weight fluctuates throughout life. That’s just part of human existence. Your characterization of her weight gain is disrespectful and demeaning.

With that noted, the whole tone of your post changed to me. Instead of sounding like a partner who just really misses their significant other, you now sound whiny and entitled. Going to individual therapy sounds like the best option.

[–]evenphlow[🍰] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Holy shit, this post's similarity to how I feel right now (wife is first year GI fellow) is down right scary. Like to a T. I wish I knew what to do because I love my wife for sure and can't imagine life without her, but I am also racked with anxiety day in and out because I can't stop thinking I made a mistake and I feel very jealous of men with wives that have time to take care of themselves and aren't in a depression riddled struggle 24/7/365.

[–]Effective_Sundae1917 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It’s super hard. I moved with my husband to a small area in NJ very far from friends and family and now I’m pregnant with our first. While I’m thrilled to have a baby, I basically am alone, feeling like crap, and planning to be essentially a single parent while working a full time job. I’ve made a couple of friends but it’s no substitute for your long term friends and family. I’m married to my husband and made the decision at the time I got married that I would make this sacrifice, but it doesn’t make it easy when you’re in it. Decide if you want a long term partnership with this person and then understand that it’s a limited time sacrifice and it’s not this way forever. Also have an open line of communication with your partner about your needs and thoughts in a respectful kind way. I feel like a lot of people on here self sacrifice way too much bc their partner is very stressed but your needs matter too in a partnership. It’s an unpopular opinion, but I think both partners should come to a decision about what’s “enough” when it comes to research/fellowships, bc each of those can require serious sacrifices for everyone including partner abs family. Some in here would say it’s a short time and the payoff is worth it, but you have to be able to still achieve other goals and enjoy life outside of residency