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Dating a med student long distance Starting a long distance relationship

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    I know people have particular beliefs about long-distance relationships. I've always thought that you can make it work as long as you both know you'll be together in the same city at a specific point in time. With residency, however, I have no clue where I'll end up, and I'm not about to sacrifice my career aspirations to be nearby someone.

    I guess I'm just wondering if anyone has experience with starting a new long-distance relationship when you have no idea when or even if you'll be in the same city in the future.
     
  2. Don't do it. You can find someone in whatever city you'll be doing residency or find a different person you can bring with you. I would say it's doable if you've been dating for years previously to moving apart. But starting out apart and then possibly not being together in the same city for an unpredetermined amount of time? Not worth it. (Not to pull the M.D. card, but come on, you're going to be a physician, don't be a douche and try to take care of your personal appearance and you'll find someone.)

    That is a lot of heartache and loneliness. I mean, once you hit residency you'll never have time to pack up and see them, or even schedule up times to chat on the phone. And it sounds like their job might be pretty important, if they can't move to be you with so it might be hard for them to pack up and come see you. I know we have Facetime and Skype, but after awhile that just gets old. No amount of modern technology can suffice for personal contact.

    This is anecdotal, but I dated someone for three years long distance in undergrad. We always had a goal of living in the same city after we got our undergrad degrees. I had that time to look forward to, I could always tell myself when I was really lonely "oh, just tough it out another year and no more of this long distance crap". I would have called it off if I didn't have that to look forward to.

    Good luck, hope this helps!
     
  3. i think it comes down to which is the top priority, this person or your career. my fiance is in grad school and i will be applying to residency only in the city in which we currently live. location tops everything for me, not getting into a slightly better ranked program or cushier program somewhere else in the country.
    but if your career is the priority, i hope you would take the time to talk to and be honest with your SO.
     
  4. My advice is don't do it. I tried starting a long distance relationship right before medical school started. We knew we wouldn't be in the same place for a while. It didn't work out, it was a distraction, and it only resulted in heart ache.

    I think long distance is different if you have a foundation to build your relationship on, but starting long distance is difficult.
     
  5. Same situation, but tried to start it during my first semester. Result? Disaster and heartache. Focus on the matter at hand - we knew the sacrifices we would be making when we decided to become physicians. It's cliched, but things happen (and will happen) for a reason.
     
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  6. 2+ Year Member

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    Advice: Don't take relationship advice from SDN!

    To expand: Med school is like a stressful, busy, full time job, nothing more. Don't think there is something special about this decision just because it's medical school!
     
    Last edited: 12.31.11
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  7. 7+ Year Member

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    wrong. when you're working a typical full time job you can come home from the office and just relax or have a life. also your weekends are completely free ....you can do whatever you want like go and visit your SO. On top of all that you're making money to fund all of this. In med school however you are taking your work home with you every day, you are constantly catching up on studying over the weekend and you're not making any money.
     
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  8. 2+ Year Member

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    To clarify, I am not currently in a relationship that is turning long-distance. It's a relationship that would start out with a 9-hr distance by car and no future date at which we'd be united in the same city. Mostly likely we will stay friends and stick to the "we'd date if we lived closer" line until residency applications roll around.


    I'm not taking relationship advice from SDN, I was just asking if anyone had experience with that kind of situation. I'd rather not make this all about me and my situation.



    Not to mention you can get a new job in the same city as your SO or nearby. I have a friend who is transferring med schools, but I'm not doing that. Not an option.
     
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  9. 2+ Year Member

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    I won't argue the point, other than to say that if you treat med school like a busy full time job you can go home from school and relax and have a life and still do really well.

    But hey to each their own.
     
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  10. 5+ Year Member

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    I think it depends on your priorities (family vs career) and how serious you are in your long distance relationship and how supportive your partner is. In general, one can make it work but it will take more effort and planning. You both will make sacrifices and compromises. The question is what are you willing to sacrifice and what your priority is in life. I've had plenty of medical student friends who made their long term relationship work. Many of them knew they would get married, and eventually did. But there there were those whose relationships didn't work because one of the partners found someone else closer by.
     
    Last edited: 01.01.12
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  11. 5+ Year Member

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    The long-distance relationships that tend to work are the ones where the couple is married, or have agreed to not have premarital sex due to personal or religious beliefs.
     
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  12. 2+ Year Member

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    And you're basing this on what, exactly?

    I don't know if it's your aim, but to me that reads as: 1) married people are more likely to remain faithful, and 2) people who have premarital sex are less likely to remain faithful during long distance relationships.
     
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  13. NCSU CVM c/o 2014 5+ Year Member

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    I'm an intruding veterinary student but I've had experience with this. Started dating my guy during our last semester of undergrad (great timing, right?), and we decided to go for the dreaded long-distance relationship when we graduated. We were 250 miles/5 hours apart from that May to the following July before I moved to NC State for school. That move only increased the distance to 500 miles/9 hours apart, which is the distance we've been managing for the past year and a half. When we got involved we didn't know where I would be going to school (my other options I was considering were Missouri and Wisconsin), how often we would be able to see each other, or where he would end up pursuing his business degree starting in 2012. We were lucky enough that he is going to be moving down here in July to begin his MBA studies at Duke, which will end our over three years of a LDR. Of course, we could be facing it again in 2014 when I go for internship and residency but for now it's all good. So...yeah, it's definitely do-able. It doesn't always work out and sometimes it can be a pain to juggle visits around everything else but it isn't impossible. You need the right kinds of people and the right two people together for it to work out. You can always give it a try and if it doesn't work at least you won't be asking yourself later, "What if?"
     
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  14. 5+ Year Member

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    Observation of the wonderful world we live in.
     
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  15. 7+ Year Member

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    no no no No No No NO NO NO x1,000,000

    Please don't do it. There may have been a few exceptions, but most of the time this just ends in heart break. I dated a girl long distance last year and it ended really bad. We are friends now, but the extra drama and just crap in general could have been avoided and left me with a much better class standing.

    Seriously, maybe I'm jaded from personal experience, but it's just a bad idea... trust me on this one.
     
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  16. 2+ Year Member

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    One personal experience won't sway me one way or the other. I'm going to see if I can snag a research position nearby so we can try out the close-distance (30 mile) dating for a while.

    I guess one thing I am concerned about is sacrificing my class standing and studies in general. My current plans do now include a particularly competitive speciality, but I would like to be at the top residency program. So I am unwilling to let my grades/performance slip. It's not a foregone conclusion that a LDR would cause that, but I'm sure it wouldn't help.
     
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  17. Enjoying the Dark Side 5+ Year Member

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    When someone is used to having sex 4-5 times a week and that drops down to 4-5 times a year because of distance they are much more likely to cheat if they have not made the emotional and legal commitment of marriage. Not an issue for those who abstain.

    I'm basing this off personal experiences with myself and friends. And don't bring celebrity marriages into this argument because those are not normal marriages.
     
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  18. 7+ Year Member

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    I think your overall point is spot on. It is just up to the person to control themselves.

    Besides, being apart for an extending amount of time makes things crazier (in the best way possible) once you do have a weekend together. ;)
     
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  19. Enjoying the Dark Side 5+ Year Member

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    I agree. But I believe you need to have a legit serious relationship before being long distance for it to function. Especially if it's long distance for multiple years
     
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  20. 2+ Year Member

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    I know people have very different opinions on the matter. Personally, I believe you can make a long-distance relationship work that is long distance from the get go. That also would help with the situation you outlined where you go from regular physical intimacy to almost none when you move apart. If you're already apart, then you don't lose anything--you only gain.

    I'm not the cheating type, and I'm not apt to fall for a guy who is, so I don't really think it's an issue. I've never had an experience like this, but I'm not naive about the issue. Just trying to gain some greater perspective.
     
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  21. 5+ Year Member

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    The standard problem with a long distance relationship is that you get all of the downsides of being in a relationship, and only some of the benefits. That's the most charitable way to describe it.

    The problem for medical students / residents however, when they enter into a long distance relationship, is that you get all of the downsides of being in a relationship, with none of the benefits. So the only people who do it are either married or that particular brand of crazy/needy/lonely that are convinced they could never ever find another person to love them.

    Starting a relationship from the get-go long distance though, that's just crazy talk. You have to be building on something.
     
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    To be completely honest, I didn't intend to have a LDR while in medical school. My boyfriend and I unrealistically planned to stay in the same city we went to undergrad in because I got into medical school there (I'm originally from this city, he was originally 1,000 miles away). We had dated for nearly a year and a half before I started living the same nightmare that a lot of my first year classmates were living where they were dumped because their boyfriend/girlfriend didn't want to start a LDR.

    5 months later and exactly at the end of my first semester we got back together and are now attempting a LDR despite the popular belief that they are extremely difficult to maintain. I've already started altering my semester around so that I can spend an entire Spring Break with him. We make sure to talk almost every night of the week and text/email throughout the day. Judging from his career, we'll have to spend the next 3.5 years like this. Hopefully I'll land in a residency that will be convenient for him, or vise versa. The main point here is that I would much rather have to bust my ass a little more or get slightly lower grades/USMLE scores and have this relationship that I want just as much as a career in medicine than just have a career in medicine.
     
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  23. 7+ Year Member

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    Starting my second semester of med school about four hours from my boyfriend of just over a year and a half. (We went to the same undergrad). I don't know that I could do a relationship that began long distance....knowing that we were together and had a strong relationship when we lived mere blocks apart makes me certain that when we are reunited again, our relationship will have changed...but will be as strong as ever. It would be hard to do long distance without any kind of expectation of what short distance would be like.

    I also think it helps that my boyfriend isn't in the medical field. I could never date a medical student (we're a different brand of crazy!)..it would stress me out.
     
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  24. Sicker than your average Gold Donor 7+ Year Member

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    Your posts are like cruise control for unintentional comedy.
     
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  25. 5+ Year Member

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    Yeah this is going to end well. You can talk about this with some authority in six months. People don't say LDR fail because we enjoy destroying people's hopes and lives, the LDR does that fine by itself.
     
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  26. Joined:
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    LDRs are tough no matter what the situation and their success rate is dependent on the people involved. It's just as ridiculous to say they only work for couples who are married/abstain as it is to say they always work or they never work for anyone. It's impossible to make sweeping statements like that because everyone is different and places different values on sexual, emotional and other aspects of their relationship. From my experience, you have to be committed to being honest for anything to work. If you want to give it a shot, go for it, just be clear from the beginning that it's going to be a tough road and that if either of you have concerns or develop a wandering eye that you deal with those issues immediately instead of burying them and then ruining things by cheating or being resentful of the other person. Definitely don't give up on something you think may have great potential. I know someone currently who has been dating their SO long distance (he's in med school) for almost 4 years and he's planning on proposing in the next year or so. Sometimes these things work out and sometimes they don't but you'll never know unless you try!
     
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  27. 7+ Year Member

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    I still support my previous advice. ;)
     
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  28. 7+ Year Member

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    Depends on the type of person. She has to be very low maintenance.

    If you are in a very busy residency, you might see your girlfriend twice a month even if she lived down the street.

    In some respects, getting yourself out of the game may actually make you more productive. All that time spent chasing the ladies might actually be spent writing papers.
     
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  29. 2+ Year Member

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    Doable, but not for most med students or people (but especially med students for some reason..). Entering, I was one of 20ish LDR's in my class. I am now one of two remaining LDRs. Other than those that entered married or engaged, only 10-15ish of the students in my class that entered with a SO in general are still with their SO. Many of those relationships broke up due to the med student cheating (often with another classmate resulting in oh-so-boring drama), frankly. And, sadly, not all the married/engaged people were able to avoid cheating mishaps either. I feel bad for them, but you would think medical students would care enough about ethics to not cheat..

    My SO and I plan on getting engaged in a year-ish, and honestly it's felt pretty easy to maintain our relationship and even strengthen it because we've been together 5 years already and we're loyal and trusting people by nature. Also, the first two years of med school leave a ridiculous amount of free time for Skype, and weekends free to see each other once a month.

    Anyway, don't be a cheater (seems easy enough- but apparently not for many med students), control your libido, and be willing to sacrifice and odds of your relationship surviving increase exponentially. Straight talk.
     
    Last edited: 09.18.14
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  30. zyzzbrah 2+ Year Member

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    I am in an LDR with a girl from another country. I met her in Europe the summer before going in medical school. True, we have had our ups and downs, but I love her with all my heart. LDRs are fine IMO. It just takes an effort from both parties.
     
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