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Marriage or Stanford?

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6 years 6 days ago #90870 by neuromd
butter cookie,

Sorry for not getting back to you - I haven't been checking MomMD much lately because work has been crazy.

My husband is also a physician, and a researcher as well. To try and answer your questions, I should make it clear that my husband never asked me or pressured me to make the choice to stay and do my fellowship at my second-preferred institution. However (probably because he is also academically-minded), he did recognize that my first choice would have been better for me academically, and understood the implications of my choice. I believe he appreciates the "sacrifice" I made (explanation for the quotations in a bit) and I have never had the impression that he feels he deserved it. He would have been supportive if I took the first-choice fellowship position in another city, but like I pointed out before, both of us understood that marriage was not a guarantee with that route, given the uncertainties that accompany a long-distance relationship between two people aggressively pursuing academic careers.

At the time I was at the crossroads for that decision, my then-bf and I had known each other as acquaintances for two years, and we dated for one year after that. We realized we wanted to get married after about 7 months of dating (during that one year). When we got married, we had been in our relationship for two years (so known each other for a total of 4 years by that time).

When face with the decision to “stay back” or leave town, I weighed the options of 1) getting engaged and then married within the next year or so, vs 2) going away for a more academic fellowship for 1 to 3 years and then reassessing the possibility of getting engaged (I would have been 32 at the end of 3 years). This may sound naïve, but I knew he was the man I wanted to marry (and he wanted to marry me), and the choice was clear. So I stayed.

2009 is the year I made my choice. Today, my husband’s job is insanely busy, and despite his moments of self-doubt, he is doing fairly well for a young investigator trying to break into a cutting edge field. My job can also be insanely busy, but there are times when my schedule is less demanding and more predictable than his. My job is less academic than it could have been, but if I wanted it to be “more academic,” I would have to be more involved in research (read: dependent on grant funding), which would result in both of us being insanely busy, all the time.

Currently, I don’t see the fact of being “less academic” than my husband to be a bad thing. Why? For him, being a physician clinician and researcher is his calling. For me, being a physician clinician or researcher is NOT my calling. I don’t love clinical or academic medicine. Most of the time, I don’t even like it. Some days, I hate it. I am looking to change to something that doesn’t involve the traditional model of clinical practice or clinical research. It took me a few years of soul-searching and experiencing a career in medicine to come to the above realizations. That is why I put the quotations around “sacrifice” – the choice I made felt like a (not small, but not huge) sacrifice back then, but in retrospect, I don’t see it as a sacrifice at all. Knowing what I do now about myself and our marriage, I probably would have been unhappy had I chosen to take my first-choice fellowship (even if we did marry after that). Hindsight is 20/20.

That is my story. I’m not sure if it really answers your questions, or if it even helps you at all. I feel it is important to point out that at no point did I feel pressured in any of my decisions (fellowship and beyond). My then-bf/now-husband has always been supportive of my choices and their potential alternatives – realistic, yes, but always supportive. In the end, I felt the choice was entirely mine, and I believe this is why I did not have feelings of resentment or regret afterwards. As many post-ers have said in this thread - mutual, unconditional support is one of the most important underpinnings of a successful relationship.

I urge you to be cautious in your decision-making if you feel that your bf would not be supportive in you furthering your career, and if staying makes you feel like you are “throwing away” a great opportunity. From your comments, I’d be concerned about feelings of resentment on your part if you choose to stay. It is true that all relationships involve sacrifice from both parties, but I don’t think it is healthy if one person feels resentful about making a significant sacrifice, especially if the sacrifice is not recognized or appreciated by the other person.

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5 years 6 months ago #92448 by janestew1
Butter_cookie - please tell us know what you decided on, I'd love to hear how you figured it out. I'm a little late to this post but I'm sure you've heard this many times - if he really loved you, you wouldn't have to choose between a career and him - you both would find a way to be together. Also, if he didn't marry you yet, that's rather sad. Why so many contingency clauses. I hope you've sorted it out. Life always opens other doors anyway.

10+ years of nursing experience and currently a medical instrument specialist. I'm an avid Breast Cancer survivor and enjoy crocheting. <br />

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5 years 6 months ago #92476 by lyssaRN
parents try to control us no matter our age. Men should never control you or your decisions. Make the choice on where you want to be don't factor anything else. IMO your boyfriend shouldn't try to hold you back for ANY reason.

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5 years 4 months ago - 5 years 4 months ago #94049 by CardioCat
Easy choice - Stanford!

I haven't seen many relationships last through med school - especially for us women. The men have the undying support of their loving wives/girlfriends. The women have the jealous, needy ultimatums of their husbands/boyfriends. I've divorced twice throughout my education, and I'm much happier for it! Both times were because of the ultimatums and their fragile egos being harmed by my success. Now I have my career and a confident, supportive, loving spouse who adores me and celebrates my success!

You will meet many people, male and female, who will want to take you down, keep you down, and put you down. You can let them, or you can shake them off, surround yourself with supporters rather than haters, and go achieve your dreams. There are plenty of fish in the sea, and being a doctor adds at least 2 hotness points (so look forward to trading up!!)

PS - I still get phone calls from the exes. They are sooooooo filled with regret!
Last Edit: 5 years 4 months ago by .

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5 years 4 months ago #94058 by sahmd

CardioCat wrote: The men have the undying support of their loving wives/girlfriends. The women have the jealous, needy ultimatums of their husbands/boyfriends.


LOL! So true!

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5 years 4 months ago #94068 by Doc201X

CardioCat wrote: Easy choice - Stanford!

I haven't seen many relationships last through med school - especially for us women. The men have the undying support of their loving wives/girlfriends. The women have the jealous, needy ultimatums of their husbands/boyfriends. I've divorced twice throughout my education, and I'm much happier for it! Both times were because of the ultimatums and their fragile egos being harmed by my success. Now I have my career and a confident, supportive, loving spouse who adores me and celebrates my success!

You will meet many people, male and female, who will want to take you down, keep you down, and put you down. You can let them, or you can shake them off, surround yourself with supporters rather than haters, and go achieve your dreams. There are plenty of fish in the sea, and being a doctor adds at least 2 hotness points (so look forward to trading up!!)

PS - I still get phone calls from the exes. They are sooooooo filled with regret!


+ 1

My Scientist/Physician Journey
www.Doc201X.blogspot.com

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