I’ve read a lot of different posts out there about the right way to handle a relationship in medical school. The truth is, all relationships are different and what works for one relationship might not work for you. I’ve read plenty of blogs that don’t work for McDreamy and me.
That said, here is what works for us (all from the perspective of the non-med school half of the relationship):
1) Trust each other. We made a contract before McDreamy left for Philly and said we would always trust one another. That means I am able to go grab lunch with another gay guy from my grad school program and McDreamy won’t get upset.
2) Be prepared to know that you’re going to be putting the majority of the effort into things. For example, I travel to Philadelphia much more than McDreamy makes it to Pittsburgh.
3) Communicate. I can’t stress this enough. If you’re not happy, tell your significant other. Medical school students are still people and they hooks be treated as such. If they do something stupid — like forget to do something they say they will — call them out on their crap. If they aren’t willing to put the effort in, maybe you should consider number 4….
4) Make sure your partner still wants to be in a relationship. Med school changes people’s priorities. Make sure they still put you on equal footing with med school.
5) Make plans. Be flexible in those plans. But make them. If you have a date set for Friday at 9 and something with medical school comes up, that date better happen on Saturday night! If you can’t get that level on commitment from your med student, maybe you should reevaluate the relationship. While this is important for a traditional relationship it’s even more important in a LDR. People living in the same city can spend time together even if that means just falling asleep together at night. Long distance means remembering to call to say goodnight.
6) Get used to the smell of anatomy lab.
7) Be as helpful as you can. Do his/her laundry. Cook. Clean. If you live together you’re gonna be picking up a little extra slack — they should let you know how much they appreciate it — but be willing to do it. If you live separately, when you go to his/her place to watch TV while they study, offer to help out around the house. It’ll make their life a lot easier because they won’t have to wear the same dirty scrubs for weeks in a row and it’ll give them a little more time to devote to you!
I hope this list helps. If I think of anything else I’ll be sure to add to it.