Tuesday, July 14, 2015

MiM Mail: Advice on starting med school with a long-distance relationship

Hi there future colleagues!

I am a long time reader of this blog, though so far I can't call exactly myself a Mother in Medicine - I am a 28 year old nontraditional student who is just about to start medical school one state away, with no kids. I have a wonderful, extremely supportive live-in boyfriend of 5 years who has been on this fun (-ish) journey to get into medical school every step of the way, though he will be starting business school this fall 8 hours away from me by car.

Our short- and medium- terms goal are to end up with summer internships in the same city next year and get engaged sometime after my second year/when he is done with business school. I will try my damndest to get some away rotations scheduled near him during my third and fourth year, and make every connection I can in my home state so we can ideally settle back here for residency, as most of his business opportunities are here (though really, who knows what will happen with the match). Eventually we would like kids.

As a type A, uber organized planner who is madly in love with this man, the uncertainty of a long distance relationship is quite scary. I am reaching out to this wonderful community to see if you all have any advice for me regarding 1) how I can set myself up for success in medical school to enjoy myself and eventually match well and 2) any tips for maintaining healthy long distance relationships.

Thank you in advance - I am honored and humbled to be entering into a profession with the inspiring women I see on this blog and I can't wait to hear your thoughts.



  1. Set up Skype and just leave it running from time to time even if you're not actually face to face with it. There's something nice about just hearing the other person as if they were in the next room.

  2. Hi J!

    I'm nearly a 2nd years medical student attending a medical school on the other side of the country from my partner. I'm at school in New England, she's back in California.

    I can't advise on matching well, but here are some of my thoughts and things that work for us.

    1. Use the internet heavily. My wife and I are constantly talking on Hangouts, and we video chat every night. We also play video games together and watch TV together only.
    2. Find small ways to stay connected. By being separated you lose the "low hanging" connection fruit of things like waking together in the same bed. But there are other things you can do. We try to run together at the same time, for example. I also send a lot of photos so she can see what I'm seeing.
    3. Decide your priorities. For me, my partner comes first. I miss a lot of potential social events with my cohort. I don't typically do evening activities or social events in bars. My wife comes first. Always. In turn, she helps me study when sometimes I just don't want to. I can't count the number of times I drilled the review of systems list, or recited the celiac trunk branches with her.
    4. Understand that long distance relationships take more work than in-person ones, but that they can be successful. See your partner at every opportunity.
    5. Stay flexible and try new things. For a while we were writing letters to each other every morning. Then we found other things that worked better.
    6. Communicate!! A *lot*. :)

    And best of luck to you both. It's not easy, but it is do-able. :) You may also find that commiserating with other partnered people in your cohort helps.

    1. These are great tips, thank you so much! Do you guys use points vs miles vs switch off paying for flights when you're lucky enough to see each other?

    2. Thankfully the money isn't so much a concern as she has a very well paying job. We also share all our money, so it's not so much "switching off". We haven't tried looking at points or miles just because of time. But if you have time to investigate the points/miles option, I've heard good things about it.

      And you're very welcome!


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