A not too significant other of a 1st yr med student

He broke up with me…

I’ve been trying to find a support group and maybe I’ve finally done it.

I’ve written pages of stuff on other sites and may copy and past to not go through thinking about it all again right before I have to go to work…but he dumped me… here it is. If anyone can help or guide me I’d much appreciate it. It’s really helped to type it all out so sorry if it is so long you don’t want to read it…

Hello. I’m new here. I was directed to this site by some helpful people at my (ex?)boyfriend’s medical school. I’m having a really hard time with the move and coping with him and his new schedule and priorities. Is anyone else out there dealing with similar med school “significant other” problems? I hope not because it is the worst thing I have ever experienced but if you are out there let me know.

Here is my story if you think you can help…or just want to read my sob story/novel:

I was until this weekend a long time girlfriend of a first year medical student. I have been having a very hard time dealing with the transition from dating a guy that had all the time in the world for me to dating a medical student that rarely uses his home study and instead has told me he wants to study at the library (till midnight or later more than half the nights sometimes even sleeping there when there are exams).

I moved here from a different state (he asked me to come), left everything, and didn’t know a soul. Ended up moving to a bad part of town and was alone 85% of the time because studying can’t be done with the neighbors screaming & blasting their music, smells of drugs in the house, people getting shot at the end of the block… So I started not leaving the apartment, didn’t get a job for a long time -all which has put me into a sort of depression and loneliness for the past 5 months (insomnia, withdrawn, don’t want to make new friends or talk to old ones, sad, moody…all the signs of depression). I am seeking help (a friend from home is a PA and is sending me something to take that should help) but I currently don’t have health insurance so talking with someone is not financially feasible (since my new job pays half of what I left behind). With all that said we haven’t been happy with each other in a long time even after moving to a better house – my depression didn’t stay at the old one, even though he comes home a little bit more often now.

He seems to be fine. He was actually happy this morning that he felt more prepared for this exam than past exams. He is a very stable person and he asked if we can talk about everything after exams. He even sent me flowers to work for our anniversary just 3 days before he broke it off so I don’t know that he really wants to end us.

I’ve also stated to him in the past that I don’t know if I can be a Dr’s wife (and have said other things to lead him to believe that I don’t support him and what he is doing–but I do, I just hate being alone). His new lifestyle is something I want and need to better understand but hearing it from him somehow doesn’t make an impact.

Has anyone gone through this or is going through this?? Any words of wisdom?

here is some more…

I do want to let you know that I do currently work…which has been the only thing that has made me feel like my old happy self again (that and my cat). I’ve been working for the last two of the 6 months we’ve lived here. My current breakup situation actually came out at work two days ago because I just couldn’t hold back the tears. Everyone was so supportive and admitted that they didn’t really have many friends there either and would like to hang out. Which really helps a lot to know I do have people that I can call friends here in this city. With that said I still feel like they will be forced friendships, solely beginning out of pity for me. But I will take what I can get. And I know it would take so much pressure off my boyfriend for him to not have to hear me say that he is the only person I know in this blah city…which is what I usually say when he gets upset that I am upset. I used to be the one that planned the happy hours and got everyone to go out…which is where my boyfriend and I met….so I just wish we were back in our old city where I was comfortable and could go shopping and had friends…(although I know that things wouldn’t have been perfect then either but better).

But this all comes a little too late. The stress of med school has swooped in and I’m not sure if the damage is reversible. I also don’t think it is fair (to me) that we’ve only had 2 months in the new house and with my new job. I would assume that coming out of a depression takes longer than that. I also don’t think it is fair (to him) to have been in med school for 6 months and have to feel guilty for my sadness. He told me it would be hard before we moved and I thought I was healthy enough to handle it all. He does try and tried to set me up with new friends (but I want to make them on my own, not feel like a charity case). I just am not giving in to him because it’s like I’m being a stupid girl and I am trying to make him want me to be his #1 priority but I’m doing the exact opposite (if he hadn’t told me I’m not #1 I may not be dwelling on it so much).

I haven’t tried or taken the situation seriously in the last 6 months just hoping it would magically get better. Not until this wake up call did I seek real help or admit I have a problem. Since I have good days and have been completely happy and healthy during my work days, I’m not sure if it is just resentment that is making me so sad when I am home? Maybe not actual depression. Just jealousy…which is a whole other can of worms (I’ve been cheated on in the past…which brought my baseline happiness down before I even met my current med school guy so I used to be even happier) and I have my guard up at all times…especially around these new med school girls that made very bad first impressions.

I have a snow day today and have pedicure stuff and cleaning….which he hates that that is all I do but someone has to. He was snowed/iced in and slept at school last night. Just sinks that there are so many reminders of Valentine’s Day .

P.S. Dr. Long, It really helps to hear what the med student goes through. Do you recommend anything to read to better understand it all… I know he had mentioned something about “House of God” but I do believe that the sexual stuff will just get my jealousy hormones in an uproar and may not be the best thing to read. i do not think that the school has any sort of support group…just doctors to go see. Maybe there is a forum just for people in my situation??

And finally…

All this stress is terrible and it’s not like we didn’t expect there to be stress. I’m realizing that my depression has made me a different person, not one that he remembers or wants to come home to-not comfortable. But I’m so willing right now to give in to what he has been asking of me for the past months (stop being so jealous, make new friends,get help…be happy) but I think it is too late for us, but not for me. I want to be happy even if that means he is not in my life. He is too stubborn right now or too engulfed in med school to give me any of his precious time. He has a lot of pressure to be the best, he feels that he will let people down if he isn’t the top of the class. But he doesn’t realize that he is putting the pressure on himself. In the end he will be a doctor and all those people he is so worried about will never follow up on his grades and if he was number one or number 100. They won’t think any less of him if he doesn’t become a top neurosurgeon. It isn’t their career or their life, they will just be happy if he is happy. I would have loved him no matter what. He isn’t concerned about the people that really matter in his live (like me) he is worried about the people he graduated high school with or his father that is a Dr - someone he keeps in touch with once a year. Or maybe he didn’t really love me in the first place… to MAKE time to fight for us. Sure he would say that he did give me time (lots) but I didn’t do anything to make myself better and then he feels that the time we spent together was wasted (his words) and he could have been learning something new. But we both agreed that the time we gave each other was not well spent. Watching TV…although there was cuddling which I needed and relaxation that he needs…we have not been working on US.

I know that this isn’t a relationship help website but he told me that he doesn’t want to answer to anyone right now…that he needs to be in full control of his schedule and not have to feel like he has to come home for dinner or such stuff unless he is the one making the schedule. Basically that means to me that he wants to have his cake and eat it too, when he wants to. I mean he says it is over but what he has said is so hurtful–he asked me to move here. I gave up everything. He didn’t think through how medical school would be-with or without me here. Before we moved he has said that he is really glad that I decided to come. He said that with me there he wouldn’t have to be using up time to be off finding a girlfriend, that I would keep him grounded and focused on his studies. What the hell was my problem. Why didn’t I see that what he was saying is actually really selfish and mean. I guess the way he said it seemed like we were indestructible and he was happy to have me come. But now I feel used because I wasn’t strong enough to deal with all this new stess (his stress) so he is going to kick me out of his life instead of work though out problems.

I hear so many stories of med students that take every second weekend for their significant other (long distance of course) and spend the whole time with each other and that med school suffers–that other person deserves time too so they sacrifice. Living together makes it so much different. If he ignored me for two weeks and then spent one weekend with me I think I’d go insane. But you know what…that is what happened when we lived in that “crack house.” I did go insane because he came home at midnight, then studied till 2am and then came to bed which woke me up. That is why to this day…months later… I wake up at 2am each and every night, and he isn’t even coming to bed anymore.

I love him so much that even with all this I’m so worried about him and what he is putting himself though. I don’t think he is caring for himself. He is not healthy. We both have cholesterol problems (mine inherited) and he has not exercised since he started med school. Granted I have not either…just here and there…We are both going through this stress together and I wish we could be there for each other. I’m reading a book…only on pg 20 but it is a part of the men are from mars, women are from venus series. I was told a long time ago to read it. i never did. It is making me think about a lot of things and how I really didn’t give him a chance, I was so stubborn about insisting on being unhappy unless he made me happy.

I’m fine at work and when I’m thinking positively. But then I think about how we talked on Valentine’s day and he says it is over and I’m a pretty pessimistic person…or as my friend likes to say realistic.

Maybe his actions are like you said a quick fix to stop the suffering. But I think he has really been hurt by my hurtful comments which do not support his career choice. I don’t know if the path we were following would have ended happy But I do believe that anyone can make it work if they want it bad enough. I do think and believe now that he needs to stop and look at what med school and this stress is doing to himself. He is acting tough and like it isn’t breaking him down, but I think he needs help too.

First of all depression takes a LONG TIME to get under control and it is not immediate. If you are currently taking medication it can take up to six weeks or more to kick in so be patient. Your first priority is getting yourself health and then and only then can you try to piece or not your relationship back together. Depression is a very serious illness that often gets misinterpreted as you being “lazy, not caring, not trying hard enough, etc” this is a huge misconception. Please see someone ASAP even if you have to pay out of pocket. Good luck.

As a medical student who suffers from depression myself, I understand where you’re coming from. I’ve also been uninsured in the past, so I know how difficult it is to get help. You should still try to find a counselor who can help you through this, sometimes if you tell them you don’t have insurance, they’ll charge you less.

In the meantime, here are some of the things that keep me going when I’m really depressed:


-walks outside, even if it’s cold (the sunlight helps)

-stay busy, don’t leave yourself with time to think about all the things that aren’t going well in your life

-try listening to self help tapes while you’re getting ready in the morning, it helps put me in a good mood

-Get the book, Ten Days to Self Esteem, it’ll get you started

-Make a list of things that make you happy and refer to it whenever you feel down, even if they’re little things like mint chocolate chip ice cream

Well, I hope that helps. Med school is a struggle for all involved, the student and the family.

Good luck with everything!

Yikes… depression can be difficult to get treated, particularly because of the ouroboros of “I can’t get help until I get help”.

To elaborate on Leia’s suggestion of walking, I strongly recommend squeezing in some regular exercise until you can establish consistent professional help. I’m not a big fitness buff, but the endorphins (or placebo effect?) have really helped me keep going on many occasions when I was down and uninsured… Good luck.