My Boyfriend’s in Medical School and He’s Changed. Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Bella* e-mailed me in frantic worry about her future with the boyfriend. I can sympathize with her and with other women in her situation and took precious time to craft a well thought-out answer. With her permission, I wanted to share her e-mail and my answer those in her shoes can make the best decision about their future.

Alex,

I just am basically seeking advice on what to do with my relationship with my boyfriend in med school.

I’m 23 and he’s 25. He is finishing up his first year in Texas. I live in NY. We met in NY before he went off to school last summer and have been together since. I fly to see him once a month. It’s tough.

I want to move close to him but can’t because we don’t know where his rotations will be yet. Long distance is not ideal and I don’t know how long I am willing to do it. His time is consumed by school. He wants to go into ER medicine which I know will be long hours, right?

Everyone is telling me it doesn’t get easier with rotations and residency and such. I worry about not ever seeing him and growing a relationship. He is already very stressed and has cynical outlook on a lot of things. He thinks things should be his way, which I already know is a bad quality. He does so sweet things but is not quite the best romantic. And I need that in my life.

I guess my question is more of me asking for advice on what life will be like. I’m not a needy woman but I do want attention from him. And I want a marriage and family and such.

Any insight you have would be amazing. I’m struggling with the decision on whether all this is worth it.

Thank you so much 🙂

Bella

Alex’s Words of Wisdom

Bella,

You are a smart girl.

How can I tell? Because you’re planning for the future — how to catch the best guy you can with what you got. And what you got now is pretty much the best it will be for the rest of your life. After a few years, you will notice a difference … for the worse. And I’m not talking about your confidence, success, and moxie.

It’s not just you. It is nature. Nature imbued women with so much beauty, but with a cruel twist. When the clock bell strikes at midnight, the magic will surely fade. Many women enjoy their vapid youth partying and meetings lots of hot guys and end up with a room of cats. (It’s not a bad thing, if you’re into cats.)

Thus, I’m going to give you a smart-girl answer:

Be true to yourself.

Countless teenage girls love this quote. Oh, they were wise beyond their years.

Yes, be true to yourself. Have courage to face the truth. I will ask you a question and you must be completely honest. Don’t give an answer that panders to polite people. Don’t give an answer that sounds right. Answer with truth, no matter now unpleasant it may be.

Think of it like having gas building up in your stomach. It causes you much discomfort, and when you can’t stand the bloated unease, you let it all out. It is unpleasant, but at least it is truthful.

So, the question:

Do you love him or do you want something from him?

In other words, do you love your boyfriend so much that all you care about is his happiness? Are you willing to sacrifice what you want for his sake? Are you willing to stay with him even if he will never marry you?

Or …

Do you stay with your boyfriend for some kind of payoff in the future: the wedding, the status of being married to a doctor, the kids, the security & advantages of an upper-class lifestyle, and whatever perks that come with being Mrs. Doctor?

This is where the truth will set you free.

If you choose to be with your boyfriend because of your unselfish love, then I applaud you. Very few people can make that choice. I can’t. You are a saint and I wish I met someone like you.

And as a saint, the choice is set. Stay with him and expect nothing in return. Give him love. Give him company. Give him space. Give him comfort. Give, give give … Do everything you can to help him reach his dream. And if you do get married, consider it an unexpected gift — not your just due.

However, most women — heck, most people — would make the second choice. They cannot love unconditionally and want something for their efforts.

If you are like most people, then you have to analyze the situation like a ruthless mercenary. Or a realist, if a mercenary sounds so cold.

What is the reward? Marriage to a doctor, which then leads to status, money, family, and an upper-class lifestyle.

What is the risk? He may not marry you. Or if he did, you may not end up with a doctor. Instead, you may wake up and find yourself attached to a failed-out medical student with a scary amount of student debt.

To properly assess the risk, you must first determine what kind of guy your boyfriend is.

Does he want to get married? As a guy advances in his years, he resists change more and more. If he does not want to get married now, he may not want to get married ever. If this is the case, get out now. Look hard enough and you will find a successful man who wants to marry an attractive 23-year-old belle.

Does he party a lot? If so, he may have too much fun and fail out. Or he may meet other girls and forget you.

Is he good with women? A would-be doctor attracts the attention of many women. A would-be doctor that is good with women will have to pad-lock his front door to keep the potential suitors away. They are women from his school, nurses, random chicks he meets when he parties, and whoever else on the prowl. As he goes from student to resident to attending, the amount of female attention will go up and up.

How likely is the reward? Compare yourself to other women. Are you the type successful men want to marry? Or are you the type successful men enjoy for the moment?

Now you might ask, “What type of women do successful men want to marry?” Pay attention because I am about to reveal the secret to snagging a top-quality man. She must meet 3 criteria:

1. Beautiful (and most likely young)
2. Pleasant (feminine, not a feminist)
3. Private (not common property, if you get my drift)

Beautiful, pleasant, and private women strive to be so. They groom, put on make-up, work out, reject the current culture & retain their sweetness, and resist advances of hot, sweaty hunks. These women are not lazy because successful men are not lazy!

The type of women successful men marry is rare, and that is why those women hit the jackpot.

What are the costs and can you bear them? The long distance. The lack of quality time. The seven or more years of sleeping on your own. Being second place to the mistress called, “Medicine.” Spending good money for the short moments of companionship.

What is your next best option? You are still young. Maybe you’re beautiful too. If you were to branch out, you may meet a man who is already established and wants to marry. He could even be a full-fledged doctor.

But your search will be harder than you think. The marriage rate is plunging like a rock in free-fall. It doesn’t help when I tell my successful guy friends about the pitfalls of divorce and how they should avoid marriage like pelvic stench. Successful men are a dying breed, as more women excel academically. Combined with female hypergamy, marriage does not looking promising for this generation.

At last, we come to the end. What should you do?

I know what I would do if I were you, but I’m not you. What I would do may be the total opposite of what you should do. Thus, I presented the scenario, but you alone must find the answer. Listen to the wisdom of chorus of teenage girls who are oh so wise beyond their years:

Be true to yourself.

*Name changed.

This article is part of the How to Survive Medical School series. Click on the link if you want more tips and hints about surviving academic hell.

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