Breaking up with someone in med school can feel crushing. For many, it’s a time when you’re the most vulnerable. Keeping focused in the aftermath is hard.
But, as this article will help to show, good things can come out of it.
Here you’ll learn:
- They key things to remind yourself after a failed med-school relationship
- The main reasons relationships end due to medical studies
- How to maintain or improve a relationship while being a med student
Let’s get going.
Breaking Up Because Of Med School: Things To Remind Yourself
It might hurt right now but there can be some good to come out of breaking up in med school. With great challenge, comes great sacrifice. Any pain or sadness you’re feeling now will only help embolden you in the future.
But it can be tough to cope in the chaos. So here are five key things to remind yourself on the path to bouncing back.
You got this.
1. If It Was Meant To Be It Would Find A Way To Survive
Possibly the most important thing to remind yourself is; if the relationship was meant to be, it would have found a way to survive. This rings true of med school. No matter how busy, stressful or hectic you might feel studying can be.
The real truth is that there are ways to keep relationships alive in med school. Be strict in time management and disciplined and efficient in study and you can make the time. Ultimately it’s down to you, but you can’t control the other person.
And if your relationship falls apart at the first sign of a med school party? It couldn’t have been that robust to start with. Or at least not the kind of foundation that long term life partners or marriages are built on.
2. You Get More Time To Study (And Meet Your Goals)
Another plus that comes with breaking up (although it’s hard to see in the moment) is that you get more time. That’s not something that comes easy in med school. Not with all the exams, lectures and classes you’re expected to stay on top of.
With that freedom comes a new chance to explore other extracurriculars too. Things that might not necessarily revolve around study – like starting a business in med school, starting a new hobby or anything else social.
But you’ve got to give yourself that opportunity to process a break up first. Diving into a bunch of new stuff as a distraction isn’t always the best approach.
3. Better Understand Your Why
The time you do give yourself to process what happened can help you better determine your why. If you were as resolute on becoming a doctor as you say you were – and the relationship ended as a result – then that’s not exactly a bad thing. You’re on the path to something great.
Knowing your future is building towards a career that will have a real impact in the world, helping many people in the process, can be a soothing feeling. But also use this time to figure out why things went wrong in the hope of understanding yourself better.
Some questions you might want to ask yourself:
- Did your goals lead you to take your relationship less seriously?
- Did your partner feature in your future life in healthcare?
- What kind of person do you need in your life to help you become a successful medic?
Obviously don’t go too mad with the self interrogation. But getting more clarity on the situation could help.
4. Space To Map Out the Future
Breaking up with someone, no matter the circumstances, can lead to a lot of self projection. Suddenly you’re forced to think about the future. That doesn’t need to sound as scary as you think.
Using the space from your ex to rediscover yourself can lead to lots of new positives. Instead of dwelling on the past, make a commitment to yourself to learn from the experience and do better in the future.
Medicine is the perfect platform for that. Failed relationships can help round you as an individual and put you in a place that’s closer to your patients.
Use it as a way to build empathy.
It’s one of the key traits most people associate with amazing doctors.
5. Chance To Find Someone Who Better Understands The Journey
Sometimes the person you were with may have just never really got you. Maybe they didn’t understand the whole ‘trying to become a doctor’ thing. Or just didn’t want to.
If that’s the case then consider it a clean break. Now you have a chance to find someone who’s on your side. Someone who understands the journey, the hardship and sacrifice it involves and still wants to come on that journey with you.
Not all relationships are a net positive. Sometimes the people we get involved with might want to hold us back; whether out of insecurity or fear. It’s not always their fault but it’s not healthy for us either.
Now’s the time to let go of all that. Find someone you can take an important step forward with who’ll be on your side when the exams add-up and the stress piles on.
How Often Do Relationships Break Up Because of Med School?
Med school can be a big stressor in many relationships leading to eventual break ups. It’s a commitment that involves a huge time investment. Something that requires you spending long hours working away from your partner.
For most mature adults however, specifically people who’ve been in long term relationships leading up to med school, it’s entirely survivable. The same goes for long distance situations too. As someone in the relationship might have to move away to attend a school.
If the people in the relationship know each other well, support one another and have made plans for the future, med school doesn’t need to stand in the way.
The Main Reasons Relationships Suffer In Med School
Some of the main reasons include:
- People in the relationship being ‘too young’: med school can expose you to a lot of new and interesting people
- Time: study and work commitments mean less time to spend hanging out or talking with a significant other
- Money: the cost and expenses involved in med school can be an extra stressor. Even more so if a spouse or partner is helping financially.
- Stress: the pressures of studying medicine, if not dealt with effectively, can put people in dark places. Places hardly conducive to relationships.
Then there are the many personal and interpersonal factors that go into relationships that can cause them to fail. People are complicated! And there are many external events that can complicate them further…
But just because relationships can end because of med school doesn’t mean they should.
How To Maintain A Relationship In Med School
By no means a relationship expert – although I have managed to keep one down during my time as a med student – here’s what I think can work:
- Manage your time effectively: use effective study techniques to cut down study time and spend more time with your partner
- Be honest above all else: and explain your reasonings (i.e. the reason why you don’t have time to do certain things etc)
- Set realistic expectations: don’t over promise on things you’re not sure you can deliver
- Goal set with your partner in mind: inform them of what you’re hoping to achieve and where they factor in your plans
- Introduce your partner into your med school social circles: involve them where possible and if appropriate
This list is by no means conducive! If you have any more ideas then let me know in the comments.
Summary: Breaking Up Because of Med School: Your Story
Read any of the popular med student forums and you’ll see plenty of stories of relationships gone wrong due to the pressures of med school. If you have anything to add about your own journey or your thoughts in general, especially after reading the points above, then it’d be awesome to hear from you!
The most important thing to recognise is that you’re not alone.
Image credit: @mganeolsen at Unsplash
Born and raised in the UK, Will went into medicine late (31) after a career in digital marketing and journalism. He’s into football (soccer), learned Spanish after 5 years in Spain, and has had his work published all over the web. Read more.