As their partner, you stand by their side; supporting them and excited with them about their next endeavor towards residency. You watch them fly out from city to city, doing interviews at hospitals across multiple cities and states. You text from afar telling them they will do great and everyone will love them. You hear about the interviews, how they went, what questions they were asked, how they liked the hospital; and you want to hear every word of what they have to say.
Finally, the interviews are done; they did it. You watch them wait anxiously until Match Day, becoming anxious with them. Then Match Day comes and guess what, THEY MATCHED!!! You couldn’t be more proud of them and elated for them.
Next comes the real waiting period, a brutal four day wait to figure out where they are going. You start preparing yourself; what city will it be in, is it a different state?
The brutality of the wait is over, and you finally know what city they matched in and which hospital. Now it’s time to really prepare. You have to prepare to uproot yourself (if you aren’t planning to do a long-distance relationship or terminate the relationship), find a new job, pack up your things, and move with them.
But it’s okay, because you were prepared for this. You were prepared to go anywhere your partner goes to maintain your relationship and stay close to one another. You were ready for this step; as ready as you could be.
So you pack up your things, you terminate your current lease or other living situation, and you quit your job in the city you are now moving from.
Moving is difficult on its own, now you’re suddenly moving to a city you have never even considered living in. And while it can be frightening, it’s a new adventure and a fresh start. You begin to get excited about this next adventure in your life! You begin to get excited about where your relationship will take you! You are fully committed to this person!
Then your partner begins to “freak out”, if you aren’t already engaged or married. They start to panic because if you are moving with them, for them, they feel they will be obligated to your relationship and will not have the option to leave if something goes awry; because you uprooted and moved there for them. Apart from their “freak out”, they start to feel guilty because you are suddenly making all of these changes in your life, and it’s all for them and your relationship. Now, it becomes your responsibility to reassure them that this was your decision, that you made on your own.
So, you make the jump and you move. Move to this new city, with new people, and having to start all over. But you’re okay with it.
You start helping your partner prepare for their residency. Buying scrubs, buying shoes best suited for long hours, getting a new stethoscope, etc. You are by their side and helping them along the way as much as you can.
This is a part in the journey that you need to be ready for, but you didn’t expect.
You were ready for them to meet new people during their residency, but you weren’t expecting for the residents to all get together and you aren’t invited. You suddenly feel a little left out.
You were ready for their long hours, but you weren’t expecting how exhausted they would be when they get home; not having the energy to talk with you or about their day or your day. You suddenly feel unimportant.
You were ready for the exhaustion they were going to feel, but you weren’t expecting that that exhaustion would leave them without energy to plan dates or do special things anymore. You suddenly don’t feel prioritized.
You were ready for the hard work they are going to have to put in, but you weren’t ready for them to come home and continue working for hours. You suddenly feel unnoticed.
You were ready for them to work like crazy at the hospital, but you forgot that they also need to study for the USMLE Step 3, which takes up even more of their time. You suddenly feel obsolete.
You were ready for picking up the slack in regards to grocery shopping, cleaning, and picking up household things, but you weren’t ready to do it consistently. You suddenly feel underappreciated.
You thought you were fully prepared.
But the biggest thing you have to remember is, this isn’t about you. This is about them and their future. You remember that you made the decision to move here for your relationship, and during this time you knew you might have to put in 70% of the work in the relationship. You remember that you moved to this new city to support them, encourage them, and help them not have to worry about doing those mundane things like grocery shopping.
So, you adjust your expectations. You become understanding of the situation, and your true role. Your role isn’t to be a “housewife”, but your role is to be as supporting as possible, no matter what that means.
When they go out with their co-residents, you feel happy for them and it gives you time to work on yourself and making a new life for yourself.
When they get home and are too tired to talk about anything, you communicate that, because they may be unaware that it’s even happening.
When you don’t go on dates anymore, you realize that you’re working long hours too so why not save the money and have date nights at home.
When they come home and continue working for hours or studying, you give them a kiss on the forehead and tell them how proud you are of them.
When you’re the one grocery shopping, cleaning, etc., you realize that you are helping them and taking one more worry off of their full plate.
But your partner begins to adjust too. They see the things you are going through. They begin making the time to listen to your day even when they have no mental capacity left. They start to do the little things for you, whether it’s bringing you home food or surprising you with something they know makes you happy. They begin putting in dual-effort to residency and to you.
You work through things together because you love each other. You overlook those initial feelings you had, because you realized the overall picture that you forgot about at the beginning; and they begin trying their best to make sure you’re a part of their bigger picture. You begin to appreciate the effort they are putting into your relationship, even if it’s not as much as you want; because you know that effort will come later when they are fully able to. You do everything in your power to uphold the promise you made to support, encourage, and inspire them.
You’re proud of them. You’re in awe of them. You applaud their hard work. You become inspired. They make you want to work harder. You feel proud of yourself for the support you’re giving them while also supporting yourself. You feel proud of yourself for taking the opportunity to shape your new life in this city and putting yourself out there during the times your partner is unavailable. You suddenly love your partner even more, even though you didn’t think it was possible, because they already held your heart in their hands.