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Some months, you live a normal- ish life with a normal- ish schedule. Other months, it may feel like you never see your partner at all! If you let it, a medical residency can take a very negative toll on your relationship. Keep in mind that these are scenarios that work for us. Most residency programs if not all host activities to promote a sense of community among staff and encourage a positive work life balance.


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I'm writing this post as The Bear puts in another 6-day, hour work week. Nope, that wasn't a typo.

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Boyfriend works loooooong hours. And even though he made this "lifestyle" very clear to me from Date 2 — something along the lines of, "Do you really understand what you're getting yourself into? Medicine is a jealous mistress, my friends. Your partner will spend almost one day out of every single weekend working. And let us not even discuss the tragedy known as "nightshift," a cruel two-week period where the amount of time I see the Bear amounts to the brief minutes we share a bathroom, brushing our teeth — him, before bedtime, me, just having woken.

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Super-sexy, you guys. But I digress. My suggestion and really, this applies to everyone, no matter what profession your partner : Fill your life — with friends, with furry three-legged cats, with books, with traveland when you're reunited because his shifts have lightened up?

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Think of how interesting you'll be. Not only that, but when he walks in the door after a grueling shift and you've been anxiously waiting for him to come home so you can fill him on idle work gossip, he's not always up for it. Don't take it personally.

It's not because he doesn't love you and isn't interested, it's because he is so physically and emotionally drained that he needs time to decompress. I've learned — okay, I'm still learning — not to hound him the moment he walks in the door.

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My mantra: No big shares while there's still blood on his scrubs. Let him have his space, get some food in his belly, and then start the conversation.

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Or save it for his day off. This practice is still hard for an untrained, overeager puppy like me who wants to emote every feeling every second she feels it. Why DOES it feel so good? But it's hard.

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I'm still working on it. Oh, you had dinner plans at 8 at that brand new Mexican place? Ahhhh, well, guess what? You're ridin' solo now, my friend, because ata patient in the ICU crashed and he'll be there for at least two more hours doing paperwork.

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My suggestion: Always have a Plan B or start enjoying meals by yourself — I swear, sushi tastes better with a good book! Or start a blog.

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Or get a cat. Or call me, because I'm probably available. A note on vacation time: First-year residents get 2 two-week vacations. But don't make the same mistake we did and take it a month into residency.

To be fair, it was my sister's wedding and we didn't have much a choice. But still, learn from us and spread those two week vacas out or those hospital stretches are going to feel like for-ev-er. What I've found to be helpful in managing expectations is to simply have no expectations.

I've disappointed myself far too many times at this point that I now view any extra time he can spend with me as a bonus. That being said, it's important that when you two do have time alone that he is fully present — put the medicine talk on hold unless he has a really juicy or horribly gory story to tell you and let me tell you, doctors have the BEST stories and connect.

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Whatever connecting looks like for you. Or wine and Netflix.

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Or wine and…more wine. You get the point. Last night, I walked in on the Bear practicing stitches.

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He had a how-to video queued up on his computer and he was trying over and over again on his practice stitch board is that what they call those things, asks the non-medical professional? After a 7-day week where he clocked hours, he was still bettering himself, still putting in time to be a better doctor. I smiled and watched him until he got it right, because to watch someone you love do something they love?

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That's the good stuff. Andrea Zimmerman is the editor-at-large at Yourtango. She enjoys reading, traveling, and reading while traveling.

Things to expect when you’re dating a medical doctor

She lives in Chicago with her husband and three-legged cat. Follow her angiecat86 on Instagram. YourTango may earn an affiliate commission if you buy something through links featured in this article. in.

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YourTango Experts. Photo: getty. Andrea Zimmerman. Subscribe to our newsletter. now for YourTango's trending articlestop expert advice and personal horoscopes delivered straight to your inbox each morning. up now!

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Dating a doctor certainly sounds sexy, but dating a resident is a whole other beast.


Dating can be challenging for the men and women who work in the medical field.


I'm dating a resident.


So how do residents maintain relationships when books, patients, and cell phones receive more attention than most ificant others?