My initial motivation for starting "The Other Half" when I did came from reading Erica Camp's "What I wish I knew: Advice for Spouses of Doctors and Residents." It was when I got to #4 that I really rolled my eyes, refilled my wine glass, and started typing.
First, let me say that it's not Camp's fault that so many of the articles/editorials I see from medical spouses are from what I term "traditional" spouses of residents. Apparently this week is about me writing some definitions/explanations of terminology. So, for our purposes, let's define "traditional" in much the same way we used to define traditional college students and differentiate them from the non-traditional ones:
Traditional: Heterosexual female, 20s-30s, interested in (and probably engaged in) procreating with their medical spouse. First marriage (and possibly first real long term relationship of a serious nature).
Non-tradtional: Everyone else.
I'll probably get some looks from people like I just farted in a crowded elevator bound for the top floor of a high rise for that distinction, and that's ok.
The call to "remember the man you married" in that piece really irked me for a couple of reasons. First off, I was already sighing over the "the kids and I had to have dinner alone" refrain. But, obviously, I did not (this time) marry a man. So, the whole premise of that piece was off for me.
Thinking about it now, though, I realize that all spouses need to realize that medical school and residency change people. To sit around and wax nostalgic about the person I married before medical school is dangerous. And, that idea helps explain why divorce rates among doctors are higher than those in the general population. Not only is it the old "my doctor spouse is too busy" syndrome, but if you expect that the person you married before residency (or even before medical school) is going to be the same person at the other end of that training, you're going to be disappointed.
So, instead of remembering the person you married, shift your thinking to enjoying the person your doctor spouse is becoming. That requires that you don't stay the same, too. It probably means that you're going to have to order that new flapper for the toilet that runs and fix it yourself, for instance.
This blog is written from the perspective of an older medical spouse who happens to be childless by choice. I hope that husbands, older spouses, those childless by choice, and others will find this entertaining and occasionally useful.