Spouse seeking advice

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    Hello all,
    Unsure if it’s appropriate to comment here but figured it worth a shot. I need some advice. My name is Scott. I’m the husband of a DMD/MD currently in an OMFS residency. My wife is in year 4 of 6 of residency. She’s slated to complete residency in June of 2019 – about 1.5 years. A little about us: we were married when my wife was still in dental school. Prior to completing dental school, my wife decided she would like to apply to Oral Surgery/MD programs. We decided to embark on this long journey together. Two years ago we unexpectedly had a child. As unexpected as it was, he is a joy and we wouldn’t trade all the craziness for anything. My career (seasonal business owner) dictates that I am in my home state for 7 months of the year. I own and operate a successful boat yard and marina. I purchased a house near the marina prior to our engagement. We were fortunate to match at my wife’s #1 school, which is three hours drive from our home. In my off-season, I spend the winter in a major city raising our son. I am admittedly a “small town guy”. I like knowing my neighbors and I cherish peace and quiet. Living in a major city across from the hospital is in stark contrast to my relatively sleepy seaside town. I’m a positive person and have made the absolute most and taken advantage of all the wonderful things a city has to offer in the winter. During the summer months the baby is with me but I’m often working 16 hour days. My wife and I are so incredibly blessed to have two sets of parents who live nearby and have taken on the lions share of raising our child during these few very busy summer months for me. For her part, during this time, my wife commutes home for 36 hours on the weekends when she’s not taking call. Over the past year, my wife and I have enthusiastically been discussing life post residency. Rebuilding our home, watching our child grown and attend school, traveling, possibly another child, and simply enjoying the small pleasures that come with being able to live together and see one another each night. Recently my wife received a job offer at a private practice in a wealthy town near ours. She was thrilled with the prospect, as it provided an excellent starting salary, benefits, and the ability to do interesting surgeries on top of the relatively mundane money-making procedures. Now, two months and many hours of dreaming and planning a life together since the job offer, my wife has informed me that she would like to do a year long fellowship following residency. The nearest program that offers this fellowship is a plane ride away. I’ve been blindsided. My foundation is shaken and I’ve told her as such. I consider myself a loving and supportive spouse but I’m having an incredibly difficult time getting on board. I feel like just when the end is in sight, the rug has been pulled from under our feet. Financially we are OK (I earn roughly $150,000 annually) but I’ve foregone any kind of saving over the past 8 years in order to keep us out of debt. On top of looking forward to having some help with the day to day around our house, raising our child, and more time spent as a family, I was really looking forward to a little financial relief. She’s explained that she just wants to do this one last year so she can be “the absolute best she can be” in her field. Our son is starting preschool next year and kindergarten the following and we’ve decided that he will attend a private school back home. Which means we essentially wouldn’t see her much at all for a year. Does anyone have experience or advice they could share on this? I’m really having a difficult time with it, as is she. I’d like to speak with a therapist about it but her schedule, as you all know, is difficult. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


    Thank you for telling your story. It is nice to hear about how you have been able to make everything work so far, despite careers that are keeping you apart temporarily. You have both been able to compromise in a very fair way, IMHO. I am guessing that after the shock wears off, you two will be able to sit down and work out what is best for your family, just as you have been doing all along.

    One question that comes to mind is what will happen after the fellowship? Will she be so sub-specialized that she will need to live in a big city in order to practice? Or will the fellowship allow you all to have a better life on the coast after she is done? And if she does the fellowship, maybe you can explore ways to make sure that you will see her and communicate with her enough to make it feel okay.

    Similarly, what does she think would happen if she accepted that job offer, without doing the fellowship? Would she still be able to fulfill her professional dreams?

    I don’t know about oral surgery exactly, but I assume it is like medicine where there is still a huge learning curve after you get out of training. I think some people are excited to get out on their own and make their own decisions and earn some money, but other people may feel like they just aren’t ready and want some extra experience within the relative safety of a fellowship program. And I also know that in medicine it is very common for people to do fellowships after residency, both to get more experience and to get better jobs in the future. You may want to talk to her further about her reasons for wanting to do the fellowship. There may be more to it than just wanting to be the best.

    I’m sure that either way, you could make it work. Good luck!

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