In every medical school class, there are a few love stories. In my class, none of them belonged to me. But I can still totally steal other people’s stories. I've been hesitant to tell this story, but I've changed a few details to make things less identifiable.
In my class, there was a girl named Beth. Beth was a really beautiful brunette, and was also really smart. She got the top grades in the class, made even more impressive by the fact that she was also a mom. She had married very young and had a son at a very young age.
One of Beth’s closest friends in the class was a guy named Brian. Like Beth, Brian was a non-traditional student, a couple of years older than she was. Beth and Brian started studying together, which worked out pretty well because both of them were crazy competitive. (Beth matched in derm, Brian in ortho.)
Brian was single and out looking for the right person. I wasn’t friends with him, but on several occasions, I’d heard him spout out some not-so-flattering theories about women. For example, he’d talk about how he’d send emails to women he’d met to keep them on the hook, even though he wasn’t that interested. Also, he said that women are out to have a good time until they turn 27. At age 27, women become all about marriage and it’s freaking annoying. (How dare he generalize us all that way?!)
As first year went on, it became obvious to all of us that Brian was in love with Beth.
We all thought, “Well, too bad for Brian. Beth is married.” Except not so much.
Brian was, apparently, much more attractive than Beth’s husband. Beth’s husband was bald, for one thing. And he wasn’t going to be an orthopedic surgeon either. So Beth got a divorce so that she and Brian could be together. And then Beth turned 27 and Brian dumped her because she was too eager to get married.
(I’m joking. They got married.)
As a child of divorce who had one parent leave the other for a third party, it was hard not to watch Beth and Brian’s relationship with a little bit of resentment. Why couldn’t Beth have made it work with her husband for the sake of her child? Was Brian honestly that much better? He was kind of a jerk, actually.
WTF??? That is so messed up.ReplyDelete
People are so lazy with relationships nowadays. Why try to make it work with the obsolete version when a new shiny one will come along soon?! What a love story, hopefully Brian won't leave Beth when she's 50 for some marriage-craved 27 year old.ReplyDelete
He's just the type to do so...Delete
I also found there to be a lot of odd platonic relationships in med school: "couples" that spent way too much time together despite one of them being married and despite obvious evidence of attraction, or couples that could not be together because of religious or cultural barriers, or unrequited love by one party for another. As one of the few folks in my class who was married, it was interesting to watch.ReplyDelete
I had a very close friendship with a guy in my class, despite the fact that I was dating only guys not in med school. I didn't have any romantic feelings for him, but *everyone* thought we were dating. I wouldn't call it an odd relationship though... it was more just people jumping to assumptions.Delete
This kind of thing happens at my med school alllllll the time.Delete
Agreed with the above, to a certain extent. I could write a book about the crazy relationship stuff at my med school, mostly because it was a mixture of the non-traditional types, as Fizzy explained, the odd platonics-that-weren't-platonic, and a lot of kids who were still in the immature, experimenting phase (my school has a 6-year program... that's right, they enter med school at age 20).Delete
It's not good for a kid to grow up with married parents who don't love each other, either. Teaches them bad lessons about how relationships work.ReplyDelete
I've known children of divorce who were pretty messed up by it, yes, but I've also known people who were messed up by their parents' marriages and relieved when they finally split up.
Odds are the marriage wasn't working anyway, or Beth wouldn't have been so ready to jump ship. It's not a good situation either way, but I don't think "stay together for the kids" is automatically the best solution.
I don't begrudge anyone who wants to get out of an unhappy marriage, whether or not they have kids. But at the same time, I think that there are couples that aren't necessarily unhappy together who can be broken up by a particularly motivated third party. It didn't sound like the issues Beth had with her husband were *that* bad.. she just liked Brian better.Delete
As a child of parents who should have divorced but never did, the fault is never the third party's. 100% agree with Elizabeth that being around bad relationships is really awful for children, and studies back that up, too.ReplyDelete
Love your blog!
I would say that the fault may not be *entirely* the third party's. But say that a marriage is having some struggles due to the wife being in med school and other issues. These issues may have improved with time. Or they could have tried counseling. But when there's a vulnerability like that, it's too easy for someone like Brian to swoop in and end things before they can have an opportunity to heal. I feel like a marriage ought to end on its own terms, not because another person pushed for it.Delete
I know lots of people who should have divorced but didn't and were miserable. But I also know lots of people who went through rough patches in their marriage and came close to divorce, but were ultimately glad they didn't.
I recently came across caribbean students rotating at my hospital.ReplyDelete
500 students per class stuck on an island together amongst the natives?
Now THAT makes for some interesting dynamics.