If I could wave a magic wand, I would just be about his schedule. The brutal hours plus the additional presentations, papers, and research requirements constantly sucked away the tiny hours of time we could find to spend together. I just feel like curling up in his arms and crying, but there is nobody there to curl up into. Your kisses seemed grateful, loving, with a hint of desperate, with a hint of, “I just woke up again and realized you are next to me in my arms still …
I would orbit around it, fitting my work/clients and life in here and there. The more exhausted he became, the more out of balance I felt. It was studying for boards before; it is the roller coaster of ICU nights now. I told you that I had gone back and read what I had written over our months together. and that is a miracle.” When we discussed the training demands of the medical profession, mostly he expressed utter hopelessness that it would ever change, and would speak of student loans and family relying on him.
He was so behind on sleep on the holidays he had off that instead of going to be with his family or mine, he stayed home and slept. I could barely choke out the words of my hurt and surprise to find that you had asked me several times to open my heart. Throughout the night, the few hours I slept with you, whenever you stirred or woke, you kissed me, over and over through the night, my hand, my back, my chest. When we went out of town for the weekend with some of his colleagues, the first conversation as a group was how to change the escalating demands of time, sleep, effort, that they were all suffering. We decided to cut it off cleanly and grieve our losses.
We had careers, interests, and personalities in common, and even the friends/family we met on each side approved.
During these times, I would read my past journal entries, searching for the relationship that so often seemed out of reach.
Our first date was meeting for brunch on his one day off that month.
While I recognize that my ex and I might have eventually ended our relationship anyways, I am haunted by how our relationship might have been different if he had worked more reasonable hours.
In sharing my suffering publicly, my hope is that it might somehow bring new awareness and motivation to protect our physicians’ schedules so they might have more chance of work-life balance.
Search for physician dating:
I wonder if the way I dismiss my body (e.g., skin cancer risks, breathing, lumps) is mirrored in how you dismiss my compliments. So, if I start wearing sunscreen more often will you feel how amazing you are?