What is it like for a non-doctor to marry a doctor?

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This question was posted on Quora and answered by Carla Kayani:

I just married a doctor about three weeks ago but we have been together 8 years. She was at medical school when we met.

The downsides are that you can feel starved of attention sometimes. My wife has just finished an 80 hour week. Even when they are home, they must constantly study, prepare presentations and do compulsory online portfolio work. These responsibilities will only increase as they get promoted.

They can often struggle to understand your problems especially when it comes to difficulties in your own job. They deal in life and death as a job where you don’t. My wife resuscitates babies and such so they can invalidate your feelings when you’re upset about something you experienced at work. This can be extremely distressing on a lot of levels.

You will always feel inferior in the relationship. Sometimes in anger, they will remind you of your lack of worth for being ‘just a chef’ or ‘just a performing arts student’ or ‘just a now and then actor’.

You have to listen to some quite boring work stories that you can’t possibly understand because your highest scientific qualification is an O-Level in Biology as you took linguistic and theatrical subjects.

Their parents may resent that they married you instead of another doctor.

You feel embarrassed by being around their doctor friends because you feel like a mere mortal especially if you don’t have a degree. You find yourself overcompensating by exuding wit, vivacity, loquacity, self-taught knowledge and then hate yourself.

The upsides include feeling very safe in medical emergencies or during sickness unless it’s mental health problems where you’ll often get no understanding at all. They have a profession which is not actually as well paid as people think but the pay steadily rises over the years. You can survive off one income comfortably providing neither of you are particularly materialistic. Also, their doctor friends tend to be interesting, intelligent, friendly and have impeccable manners. They would never make you feel excluded or inferior. Largely, it probably wouldn’t cross their mind to think of you in that way.

You might feel validated in your intelligence and attractiveness. You must be those things if an attractive doctor genius married you.

If you have a fetish for doctors like me, you feel you’ve won the jackpot.

You get to play sexy doctor games with a real doctor. This is sexual heaven.

Sometimes they come home wearing scrubs looking all heroic and important.

You get to hear some really juicy stories about strange doctors, nurses, patients, crazy baby names, funny interactions, general gossip.

The Upside:

1. No threat or ego issues: Ever saw your friends resenting their spouses who are in the same line of work, and have become more successful? Here, I know that eventually doctors tend to earn more, and hence am fully prepared for it mentally. There is no scope of jealousy or resentment, and we both can be as successful as we can without hurting each other’s feelings. Further, we both get equal opportunities to appear more intelligent in front of each other.
2. Interesting conversations: She tells me about the curious cases that come to her, I tell her about the new marketing campaign I am working on. We exchange work talk, not really expecting expert opinions, but interesting ones nevertheless.
3. Network: I know I can count on a dentist, a pediatrician, a surgeon and many others whenever I need them because of her. She knows who to call if her computer crashes or she needs life hacks or she needs to find good pubs around 😛 . Also, typically medical students are too engrossed in their studies to really get to know outside life, so my circle of friends prove to be a good break from that for her . 😛
4. Understanding: She understands when I get really busy, or not able to take her call, or get to work at wee hours, cause that’s what she expects from me.
5. Min level of intelligence expected: Think about it. Doctors are anyway intelligent. Intelligent enough not to fall in love with idiots. Hence both parties get the benefit of no-stupidity-no-frustration factor.

The Downside:

1. Patience: Chances are, your doctor spouse was standing non-stop 6 hours assisting surgeries, hasn’t had anything since morning and has slept only 6 hours in last 48 hours. In such cases in whatever you speak or breathe, please tread carefully, very carefully. Be patient and considerate, and remember, ‘This too shall pass’.
2. Doctor Ego: Fact is, doctors had to study more and grill themselves for longer hours doing harder work than any engineer will ever do. This might lead them to think that doctors are better than engineers or anyone else. Again, a delicate topic to stir up.
3. Family awkwardness: You might end up feeling a bit ignored in case your family members get more interested in discussing their minute health issues to get free consultation than pampering you like you were used to. I, however, enjoy the peace. Then there is also the pressure of standing up to the expectation of ‘how can a doctor and non-doctor work it out together?’
4. The doctor vs the spouse: Often when you will hold her hand, she will suddenly observe some weirdness in the bone structure of your hand and start cautioning you against medical conditions you have never heard that affect body parts you never knew existed.

Bottom Line:
Be Understanding, Kill the ego, understand that your backgrounds are different and you both will never ever understand each other’s career completely. Enjoy the diversity, and make what time you get together count.

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