View Full Version : Spouses

04-24-2003, 08:11 AM
This is just a general question to see if I'm in the same boat as other people.... Is anyone leaving their spouse behind? I would like to see what peoples' thoughts are on the subject... thanks

04-24-2003, 08:16 AM
My thought - DON'T DO IT. I could go on and on about this, but that pretty much sums it up.


04-24-2003, 08:20 AM
I really don't have much choice... I have a daughter that will be 12... I can't drag her down here for a year and a half... Also, my wife graduates from nursing school in July and already has a internship in Trauma.... I know its going to be tough and I am realistic about the risks, but this is my dream...

04-24-2003, 10:33 AM
Hey newB-
I'm in the same boat. You won't be the only "married without spouse present." I am not in the position, yet but here's my take on this...

It's hard to leave the spouse behind...but it's only 14 months, right ( isn't it only 14 months?...I hope so!!)? To follow the dream is the way to go. You should take the opportunity to visit during breaks, if you can afford it. aaaargh!! With the internet, i.e. webcam, chat, e-mail, etc...you should be able to keep in touch.

If it's going to be more stressful with your wife and daughter on the island, then it would be better to leave them at home. You don't want to end up feeling guilty for pursuing your dream when they have to sacrifice. It's hard for a 12 year old to shift.

I think you'll be just fine. :D

MitchDC: You seem pretty strong about your feelings about the left-behind spouse...that makes me a little bit nervous. :?
What else can one do if the other spouse is also finishing this/her education? Any advice on ways to survive if one does have to leave behind a spouse? All your help is appreciated.


04-24-2003, 11:59 AM

I, too, am in the same boat as you guys. My husband and I decided it was best if he stays behind. He just started a nice job which he enjoys, he's taking some computer classes, and he has his own business that seems to have picked up the last couple of months. I don't want him to drop everything just to follow me around for 15 months. And besides, no matter what other people might say, it's one thing for men to bring their wife and/or kids, but it's a bit more complicated when the roles are reversed. Like I said, it's only for 15 months anyway. My husband bought a couple of webcams so we could see each other while chatting on the computer.

04-24-2003, 02:34 PM
I think all of you should rethink what you are doing. 16 months away from your husband, wife, kids? Rediculous. That is a long time and there is no way to rationalize around it.
Bring your family or do not go. You should agree on taking this adventure together. It won't end after you leave the island. After that you will move 1 or more places for clinicals, then again for residency. Are they going to stay behind for 5 more years... come on that's only 76 months... you can do it.
I will be attending FMS the fall of 04 and when I first started researching the idea, I decided that if if my wife couldn't do it, I couldn't do it. Luckily she is very supportive of the idea as long as I let her finish her BA before we leave. Give a little and take a little...
Please reconsider what is important to you, sure it is your dream, but if you can't take your family (which I think you can), you can always get a masters and reapply to U.S. schools.... after all it's only 24 more months.

04-24-2003, 02:41 PM
Experience it together or don't do it at all.

04-24-2003, 04:41 PM
"Bring your family or do not go?" "Experience it together or don't do it at all?" Just like that, huh?

Deciding to go down there alone was not an easy thing to do, and I'm sure it was also a tough decision on the other married people out there who had to leave their spouses behind. Options and Leroy, you're certainly entitled to your own opinions, but don't trivialize our decisions by calling them "ridiculous!" First of all, we're not leaving our spouses for 16 months or 5 years. We do have semester breaks every 3-4 months, you know. Second, moving to a foreign country, especially one that is considered underdeveloped and where employment oppportunities are very limited, is not the same thing as moving from California to New York. Third, like I said before, my husband is working on a degree and his own business is just starting to pick up. Similarly, newB's wife is finishing up her nursing program and already got an internship. Don't you think it a little selfish if we ask our spouses to just drop everything for the sake of a few months? It's not as if we're moving to Dominica permanently. If we weren't in such a tight spot, don't you think we would take our spouses with us if we could?

04-25-2003, 01:19 AM
It is a tough decision for sure and this kind of topic will always bring up a heated discussion. My wife and I decided not to be seperated at all a long time ago and have stuck with it. We both have made sacrifices and when I had to choose a FMS she was a huge part in the decision and that meant basically all islands were out of the running. She has a career and wasn't confident she could find work there. Furthermore, she lived down there for a while before we got married and really didn't care to do it again - I guess island life isn't for her.

Soooo I looked elsewhere and we are headed to the UK in september where she has work lined up, a few friends and is as excited as I am. The point is that there are many options if you do the work and communication between spouses is crucial for a decision like this.

04-25-2003, 06:38 PM
I'm going at it alone too and what is ridiculous is the thought of not being able to spend a few months away from your spouse. All that says is that you are not strong enough to handle it, your marrieage is not strong enough to survive it, you are worried one of you will stray, or you haven't been married long anough to want to spend time apart...hehe

Sarcasm aside it is a personal choice and neither mitch nor anyone else has the right to determine how someone else handles their situation. Alll they asked for was thoughts not to get orders barked at them. I hate leaving my wife and kids behind, i would love to bring them down, but sometimes you have to grow up a bit and make choices with your head rather than your heart. she has a great job, both my kids are in private schools, we have a house, and she is getting her PhD, not to mention all the support from our parents that she is going to need, so for me to have her quit her job in this economy and become world travelers in the era of anti-americanism isn't just wrong but is irrational (my opinion and my view only for my situation).

look at all options and remember that the choice you make right now is not the end all be all. it is ALOT easier for one person to move, settle in, get in a rythm determine if you can stand being apart or not. what doesn't make sense is moving all the people there, storing your stuff, quiting jobs, changing schools, turning your child's life upside down, having your pets quaratined for six months, and then decide you don't want to do that.

my 2 cents would be if you aren't sure then spend a semester apart and try it out, if you can't spend time away from each other then you will be settled in the island and can move your family in peace. some people really can't be away from each other and need to support and help each other or they fall apart. my wife and i are very independent people so i don't need her to pat my back and tell me what a hell of a guy i am every ten minutes, i'm conceided enough as it is she says...hehe good luck and if you do go "alone" you really won't be alone since there are plenty of "us" down there.

04-25-2003, 06:44 PM
I agree that it is a hard decision, but I just can't agree that living apart for nearly 2 years is the solution. If your spouses career is really that great, then fine, you have to take that into consideration. Maybe you can't attend medical school because of this.
When I first started researching FMS, I decided before I talked to my wife about FMS, that we wouldn't go if she didn't think she could handle it. If she said no, I would find something else, or go back for my master and not screw around this time.
Anyways, I don't want to act like I know everything. I just want to give my opinion because I am in the same position. Good luck and maybe I'll see you down there.

04-26-2003, 12:16 AM
you are right living apart for two years isn't the solution but....everyone acts like you are going to be totally apart for two complete years and you will not see each other the WHOLE time! it's three and a half months at a time for God's sake! or you don't plan on flying back home? i know every break i will be back home and my family will visit me at least once down there so all the melodrama needs to stop. if someone can't deal being apart for three months then fine but this two year crap is crap cause it ISN't TWO YEARS! peace out

05-14-2003, 08:30 AM
Hi guys...

I am a PA in CNY who is contemplating going to med school...
Oh, yes, by the way I am 40 years old and have a 7 year old daughter and a 15 month olf son. My wife does not work, and my daughter goes to a private Catholic school.

I mean, jeez I hate like hell to leave them. My daughter and I are so close. I am not sure what we'll end up doing but my take on all of this is that I'll apply to a few schools and then see if I get in and then take it from there. But, I can tell you, I have been obsessing about this for the two weeks I have been seriously considering it. Here's a few questions for all of my learned colleagues in the forum to consider:

-How are the public grade schools down in the Caribbean? Are there private schools, and, if so, how much do they cost?

_I would think that the schools themselves would have employment programs for spouses. If so, which ones are they? I would hate to see my beautiful bride working in a Burger King just for something to do

-Do any of the schools have day care programs or nursery schools affiliated with them?

-Are the available loan programs for medical students able to provide enough money for a family of four, a larger than usual apartment, and food and all the other stuff that we would need?

Thanks in advance,

Jeff K

05-14-2003, 11:27 AM
auc has a montessori (i think) school on campus that is for five and up i think and they do hire spouses for certail possitions. the quality of education seems to be proportional to the develpment of the island. st maarteen has a few people from europe that actually live here so there are schools that cater to them. there is a huge private canadian high school that i have seen as well as a couple of "american" day care centers that i've heard about. send a pm to dc79 he is here and brought his family.

on another note leaving my family sucked! my daughter cried all the way from the house to the airport but we tal everyday and seems ok. as far as school goes it was the best choice for ME b/c you don't even have time for laundry let alone quality family time. my friend has his family here and probably spends half hour per day with them and two or three on weekends so that is the time frame you will most liklely be working with. good luck

06-16-2003, 11:34 PM
I am so glad another mid level provider is going to medical school. I am an ER nurse practitioner. I am applying for Jan 2004. I have a 12 years old son and a husband. WE have not decided if they are going with me or stay here in CAlifornia. Are there middle schools in the island? How are they compare to American schools. Are there other students with children in my son's age group?

06-26-2003, 02:25 PM

Are you a part time marriage counselor now? People need to do what they need to do.

02-22-2004, 08:47 PM

Are you a part time marriage counselor now? People need to do what they need to do.

I know what MitchDC was warning about. I have heard stories about Ross partners cheating. Yes most of them are married. I don't know if that would make a difference if the significant other was with them on the island. A high percentile of people down there end up cheating on their spouses and significant others. They believe that since they are on the island that their significant other won't find out. Its funny that those people will be our future doctors when they have no morals. So far I have been lucky with my long distance relationship. Good luck to the rest of you with spouses and loved ones on the island.

02-24-2004, 11:22 AM
I really don't think you should leave your family behind, even if it is your dream. You should try to work it out so you can all be together. You will miss a lot of your child growing up, and you will never get that back. My husband is attending AUC in august and we are all moving to be with him. I am making a sacrifice but being away from each other and from our daughter for 16 to 20 months was just never and option. As someone else pointed out, you will move a few more times after you leave the island. Will you still be apart them?
Good luck.

02-24-2004, 01:57 PM
The SGU financial aid rep actually suggested that my wife stay home. No way, she is my built-in support system! She is awesome for wanting to come with me as well. I really can't imagine that I could concentrate without her. However, I do know there are some people who do it, and it seems to work out. In addition, the general rule is those who cheat will cheat, and the islands can sometimes make it happen faster. Just my thoughts...


02-24-2004, 07:41 PM
When it comes to making decisions for your family, only you and your spouse can really be the judge of how to best accomodate your needs. Nothing else matters. Other's opinions can give you insight, but even that is superficial at best since no one knows the depth of your family relationships. Trust yourself to do what is right for you.

As a spouse, I have found St. Maarten to be an adventure that I will treasure. The friendships and experiences are irreplacable! For those of you still deciding on whether or not to bring your families, St. Maarten is a great, family friendly island with wonderful support systems. If you have questions or concerns, I'd be happy to help you.

For those of you that cannot bring your families, I understand the difficulty of being separated and have experienced that myself. It is not easy, and I'm glad that I don't have to go through that again (well until I go home to deliver this heavy baby I'm carting around), but like rrod said...with the right relationship and strength of characters, you can make it.

We all have different paths to take and I hope that you all enjoy yours as much as my husband and I are enjoying ours! Good luck to you all!

05-02-2004, 10:23 PM
My husband began med school at SUSM in January, 2004. I stayed behind. Our plan was for me to earn the money while he studied. This wonderful plan lasted about two days before we decided we had to make a change. I'm a teacher, so I couldn't leave my job immediately (I'd lose my license if I broke my contract), but I'm moving to Saba this summer. I agree with those who say each couple needs to make their own decisions, but I have to say that living without him is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Good luck to all the spouses, whatever your choices.

05-02-2004, 10:24 PM
My husband began med school at SUSM in January, 2004. I stayed behind. Our plan was for me to earn the money while he studied. This wonderful plan lasted about two days before we decided we had to make a change. I'm a teacher, so I couldn't leave my job immediately (I'd lose my license if I broke my contract), but I'm moving to Saba this summer. I agree with those who say each couple needs to make their own decisions, but I have to say that living without him is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Good luck to all the spouses, whatever your choices.

05-03-2004, 12:19 PM
that the divorce rate for medical students is pretty high. It would be interesting to find out if leaving the spouse behind while overseas would increase the divorce rate of med students.

Here's my ante of $1 betting it would increase, overall.

Especially during clinicals if the spouse/kids stay back home in another state and you get off the surgery rotation at 8pm and think, "I'm too tired to call him/her today, I'll call them tomorrow..."

Here's to staying strong! Cheers

05-04-2004, 03:17 PM
An old friend who taught me how to ride motorcycles once told me during a philosophical discussion in the north georgia mountains that:

1) Figure out what you want to do in life
2) Figure out how you are going to do it
3) Find the person that shall walk along that path with you
4) If you mix up the first three steps - you are screwed!

I believe that in this "Spouses" forum - we have all achieved those three steps very well!

Be strong, love often, work hard, and succeed.

05-12-2004, 01:09 PM
Regardless of how far away you live or what you do for a career, there will always be tests of loyalty within a marriage.

:!: Cheating/leaving or not wouldn't matter if you lived with your spousal student on the island or if they were 7,000 miles away. There are affairs that happen within a mile of your own house. If they leave or cheat, they would have done that anyway. Long distance relationships are always hard, but there are those who make it work. So it depends on the couple.

Just think about military families, where they see their loved ones for only a bit every few months or every year (especially now). I'm sure they have the same issues we're talking about here and those people will be serving a minimum of four years away! Some choose to stay for their career on a boat or in a far away land because it is what they want to do with their life, and their spouse either stays ( and moves and moves to different bases for years) or says forget this!

I moved down here to St.Maarten to be with the one I love. I can't say it's been easy, but I'm glad I came. We didn't have much to leave behind, so that made it easier for us than most on this forum. But we will have to move again for clinicals, electives, and so on where there are no breaks as there are here in school, so I hope that has been talked about between you and your spouse. That would be the point where you both have to decide if you both move or not to an island or anywhere else. The school part is not so bad to stay home for and not move, but those 36 hour shifts straight without someone there for support can be really really hard once they start working in the real world at hospitals.

I think also this may explain why emergency surgeons have the highest divorce rate among any other career choice.

So really I think you should at least plan to move after school is done if those electives and so on cannot be done where you live. During school I think you can make it okay.

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