I didn't even know that there were other people in my situation.
All I knew was that out of the 120 people in Dr. Man's graduating class, we were the only two that would be separated. That the Residency College assumed that I would be moving with him and asked me to join the “Auxiliary Housestaff Organization.” And that my family was appalled and alarmed that Dr. Man and I would be living apart. No one I knew had ever made the choice to live apart from his/her spouse in order to pursue other goals (educational or career-wise).
I knew that Public U. has to field questions, occasionally, by job candidates about, “Where will my Significant Other work?”. However, it never occurred to me that this separation was very common. It wasn't until I started reading some academic blogs that I realized that there were others in this position. I didn't even know that it had a name!
A little background: Dr. Man graduated from Medical School last year. He had talked to the residency director of Specialty at Public U. and it seemed likely that Dr. Man would Match at Public U. However, through a variety of errors and circumstances, Dr. Man didn't Match at Public U. and Matched at Residency College instead. Residency College offered to help me find a spot in their graduate program. But Advisor is really good and we get along well (which I know is unusual). Plus, I was close to taking my quals and publishing my (first) first-author paper. So, we (Dr. Man and I) decided that I would stay at Public U. and Dr. Man would go to Residency College for a year. Then, he could transfer back to Public U. Hence, I am here and he is there.
It's hard. And not only in the ways I thought it would be hard. The things I thought would be hard (not seeing each other everyday, sleeping apart, having to make time to talk, financial strain, stress, etc.) are hard. The thing that really took me by surprise were the unexpected difficulties. Like missing out on the minutiae of Dr. Man's life (he started eating yogurt!). Like questioning my decision.
A few years ago, while getting my masters, in some leadership-esque seminar I had to list my values and priorities. While my career/education was up there (maybe this is a sign?), my husband was above that. Now, I wonder if I'm contradicting my values and being hypocritical. (I do want to clarify at this point that Dr. Man does not think this. In fact, he was appalled at the idea that I would quit my graduate program and transfer to Residency College.) I tell myself that Dr. Man is a higher priority than my education, but do my actions really reflect that? I'm not so sure at this point.