Damage control? Or just more damage?

  1. SO my husband just started nursing school today - his first day of class! I am more proud of him than I can say. Of course, we are talking about how to stay strong in our marriage, when he will be away from home at least six days a week and probably working the other one.

    One of the challenges is to be apart from each other, and for me especially, to have no-one to snuggle, go on dates with, or just spend time with. I work in a hospital as a CNA, and am very happy with my job. I only work three days a week and since we live simply that pays the bills - leaving me with a lot of free time and now no-one to share it with. I have friends and family, of course, but the thought of not having a lover or, more accurately, romantic partner -for all that time - and it will get only more intense as the program continues - is depressing and frightening. It's not sex per se, it's just that particular romance you can only have with a intimate partner that I would miss.

    My husband and I have discussed finding a friend/lover for me during that time, since he is worried he will neglect me - not by intention but by virtue of the circumstances and feel guilty - and I am worried about being abandoned, with nobody to touch or simply be romantic with. We are both very OK with the general concept, but I am looking for people's wisdom. Neither of us want to make a hasty decision with destructive consequences.

    I know three other married students for whom this or a similar arrangement is working so incredibly well, it's amazing- so I am curious. Everyone has support, and affection, and time - nobody is guilty, or lonely, or feels neglected. The men/wives feel like they're off the hook and be free to study or work without neglecting their spouse, and the spouse has an intimate partner and so is not feeling neglected or alone, and everyone shares expenses and tasks. The atmosphere of calm and practicality is so different from the tension and exhaustion that most students seem to be fighting with.

    Has anyone tried this? If there were affairs or other partners, was it an efficient way to blow off steam? Did buckling down help keep you together or just crush you under the weight of those million little neglects?


    EDIT: My husband and I have been married for seven years now, and dated for five years before that. We are great friends and he is a wonderful husband, better every year as we go through more and more years together.
    Last edit by chartlooe on Jan 17, '07
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  2. 27 Comments

  3. by   Soup Turtle
    ummmm.....speechless
  4. by   GardenDove
    My advise is to turn off your computer and go read a book.
  5. by   chartlooe
    Any book in particular?
  6. by   chartlooe
    Why speechless? That was an elegantly neutral response, BTW. I appreciate it.
  7. by   Soup Turtle
    I can't imagine how seeing other people would keep a marriage strong unless it's just an arrangement for convenience. We all like to snuggle, but quality comes before quantity as far as I'm concerned. If he's the one you want, you should keep it between the two of you IMHO.
  8. by   NurseCard
    Yikes... well, considering that you are serious, and you are looking for advice from people who have been through nursing school and have seen what damage it can possibly do on a marriage...

    Suggestion number one would be... since you only work three days a week, would it be at all possible for you to pick up another few hours, either at your current employer or somewhere else? That way your husband could possibly forgo the very few hours of working that he was going to do anyway, and spend that time at home with you?

    Suggestion number two... ummm, relax. I'm willing to bet that if your marriage is strong, your husband will probably still be able to find time to put out your fires every now and then. If you are used to getting it on twice a day and that's all that will sassify you... I'd suggest investing in a few "books" as a previous poster suggested, and perhaps a plastic/rubber friend with batteries or two, because he's NOT going to have that kind of time or energy anymore, and you'll just have to deal with that.

    I'm voting for "more damage", if you go so far as to feel like you need to have an affair while your husband is going to school busting his rear end to try to make a better life for you guys... sorry to sound blunt.
  9. by   chartlooe
    I agree that it would add...something to the situation, I just don't know what. The greatest strain on most nursing relationships seems to be that grueling lack of affection and closeness - nobody seems to mind the shortage of money, or the validity of the goal, or even the time spent apart - if they can feel connected somehow. It's that lack of connection, of feeling alone while being together, that seems to creep up on people and tear them apart.

    But does that connection need to be to the partner - who isn't available and feels pressured from both sides - or can it be from a girlfriend or boyfriend that everyone knows and likes? If the answer is to tough it out and stay monogamous, I am totally willing to do that. I adore my husband and want him to succeed, and after all it's only for a few years if we choose not to.

    I know three other married students for whom this or a similar arrangement is working so incredibly well, it's amazing- so I am curious. Everyone has support, and affection, and time - nobody is guilty, or lonely, or feels neglected. The men/wives feel like they're off the hook and be free to study or work without neglecting their spouse, and the spouse has an intimate partner and so is not feeling neglected or alone, and everyone shares expenses and tasks. The atmosphere of calm and practicality is so different from the tension and exhaustion that most students seem to be fighting with.

    It's almost the opposite of everything you hear about nursing school in terms of relationship dynamics- but it's not for everyone, and it might not be for us.

    Great response - I hear you and will think about your reply.
  10. by   Huscarl73
    Let me start out by saying that I've been told and seen the following..

    It takes a strong committed marriage to survive both or either party swinging outside of the marriage. I have seen this cause many problems and even destroy a marriage. I also personally know several couples that do this and (at least from the outside) appear to not have any problems. Which one you will be, I do not know.

    The fact that you even brought it up leads me to believe that you've done this before. If you havn't I don't see this as making your marriage stronger.
  11. by   chartlooe
    No, blunt is great! I'm here for wisdom and experience, not my ego. Your suggestions are great for having more work hours - I could find a volunteer gig, too, huh? That would proabably give me the sense of inclusion I would be missing most. Hadn't thought of that...
  12. by   Dalzac
    I have a question. Where is he going to school and why is he going to stay away for so long? I came home every night after clinicals. I even worked fulltime as well and still managed to sleep with my hubby every night.
    As for the lover thing I would be thinking about your hubby and his needs since he is the one going to school and working
  13. by   Soup Turtle
    "I know three other married students for whom this or a similar arrangement is working so incredibly well, it's amazing- so I am curious. Everyone has support, and affection, and time - nobody is guilty, or lonely, or feels neglected. The men/wives feel like they're off the hook and be free to study or work without neglecting their spouse, and the spouse has an intimate partner and so is not feeling neglected or alone, and everyone shares expenses and tasks. The atmosphere of calm and practicality is so different from the tension and exhaustion that most students seem to be fighting with. "


    This type of thing never really works well. What happens when you get an STD? Get pregnant? Fall in love with someone else? What happens when your husband feels that you're a little too busy and decides to get himself someone else, too? How will his time in school be less stressful by knowing that his wife is sleeping around? We can all use a little help now and then, but most men don't want "help" satisfying their wives physical needs.
  14. by   RNsRWe
    I suppose you'll have to forgive my skeptism, but I am having a hard time believing that you are who and what you say you are; the tone and style of your writing suggests to me.....something else.

    I'm choosing not going into details, but if you're hoping to stir up a hornet's nest of emotional responses from members of the board, you will probably succeed. And that's unfortunate. However, if I am completely mistaken and you are truly honest in your representation of yourself and your approach to this board, please understand you might get some answers you would not appreciate, including the skeptical ones like myself.

    Best of luck to you.

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