3L Fiance

Anyone else out there engaged to someone in law school?  He's been busy since he started school, but this year is worse than ever.  He took a winter session class that ran Sunday-Friday 9-6 for two weeks.  When he wasn't in class, he was working on things for class, including spending 7 hours on Saturday doing work.  The day after that class ended, spring semester started.  He auditioned for, and got, a place on the National Trial Competition team for his school.  I'm thrilled for him, it's an amazing experience and looks great on his resume, but it's stealing his minimal free time.  Today he got home from school at 10pm because of a meeting for his team. 
This weekend, we're going away for Saturday night  on a Groupon that I purchased.  We were supposed to go away in December for our anniversary, but he was sick so we posponed the trip to now.  Well, he has to be on campus at 2pm on Sunday for another team meeting.  We had dinner plans with my dad and Nana, since her place is on the way home from the inn we're staying in.  I guess I'll be going to dinner without him.  Again.
I can't wait for him to be done with school, and then the bar exam in July.  Maybe we'll actually have free time at the same time again.
This also means that he is basically useless when it comes to wedding planning help.  I'm doing a lot of it on my own right now, since my semester doesn't start until Monday.  After this week though, I have no idea how planning is going to happen.  Good thing we have plenty of time left.
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Re: 3L Fiance

  • My FI and I both just graduated from law school last spring (so I'm not technically a student anymore, but I still visit this board occasionally).

    First of all, I want you to know that I 100% sympathize- 3L year, my FI and I were on completely different schedules and often went long periods of time only seeing each other after 9 or 10 pm.

    Second, I sort of want to warn you, depending on his chice of career, it's not necessarily going to get any better.  A clerkship or, especially, a law firm job means wildly irregular hours (home by 3pm some days and 3 am other days), working weekends unexpectedly, cancelled vacations- often worse than in law school.  It's kinda the deal if you're a lawyer or married to one.  It's really important, and something that my FI and I have had to slowly work on over time (and especially during 3L year), to learn to communicate about it.  Talk about when you're really feeling the need for a dedicated weekend together.  Talk about when you feel disappointed that he said he'd be home for dinner and then didn't make it.  Talk about how it's really super important that he make an effort to do something for your anniversary.  And then compromise.  If he can't take a whole weekend, at least he should be able to reschedule to take a nice Saturday afternoon and evening with you.  Set up a system where there's certain nights he tries extra-hard to be home for dinner.  And, honestly, it's important for lawyers to remember that they have to make an effort to spend time with their family  (at least if they're interested in a lasting marriage, as I hope your FI is).

    If you're having trouble communicating your expectations about this stuff, consider premarital counseling.  FI and I had to work really hard to sort of mesh our expectations and get to a point where we were both happy.  But once we got on the same page, things ended up really well, and I appreciate the time we spend together even more. 

    Also, don't be afraid to remind him that work and career are important, but the people in your life are ultimately more important, and that if you're always taking on that on extra project or joining that one extra extracurricular or whatever, your relationships are going to suffer.  (Remind yourself of that too, when things get busy at work.)  It's okay to take on extra projects sometimes, but if you become that guy whose plate is always 110% full, your family feels that burden too.

    I will say that bar summer, despite how hard we worked, was an amazing little oasis of constant time together- but when we started work after the bar, it went right back to crazy schedules. 

    Also, sorry, this turned into way more unsolicited advice then I intended.  Feel free to take or leave it.  But at least know that I really do know how you feel- and it definitely can be rough sometimes.
  • Thank you for this.  Just knowing that someone else understands what I'm going through helps.  We do need to sit down and talk about it, find a way to make time for each other, and make sure our expectations are the same.  My fiance is a joiner and I don't think he really thinks about time with me when he finds something he wants to do.  He worries about having enough time for school and activities, but not me.  For him, just being in the apartment at the same time counts as spending time together.  And even that can be sacrificed if a really great opportunity comes along, or just something he really wants to do. 
    Obviously, we're not entirely on the same page.  Hopefully after talking it through, we'll come to some sort of an agreement.
    Thanks again.
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  • The joiner thing- I know EXACTLY what you mean, and my FI was like that too.  Like seriously, everything you just described was him 3L year.  I think he actually said at one point that he was surprised that I didn't think being in the apartment at the same time counted as spending time together.  :)

    Really, really, talking a LOT about it was what fixed it- not just one big convesration, but sort of little discussions every time something came up.  He's come to realize the importance of quality time and, you know, not taking every offer that comes along.  And I've become a lot more patient and understanding about disappointments when it IS something unavoidable that comes up.  I wish you all the best with this- I know how hard it can be!
  • tldhtldh member
    edited January 2012
    Suck it up buttercup.  Like calliopeia said, it's going to get worse. (I'm an attorney and lurk on this board from time to time.)  A lot is going to be out of his control because he may have a billable hour minimum that he has to meet, he may need to meet clients after hours and on weekends.  He will be at the mercy of the partners and judges.

    DH and I met when I was a 3L and ten years later we got married.  It was an incredibly rough road for a few reasons but it was not at all helped with the hours that I was working or the amount of stress that I was under.  The scariest words in the world are having a client look at you after you explain the situation and say "Whatever you decide.  I trust you."  You really want to ask them "Why???  I'm flying by the seat of my pants here dude."  This is what makes you wake up at three in the morning with your brain working on a case.

    And if you want a visual of what your vacations will be like, here it is:  My second year of practice, I went to Galway.  I spent two relaxing weeks cut off from the world.  As soon as I landed at Philly's airport, I grabbed my phone and charger, ran to an outlet and sat down to check my office voicemail.  The guy who walked off the plane behind me stopped and said "Oh God.  You're an attorney aren't you?  My wife is one and this is exactly what she does."

    For the bar exam this summer:

    ETA - I sat for two state's bars.  DH and I had broken up for the first one.  For the second, I could hear him muttering a countdown to when it would be over.  It was incredibly rough on him because my life was nothing but studying and yelling to leave me alone unless he was going to feed me brownies and potato chips.  Seriously, a friend of mine got into a fight with his wife because her breathing was annoying him while he was studying for the bar.

    ETA II - when your FI gets his bar review materials, take a good look at them and understand that he has to have it memorized.  DH began to understand when I called him upstairs to listen to one of my class' review lectures online.  His jaw hit he floor when he heard the professor say "Now there are 32 exceptions to the hearsay rule and there is no cute saying to remember them."  This is a drop in a swimming pool of material.

    Sorry if this was a rant but it's really hard for non-law students/attorneys to understand these things and you can't sugarcoat it.
    AKA GoodLuckBear14
  • My fiance is doing to different state bars too, NY and NJ.  NY is on 7/25, NJ is on 7/26.  June and July are going to be hell, and I'm well aware of that.  Thankfully, I'll be in class too and studying for my own licensing exams, so hopefully we'll both be so busy studying that we won't have time to break up due to stress.  That and he never really studies at home, but in his school's library.  When he's home, it's to relax and recover before going back to the insanity.
    Galway is a beautiful city, isn't it?  We were there three years ago for only a few days and hope to go back eventually.
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  • At least he's taking them together.  I took them four years apart because we moved from Cleveland to Philadelphia.

    I will tell you one thing that DH did was was so nice and relaxing for me.  I insisted on staying at a hotel within walking distance to the exam.  Each evening, after the testing was finished for the day, he met me outside the convention center and we'd walk around Philadelphia until we found a restaurant that looked yummy to me.

    Just keep in mind that while he's studying for the bar that you can't take things personally.  Also, with the NY bar - he is sitting for the second toughest bar exam in the country.  Only California's is worse.

    One last thing.  Everyone is different but for me, I needed a full month to decompress after the exam was over.  It got to the point where my mom called DH to make sure I was still alive because I didn't want to talk to anyone, I didn't want to go anywhere or do anything.
    AKA GoodLuckBear14
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