EMS and marriage

medicp94dao

Forum Crew Member
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So...... I have been married for about two years now. I am a former medic in the Army ( i was single then). My wife does not seem to understand that EMS is a 24/7/365 job, on top of that i have school and continuing education. I now work for a private service that provides ALS service to the surrounding community. My wife fully supports me in school and very happy I am doing what i love. The problem is she doesnt understand that i dont always get a full night sleep or that i cant call her all the time or be home at my scheduled time off. I was just wondering if any of you have similar stories or one more interesting.
 

Sapphyre

Forum Asst. Chief
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I have experienced similar issues with my husband, and I'm not even out of basic school yet. These issues are signs of stress. BTW, EMS really shouldn't be 24/7/365.
 

piranah

Forum Captain
403
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honestly...im sorry to disagree saph but..it really is......i feel if there is a accident or a "person down" i have a moral obligation to help....why?....because i can possibly save a life that might not be saved if i do not intervene......but thats my opinion..:) but i respect yours saph..
 

Sapphyre

Forum Asst. Chief
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Oh, Pir, I didn't say I wouldn't do something if I saw something happen, but, and especially around here, if you listen to a scanner, or even carry a two way radio programmed for any agencies frequencies, and aim to be there first, all you're gonna get is escorted from the scene, and, probably would loose your job.

Got to maintain some balance, or not only is your spouse going to burnout and leave, but, eventually, you will too.

(hmmm, enough commas?)
 

ffemt8978

Forum Vice-Principal
Community Leader
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honestly...im sorry to disagree saph but..it really is......i feel if there is a accident or a "person down" i have a moral obligation to help....why?....because i can possibly save a life that might not be saved if i do not intervene......but thats my opinion..:) but i respect yours saph..

Your first moral obligation is to take care of yourself. You're no good to patients if you're in worse shape then they are. This is not the military, and it is NOT a 24/7 job. You have to take time for yourself, or like sapph said, you'll burn out. Even a volunteer squad doesn't expect a 24/7 response from every member, and paid agencies don't want to see you unless you're on duty.

That being said, EMS can be very stressful to a marriage. At some point, each person will have to decide what is more important to them (their family or EMS) and make their choice accordingly.
 

Epi-do

I see dead people
1,947
9
38
I am fortunate that my family is very understanding of late runs, and not always getting off shift on time. If we have a busy night and I don't get much sleep, I am usually able to take a nap and my husband will look after our son. Sometimes it just doesn't work out that way, but it isn't because he refuses to do it - it is most often due to other commitments he has made in advance. On those days, I just try to catnap when ever I can, and go to bed early.

As for this being a 24/7/365 job, well, when I am off duty, I am just that - off duty. I rarely stop at an accident scene. Almost everyone has a cell phone these days, and help is just minutes away. Now, I have helped an old lady to her feet after a fall, and made sure she was ok, or similar things, but that is something I would have done even if I had a different job. EMS can't be your life 24/7/365. Everyone needs down time away from the job, with people other than co-workers. Maintaining a lifestyle where you eat, sleep, and breath any one thing, whether it is EMS or anything else, is not healthy.
 

enjoynz

Lady Enjoynz
734
13
18
Try having both of you (Husband & wife) volunteer ambulance officers and a couple of kids!
We are like ships that pass in the night sometimes. lol.
I'd dearly love to do more shifts but can only do 1 x 12 hour shift a week,
because hubbie works fulltime and the kids aren't quite old enough to be left on their own yet.
Hubbie normally does a shift after his day at work.
We try to at least have one day as a family day, per week.

Prehaps you should try and leave one day a week, free for your spouse?

Cheers Enjoynz
 

mikeylikesit

Candy Striper
906
11
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my girl is very understanding that i have to do 24 on then 25 stand-by folllowed by another 24 on. she doesn't mind the late night call, but when your young and don't have kids i guess it is a ton easier.
 

BossyCow

Forum Deputy Chief
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I am a 26 year veteran of the EMS/Marriage wars. We raised two kids through medic school, volunteer time, working crap shifts for local transport company, student loans.......I think between the two of us, we've pretty much seen all EMS can do to a marriage.

So, I speak with some authority when I say, EMS is just a job. You say that your wife doesn't understand that EMS is 24/7/365. You are wrong. Marriage is 24/7/365. EMS is just a shift, just isolated calls, and just for your working life. After you retire from EMS, after your back or your knees go, who's going to be there, hopefully it will be your wife.

It doesn't matter if your job is EMS or selling real estate. You need to find balance between your job and your relationship. You need to be able to support both your career and your marriage. Knowing how to walk that fine line between being driven to succeed in your career and able to see 'success' as worthless without your partner by your side.

I don't know if your wife is perhaps a bit too needy to be comfortable with the oddities of shift work. There are some who just can't deal with it. I don't know if you are an adrenalin junkie who has put your marriage on the back burner because EMS is more exciting. It doesn't matter who did what, because I'm guessing the real story is somewhere in the middle. The point is, if you want your marriage to last, you have to be working together and considering each other.
 

RESPONDA

Forum Probie
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Like enjoynz said, we are like ships passing in the night.
It can be hard...very hard, especially when you want to catch up on the sleep you haven't had.
One really needs to come to a comprimise, without laying down the law. For example, saying, "Hey, I am doing my shift tonight, I will have a snooze for awhile when I get home, then how about we go and have an outing like a walk on the beach or the park?"
I went through a rough phase earlier this year, trying to find an equlibrium. I stood back and thought to myself, "I have to think about things here, I cannot turn back time. I have a job I love, and I have a wife and children who I love very much, and would be very lost without them. If I went home to an empty home now, I would be so lonely."
I found that equilibrium with comprimise. I am happy and less stressed. My wife and children are happier because I am not grumpy due to lack of sleep.

Responda
 

Short Bus

Forum Crew Member
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There is a little thing called AIDS. Ambulance Induced Divorce Syndrome. Don't contract the AIDS. You need time for yourself and your fam.
 

LucidResq

Forum Deputy Chief
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So, I speak with some authority when I say, EMS is just a job. You say that your wife doesn't understand that EMS is 24/7/365. You are wrong. Marriage is 24/7/365. EMS is just a shift, just isolated calls, and just for your working life. After you retire from EMS, after your back or your knees go, who's going to be there, hopefully it will be your wife.

Bossy really hit the nail on the head.

I just got out of a 3 year relationship. A lot of the core problems in our relationship, such as his jealousy, insecurity, neediness... my lack of affection and desire to be in a committed relationship... really came to the surface when I started doing SAR/EMS. The relationship was likely doomed from the start, but my work pushed it over the edge.

What I'm saying is... sounds like there may be issues that need to be worked on that go deeper than your job. Yes, EMS is a career that can strain a relationship, but the better shape your relationship is in to begin with, the less likely it is that things are going to go sour.
 

Outbac1

Forum Asst. Chief
681
1
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Sounds to me that she is a little insecure about how all your time at work is spent. Marriage is a two way street. Full of give and take. Sometimes you give and sometimes you take. Some things are not worth fighting over. In the grand scheme of things they really are not that important. No one but you and your wife can decide what and who should give and take. Marriage is your full time job, EMS is not. You have to work on your marriage and sort out the underlying issues for there to be harmony in both marriage and work. I wish you both the best.
 

uselessmedic

Forum Crew Member
59
0
0
25 yrs in EMS, married for almost 22 yrs, during medic class my wife almost left me twice, during medic class I worked 2 full time jobs and went to class, clinicals not a lot of family time, but we worked through it. We had a son before I finished medic class which lead to many lost nights of sleep, but we worked through it.
It took me 20 yrs to get off the weekend shifts, now my weekends are free for my family, so as you can see the marriage can last if you are willing to work through the problems.
I still work 2 full time EMS jobs, but I take time for my family and even after 25 yrs in EMS I still get excited about working EMS because I don't do it 24/7/365.
I hope this helps a little and I wrote a book here so forgive me.
 

mycrofft

Still crazy but elsewhere
11,322
45
48
Oh, Bossycow and Shortbus!! So right on!!

Forget this "needy wife" thing!! You took marriage vows, your partner is your spouse not your ambulance partner. EMS, fire, law enforcement, nursing...absolutely littered with crippled and dead marriages because the responder can't prioritize. Without an anchor, whether it is marriage or not, you will go down under the unending demand for help and hours.
 

Medic9

Forum Lieutenant
108
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Try being an Army spouse with kids also working as a full time medic. Everyone that said making your family priority is very correct. I have to make my family my priority. I try to spend as much time with my husband as I can while he is home. Those 15 month deployments are a pain. When I leave work my role as Medic is over until my next shift. Unless I am passing the scene on my way home or on my way to work I don't stop.
To stay healthy mentally and physically you MUST have some down time. Its the only way you can be an effective provider for the patient. ;)
 

Ridryder911

EMS Guru
5,922
38
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EMS is a job. I wished I had learned that earlier in life, instead of working two or three jobs, missing my daughters birthdays, anniversaries and now looking back at what might been; could have been.

Remember... You can love EMS, but EMS will never love you. Unalike a real relationship, it can never give anything back or really be there for you. It takes more than it gives... Unfortunately, it is a powerful thing that have power over us and can make us loose our priorities sometimes.

I know, I speak from experience..

R/r 911
 

daedalus

Forum Deputy Chief
1,784
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honestly...im sorry to disagree saph but..it really is......i feel if there is a accident or a "person down" i have a moral obligation to help....why?....because i can possibly save a life that might not be saved if i do not intervene......but thats my opinion..:) but i respect yours saph..

Oh please :rolleyes: You must be joking right?
 

MMiz

I put the M in EMTLife
Community Leader
5,329
295
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Life is all about priorities. I struggle to prioritize, but understand it's absolutely essential to a happy life and relationship. No matter how many times I sketch it out, family and my own personal health and happiness always should come before EMS.

If you think that EMS is causing such tremendous strain on your marriage, you may want to evaluate your profession. There will always be patients that need you, bosses that want you to work extra hours, and money that you need to make, but is that what's best for you?

There is a reason why EMS is often seen as a stepping stone to another profession. Very few of the people I worked with were married. That's what comes with crazy hours and stress of the job.
 

karaya

EMS Paparazzi
Premium Member
703
9
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Looking back I realized that all four of my ex wives were during my tenure in EMS. Should have figured that one out a long time ago! They no longer have names, just numbers now. Wife #1, wife #2, etc.
 

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