Full disclosure: I speak from a place of failure. I went into law school thinking I'd spend the rest of my life with the woman I was dating at the time. By the end of 1L year, we were teetering on the edge. Shortly after 2L year began, and long-distance entered the equation, we were finished.
It was all for the best. After all, as busy as I was 1L year, my schedule is still pretty packed with full-time blogging, part-time lawyering, and nights and weekends spent crying into $1.38 40oz bottles of malt liquor.
If you don't want to be a depressed, single, self-loathing, malt liquor connoisseur, here are a few tips to help your relationship survive, some courtesy of my own failings and others courtesy of my fabulous editor:
1. Socialize Together
The wondrous year that is 1L, much like love, is a battlefield. Once you've emerged from "the suck," you feel a close camaraderie with your classmates (unless you went to that ultra-competitive hell that is Hastings). And if your school is in some remote cow pasture, you'll probably be eating, drinking, and studying with those classmates for three years.
Meanwhile, your significant other sits at home. Maybe you forget to include him. Maybe he avoids going to law school social events because lawyers are boring and engage in argle-bargle. There are two obvious solutions: he can get over it, or you can spend less time with your classmates.
Either way, if you lead two separate social lives, you'll eventually grow apart.
2. Financial Expectations
You sure as heck won't be working while in school. (I did, teaching the LSAT. It meant 16-hour days. Not good.) Your significant other should be, unless he is also in school. Either way, you're probably going to be on a limited budget. Financial arrangements, and expectations, need to be sorted out ahead of time.
Will everything be split 50/50? Will one of you pay for everything, and settle up after graduation?
3. Life Sucks for All
Your life will suck as a first-year law student. Go to class. Get terrorized. Go to library. Get confused. Go home. Get nagged. Sleep. Repeat. It's easy to focus only on how awful your life is, and how hard your classes are, and how much you are struggling to keep up with Gunner McHandraiser.
That context makes it a lot more difficult to listen your significant other's whining about that backbiting jerk at work who keeps stealing $1 bills from the tip jar. To you, such matters seem like trivial nonsense. To her, they are the bane of her very existence. Listen. Pretend to sympathize. Or, actually sympathize. She listens to your whining about property law. You can handle a little gossip. Be the support you need.
Yes, this is a brief list. Maybe you and your significant other survived law school hell. Want to give us some more tips? Hit us up on Facebook.
- Three Things for Lonely Lawyers to do on Valentine's Day (FindLaw's Greedy Associates Blog)
- Love and Law School: Should Schools Advertise Salacious Successes? (FindLaw's Greedy Associates Blog)
- 5 Hobbies Ruined By Law School: Why you Should Remember Them (FindLaw's Greedy Associates Blog)