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November 10, 1989

The Psychology of Postponement in the Medical Marriage

Author Affiliations

Kansas City, Kan

Kansas City, Kan

JAMA. 1989;262(18):2539-2540. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430180077022

To the Editor.—  Drs Gabbard and Menninger1 make some accurate observations in their article when they describe the psychology of postponement in medical marriage. The demands of medical practice eventually lead to the demise of marital happiness, exactly as they describe. My former marriage of 11 years bears mute testimony to this. Even though the physician divorce rate may not be any higher than that in other professions,2 I believe many spouses of physicians stay in these unhappy marriages because the price of leaving is too high. Single women with children often become poor because of divorce. The price for myself and my four children is a life barely above the poverty level. Knowing my family would be poor for many years to come, I sought divorce only when it became clear to me that I could not keep on living in a marriage just going through the