Law School Perspective – How to Make Your Relationship Last Through Law School

Law School Perspective - How to Make Your Relationship Last Through Law SchoolThis week we welcome back guest writer Shirlene Brown to talk about the challenge of making a relationship last through law school.

Are you in a relationship and about to start law school? It is possible that you have heard the rumor that your romances in law school never last. So you may be worried that your relationship may be doomed to fail because you are in law school. This is understandable as law school is one of the most stressful times of your life, and you may be concerned about not having a lot of time for a relationship. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should break up with your sweetheart. It is possible to have a relationship last the entirety of law school. Personally, I started dating my significant other about 6 months before I started my 1L year, and I am married to him now! Since I have been in the trenches of law school and love, here are some tips and tricks to make your relationship last through law school, if not even further!

My Relationship and Law School

As I just mentioned, I started dating my (now) husband Sam about 6 months prior to starting law school. I was extremely worried about how school would affect my relationship. In fact, when we had our first date, I had warned him that I was going to law school in the Fall and nothing would hold me back. Basically, either jump on the crazy train and get ready for a whirlwind or farewell! Fortunately for me, he wanted to stick around. Our relationship only grew stronger as I was finishing my legal career. We bought our first house together and got engaged while I was in law school. He supported me as I finished my degree and studied for the bar exam. About 6 months after I passed the bar exam and became an attorney, we got married and now live happily ever after. He believes that because he made it through the entirety of law school that he deserves some sort of honorary degree for getting through it with me. Honestly, I don’t blame him! Law school was hard and stressful but I always had my partner to lean on and help me through such a crazy time period.

Communication, Communication, Communication!

You probably hear this a lot, however, relationships are all about communication! This is especially true when you are with someone who is not in law school. Unfortunately, your partner cannot read your mind, and you will need to communicate with them in order to make sure that you are both on the same page. Thus, it’s important that you talk with one another so that you can touch base about what’s going on in your head. This is also helpful when you are feeling very stressed and overwhelmed, especially if you are struggling with your feelings and your fuse is very short. By communicating what’s going on in your brain and life, your partner can help you through it and understand your perspective more.

Patience and Understanding

Like every relationship, you need a lot of patience and understanding when you are in law school. Unfortunately, there are going to be challenging times ahead and your emotions may run wild because you are very stressed. Your significant other may also feel stressed and underappreciated during law school since your attention may be focused on your studies (as it should be!) Thus, you will have to be patient with one another and understand each other’s viewpoints. They will need to understand that your studies come first sometimes. You will also need to understand where your partner may be coming from, especially if they are not in law school. They aren’t going through the same daily struggles that you may be experiencing and may not completely understand where you’re coming from! (This is where the communication aspect really helps!) So take a moment and a deep breath and try to put yourself in your partner’s shoes. Understanding each other and giving each other some grace are the best ways to move forward together.

Make Your Studies a Priority

You love your partner and want to spend as much time with them as you possibly can, however there are times where you need to focus on just your studies. Thus, it is important to make your education a priority. After all, you are spending thousands of dollars and countless hours studying to become an attorney. This is no easy feat! It is perfectly okay to communicate with your partner when you need to focus your attention solely on your studies. It may also be helpful to communicate how they may be helpful to you while you are studying. A good partner will understand and allow you to do what is best for you and your legal journey!

Make Them a Priority

Although you may need time alone to focus on your studies, it is also important to make sure that you’re spending time with your partner as well. I don’t just mean this in the sense of sitting next to each other on the couch or being together in a group setting. You need to spend quality time with your partner and also make them a priority. Even though you are going through a very difficult time, your partner is still human too. They have problems and stress still and need love and support just like you do. Understandably, you may not be able to always drop everything for a small issue, however, you should make sure that you are there for your sweetheart both emotionally and physically in person.

Your Relationship Can Withstand the Test of Time!

Although this relationship advice may be helpful in general, it is especially important when you’re thinking about law school. For me, law school was one of the most stressful times of my life, both intellectually and emotionally. I was not able to put all my focus into my relationships, even when I wanted to. However, I had an amazing partner to help me through the rough times! Just because law school is stressful, it doesn’t mean that it should be the end of the world or your relationship. Stress is unfortunately a part of life and even if you weren’t in law school you would still have stress that would incorporate into your relationship. The nice thing about being with someone is that you have a person to share your troubles and to be there in times of stress. You will also have someone who will be there to cheer you on and support you in your dreams. Your relationship can make it through this bump in the road called law school! At the end of the journey, you will be together through thick and thin if you survive this stressful experience.


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About Shirlene Brown

Shirlene Armstrong is a first-generation student in her last year at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, Michigan. At Wayne, Shirlene has been involved with numerous organizations and clubs, including mock trial, LexisNexis, the Women's Law Caucus, and the Journal of Law and Society. Shirlene enjoys mentoring others and sharing what she has learned on her legal journey and continues to work hard in accomplishing her dreams.

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