Like many of you are doing now, my husband was once studying day-in and day-out for the February bar exam. Beginning the day after Christmas, he spent nearly every waking moment in his home office that we nicknamed the Bar Cave. Yes, there were nights he actually slept on the floor of the Cave.
Every night when I arrived home from work, I would pull my car into the driveway and look up to the second story Bar Cave window to see the light illuminating from the room. Every night, the light was on.
That is until the day it was not. And that was the day I knew he hit bar exam rock bottom.
Instead of finding him buried under outlines, books and bar prep materials, this time my husband was sitting on the couch – gasp – watching television. Not a sight I’d witnessed since December!
I asked him if he was taking a break and he said, “I’m done. I can’t do it anymore.”
He hit the wall with studying and every bit of stress leading up to this point. And all I remember is feeling incredibly helpless and I wasn’t sure how to make it better for him.
This period of bar exam study is incredibly difficult for the exam taker, but also for the people supporting them. I realized a few things during that time of being the “other woman” to the bar exam.
1. Listen and let them cry.
There will be difficult times for your bar exam studier. They may break down, give up, or cry. The best (and only) thing you can do for them at that point is be there, be supportive, and let them cry. Often times, just being a steady rock during a very unstable time will make all the difference in the world.
2. Be okay knowing you won’t see them for two months.
The best thing to remember is this is only temporary and you may not see your significant other until after the bar exam. I remember when my husband didn’t want to go to a friend’s birthday party because he was knee-deep in studying. As best as you can, be okay with this and know that they’re desire not to spend time with you is not personal.
3. Find low-key activities to do together.
Since it’s unlikely your bar exam test-taker will be spending long evenings away from home or on weekend trips with you, think of a few low-key activities you can do together. For my husband and me, we made a point to take our dogs for a walk around the neighborhood every night. It was only 30 minutes, but it got him away from the Bar Cave and allowed us some time to talk. And the dogs were thrilled to get a daily walk!
4. Find your own support system.
If you’re someone who craves a lot of interaction – or if you’re feeling frustrated during this time – make a point to spend time with friends or family members. Remember, you need support during this time too!
The bar exam study period is a very challenging time in a relationship. I’ve seen some people get frustrated and angry with their significant other, and demand that things change. The best thing you can do is have patience and know that IT WILL GET BETTER. Just keep counting down the days until the last bar exam is over!
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Did you find this post helpful? Check out some other great articles:
- Tips for the Bar Exam Significant Other
- More Tips for the Bar Exam Significant Other: Don’t Take it Personally
- How Can You Support Your Bar Studier?
- Are You and Your Significant Other Studying for the Bar Exam Together?