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Why being a dentist can be hazardous to your marriage

When people think of professions with high divorce rates, dentistry doesn't generally come to mind. However, dentists do have a higher rate of marriage dissolution than people in many other professions. Several key reasons have been cited.

-- Long hours: Like many other medical professionals, dentists often start their own practice or join someone else's. That can require long days at work and more time spent building up a clientele. That can be difficult for the spouse left at home, especially if there are children.

-- Student loan debt: It can take a long time for dentists to pay off this debt and start reaping the financial rewards of dentistry. If a spouse worked to put a husband or wife through dental school in the hope that it would soon pay off, the wait can be frustrating.

-- Extramarital temptations: These can come from patients and staff. Dentists' work requires them to be up-close and personal with their patients. This close contact can create a more intimate relationship than most professionals have with their clients. Further, while certainly not all dentists are men and not all dental assistants are women, if you have that dynamic in the workplace and there are already issues in a marriage, it can be problematic.

None of this means that dentists can't overcome marital difficulties or avoid them in the first place. It requires understanding and communication by both spouses.

For example, if you're marrying a dental student or dentist, be prepared for the long hours and for your spouse to sometimes come home tired and cranky. Further, don't expect that the first few years in practice will be filled with European vacations and expensive cars.

If you're the dentist, find ways to involve your spouse as much as possible in your life. If you're going to a convention, invite him or her along. If you have to go to a country club event to schmooze with potential clients or business associates, make it a date night. If your spouse isn't interested in interacting with other dental spouses, take a weekend getaway occasionally or just go out to dinner.

When dentists or any professionals who have ownership in a business do divorce, the financial stakes can be high. Whether you're the dentist or the spouse, it's essential to ensure that you have an experienced Florida family law attorney looking out for your best interests.

Source: Dentistry iQ, "Divorce and dentistry: Why is rate of divorce high among dentists, and how can they avoid it?," Will Parrish, CDFA, July 06, 2016

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