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It could be you

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.320.7232.455 (Published 12 February 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:455
  1. Joan Maclean, university lecturer
  1. Leeds

    Last Saturday the envelope containing my decree absolute landed on the mat. Two and a half years ago, after 19 years of marriage and the production of three children, my partner, a doctor, thought that he could do better elsewhere and left. But the pill which has at times been harder to swallow than the divorce wrangling is the elegant disdain with which I have been cast aside by some of his colleagues.

    I had been around for a long time—not in any stunningly important capacity, but always available to take telephone messages, entertain colleagues, attend functions, soothe irate private patients. Yet within an amazingly brief period the new partner was introduced on to the scene and to certain people I automatically became yesterday's news, an Orwellian unperson.

    What turns intelligent members of a profession into blank eyed strangers?

    These are people with whom we socialised as a couple for years. People who came regularly—over eight, 10, 12 years—to our home to receive our hospitality, which generally entailed …

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