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stanzi

Significant Others and Grad School

   779 members have voted

  1. 1. What's your relationship status

    • single
      237
    • in a relationship with another grad student
      101
    • in a relationship with someone not in grad school
      441

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121 posts in this topic

This is a very comforting thread to have come across. I'll be relocating more than 6 hours away for my Masters in August, and after talking through the options my SO is going to stay here for now. I think this will really be a huge test for us... if we can do this, I know we're in it for the long haul. but I don't know if it will. He grew up in the city we currently live in, and pretty much his whole (very large) family lives here. He would be okay staying here forever. I don't have ties here, I actually will very soon no longer have family in the state, and can't have the career I desire here. Its a tough time, so for now we're just enjoying as much time together as we can :)

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I know this is mostly about already being in a relationship...but have the single PhD students tried dating?

I can't even imagine....the time and work involved...and how do you explain to someone who might not be a student themselves what it's like?

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I met my boyfriend while in my Masters program. Not the same as a PhD but still a really rigorous schedule. He was and still is finishing his Bachelors. Fortunately, he also really values school and was really understanding when I had too much coursework to hang out or if I was being really stress-y. Even when he doesn't quite get how staring at blank word document for three hours counts as "writing my paper," he has similar quirks pertaining to his own major. I think having the same values and attitudes about school really helps.

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I can't even imagine....the time and work involved...and how do you explain to someone who might not be a student themselves what it's like?

I really don't understand this outlook. It's not like being a PhD student makes you some sort of abnormal person. It reminds me of a volleyball player I knew who once said to me "I just don't, like, get how people can be friends with people who don't play sports". Strange thing to think. My boyfriend is not a graduate student, but he certainly knows what it's like to work long hours and strange schedules due to his job. The last thing I want to talk about when I come home is school. There's a married couple in my research group, and I'm sure they're very happy, but I could not do the same research as my boyfriend and then talk to him about it all the time. I would lose my mind.

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I really don't understand this outlook. It's not like being a PhD student makes you some sort of abnormal person. It reminds me of a volleyball player I knew who once said to me "I just don't, like, get how people can be friends with people who don't play sports". Strange thing to think. My boyfriend is not a graduate student, but he certainly knows what it's like to work long hours and strange schedules due to his job. The last thing I want to talk about when I come home is school. There's a married couple in my research group, and I'm sure they're very happy, but I could not do the same research as my boyfriend and then talk to him about it all the time. I would lose my mind.

It's not just about talking about your day, it's also the understanding that when you're in graduate school there are many sacrifices- such as your time.

It's not that I think PhD students should always date other PhD students...I just think that when you're in a longterm relationship and you make the choice to do your PhD, your partner is accepting that there will be sacrifices and you might not be there. But when you're dating and starting out in a relationship, I think it might be a bit harder for a partner to accept those sacrifices. Not to mention the process of dating and finding someone is a lot of work! I think if you're on the dating scene, dating other students might be easier, as they are more accepting of your time limitations.

There's always exceptions, but as someone who is single- it's a legit concern for me that if I start dating someone they might not appreciate/understand the time constraint (and the frequent mini meltdowns pre-supervisor meetings)...

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People who have a "real" job have similar time constraints. I know people who always have to work overtime. I know someone who works in the finance sector who works 12 hour days and then is expected to go out and socialize. It's not like you're working on your PhD 24/7. My life hasn't changed significantly from undergrad to grad school, I still have time for all the things I value. I don't think meeting new people or dating people has ever felt like work for me, and if it does, perhaps you're doing it wrong, and perhaps you value different things. If you value your PhD more than relationships, that's totally fine, but don't be surprised if a relationship feels like work and doesn't succeed.

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I met my husband while I was still a student in my PhD graduate program. We dated for two years across I-95 from LI, NY to Boston MA. When it was time for him to look for a new job, he moved to LI to be with me. We married, I graduated and began postdoctoral work and, again, we moved.

I am switching careers and will be returning to school once again.

My husband has been nothing but supportive: both emotionally and financially.

I love him dearly.

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People who have a "real" job have similar time constraints. I know people who always have to work overtime. I know someone who works in the finance sector who works 12 hour days and then is expected to go out and socialize. It's not like you're working on your PhD 24/7. My life hasn't changed significantly from undergrad to grad school, I still have time for all the things I value. I don't think meeting new people or dating people has ever felt like work for me, and if it does, perhaps you're doing it wrong, and perhaps you value different things. If you value your PhD more than relationships, that's totally fine, but don't be surprised if a relationship feels like work and doesn't succeed.

I think there are many types of jobs out there...some people work shift, some 12 hour days, and other 9-5 M-F. There are a lot of people who come home from work in the evenings and weekends and that's their time to relax. Having been in a relationship for 5 years with someone who was like this, I felt bad a lot of the time when I said "I can't do that this weekend, I have school work to do". For some relationships it's a breaking point, and for others it's not- and it does require managing and balancing commitments (in and outside of school). IMO, I think that in a longterm relationship it's a bit more forgiveable if you can't always give your outside of school commitments the same amount of time as your in school- your spouse, friends, and family normally understand. However, I think when you're dating and just starting a relationship, sometimes the other person might not be as forgiving...but it's not a black or white situation.

For me, I balance my time with work, school, friends, and family- with that said, I am often telling my friends I have to work, and spending evenings and weekends putting in time on my dissertation. I have tried dating a few times, and to be honest it was too much of a time commitment for me. I would rather spend my extra free time with friends and family then go on a date 2 - 3 times a week. It's not that I value it more over a relationship- but I just see my PhD as another relationship in my life.

It's certainly possible to date during your PhD and be successful! I mean there's tons of success stories on here. But I do think that for a lot of people, dating while you're doing your PhD is difficult- especially if you're dating someone who isn't in the same shoes as you. (It also might be that I am in a barren city...)

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Your location might really have something to do it. I know from experience that dating a blue collar guy just doesn't work out for me, we have nothing in common, and nothing to talk about. I need someone who at the very least has a university degree or acts like someone who has a university degree.

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I know from experience that dating a blue collar guy just doesn't work out for me, we have nothing in common, and nothing to talk about. I need someone who at the very least has a university degree or acts like someone who has a university degree.

yeah, that's kind of where I am coming from. Dating someone that kind of knows what the academic environment is like, can be a lot easier- as they know the dynamics, stress, and time commitments.

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I've been having a lot of anxiety about having to move an hour or so away from my boyfriend. We've been together 4.5 years and even though we don't live together, we're pretty used to seeing eachother almost every single day (we live three streets away from one another right now). He works in the trades and we met while I was completing my undergrad. I took a couple of years off to work before applying for M.S.W's so I haven't been too busy and we've been on similar schedules.

I know that 1 hour isn't far at all and I will probably be coming back to Toronto on weekends or he will come up to see me but I can't help but feel really sad and anxious about the move :( I'm trying to convince myself that if I keep up with my coursework during the week that I will have time to spend with him on the weekends...

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I'm so glad I found this thread. I'm about to start grad. school this fall, so I'm a little worried about how stress and relocation will affect the relationship. I met my now fiance (I'm a long distance non-believer turned believer! :)) about 3-4 months before he headed to Singapore for graduate school. I had no clue he applied to grad. school abroad. He received his acceptance about a month or two after we started dating, so in my mind, this would be a summer fling then we'd part ways. Things were going so well that I decided to take a leap of faith and buy a plane ticket to visit him a couple of months into his program. Of course, I worried that maybe we wouldn't even like each other by the time my flight rolled around, but it all worked out.

Long distance was a lot easier than I expected. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't easy, but it wasn't terribly difficult either. I think it helped that his program was only a year, so we knew there would be an end date - light at the end of the tunnel to focus on! We also trusted each other and communicated well. Lots of little emails and video chat whenever we could - the time difference was tough, only gave us a one hour window in the AM and PM to connect! I also visited him again towards the end of his program and he flew back to the states to visit me a few times. He also moved back during summer break so that helped. Oh and he decided to study "abroad" back in CA for the last few months of the program, so we were doing long distance between northern and southern CA. At that point, 1 hour plane ride or 6 hour drive compared to a 12+ hour flight was easy peasy! Same time zone! :)

Anyway, like others who've had successful long distance relationships because of grad. school have said, it's totally doable if both are committed to making it work.

Now it's my turn to go off to grad. school and my fiance has been nothing but 100% supportive. He knows this is something I want and need to do and it's my turn! We're moving from San Francisco to NYC together. I chose schools in major cities to give him better job prospects plus we both have similar taste in where we'd want to live, so it wasn't a real sacrifice on my end. We went through the list together and decided why we wouldn't want to live in a particular city, so that helped me narrow down my list.

My only concern now is that he was probably a much more disciplined student than I am. He'll get things done way in advance, whereas, I wait closer to the deadline, which puts me in a state of anxiety and panic, but I always get it done so of course, I don't learn my lesson. When I'm in this state, I will refuse to go out or do anything until I'm done with school work. It's a bummer on him because he wants to have a social life, but I have to put mine on pause.

Does anyone have suggestions on strategies to balance school and personal life? How do you make your partner feel special and not neglected during a busy time where both individuals will have varying schedules and priorities? Also, were you able to introduce your partner to the grad. student friends you've made? How did your partner meet new people? I imagine it can be kind of isolating in a new city without access to a grad. school cohort for friends. There should be a support group where partners can meet partners of other grad. students. :)

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My husband and I are taking turns going to school. He's finishing up his undergrad as we speak. At this point he's happy to be done with school for a while and will plan on being the main breadwinner while I'm in grad school.

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My SO is currently working on his Masters, he is done this June. I start in August. Best decision we ever made to do it this way. Can't imagine having both of us in grad school at the same time. Those of you who are doing it, with kids in tow, AMAZING!

My SO is also finishing his Masters in June and I start mine in August. Although it was the only way to do it for us, I really wish we were both either in school or working. It's been really hard to be at work all day and then have to go to bed early, when he is busy at night and tends to stay up later (sometimes partying) with his grad school friends. I warn him that it's my turn next year!

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I'm currently going through this situation. My husband went off to graduate school and I stayed behind to work (we need money to pay for school) and finish my own degree. It was a very hard descision but one that made sense. Due to his layoff and not being able to find work going back to school was a "restart" button on his life and career. Honestly, the hardest thing (and scariest to me) is that I don't want us to have seperate lives. I have heard both stories or those who make and those who do not. Although it's very hard and not ideal sometimes the little sacrifices we have to make are for the better and bigger picture (so I tell myself).

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I know this is mostly about already being in a relationship...but have the single PhD students tried dating?

I can't even imagine....the time and work involved...and how do you explain to someone who might not be a student themselves what it's like?

This. Scares. The. Shit. Out. Of. Me.

I'm in a 9 year long-distance (since sept 11 for my PhD) relationship and at first I thought it would be great since I'm very independent, etc.etc., but then the no regular sex, no comfort, no calling them up in the middle of the night with an anxiety attack to come over and fuck the stress out of you.... it's taking its toll.

Some of your stories are incredibly inspiring, especially the ones where you both sat down and discussed options for the future. I am so impressed. Definitely not the way it is in my household. :)

Edited by raise cain

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This. Scares. The. Shit. Out. Of. Me.

If the dating scene was a comprehensive exam for my PhD...I would be failing miserably!

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My boyfriend is in MInnesota and I am in New York. I spent a long time getting over my U of Minnesota rejection, but its hit me, I am so much better off academically where I am then I ever would have been at the U. The program I am is a perfect fit, but it doesn't make it easier to be away from him. Ever since he wept away my tears when I realized I was going to New York he has been amazing. Last night he found out, that right after hes done his undergrad (this spring) he can transfer to New York, where he is a lot more likely to be able to find better work in his field. I couldn't be happier! This year is going to be long but then its over, he'll be here every day! I know, like any relationship it could still but I really believe it won't.

Having said that I have a question for you all! does anyone have any advice about living with a signficant other who isn't in grad school? I just mean hes going to work full time, but as we all know I probably will work more then that....He'll probably still be understanding, but I can just see it being different working all the time, when hes not here to hang out with ....when hes right here....I hope that makes sense....

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I live with my boyfriend who is not in grad school. I think I put in less hours than most people in grad school though, try to make it 9-5 and then put in extra work when it's crunch time. Right now I'm super busy as it's my varsity rugby season, so I don't get home until 8pm most nights. He's very understanding and makes sure dinner is ready for me when I get home.

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Cool I think I'll be okay its good to hear other people doing it sucessfully! I bet its really nice to come to someone after a long day!!

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For those of you that are/were in relationships when applying to grad schools, did you find that your relationship limited your application pool?

Yes, too. Only applying to schools in LA and surrounding area because my partner lives there. Though I think my situation is somewhat different than most people. We see each other about once or twice a year because of time and financial restraints (Toronto <-> LA) so we're more than used to the long distance... but the grad school thing is supposed to end that once and for all!

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To be honest, I do not understand many of these responses. If you are so willing to give up grad school for your SO, why in the heck did you apply in the first place? Let alone accept an offer? Did you not do your research into graduate school? Did you not know how demanding graduate school would be?

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My boyfriend is in MInnesota and I am in New York. I spent a long time getting over my U of Minnesota rejection, but its hit me, I am so much better off academically where I am then I ever would have been at the U. The program I am is a perfect fit, but it doesn't make it easier to be away from him. Ever since he wept away my tears when I realized I was going to New York he has been amazing. Last night he found out, that right after hes done his undergrad (this spring) he can transfer to New York, where he is a lot more likely to be able to find better work in his field. I couldn't be happier! This year is going to be long but then its over, he'll be here every day! I know, like any relationship it could still but I really believe it won't.

Having said that I have a question for you all! does anyone have any advice about living with a signficant other who isn't in grad school? I just mean hes going to work full time, but as we all know I probably will work more then that....He'll probably still be understanding, but I can just see it being different working all the time, when hes not here to hang out with ....when hes right here....I hope that makes sense....

I was in a similar situation not too long ago. My ex GF was accepted into two graduate programs out-of-state and denied by all local programs. At first, I was going to stay behind and we would see each other as often as possible. Then at the last minute, and some circumstances that made it easier, I moved to where she was. In retrospect, that was a mistake. I hate this state (still here until May or so) and we have since broken up.

Anyways, she was putting in long days, sometimes from 6am to 2am. Yes, there were many times when we were there but not there to hang out. That wasn't the problem. We still went out and did things, watched movies, and generally spent a good deal of time together. The problem was her stress. She was constantly stressed out. And that ended the relationship.

As for the topic of the other "understanding". The SO has no choice. They simply have to accept it. If they can't, then they need to get lost.

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As for the topic of the other "understanding". The SO has no choice. They simply have to accept it. If they can't, then they need to get lost.

Bitter much? Just because you had one instance of a relationship not working out even though you moved to her state doesn't mean all other relationships will follow this paradigm.

Maybe you didn't know how to cope with her in a stressful state and weren't mature enough to understand what it's like to be with someone in grad school. It's not a simple state of "accept or get lost". If one has a more mature relationship, two people can work things out or compromise or do anything other than break up.

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