December 18, 2012 6:58 AM Subscribe
How do you handle developing relationships in grad school?
posted by anonymous to human relations (20 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I’m getting a PhD in a demanding, top-15 program in my field. I am halfway through and in hot water; I have hit the rough patch that many people encounter after quals/third year and I want to finish or leave in no more than six. I’m working on issues the best I can in hope of finishing with both my sanity and the degree.
I dated for the first three years of grad school and it yielded short term things only. This is ok/to be expected with dating, but I am a LTR, monogamously oriented person. With friends and the people I date, once I decide I like someone, which happens rarely enough as it is, I tend to want to invest deeply in them, and I don’t spread my social energy too wide. Since grad school is so rough I crave the intimacy in a LTR, but I’m wondering if I should hold off on dating until I have the degree in hand. For one, I am not the happiest possible person at the moment – I’m functional but very stressed some days and it brings out personality traits I don’t like, and would make me a terrible partner sometimes. Furthermore, two of the short term things I wanted to turn into long term things were a major distraction. I crushed hard, got excited and distracted, and then got dumped in the span of a few months, which was not great for productivity and I don't think I can afford that once I'm ABD.
But I’m in my late 20s and won’t finish my program before I turn 30. These should be prime dating years and the time when a lot of my peers seem to be meeting their future spouses. I seem to be aging minimally for now except for a few grey hairs, but I don’t kid myself that my attractiveness has a shelf life and that meeting the right person only gets harder as you get older. I also don’t know where I will end up after grad school, and right now I’m in a city thick with “my type” and I feel like I should take advantage.
I go back and forth on turning down flirtatious chats with new people and taking down my OKCupid profile. I just don’t know how to balance these opposed life goals and protect my emotional energy if I keep dating. Should I take a romantic hiatus until I’m a PhD or did you manage to be a good boyfriend/girlfriend and a good grad student at the same time? How did you do it?