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The Modern Polygamy: Married and in Grad School.

healthpsy

Full Member
Jan 5, 2010
31
0
New England.
  1. Pre-Psychology
    As I prepare to embark on the many-years adventure that is a full time PhD program in Clinical Psychology, I recognize that it is an enormous commitment. But what about that even more important commitment, i.e.: my marriage? Those of you who are in grad school and married, what advice, strategies, and "whatever you do, don't do what I did when I..." stories can you share with those of us on the brink of a monumental transition. :scared:
     

    erg923

    Regional Clinical Officer, Centene Corporation
    10+ Year Member
    Apr 6, 2007
    10,422
    4,883
    1. Psychologist
      Besides not having as much money to spend as some of our friends, i dont think grad school has adversely impacted my marriage at all. However, I am not gunning for academic jobs, sleeping in my lab, or putting in 60-70 hour weeks. Although I do on occasion. Its def boosted my stress level, but I find that my wife diffuses my stress rather than adding to it, and I rarely feel that i take my stress out on on her. Friday nights are always date nights, and we keep ourselves occupied by doing activities together such as taking dance lessons, always going to the gym togther, and seeing every horrible romantic comedy that she ever wants to see.....:D

      IMHO, your spouse should be a source of solace in all this. If she/he is is only more than occasionally adding to your stress and making things worse, then I would say something is wrong
       

      Annakei

      Therapist
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      Mar 20, 2005
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      1
        As I prepare to embark on the many-years adventure that is a full time PhD program in Clinical Psychology, I recognize that it is an enormous commitment. But what about that even more important commitment, i.e.: my marriage? Those of you who are in grad school and married, what advice, strategies, and "whatever you do, don't do what I did when I..." stories can you share with those of us on the brink of a monumental transition. :scared:

        My husband and I were both in graduate school at the same time so this worked to our advantage in that he understood the pressures and demands. I don't think it adversely affected our marriage as we were always immersed in some sort of activity on the weekends, going out, hanging with friends etc

        For the most part we handled it pretty well but Im sure there were times when I was on campus till 2am studying for finals that it became a burden but we're fine. As long as you are both on the same page about goals and the required sacrifices then you're good.

        Financially, he was in a better position going into, during and after graduate school so our finances never really took a hit. I stopped working once we moved in together and started grad school that year. We got married a year later. Now the year that we moved in together and started grad school was a tough transition but we moved through it.
         
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        irish80122

        DCT at Miss State U.
        15+ Year Member
        Apr 26, 2003
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        1. Psychologist
          I got married to a student currently in the program (we met during the interview, as strange as that is). Overall, I think it is a positive to be married to a fellow graduate student because he or she knows what you are going through and the stressors involved. It can make looking for jobs a bit more difficult, so it is worth discussing what happens after graduation early on.

          As far as what not to do, I hate to say it but have children. We don't have any kids but one of our friends (a fellow graduate student) does and it is very hard on them. I don't think they would change it if they could, but you can tell that it is a much harder road.

          I hope that helps some.
           

          psychmama

          Full Member
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          Aug 14, 2008
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            As far as what not to do, I hate to say it but have children. We don't have any kids but one of our friends (a fellow graduate student) does and it is very hard on them. I don't think they would change it if they could, but you can tell that it is a much harder road.
            .

            Kids do make things much harder. At the least, I'd try to wait until nearing the end of the program to start a family (if that's feasible, of course). I went through my program with three kids, and most of the stress I encountered was because of this. I wouldn't trade my family for the world, but it's not an ideal situation to have this obligation in graduate school.
             

            KillerDiller

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            10+ Year Member
            Mar 14, 2007
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            East Coast
            1. Psychologist
              Besides not having as much money to spend as some of our friends, i dont think grad school has adversely impacted my marriage at all. However, I am not gunning for academic jobs, sleeping in my lab, or putting in 60-70 hour weeks. Although I do on occasion. Its def boosted my stress level, but I find that my wife diffuses my stress rather than adding to it, and I rarely feel that i take my stress out on on her. Friday nights are always date nights, and we keep ourselves occupied by doing activities together such as taking dance lessons, always going to the gym togther, and seeing every horrible romantic comedy that she ever wants to see.....:D

              IMHO, your spouse should be a source of solace in all this. If she/he is is only more than occasionally adding to your stress and making things worse, then I would say something is wrong

              This has been my experience as well. I don't think being in graduate school has negatively impacted my marriage. Sure, we don't have a lot of extra money, but we never really have. In fact, doing what I want to be doing has probably made me less irritable overall. I do sometimes work long hours, but I don't think it's uncommon for one our more partners in a marriage to keep these kinds of hours in the service of a career.

              Most of my close friends from college and beyond are pursuing additional educational opportunities, so I have a wide support network.

              We don't have kids, so I agree that that could complicate things quite a bit.
               

              Marissa4usa

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              Sep 5, 2007
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                @ those who are married or in a committed relationship: How many hours per week do you spend on school work and do you feel you are behind those who do not have any outside commitments?
                 

                PsychPhDone

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                Sep 6, 2009
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                  Those of us without "outside commitments" often have outside commitments of our own ;) just not of the marriage variety.

                  We have married people in our cohort -- they appear to be doing ok, and their spouses have been adopted into our group socially. I think in some ways it's nice to have a built in support system. When I have something go wrong with my place/car/health/etc, I have to figure it out on my own or decide whom to ask for help. So there's some tradeoff.

                  We also pitch in to help with those with kids. I'm glad I'm not at that stage yet in my life, but I'm glad to give my classmates a night off!
                   

                  katciao

                  Full Member
                  Oct 14, 2009
                  62
                  0
                  1. Psychology Student
                    Kids do make things much harder. At the least, I'd try to wait until nearing the end of the program to start a family (if that's feasible, of course). I went through my program with three kids, and most of the stress I encountered was because of this. I wouldn't trade my family for the world, but it's not an ideal situation to have this obligation in graduate school.

                    Good for you for juggling all your responsibilities! Would you please PM me?
                     

                    healthpsy

                    Full Member
                    Jan 5, 2010
                    31
                    0
                    New England.
                    1. Pre-Psychology
                      Those of us without "outside commitments" often have outside commitments of our own ;) just not of the marriage variety.

                      We have married people in our cohort -- they appear to be doing ok, and their spouses have been adopted into our group socially. I think in some ways it's nice to have a built in support system. When I have something go wrong with my place/car/health/etc, I have to figure it out on my own or decide whom to ask for help. So there's some tradeoff.

                      We also pitch in to help with those with kids. I'm glad I'm not at that stage yet in my life, but I'm glad to give my classmates a night off!
                      The news that spouses of those in your cohort are integrated into the social fabric is very comforting to hear. My greatest fear is that I'll be taking my wife away from all her other family and friends, to say nothing of her career; her entire support system will be gone except for me, and I'll be preoccupied with school. She's been my biggest fan forever: there's no way I'd even be contemplating grad school without her, but at the same time, I want to reduce the toll a possible relocation might exact. Hopefully, I can rely in part upon my cohort. What else (apart from not moving and going to school locally) helps? More anytime minutes on the cell phone? A puppy? jager shots with neuropsyance? Any thoughts would be appreciated...
                       

                      Smooshpoosh

                      Full Member
                      Jan 23, 2010
                      28
                      0
                      Washington, DC
                      1. Psychology Student
                        I second the advice that someone shared earlier. It's VERY important to set aside at least 1 night a week to spend with your spouse.

                        I also recommend avoiding having a long commute to school if at all possible. I commute about 2 hours to school right now for my Master's program, so a lot of the time I could be spending with my wonderful husband gets eaten up driving.

                        I think it also helps to remember that when you get married you are starting your own family, and it's expected that this new family will go on its own adventures. This idea has been helping me a lot, as I prepare to most likely leave the region in which I have spent my entire life (nice and snugly close to my extended family), in order to go to a doctoral program.
                         
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