Postgrad LIVE! Study Fairs

Birmingham | Edinburgh | Liverpool | Sheffield | Southampton | Bristol

University of Birmingham Featured PhD Programmes
Birkbeck, University of London Featured PhD Programmes
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Featured PhD Programmes
University of Kent Featured PhD Programmes
Birkbeck, University of London Featured PhD Programmes

PhD Discussion Forum

The following thread is brought to you by our sister Web site PostgraduateForum.com. If you wish to reply or post your own thread, you will be redirected to this site.

This Category:   PostgraduateForum.com > PhD Advice / Support


16 to 29 of 29 PhD Forum Posts
Message

Do other PhD students find it difficult to meet a partner?


User: geekgirl - 25 February 2012 10:21

Ha ha...Yes!
Try being 34 and trying to explain to prospective partners why you are still at school, and when exactly you are going to "get a real job"!

User: oftheshore - 25 February 2012 18:41

My main issue with finding a partner amongst other PhD students is that there is a high probability that we will end up spending our time together discussing academic issues. On the other hand, as several users have mentioned here, it is also difficult to meet people from outside the university. Even when I do meet someone, I usually end up boring them to death, because, after all, why would they listen about my quest for a perfect theoretical framework/methodology?:) It's strange that I never cared about having a boyfirend before starting a PhD, and now I (kind of) wish I did!
Agree with the others, however - you should definitely speak to that girl in the corridor. Good luck!

User: Ellen_T - 26 February 2012 12:59

Oddly I met mine at church :P

User: wmb - 07 March 2016 01:39

would love to hear how your stories end (or progresses) over the years... its 4 years since this posts... I just came home & started my PhD for a few weeks and been getting a lot of weird looks once people know that I left my job to go back to school...no love there... haha

User: twisted_psycho - 21 March 2017 20:14

I had a really bad experience dating another student in my institute.

It started with that classic uni story...Boy meets girl on undergrad course. Boy and girl become good friends. Boy and girl start dating...

Three months later, the passion is gone. And by gone I mean dead and buried. The relationship became more about support and companionship. We became a witness to each other's achievements and a friendly ear for all of those student woes. However, we were supposed to be in a romantic relationship, and with this came all of the romantic expectations. We each tried to live up to these expectations, but it was forced and stressful and led to many arguments.

So why didn't we just end it and agree to be friends? This would have more the courageous and ideal option, but there is the fear of it ending badly. You become afraid that you will lose your valued companion and have to deal with the awkwardness and potential backlash for the remainder of the course. Your mutual friends would have to take sides and the whole situation would be horrible.

I wish I been brave enough to just pull the trigger and deal with the consequences. Instead, we struggled on to the bitter end of our degree (about 2 years), neither one of us truly acknowledging how bad things were getting until we finally broke up. We parted on good terms, but never spoke again.

Now that I am older and wiser, I realised how totally unfair the situation was for both of us. We deprived each other of the chance to form meaningful connections with other people and lied to each other for two years.

My point is, you can only have a meaningful relationship when both of you have no external incentive to be together, but choose to be anyway. Dating people that have some role in other areas of your life makes it less likely that you or your partner will be able to walk away.

My advice...don't date people from your own institute.

User: Kahn - 22 March 2017 19:17

I am the the youngest in my department (22) and am struggling A LOT with finding a potential partner. I think the youngest female in the department (PhD and above) is probably in her early thirties. Most MSc students at my university are international students who will leave at the end of the academic year which therefore makes it difficult to establish a long-term relationship. After completing my BSc and MSc with a very nice circle of friends, I am finding the PhD to be a very lonely experience. I think at my age in particular, you really want someone to just chill out with sometimes without having to discuss academic issues. Almost every interaction I have with humans nowadays is based on research. I can only express my feelings to the rabbits and cat on campus but that's always a one-way conversation and they eventually hop or walk away :(

Would undergraduates be the way to go? Help me, please...

User: twisted_psycho - 23 March 2017 18:28

Quote From Kahn:I am the the youngest in my department (22) and am struggling A LOT with finding a potential partner. I think the youngest female in the department (PhD and above) is probably in her early thirties. Most MSc students at my university are international students who will leave at the end of the academic year which therefore makes it difficult to establish a long-term relationship. After completing my BSc and MSc with a very nice circle of friends, I am finding the PhD to be a very lonely experience. I think at my age in particular, you really want someone to just chill out with sometimes without having to discuss academic issues. Almost every interaction I have with humans nowadays is based on research. I can only express my feelings to the rabbits and cat on campus but that's always a one-way conversation and they eventually hop or walk away :
(

Would undergraduates be the way to go? Help me, please...

I totally feel your pain! The PhD has a way of wrapping its tentacles around your social life and crushing it until you are yearning for the hangovers of yesteryear. I too find not having anyone to talk to about my day or just chill with to be one of the hardest parts of doing the PhD as a single twenty-something. It's a lonely experience, but thankfully, it's also a relatively short one (3 years in my case).

I don't think pursuing relationships with other students in your institute is a particularly good idea. You pointed out that the other PhD students are too old for you, so you have some personal rule about finding a partner of an appropriate age. I would suggest a rule about dating people with connections to your career. It has the potential to end very badly!

Attend seminars and events for PhD students across multiple disciplines. Here you'll have the chance to speak to like-minded people in a similar situation to yourself. Good Luck :)

User: twisted_psycho - 23 March 2017 18:34

One other thing...I totally understand how this is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it's obvious why dating a colleague can be a bad idea. But also, as a PhD student, the people you are most likely to have a lot in common will be other PhD students and academics! It is something that I am struggling with at the moment. Like the OP, I too see a cute girl in the corridor that I would really like to ask out for coffee. But again, not a good idea!

User: Kahn - 23 March 2017 19:11

I totally feel your pain! The PhD has a way of wrapping its tentacles around your social life and crushing it until you are yearning for the hangovers of yesteryear. I too find not having anyone to talk to about my day or just chill with to be one of the hardest parts of doing the PhD as a single twenty-something. It's a lonely experience, but thankfully, it's also a relatively short one (3 years in my case).

I don't think pursuing relationships with other students in your institute is a particularly good idea. You pointed out that the other PhD students are too old for you, so you have some personal rule about finding a partner of an appropriate age. I would suggest a rule about dating people with connections to your career. It has the potential to end very badly!

Attend seminars and events for PhD students across multiple disciplines. Here you'll have the chance to speak to like-minded people in a similar situation to yourself. Good Luck :)[/quote]

Thank you for replying :)

Just to be clear, by institution you mean department right? Please don't tell me you are advising against a relationship even with PhD students from different departments/schools within my university? That would make things very, VERY, difficult :D

User: twisted_psycho - 23 March 2017 19:55

Just to be clear, by institution you mean department right? Please don't tell me you are advising against a relationship even with PhD students from different departments/schools within my university? That would make things very, VERY, difficult :D

Say your PhD is in Physics, I'm saying avoid going out with people who are also physicists at your uni or work in your building. Make friends with these people, of course! But keep it professional. I think it's really important to have that distance between your work and personal life. These are people you may work with for years or even your entire career!

However, I would really, really encourage you to get to know PhD students from other departments in your uni. There will be a mutual understanding of the PhD struggles. For example, my last girlfriend didn't really understand what a PhD was and couldn't really emphasise with me. She didn't get why I didn't have much time or money to do fun things. I think a lot of students have a love-hate relationship with their PhD work, which I've found can be really hard for outsiders to understand! I would try to go to uni events that are aimed at PhD students in general. For instance, I've just been to a seminar on thesis writing and met some nice folks from other departments. Just be patient and try going to different things and see what happens! :)

User: awsoci - 23 March 2017 21:57

Have you thought about not dating another PhD student? Maybe venture outside the fishbowl of university? While I totally understand the want to be with like-minded people in similar situations, there is also much to be said about dating people who have a very different life experience to you.

I found in my own experience that dating someone not even involved in the University environment or life was really refreshing and helped keep me grounded during those isolating times of the PhD program. Because his set of friends weren't either, I could really relax with them, party, get my mind off the PhD when I needed to let off some steam. They may have not understood my situation or the work I was doing, but they were respectful about it.

My spouse who I dated throughout my PhD doesn't even have an undergraduate university degree, we come from very different backgrounds in terms of class, culture and education, but we have lots in common. He keeps me grounded, and I challenge him to see things in new ways. Despite his 'lack' of education, he has a great job and is very intelligent. We have interests together that do not involve my academic work at all which is great, it means I can get away from it for a bit.

Do you have any interests that you could start exploring? I just think you might have better luck getting outside the fishbowl. It'll broaden your horizons, and may give you a different perspective on things.

I'm not against PhDs or academics dating each other at all, but just want to remind you that it's not your only option. There are people out there who while may not understand, respect the work that you do.

There is more to life than your PhD, it doesn't have to consume you (though I know it tends to consume everyone at some point!).

User: pm133 - 23 March 2017 22:47

Thank you for replying :)

Just to be clear, by institution you mean department right? Please don't tell me you are advising against a relationship even with PhD students from different departments/schools within my university? That would make things very, VERY, difficult :D[/quote]

My advice is going to be a little blunt but I am trying to help you here so bear with me.
Your original post seems to betray that you have two problems not one.
Firstly you are lonely for friends. Secondly you are looking for a partner.
I believe your second problem is causing your first problem. You are making the classic young person mistake of confusing friendship and partnership. Separate them out.

To explain this perhaps you could consider why on earth you would write off your female colleagues are "too old" for you when they are barely into their thirties. Too old for what? Friendship or courtship? Why write them off for both because they are too old for courtship?
Is there some problem you have socially which makes incapable of talking to these people as friends? That might sort your first problem out and in doing so you might actually solve your second one inadvertently because these young women will almost certainly have friends If they get to know you as a friend they might be more than happy to introduce you to someone special. I would be prepared to bet that women in this age group would be happy to "mother" a young guy and help them out.

If you want to sort both problems out I would suggest you take a more mature outlook and stop writing people off because of their age because when you do that you should listen very carefully. That banging noise you hear will be doors of opportunity closing all around you. Get yourself some friends first and foremost and go from there. It's way easier to make friends than to pull a date.

Oh and one other thing now that you've annoyed me a little. You should be aware that you are on a website where a large number of us are of a vast range of ages. Some of us are in our 40s, 50s and 60s. It's best under the cirumstances not to wander on talking about people at 33 being too old if you want help. It's likely to piss people off. Just some advice my friend. I hope you take it as such.

BTW I wouldn't let people catch you talking to rabbits :-D

User: Kahn - 23 March 2017 23:53

BTW I wouldn't let people catch you talking to rabbits :-D

Thank You :')

People say that I am very approachable and like-able. When I started my PhD in September I did speak to people from a very diverse set of backgrounds and ages. I actually made friends with about 5-6 women in their thirties. However, things turned a bit weird when a 35 year old I know tried to make a very uncomfortable move in a certain direction I was unwilling to take. This was followed up by another 33 year old trying to make such a move. I think after that I became traumatized or a lot more cautious and kind of avoided opening up too much with women in that age range . Of course I was wrong to change my perspective based on an experience with two people and I completely understand and appreciate your advice. By the way, I wasn't being flirtatious with these women at all. I just try my best to be friendly, respectful and cheerful with every person I meet.

Lastly, I am sorry if I offended anyone with the comment regarding age. What I meant was that being a 22 year old I would personally prefer to date someone closer to my age.

User: pm133 - 24 March 2017 23:47

Quote From Kahn:
BTW I wouldn't let people catch you talking to rabbits :
-D

Thank You :')

People say that I am very approachable and like-able. When I started my PhD in September I did speak to people from a very diverse set of backgrounds and ages. I actually made friends with about 5-6 women in their thirties. However, things turned a bit weird when a 35 year old I know tried to make a very uncomfortable move in a certain direction I was unwilling to take. This was followed up by another 33 year old trying to make such a move. I think after that I became traumatized or a lot more cautious and kind of avoided opening up too much with women in that age range . Of course I was wrong to change my perspective based on an experience with two people and I completely understand and appreciate your advice. By the way, I wasn't being flirtatious with these women at all. I just try my best to be friendly, respectful and cheerful with every person I meet.

Lastly, I am sorry if I offended anyone with the comment regarding age. What I meant was that being a 22 year old I would personally prefer to date someone closer to my age.

Blimey. It's not often that I am stunned into silence.
16 to 29 of 29 PhD Forum Posts





FindAPhD. Copyright 2005-2018
All rights reserved.