Couples in academia can be a tricky thing. For example, my loving partner goes to school in America-land. I go to school in Canada-land. Actually, I’ve gone to school in either Eng-land or Canada-land on and off since 2003. “What a hassle!” you might declare. Actually, you would be WRONG! It means half the expense of laundry detergent! But you’d also be right, as it means twice spent on rent, separate bills, flights to and fro, postage expenses (like packages and letters and, once, a home-made chocolate heart with a poem inside – they were both very tasty), and so forth.
The good thing about an LDR (long distance relationship) to date (specifically in the 2003-2011 period) has been that it’s never been easier to see each other. With (relatively) cheap(er) flights and transportation, cheap or free phone calls, the interwebs and attendant communication devices, and other magical (read: technological) advances, it has actually been a lot easier than, say, hand-writing to each other every other week (as one of my friends did with her husband while she was in England in 1989), or finding a Ukranian bride with an advert in the paper (circa 1920s Canada, not a joke, just can’t find the citation), or *SPOILER ALERT* having an elephant crush the abusive husband of the woman you love–wait, that’s the plot of Water for Elephants.
That being said, an LDR is still often the elephant in the room. At social events, people will often talk about how someone they knew (or perhaps how they) had an LDR that didn’t work out, and then look my (or, less frequently, our) way with a guilty, apologetic, or aprehensive expression. I want to say “It’s okay! You don’t have to act guilty because we have a successful long-distance relationship plan!” LDRs are not for everyone. I kind of hate myself for using the abbreviation, because it seems pretentious, but I want to practice that skill for when I get rich off my book royalties. (That part is a joke.) While we do seem to be the exception rather than the rule, that’s not to say that any relationship is simple, or easier because you don’t have the distance, or to be cavalier and nonchalant about the struggles and woes of single people, married people, people who move to Kangaroo-land, or “it’s complicated” Facebook status people the world over.
I would say that we have been really fortunate in our shared committment to trust, respect, communication, blah blah blah, over a long period of geographical distance. However, we still worry about stuff like if we’re going to find a job in the same country, let alone the same city. We talk about post-docs and jobs and careers. Lots of our friends are in a similar position of just graduating, coming up on graduation, looking for work, applying to 18 different universities, changing careers, finding jobs in different cities, the other woes of the approximately over-21 crowd.
So, if anyone knows of two jobs in one city for an academic-leaning humanities person and an industry-leaning science-y person, let me know, because the line is forming!
UPDATE: Just kidding, we’re working it out…