Affect relationships with academics

partnership: "He should tell me if I work too much"

The doctoral time influences relationships. Experience reports from the partnership, the family and the shared flat

ZEIT Campus Ratgeber Promotion No. 1/201930 Comments


"Veronika and I have been a couple for three and a half years. In 2018 she started her doctorate, since then a lot has changed between us. We used to philosophize and make music for hours in the kitchen about society, Veronika plays the saxophone, I play the guitar. when she comes home from university in the evening, usually so tired that she goes to sleep on her own. Every now and then she goes to the laboratory on weekends, so once we had to cancel a visit to my parents.

It is difficult for me that the doctorate takes up a lot of our time together. Lately, I've often wondered what I want in our relationship. I long for adventure with her again. That's why I told her that we should take more time together again. She took that seriously. She recently stayed at home for a day: we made music together, picked cherries and ate pizza in the evening. I am particularly happy about days like these. "

Martin Schulz, 27, studies social work at the HAW Hamburg.

"Half a year before I got my doctorate, Martin and I moved in together. We were together a lot and often lived right through the day. Unfortunately, that is no longer possible today. I enjoy doing a doctorate, but it sometimes represents an obstacle to our relationship. That makes it I hadn't calculated before.



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What bothers Martin most is that we are no longer so spontaneous. This is definitely due to my doctoral thesis. I understand him, and that depresses me too. We think a lot about how we can change that. I have now asked Martin to tell me if I work too much.

I'm in the laboratory from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. almost every day. When I get home I'm too burned out to roam the houses with him like I used to be. Then it makes me happy when he reads me newspaper articles and I fall asleep. But there was also something nice: Martin studied physics and can help me with my research. He recently explained to me what happens when X-rays hit molecules. "
Veronika Brinschwitz, 29, is doing her doctorate in virology at the University of Hamburg.


"Even when Tim was still in school, I said to him: 'It doesn't matter whether you are going to be a bricklayer or a doctor, the main thing is that you are happy.' When Tim told me during his master's degree that he wanted to do a doctorate, it caught me made very proud. I was impressed by his ambition.

I am not an academic myself. Nevertheless, I tried to support him as best I could with his doctorate: Tim usually called when he was pressed for time or when he was under writer's block. I always told him then that I believed in him. He wrote about the Siberian permafrost. To be honest, I still don't quite understand what he was investigating. At that time I still proofread Tim's bachelor thesis, it was no longer possible with the dissertation, it is written in scientific English, I don't have the vocabulary for it.

In the second year of his doctorate, Tim became a dad. I was really happy. Since then, I've often taken care of his daughter Liv on the weekends. I think that relieved him. For my 55th birthday he gave me a copy of the doctorate including a dedication. That touched me. It is now clearly visible on the living room shelf. "
Petra Roschlaub, 57, works as an accountant in Hamburg.

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"When I was stressed while writing my dissertation, my mother was one of the first people I called. Conversations with her were particularly important to me in the final phase. In terms of content, however, we hardly talked about my research, the topic was too specific . It was more about financial worries or the time pressure. My mom always encouraged me and said: 'I believe in you!' Of course, she worried about me too. During my research trips in the Siberian outback, she was afraid that me A polar bear could attack, and she often emailed me asking if I could get enough sleep there despite 24 hours of daylight.

Since my daughter was born, we have mainly talked about Liv. As a thank you for her support, I mentioned my mom in the dedication for my dissertation. It says there that my doctoral thesis is also due to you. Without your help, I wouldn't be where I am today. "
Tim Eckhardt, 32, received his doctorate in Earth System Science from the University of Hamburg.

Shared apartment

"I met Emilia when I moved into her two-room apartment in Berlin. At that time she had already started her doctorate. Although she often worked on her dissertation from morning until late at night, we did a lot. We went to parties, to the cinema and museums. Or we just sat for hours in the kitchen and talked about politics or literature. Emilia gave me the opportunity to immerse myself in an academic world that was unfamiliar to me. I accompanied her to seminars and read anthropological texts. Sometimes even visiting professors stayed with us .

But in the final phase of her doctorate, our flat share life changed. We did less and less together, partly because we had so different lives. One evening, a few months before she was leaving, she said that she would rather live alone and asked if I would move out. That hurt me, but over time I understood that she wanted to start a new phase in life when she finished her doctorate. Our friendship quickly recovered from this. We are still closely connected. "
Francesca La Vigna, 36, is a project manager in a design agency in Berlin.

"I went from Warsaw to Berlin to do my doctorate. A year later, Francesca moved in with me. I already got through with her first e-mail. We soon did everything together. That she had nothing to do with the university, I relaxed completely. We often sat for hours in our kitchen and talked about God and the world and almost never about my dissertation. The distraction was good for me. Francesca became like a sister to me. We have a similar lively temperament. After five years But living together was slowly becoming too much for me. Not because Francesca had bothered me while I was writing. On the contrary: she gave me support and always talked me into good when I got stuck, but I longed for a change. Life has helped me not to feel lonely in a new country. I thought: I can't live with Francesca forever, just for fear of being alone. I found it difficult to tell her, but she has me I understood. Fortunately, we're better friends today than ever before. "
Emilia Sułek, 43, did her PhD in Asian and African Studies at the HU Berlin.