Author Topic: non-academic spouses  (Read 592 times)

rabbitandfox23

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non-academic spouses
« on: June 27, 2020, 08:11:15 PM »
I started a faculty position last year, and during the first several months I was invited to the homes of colleagues' with my partner, who is not an academic. The conversation invariably devolves into shop talk, and which point my partner dozes off and finds the whole situation awkward and boring, to the point that she is no longer interested in attending anything involving my colleagues.
Is this normal for those of you who don't have academic spouses? Should I ask colleagues not to talk about academic/department issues when my spouse is around? ... ?

polly_mer

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Re: non-academic spouses
« Reply #1 on: June 27, 2020, 09:17:58 PM »
Do any of your colleagues have non-academic spouses or other family members who are also bored?

Everyone was happier when Mr. Mer got to skip the gatherings that were more shop than actual social gatherings.
Do whatever you want--I'm just the background dancer in your show!

Bonnie

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Re: non-academic spouses
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2020, 09:26:43 PM »
I don't think this discomfort/boredom is unique to non academic partners of academics. I always hated going to company gatherings for my non-ac then spouse. Partner either sucks it up and nods graciously or the two of you come up with a story for partner not being there.

polly_mer

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Re: non-academic spouses
« Reply #3 on: June 28, 2020, 06:22:50 AM »
The story doesn't even have to be good: yeah, Mr. Mer had a conflict and couldn't be here.

I go to almost everything work-related alone and it's no big deal.  When I started, Mr. Mer worked on many nights, weekends, and holidays.  Now, he's just taking care of his deep need to be elsewhere.
Do whatever you want--I'm just the background dancer in your show!

Ruralguy

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Re: non-academic spouses
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2020, 06:27:51 AM »
Have a kid. They are the perfect cover for one spouse never going to those things ever again.

OneMoreYear

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Re: non-academic spouses
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2020, 06:45:19 AM »
Now, he's just taking care of his deep need to be elsewhere.

Perfect phrasing! Applicable to so many situations both in and out of academia:  I'm sorry that I won't be able to attend that committee meeting; I'm taking care of my deep need to be elsewhere. 

polly_mer

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Re: non-academic spouses
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2020, 10:49:57 AM »
Now, he's just taking care of his deep need to be elsewhere.

Perfect phrasing! Applicable to so many situations both in and out of academia:  I'm sorry that I won't be able to attend that committee meeting; I'm taking care of my deep need to be elsewhere.

It comes from a television episode of I-can't-remember-what show where someone didn't want to be dragged into an argument where there was no benefit to him and others left the room with good excuses.  This character says, "I'm going to take care of my deep need to be elsewhere", and leaves the room.

It's now a family joke.

Do whatever you want--I'm just the background dancer in your show!

Baldwinschild

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Re: non-academic spouses
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2020, 12:01:19 PM »
I started a faculty position last year, and during the first several months I was invited to the homes of colleagues' with my partner, who is not an academic. The conversation invariably devolves into shop talk, and which point my partner dozes off and finds the whole situation awkward and boring, to the point that she is no longer interested in attending anything involving my colleagues.
Is this normal for those of you who don't have academic spouses? Should I ask colleagues not to talk about academic/department issues when my spouse is around? ... ?

Well, I wouldn’t go that route.  Can you just attend without your partner?  My former partner is not an academic, so I just went alone or with another colleague who was leaving the partner at home.  It was nice to have the time on my own to be honest.   
Would you feel awkward without your partner?
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wellfleet

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Re: non-academic spouses
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2020, 12:02:09 PM »
Wellspouse and I have long had a deal that neither of us is expected to attend *any* work-related social functions for the other. Every few years, an exception comes up, but yeah, this is the path to peace. Wellspouse doesn't have to be bored by academic shop talk and I don't have to listen to people talk about (shudder) health care.

It's a challenge, at our age, to make friends outside of work, but so, so worth it. What medical people will discuss, even while eating in public, staggers the mind.
One of the benefits of age is an enhanced ability not to say every stupid thing that crosses your mind. So there's that.

secundem_artem

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Re: non-academic spouses
« Reply #9 on: June 28, 2020, 01:52:07 PM »
The story doesn't even have to be good: yeah, Mr. Mer had a conflict and couldn't be here.

I go to almost everything work-related alone and it's no big deal.  When I started, Mr. Mer worked on many nights, weekends, and holidays.  Now, he's just taking care of his deep need to be elsewhere.

Mr. Mer should meet Mrs. Artem.  She feels zero obligation to attend any work related social function at Artem U.  And I feel zero obligation to go with her to spend time with one of her friends who sees other people as a sounding board to listen to tales of  horror about her ex, her boss, her sister, her brother, her mother etc etc.  We have found this to be a mutually acceptable accommodation since we, too, often have a deep need to be elsewhere.
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mamselle

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Re: non-academic spouses
« Reply #10 on: June 28, 2020, 02:11:46 PM »
Wellspouse and I have long had a deal that neither of us is expected to attend *any* work-related social functions for the other. Every few years, an exception comes up, but yeah, this is the path to peace. Wellspouse doesn't have to be bored by academic shop talk and I don't have to listen to people talk about (shudder) health care.

It's a challenge, at our age, to make friends outside of work, but so, so worth it. What medical people will discuss, even while eating in public, staggers the mind.

True.

The first day I started working in a hospital as an accounts payable temp, the mail delivery person put my share of the bills and the regular hospital PR pages on my desk.

On top was an announcement for one of the films that MDs could view for continuing ed/grand rounds credits.

In large letters, at the top, it said: OPEN HEART SURGERY FILM.

Below, a point or two smaller, was the tag line: Bring Your Lunch

I realized I'd stepped into a very different world...

M.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2020, 02:15:49 PM by mamselle »
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darkstarrynight

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Re: non-academic spouses
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2020, 09:26:33 PM »
I might have to flip this one. My spouse is in the tech sector, and a very famous restaurant that usually has a five hour wait in an outside line for its food on a regular basis (pre-pandemic) was reserved for a private event by a tech vendor. I had always wanted to go sans waiting, so I decided to invite myself along to this private event at the restaurant. I was the only spouse who attended, and everyone else was talking tech speak. It was shockingly sparsely attended (maybe tech people are not foodies?) so not only was there an open bar with local wine and beer, but also an enormous amount of delicious food (think carved meats and mini pies). Guess who took home an enormous doggy bag of meat and mini pies? I was pretty unashamed too, though my spouse may have been embarrassed! I froze all of this good stuff and then surprised the spouse one night by defrosting these goodies for a special meal at home. I guess my whole point is that was one awkward dinner but I made out like a bandit!

Myword

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Re: non-academic spouses
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2020, 02:11:53 PM »
I wish I had this problem

paultuttle

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Re: non-academic spouses
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2020, 02:20:52 PM »
Wellspouse and I have long had a deal that neither of us is expected to attend *any* work-related social functions for the other. Every few years, an exception comes up, but yeah, this is the path to peace. Wellspouse doesn't have to be bored by academic shop talk and I don't have to listen to people talk about (shudder) health care.

It's a challenge, at our age, to make friends outside of work, but so, so worth it. What medical people will discuss, even while eating in public, staggers the mind.

True.

The first day I started working in a hospital as an accounts payable temp, the mail delivery person put my share of the bills and the regular hospital PR pages on my desk.

On top was an announcement for one of the films that MDs could view for continuing ed/grand rounds credits.

In large letters, at the top, it said: OPEN HEART SURGERY FILM.

Below, a point or two smaller, was the tag line: Bring Your Lunch


I realized I'd stepped into a very different world...

M.

My mother was a nurse. You'd be amazed at the gruesome operating-room details she'd cheerfully share during dinner-table discussion.

As you might expect, those details were particularly interesting the nights she made and served us spaghetti with (yes, tomato-based) meat sauce.

____

Hubby is a photographer with a four-year Business Administration degree and two two-year photography degrees in different subfields.

His favorite question about my work when we first met and dated, his forehead wrinkling up impressively: "Now, WHY again does academia work that way??"