How to Date a Grad Student

Plan dates that provide opportunities for conversation to connect with your partner.
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His idea of Friday night fun isn't likely beer-chugging and Jello shooter contests. In fact, if you are used to dating undergrad peers, a relationship with a grad student can be substantially different. His maturity level might be an attractive feature -- he’s likely already grasped the concept of doing his own laundry -- but there are also other differences you’ll want to keep in mind. When you can make the most of your time together, keep your emotions in check and take an interest in your partner's field of study, you'll maximize the opportunity for a mutually satisfying relationship with a grad student.

1 Value Your Independence

She has come far in her academic career and can no longer afford to blow off studying for an impromptu romantic evening. Instead, she might have 30 or more hours of laboratory work scheduled in a single week, leaving little time to focus on romancing her partner. Maintain healthy relationships with friends and family so you’ll have plenty of opportunities for social interaction when your partner isn’t available. Find areas of interest of your own to pursue, too, such as yoga, volunteer work and photography, and your own academic pursuits to maintain a balanced lifestyle. Between your areas of interest and hers, you’ll have plenty of topics for conversation when you do have an evening to spend together.

2 Make the Most of Your Time Together

Save channel surfing and checking your kitchen cupboard inventory for when you are apart, and use every moment of your time together as an opportunity to get to know each other, share in new experiences and create memories to carry you through the times when he’s up to his neck in his studies. You can endeavor to try a new activity each week -- or each month if your schedules are too demanding. Alternatively, take turns introducing each other to favorite activities of your own to help your partner get to know you better. You never know which ones might just become regular weekend favorites.

3 Rein In the Green-Eyed Monster

Grad students often spend a substantial amount of time involved in their studies, and by extension, with fellow students. If your partner is often working late with a peer of the opposite sex, it might be easy for seeds of doubt and mistrust to take root. Keep the lines of communication open, focus on developing and maintain trust in the relationship and talk to your partner right away if you begin to worry. Don’t leave feelings of mistrust to grow unchecked; before you know it, you’ll be convinced that he’s planning an escape to Venezuela with his lab partner.

4 Read Up

Your partner’s life likely revolves around his studies, so if you’d like to share in the things that are important to him, consider learning a little about the field that excites him so much. Your partner's social group is also often comprised of other individuals in his field of study. Social events hosted by his peers might be replete with in-depth discussions about molecular biology research, the merits of famous literary figures or the chemical instability of something with a name so long that it sounds like a disease. A little investigation into your partner’s field of study will help to ensure you’ll hear more than gibberish throughout every conversation of the evening. If you can’t make heads or tails of his textbooks, ask questions instead.

Rosenya Faith has been working with children since the age of 16 as a swimming instructor and dance instructor. For more than 14 years she has worked as a recreation and skill development leader, an early childhood educator and a teaching assistant, working in elementary schools and with special needs children between 4 and 11 years of age.