Succeeding in Graduate School: The Career Guide for Psychology Students

By Steven Walfish; Allen K. Hess | Go to book overview

13
Stresses and Strategies for Graduate
Student Couples
Dixie J. Pederson
M. Harry Daniels

Beginning a graduate psychology program is a dramatic event that will substantially define the student's professional opportunities and influence most of the aspects of personal life. Graduate school invites personal growth and adaptability as the student encounters a variety of stresses. These stresses are many and sometimes severe for any student, married or single, involved or not with a partner in an intimate love relationship. Indeed, couple relationships have many stresses and difficulties inherent in themselves. When the stresses of being a couple are combined with the stresses of being a graduate student, the difficulties can become overwhelming. The stresses associated with professional training for couples are familiar to those who have completed their training; the intention of this chapter is to make prospective graduate students aware of some potential difficulties they and their partners may face during their tenure in graduate school.

Based on an assessment of the state of your relationship with a partner, you may decide to postpone entrance into graduate school or to not enter at all. Or, you may find yourself saying, “Given all the potential difficulties in establishing and maintaining a relationship at this time, do I really want to be involved in a love relationship while in graduate school? “

On the more optimistic side, prior awareness of potential difficulties may help partners to focus attention on the issues as they arise so that relatively minor difficulties do not escalate into major problems. In fact, some difficulties may be averted altogether. In addition, knowing that you are not the only couple to experience these stresses, you may experience a sense of

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