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Having a life partner definitely affects an individual's career.

For e.g. A programmer spends hours on the computer for work. A spouse working in the same field as yours would not mind adjusting with the household chores. On the other hand, a partner from some other field will not understand the significance of your work, and this may create problems in one's married life.

Apart from this factor, what do you think are the other factors which are affected with the choice of partner from the same field?

And how useful it is for programmers to have a spouse from the same field as you are working?

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closed as off topic by David Thornley, Joel Etherton, Walter, Mark Trapp Jul 20 '11 at 18:34

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You should refine this question a bit to address how it specifically pertains to 'Programmers'. –  Jim G. Nov 20 '10 at 15:43
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the only thing more absurd than rejecting a life partner because of his/her career field would be to choose one because of his/her career field –  Steven A. Lowe Nov 20 '10 at 21:45
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Another programmer? Gawd no please. –  Job Nov 22 '10 at 3:26
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i also think there are more pros than cons .. but then shud we really decide our "lifepartner" based on a set of pros and cons ? sooner or later the list WILL look like a mistake to you. so i am looking for someone with whom i do not have to "make a pros\cons list" . food for thought. –  Ritwik G Jun 28 '11 at 7:38
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Why exactly would a spouse have to adjust the household chores just because one of the partners works as a programmer? What's so different about being a programmer that it effects who can do what household tasks? –  pyvi Jul 20 '11 at 14:18
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11 Answers

up vote 40 down vote accepted

Speaking as someone who's done it for many years—a big pro is not having to explain our references.

For instance, one of us can start with, "Did you see that article in The Reg…" and the other will answer, "Yeah—what a moron!" And we'll both laugh, and that's all that we need to say about it.

If one of us has accomplished or learned something major that day, it's great to be able to discuss it with someone who gets why it's so damn cool.

With a non-geek, I'd either have to always be explaining the background or just not talk about what I do with a large part of my waking hours. I see both of those options as annoying & boring.

A downside can be, as mentioned previously, when there's some competition between us. For instance, we both applied to talk at an upcoming conference—and my proposal was accepted and his wasn't. That's a delicate subject at home right now (as you might guess).

But overall, the pluses far outweigh the negatives.

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+1 for that last sentence –  stijn Nov 21 '10 at 9:00
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I support this answer. To add to this, there will be no lack of communication as we will have umpteen no. of subjects to talk about(I've read about divorces happening just because of lack of communication). If handled carefully, even the competition can build a sense of understanding between the partners and maturity in their relationship. Moreover, there'll be support in everything you do, because the partner knows the worth of your work. –  ykombinator Nov 25 '10 at 10:12
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Having a spouse/life partner from the same field can very easily engender feelings of competition and marginalization.

As with many things in life, YMMV.

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TIL YMMV THNX... –  mojuba Nov 20 '10 at 16:27
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do you speak out of experience? I do, and me and my partner have none of these feelings –  stijn Nov 20 '10 at 18:39
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@stijn: That's why I said "can" and YMMV. –  Jim G. Nov 21 '10 at 3:14
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Not sure that anyone would/should make plans along these lines. However in my previous (unmarried) life at parties when asked about my career I would tell people about my weekends as an unpaid paragliding instructor rather than my weekdays writing software. I'd get much more interesting conversations that way as well as avoiding the "I wonder if you could help me, my computer...." situations.

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lol I'd rather be known as a poor para-glider than a paid programmer... not just because of the "Oh... you can solve ALL of my computer problems", but also because I don't see most people excited about programming. –  WernerCD Nov 20 '10 at 23:36
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It's either respect and understanding (which is so important in families!), or competition, or some combination of both.

On the other hand, a partner with a completely different but interesting background might be a fascinating experience. E.g. consider sharing your whole life with a musician, or a doctor. You are exposed to a whole new field, possibly a different mentality. But you know what, competition is possible even in this kind of couples. So it's more about personalities than occupation.

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@ykombinator: yep, back to the basics... –  mojuba Nov 20 '10 at 17:02
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+1 for 'respect and understanding' point. :) –  ykombinator Nov 23 '10 at 18:20
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As others said, it boils down to competition and understanding. I think having a partner from the same field can help bonding because you have all of this "insider understanding" about each other, so you understand each other's habits and can relate to what happened to each other during the day. You can also ask each other for advice, and work as a team to solve life problems (because you're both using the same mental tools), and when either of you succeeds, you can appreciate it more because you know what it took to do that.

On the other hand it may result in competition and jealousy if one is disproportionately more successful than the other.

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+1 for the jealousy aspect. It was a huge factor when my husband was also in the field. –  Amy Anuszewski Jul 19 '11 at 19:51
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I've seen this working really great for some people I know bringing total happyness in their life. But I've also seen the inverse, leading them to a miserable life.

I think it's impossible to answer this question. You have to evaluate that yourself for your own case.

This is valid for most professions.

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I think it boils down to

"the grass is always greener on the other side"

versus

"if you can not be with the one you love, love the one you are with"

yes this is a recursive algorithm with a delta t of 4 years but with a lower and upper boundary of $age.

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your != you are –  Job Nov 22 '10 at 3:24
    
thanks for the correction :) –  edelwater Nov 22 '10 at 5:00
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+1 For Doobie Bros. –  Peter Turner Nov 24 '10 at 14:44
    
+1 for Stephen Stills. [Doobie Bros?? What are they teaching you kids these days? … and get off my lawn! ;-) ] –  Dori Dec 5 '10 at 2:20
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Personally, I was looking for someone not in my field: just so that all of our conversation would not be "shop talk".

But what works for me, may not be what does for you :)

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My wife works in bio-medical research and is bound by non-disclosure agreements; and she can barely turn on a computer. We simply do not talk about work at home. It's great. –  John Kraft Jul 19 '11 at 20:00
    
@John Kraft - I agree :) –  warren Jul 19 '11 at 20:11
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@warren: Perhaps, I must agree with you. :) –  ykombinator Jul 20 '11 at 12:48
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One drawback is that you are both subject to the same economic cycles, which can lead to some financial instability.

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+1. Great! and nobody pointed out such a crucial point till now? :-o –  ykombinator Jul 20 '11 at 12:47
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One potential drawback that I haven't seen mentioned yet is the potential for one partner to be higher in the hierarchy at a company than another partner. Now, most of the time I would suggest that both shouldn't be working for the same company anyway, but it can happen. If one partner sets the work for another to do, it can lead to bad feelings, either from the other partner, or from other workers who believe (correctly or not) that the partner is being favored in the assignments.

Often, this will lead to one partner or the other not being able to accept a position that they might otherwise want, in order to avoid the situation.

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What about if they're both, say, teachers - but one is a principal at the middle school and the other is a math teacher at the high school? –  warren Jul 25 '11 at 13:54
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For what it's worth, I met my wife at work. She was QA, and tested my code. We just celebrated our 1-year a few weeks ago! It actually worked out quite well, much to everyone's surprise.

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update to nobody but me: still going strong :) –  insta Oct 1 '13 at 18:18
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