For us, we don’t need to be all up in each other’s stuff. One of us is an academic (me, obvs) and the other is not (my partner). We don’t totally understand all the other does on a daily basis. We don’t need to have all the same friends and do everything together.
My partner could tell you, in general terms, what my specialized area of expertise is. He may not have understood a lot of my dissertation defense, but he did attend it and tell me how awesome I was. He has met my boss and knows the names of my colleagues. He probably couldn’t find his way to my office without a map, which is understandable, as he’s only been there once and has been living in a different state. He knows enough about the academic structure to be able to use it as a metaphor for something else. He did originally have to ask what tenure meant, what’s the difference between assistant and associate professor, etc., but that was years ago. He hasn’t read my publications and I don’t expect him to– he would probably find them rather opaque. He could proofread them if I needed him to, though, he’s pretty good at that. He’s been with me since before grad school, so he has a good grasp of what I’ve been through and what my job requires.
I know only some about his job. He finally explained it to me in a way I can understand by using an academic metaphor, though he is not an academic. I’m really glad he isn’t because I’m sure that two academics in the same household would make me go insane(r). I know who some of his coworkers are and until recently I could’ve found my way to his general office area (they moved though). I know some things about his current boss though his name has slipped my mind, if I ever knew it. I anticipate learning more about his job now that he’ll be working from home (in the same home as me)!
#2′s partner is an academic working at the same school, so naturally they share a lot of common experience and understand each other’s jobs well. Also they both have moms who are academics. #2′s partner probably understands more about #2′s research than #2 does about her partner’s research. He’s also adorable when he uses jargon from #2′s field, as people in #2′s field tend to do because they’re obnoxious that way.
So, readers… as the title says?