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anon gay lady

This never seemed to make a difference with the places I tried to negotiate about this with but (a) they were exclusively at least medium-prestigious R1s and (b) I am gay. I suspect both of those things made a big difference (I think people are actually generally less expectant that committed gay relationships involve marriage). I am sure it would make a difference at some religious schools, and my guess is it would make some level of difference at some other places too. But I'm not sure I'd get married just for the sake of this, unless you think you are particularly marketable at religious schools. (Also this is just my own experience/anecdata.)

Catholic University

On the religious school front, I teach at a Catholic school with relatively liberal policies typically. Very LGBTQ friendly (at least their policies are, students vary). And I was technically an LGBTQ spousal hire here (though we are married).

Yet, for all that, I know of a situation in which very awkwardly they basically told a non-married couple that the (non)spousal hire would get a one-year appointment, and that it would be reconsidered if they got married. I guess at least they didn't say no entirely, but they absolutely said "you have one year to get married". So...at least at this particular Catholic school, it was an issue. The department fought and I suspect will again when the year expires.

My guess is that this is much less likely to be an issue at a non-religious school. But, you may still want to be prepared to "prove" your dedication in some way, as infuriating as that might be.

Best of luck!


Here's more anecdata - I've had friends in this situation who got engaged for the job market. I have no idea whether it made a difference. Departments might be hesitant to hire an unmarried couple because they believe that unmarried people are more likely to split up, and think that exes would make for a crappy working environment (or make it likely that someone would leave, potentially losing a line). Engagement I guess signals long-term commitment, but can always be called off by people who stay together? (To be clear, I don't endorse any of this - it's just speculation on how decisions might be made.)

Wearing Dereon

My partner and I are both affiliated with public, liberal institutions. When we were 'just' partners, the institutions were not that interested in solving a two-body problem. Both institutions changed significantly, if not completely, when we became 'legal.' Ymmv.


I've still not managed to solve my two-body problem and now, unfortunately, I'll need to go on the market to try to get the university to retain me (and of course, you need to be prepared to walk away so it needs to be a realistic offer you are prepared to accept). I do see other people get success, what's crucial is to get the spousal when you negotiate the offer. If you do not mention to negotiate it then, it'll likely never happen. My university just lost a wonderful candidate who would improve our diversity due to a spousal issue that we did not resolve, but the other university that had a competing offer, did. Moreover, we lost a prof a few years ago, the department could not resolve her situation, but another school did. I know that spousals are a sensitive topic because so many people struggle on the market, but those instances indicate that spousals are not there to do your employees a favor (sadly) but as a retention strategies esp for women and people of color.


More anecdata: When I brought up my partner after receiving an offer from a public R1, no one ever asked if we were married. They flew him out and hired him TT as well. (I think some of our now-colleagues assume that we're married, but we are not.)


My long-term partner and I just say "spouse" when this comes up. (We haven't solved the two-body problem yet either.) We figure that we'll just go get married if we actually get a spousal hire. Maybe this is not a good idea, but we're one of the few couples where it doesn't make financial sense to get hitched in our current situation.


My experience is based on employment at two R1s. Never had any issue with spousal hires and being unmarried. Haven't even been asked.

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