Dating when you’re a musician is hard. Actually, dating is just hard in general. But when you’re a musician you can go ahead and add in time away for touring and practices, the opposite sex coming up to you after shows to introduce themselves or tell you how well you did (to your partner's dismay), and struggling to share your heart between your passion and another person.
As I say in all my other blogs, this is just what I have gathered from my own personal experiences. I can’t speak for everyone, these are just the struggles I have encountered.
I was in a relationship with someone for about a year. We lived together for a little while, and everything should have been great. This person was respectful, kind, caring, and really good to me. The only problem is that he did not understand why I had to collaborate with male artists. He didn’t understand why I couldn’t spend time with him because I had to go jam with a band of all males. He couldn’t understand why after I played a show I had to talk to people, some of which were men, to network and thank them for coming out. He didn’t understand why I would rather lock myself in the room for hours at a time to play guitar and write, rather than spend time with him. I could sit here and list all the things he did not understand about my relationship with music, but I won’t. The fact of the matter is that at the end of the day, he just didn’t understand.
How could he, though? I was his everything, and music was mine. It wasn’t that I didn’t love him, I was just never going to love anything the way I loved music. I think musicians and artists are extremely unique people. We are different. Our craft is like air to us, and we can not live without doing it every single day.
Towards the end of our relationship, I found myself playing guitar and writing less so I could spend time with him. I started performing less in order to avoid a fight with him if a guy came up to ask for my number, simply for the purpose of playing music or collaborating. I stopped singing as much and began to feel my voice becoming weaker from lack of practice. I stopped traveling to play gigs in other cities in order to reduce the time I spent away from him to again, avoid fighting. Instead, I started spending more time watching movies with him, cooking with him, and just hanging out with him. These things were painfully unproductive to me, and I felt I was wasting time that I could be using to progress as an artist. We became one of those “boring” couples who didn’t really do much of anything. He could see I wasn’t happy and tried to convince me that he wanted me to go out and play more, but I knew he really didn’t. He didn’t because he associated music with the thing that was taking away his time with me, even if I just wanted to play for five minutes. I became so unhappy that I started to resent him from taking me away from my art. I tried to find a balance between music and my relationship, but I just could not find it. I couldn’t do what I wanted without upsetting him, and I couldn’t be the girlfriend he needed without being unhappy.
So I finally made the tough decision to end it.
Once we broke up, I found my voice again. I had so much time to write and create that I began changing my sound and developing my craft in a way I never realized I could. I got to go out and play again without feeling guilty knowing there was someone at home waiting for me. I started playing with men and women again, learning from everyone and everything. I was myself without limitation. Since then, I have released two albums and have been traveling every single week to different cities and meeting incredible people who have pushed my career to a place it has never been before. These are all things I could never have done were I still with him.
I am not saying it is impossible to split your time between music and a relationship, I am just saying it is really, really hard. Maybe he could have been more understanding, and maybe I could have tried harder to balance the two. I don’t know.
I have also been the victim of the “jealous” girlfriend when it came to working with other artists. I have had men decline to work with me because their girlfriends didn’t want me around them. I have seen really talented people let their significant others dictate and guide their careers out of jealousy and insecurity. I have seen artists pass up amazing opportunities in order to not piss off their girlfriend/ boyfriend. I broke up with my ex because I refuse to let someone dictate my career and personal growth. In my opinion, if you let your partner get in the way of your dreams, you don’t deserve to be pursuing them. It is an extremely delicate balance and takes massive efforts from both sides to make it work.
But aside from all the negative talk, it is not completely impossible.
All I know is in order to be with a musician, you have to be understanding. Everyone says they want an independent and strong-willed person, until they actually have one. It is tough, because it means you have to be independent and strong-willed as well. You have to give them time to do what they love, and you have to understand they can do it for hours upon hours at a time. You have to realize that when they jam or collaborate with someone of the opposite sex, it is simply about the music and nothing more. You have to trust them. It takes a strong person to be with someone who is pursuing their dreams, and you’re going to have to put up with a lot of shit. The most important thing you can do is never limit them and just be there for them, just as they should be there for you and support your dreams. Understand that you are sharing your partners heart with their passion, and don’t let it shake you. It takes a strong person to be with a strong person, and that means putting you insecurities to the side, (or completely throw them away).
While dating a musician can be tough, it is also such a beautiful thing. They love harder, cry harder, and you may even get a song written about you. Help build them to the point they want to be, and let them build you. Grow with them, silently be there for them, and let them do the same.
It will be a roller coaster filled with lots of twists and turns, but it will be the best ride of your life. - Bateau