Let’s continue our chat from last week. Artists struggle as they try to balance their desire for relationship with the many real and perceived drawbacks of relationship. Some come to feel that they do best with a partner whom they see relatively rarely—and then wonder if that is really a completely satisfactory solution. For example, one artist explained:
“An artist’s desire to keep things interesting, alive, spontaneous, independent and free: that’s me. Those are exactly the reasons why I shy away from longer-term relationships or the idea of marriage. I’m not sure I’m capable of compromising any of those things, no matter how much I love the other person. I’m afraid of commitment because I know myself and know that I have a powerful need for change.
“Luckily my current partner, who is living half-way across the globe, feels exactly the same way. He is an artist who very much needs and loves his own space and independence. He, too, wants to know who he is and what his life would be like without the influence of a full-time partner. We love being together when we’re together and I feel lucky to have someone who is so like me and who understands my needs.”
“We’re really compatible and there are usually no hard feelings when it’s time for some ‘space.’ I’ve noticed, though, that we never seem to be creative at the same time. He seems to be less inspired to do his work when he is with me. I feel like he is losing out on more when he is with me, no matter how much I encourage and support him.
“Still, I have this recurring daydream where we create heaps of artwork together and help each other promote our work. We have shows together, we teach other people together. I just wonder if that’s a realistic scenario for us. I know my boyfriend loves to feel independent, as do I, but I would love one day to feel more like part of a team rather than on my own with everything with a boyfriend who most of the time is thousands of miles away.”
Here is my question for you this week. How much time do you actually need to spend with your partner
P.S. The “how to run your own writing workshop, class or retreat” class starts in August. That’s getting close now! The class is for writers and really for anyone who wants to run a workshop, class or retreat. To sign up:
I am finding that the longer I am married, the more time I need for myself. We are not particularly compatible and my desire is to divorce and move to Colorado. The west is my muse, whereas all he can look at is the cost of housing. He considers our marriage to be “fair” which is not a rousing endorsement. I settled because at the time I started disability and there was no way I could support myself on that. For him, work is his hobby. We thought we had enough in common that we could live with each other.
At any rate, this issue of needing time to myself accelerated when he started working at home. After living by myself for years (I was 58 when I got married) I found myself feeling like I had to report in to tell him I was going to the post office. I think if I was hooked up with someone I really loved it might not feel that way.
I got a real taste of how much I need time to myself when there was a fire two doors down from my away-from-home studio. Smoke damage wasn’t apparent until I moved items off my palette and could see this beige surface where nothing had been there. So the paintings went to a conservator and I couldn’t get back into my studio until the insurance adjuster gave the okay. The landlord kept saying I’d be back in there next week and it wasn’t happening. Finally, with a lot of angst I got set up at home and even put a little canvas on the easel to start the next day. That was when I got the call I could move back in. But the month was MISERABLE!!! I hadn’t realized how important that space was to me. I just need time to think and not have to deal with him coming to my mini-in-home studio and asking “Whatch doin?” I’ve finally been able to have post it notes on my door “No Interruptions Please. Thank you.” I’ve gotten to the point where at times I don’t even want to take my smartphone with me. I just want that mental space and privacy. All this has made me wonder if I’ll ever be in a relationship again.
Thanks for sharing these articles,putting in your time and energy and thought. all people are creative to certain degrees and i dont know if being an artist puts special challenges into a relationship.Perhaps? But all relationships have challenges. You mentioned prior that “religion ” has lost its iron grip and “freed” us. It seems we have only become free to be more self centered and self focused, essentially “using” others only if they benefit us …enjoying the benefit of companionship with out wanting the hardships and responsibilities … and consider commitment come what may.. as a curse instead of a virtue. No wonder society is so fragmented and broken.So its not surprising we struggle.
Life happens. Art happens. It’s ALL about relationship and self understanding. One can’t know about oneself until one moves forward and lives life.
I have been with the same person for 40 years. We met in school and have worked on doing this trip of life together. He is not an artist. He has different needs than I and together we fill each other out. It took educating and negotiating to learn what I needed as an artist. We even raised a family together. I was still an artist then juggling so many balls at the time, I do not think I recognized how much of an artist I was. Now, 28 years later, my 2 children are off and being creative change makers themselves, and I am back to my creative work with paint. My creative self never went away all those years. I was practicing all kinds of other good values that I was bringing back to my work like compassion, patience, gratitude, along with practicing of technique, for this I am grateful. But the relationships were work and took listening as well as me being able to express my needs to my partner, my children, and to my self.