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True Love: Your Significant Other or Your Career

March 25, 2013

This career is my life. Literally. Every time I get a new job I have to change almost every aspect of my life to accommodate it. When I landed my latest contract I had to sell my car and many of my possessions, move everything I own to a different country, quit several jobs, change the way I eat and exercise, morph to fit into an entirely different culture, etc. Even when I get a job in my hometown I have to weigh options and make choices about what to change in my work schedule, how much time I can devote to family and friends, what I need to include in my workout to stay fit for this particular show, and how I need to maintain my appearance.

During my travels, I’ve run into a lot of people who’ve not only given up good side jobs and cars, but also their significant other, due to the complications of distance. Long term contracts not only prevent you from spending quality time with your loved one (I can’t go a day apart from mine when I’m at home), but they even make it difficult to talk on the phone or skype due to major time differences and crazy schedules. As the months go by in a cast abroad, the heartbreak grows exponentially when couples decide that the distance is too difficult and their jobs are too important to give up.

Let me reiterate: my career is my life. I’ve put a lot into it and If I don’t work….I don’t survive. Not only because I can’t pay rent, but also because I wont respect and validate myself emotionally if I’m not doing something I feel to be worth while. Like my many heartbroken cast mates, if a boyfriend told me to choose between my career or him…well lets just say I’d be facing some serious issues. However, the moral of this article is not about placing high value on what you do for a living, it’s not even about making sacrifices for your career. What I’m trying to convey is that if you sincerely categorize your relationship as “true love”, if you care about each other on a mature and selfless level, if you want the best for your loved one and for your relationship; making a choice between the love of your career and the love of each other should never be an issue.

My true love is a dance partner I was paired with in a small show I did at age 19. I’m 23 now and not only has he supported me through my struggles with college, family, and jobs here in my hometown…he stuck around through my leaving the country for an extended period of time on multiple occasions. When I say “stuck around”, I don’t just mean that he continued the relationship, I mean that the “choice” of whether or not to follow my dream was never an option. His unyielding support and my happiness were placed on a higher level than any worry he might have had about temporary distance. He acknowledged that I had worked towards an opportunity like this for years and that the chance to take it should be accepted with open arms. Our relationship came out of this stronger, my respect for him was multiplied, and I don’t have to feel long-lasting regret over a missed opportunity.

I’m not saying it wasn’t difficult to be away from this saint of a boyfriend I have…I’m saying that we didn’t fight, didn’t blame, and never made the other one feel they had to choose between a job and our relationship. I can love my career and my boyfriend. I can achieve my dreams while still maintaining a relationship. If your significant other is not willing to support you in your success, or love you regardless of your geographical location….they are not worth spending your time on.

The moral of the story is that if your going to give up an opportunistic job to stay with a boyfriend, the unhappiness or resentment from the sacrifice may make your relationship worse than the distance would have. Conversely, don’t give up a meaningful, lasting relationship if the heartbreak and regret is going to keep you from the happiness your career success was supposed to supply you. I don’t throw around the label “true love” lightly. I use it after many years of selfless love and support have proven to me that I don’t have to choose between my soul mate and a thriving career. I can’t wait to spend my life showing him what that means to me.

The Reckless Artist sig

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. California Triple-Threat permalink
    March 25, 2013 4:28 pm

    Seriously, you have the best boyfriend ever. Now come back to America. 🙂

  2. March 26, 2013 12:02 am

    I’m fortunate enough to have a boyfriend that’s also in theatre. Often times we end up working on different shows, we both have our support system to do whatever opportunities comes our way (that we want to do). Support from your significant other is needed in our field, and having it something to be grateful for.

  3. March 26, 2013 1:01 pm

    Wonderful & thought-provoking post – thank you. I would only add that within the commitment of the relationship must be the care to keep the relationship fresh and moving forward. I have seen these kinds of relationships work best when each partner is overreaching to the other to maintain connection and support. Whether it’s phone calls, e-mails, letters and personal visits, attention must be paid in almost a different way then when there’s every day in person contact.

    Thanks for bringing up in issue that doesn’t get much focus but weighs on so many actors and artists alike.

  4. March 26, 2013 6:55 pm

    I loved this post because I recognized my own husband in your description of your super supportive boyfriend. I feel like we’re both so very lucky to have that in our often otherwise unstable lives!

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