You can go your own way (or at least threaten to)


Q-Dear Margo, I have been seeing this girl for two years and we’ve been living together for a year. We are both musicians and I met her at a gig I was playing. In the beginning she was a huge fan of my music. Recently however, she has made it known repeatedly in many ways that she does not like me going out to play. I have been getting the silent treatment two days before until two days after any gig or rehearsal.

I have been a musician for many years and have always maintained a professional attitude towards music, I have never cheated on any girl, nor would I cheat on her and when I’m done the gig for the night I go home immediately following the show with my money in hand. How do I make it clear to her that the way she treats me is ruining the relationship? I have no intentions of quitting music but I will however leave her if pressed to make a choice. Thanks for your help.

A- I can see how a partner’s attitude change about your music (going from “oh that’s sexy” to “oh that’s not cool with me”) is frustratingly unfair, but I can also see how this change might have happened.

When you were first together things were probably fun and exciting enough for her not to feel threatened by anything else you were doing. Now that you have been together for some time it’s possible that she has become insecure about the solidity of your relationship. Ask yourself if her feeling threatened is somewhat understandable? Is it just in her head, or isn’t it perhaps a little real?

Performers give themselves to their audience by putting themselves out there to be admired, crushed on, judged etc. They can seem attractive and accessible to audience members who are engaging and making their own personal connections with the performance.

Enjoying a performer can almost feel like owning them in some weird way. When you partner with someone, it can also feel like you own them in an equally weird way (examples: saying “my girlfriend” to someone, candied hearts that say “You’re Mine” – don’t ask me why we consider this romantic...) and if your partner is a performer, well you might perceive that you share them (in this weird way) with any Tom, Dick and Sherry who steps into their art. This can be exciting for the performer (or they might not even notice) and threatening for the possessive partner. It does not mean that you should give up your passion (hell no) but if you are willing to recognize this, and address it with her, well then the issue might dissolve.

I also have to say that it looks like (and you mentioned that) an ultimatum is on the horizon. Ultimatums have a bad rep cause they are harsh and demanding. But really, partnering with someone is like making a deal, and under certain circumstances it is necessary to lay out what your deal breakers are. The good thing about ultimatums is that if someone’s gonna ultimatum you (you can either quit your music or stay with me) you can, if you are prepared to do so, which you clearly stated you are, ultimatum them right back (either you stop pissing on my music or I’m outta here). I hope this isn’t necessary. You can maybe nip it in the butt by talking to her before it comes to a nasty fight, though, I have to say (despite what most professional helpers i.e., therapists have to say) there is something to be said about having a big-fuck-off-fight with someone.

It sure clears the air and can bring you to a place where you actually want to sit down and be calm and listen to one another. It can also reaffirm your strong feelings for each other and might even convince you that you don’t want to lose her over this disagreement.

One last suggestion. Since you are both musicians, you should attempt to jam with her and include her when you go out or play gigs. Also not a bad idea to make one night a week “date-night” to give some of your time to her as well as your music.   
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— by Margo, Special To L.A. Beat
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