Creating an identity in my relationship

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I’m 21 years old and my boyfriend and I have been together for about 10 months now. We decided to move in together about 8 weeks ago and it’s a decision I don’t regret. We have a strong relationship; I love and trust him, as I believe he loves and trusts me. My problem: He’s a struggling musician who’s trying to break into the recording industry. He has connections with a studio and is recording as often as he can, while trying to be as available for networking as he can be. Most of his hours though are evenings and late into early morning. I am so proud of him and his progress, (as he’s been working on this album for about a year now) but can’t help but feel left out of the sequence. I dropped out of college last year and have been working full-time. I love the company and the people I work with, but don’t love the idea of staying there long term, as it’s not something I feel real passionate about. With work becoming more monotonous and my boyfriend’s career becoming more demanding, I’m finding myself more alone and unhappy as ever. I love that his love for music is something he’s pursuing and I don’t want to break up with him as I truly believe he is “the one” for me. But the more time he devotes to his love for music the more lost I feel. I’m stuck in this world where I don’t feel like I have or do anything for myself. How do I get myself out of this slump?

A: It sounds to me like you really didn’t know what you were getting into. What you are describing is typical of young musicians’ hours. If he’s convinced he’s going to get signed if he just keeps at it, he is unlikely to change his schedule for you. That’s because most of the people he wants to work with and network with are keeping the same night owl hours. Girlfriends have a choice: Focus on developing your own career and friendships and catch him on the fly as you pass each other or join the band (if not literally, figuratively).

If you can’t be happy with either of those choices, you may have to rethink whether the time is right for you to live together. If you were only dating, you two would have to make plans to have time together. In the live-in situation, it’s easier to take it for granted that of course you’ll come together now and then without planning – which often doesn’t happen. Since you feel so strongly that he’s “the one,” do try to talk it through. You can’t live your life only in reaction to his choices. You need to feel you have an equal part in making the decisions about how the two of you are going to manage your lives. That’s part of being a couple.

If you continue to live together, I do hope your boyfriend has a day job and is taking care of his share of the expenses and household chores. If you’re doing it all and getting so little of his time and attention, you’re going to end up resentful as well as lonesome.

I wish your guy the best of luck in breaking into the music biz. And I wish the two of you the best in finding a way to grow as a couple during the process.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 10 Nov 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). Creating an identity in my relationship. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/11/10/creating-an-identity-in-my-relationship/