1. East
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    East Member

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    Unsupportive partners

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by East, Jun 7, 2011.

    We all know writing is a very personal process, and first drafts should be kept to yourself. A supportive and encouraging partner (husband, wife, boy/girlfriend) should make an effort to respect a writer's space and not attempt to intrude on or inspect the process.

    I have been having real troubles lately with the woman in my life. She has little interest in literature or stories. Not even in film or television. And she thinks my writing time is a dalliance and should be better used improving various parts of our life together, home, health, career. I have made attempts to involve her in my writing by giving her books she might enjoy, or giving her stories I have written. I have even bought her a good notebook to take down her thoughts. But it all seems to have worked against me, and has made her more set against my use of time and our shared computer.

    Ending a relationship with someone because of lack of support seems excessive. Working around the problem and finding personal time to write seems a better plan. However, this leaves me feeling like I am being unfaithful. I feel a need for freedom to write, and can't achieve this. As a result I feel contempt and annoyance towards a woman I chose to accept into my life.
     
  2. Rascal
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    Rascal Member

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    You need to work this out with your lady. You can have a discussion with her, and try explaining to her how much writing means to you, and how you feel unsupported. Be completely honest with her.

    If things continue the way they are going, then you make the decision if writing is more important to you or not.

    Personally, relationships come over any hobby I have. But that's just me.
     
  3. dizzyspell
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    dizzyspell Active Member

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    The fact that she's not supportive of you in your writing indicates bigger problems in your relationship. It sounds like she's making things all about her. Like, you can't have time for you, you have to spend your free time on things that will better her.

    A good relationship should allow you the freedom to pursue your own hobbies. If it doesn't, something has to give.

    I lucked out with my boyfriend, though. He's the most supportive person I've ever met. :D
     
  4. wallomrslug
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    wallomrslug Member

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    I think if you're forced to make that choice, the relationship probably isn't too healthy.
     
  5. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi,

    Far be it for me to give relationship advice, however these things are all about give and take / compromise. You need some space for your own things, she needs some time for hers, and you need time together as well. You can't sacrifice your writing for her, you'll resent her for it, and you can't really sacrifice her for your writing, it sort of reeks of obsession.

    Therefore compromise. Allow some time for everything.

    Also, yes writing can be very personal. But if you trust this woman, I'd say let her read what you write. Half the problem is likely that she feels deliberately excluded, and in any case most of us are writing to be read some day. If you can't do that then maybe you have to ask yourself two questions, first do you not trust her? And second, are you ever planning on letting anyone read what you write?

    Also, if you can't resolve things, counselling may help.

    Hope that helps.
     
  6. darkhaloangel
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    darkhaloangel Active Member

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    Actually, it doesn't. But if you are serious about this girl you've got to try and help matters as well. Remember you tried to fix the problem by including her, giving her books, writing equipment etc. You're just going to have to face the fact, she isn't interested.

    Perhaps try fixing the solution, but halving your time between you writing and her. She's probably worried because she believes it's turning into an obsession (most writers I know do see their craft as obsessive in someways). So don't talk to her about books or writing - leave that for yourself.

    That's not unfaithful - that's healthy. It's important for a relationship to have time for yourself as well as your partner.

    At the end of the day; it seems more like the two of you have trouble conversing, than the actual hobby hinderance. There is probably something deeper at play that you'll need to sort out first, and then tackle the logistics of time and hobbies.
     
  7. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I've been married for 35 years (come September), during which time my wife and I raised two children with disabilities. Lots of stress, lots of angst. For a long time, my wife resented the time and effort I gave to writing, especially because it wasn't my career, and that made it a hobby. She resented the time she was left alone because I was writing.

    I tried to involve her in my writing, like you did, and found that only increased the tension, because she naturally saw it as trying to force my interests on her (interesting how my "sharing" turned to "forcing" when the POV changed; perspective is everything). At one point, it became a real problem because writing IS important to me.

    A relationship, especially a marriage, immediately implies some loss of individuality, some sacrifice of "I" in favor of "we". So what is needed is balancing. Unless you both have exactly the same likes and dislikes (and clearly you don't, else you wouldn't have this problem), there are likely things she likes that do not interest you. We ultimately used that as our guide for working things out.

    As it happens, my wife is a political news junkie, a relentless channel-surfer. So, there are evenings we do things together - we both like sports and good films - and there are evenings when I write and she "surfs". I also sometimes get up early to write (especially on weekends) or stay up later (fortunately, she needs more sleep than I do). I also rarely talk about writing to her, and I never ask her to read anything unless she has evinced an interest on her own (which she sometimes does).

    The key is maintaining a balance. Relationships are hard work, but worth it.
     
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  8. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    First of all, congrats, Ed! Always nice to know someone can make it, especailly in this time and day. You give the rest of us hope. :)

    To get back on track, I think being unsupportive to your partner is a bad thing. It's not just writing, but any interests we might have. I grew up with video games and play more than I want, so if I were to get married, my future wife must have at least some interest in video games. Fortunately that's not as far fetched as it used to be, but there's still a long way from "the occasional Super Mario" and "several hours every day". And fortunately I've headed more and more into that first part, but it wasn't that long ago I got game called Dragon Quest IX and ended up playing it so much it wore out my eyes for days. The good thing is games today are so varied it's easy for anyone to find at least something they enjoy, and many games focus on cooperative play, so you can play with your partner.

    And I think that's the ticket. You need to be able to do something with your partner. I had a writing partner the last year and a half, and we were doing great together for a long time. Nearly finished three books. The reason I ended everything wasn't because I wanted to, but she always tried to push her ideas, write the stories she wanted and all that. That's fine most of the time, but we were supposed to be partners, and if she couldn't even consider some of my ideas, what use was the partnership? I was there to write with her, not for her. Sadly that's exactly what happened. When I said I considered ending out partnership, she kept saying she couldn't finish the books on her own. Not once did it even occur to her that I could want to finish the books on my own too. Not even once. So if you ever see a books called Lucid's Dreaming, Syphide, Book of Sin/Virtue or even just Elohim by some Eidolon Schreiber, that's my book. Or should have been, if she hadn't stolen it. (and she's a Dallas police officer, on top of it.)

    Point is if you want to live with someone or work with some, you need to be able to communicate and actually listen to each other. Every couple has problems, but you need to be able to work through them as a team and pull in the same direction. If you can't work together, how can you live together?
     
  9. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sorry for saying this, but it's hard to answer your question without knowing how much time you spend on writing. If it's dozens of hours per week, she may have a point about putting your relationship, health, home and career first.
     
  10. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    Never voluntarily let someone else control what you do with your free time. It's your free time because it's yours. A hobby is a part of you, and if some female tries to force you away from that hobby, she is trying to force you away from being yourself. How is that healthy at all?
     
  11. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    Doesn't she have anything she likes to do on her own? My father's an online gamer and my mother has no interest in it whatsoever; if he's playing games she'll be seen with a book or watching documentaries.

    The only time I ended a relationship over a hobby was when it got to the point that he had the nerve to ask me to pick between staying with him or continuing to write in my free time... he wasn't happy with my decision. However, I later met someone who was supportive of me having my own hobby (now with multiple short stories published) and we've been together since July 2009.
     
  12. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    Actually a healthy replationship is all about loving and respecting your partner. If you do something she wants now, she'll do something you want later. If you never do anything together, what's the point in being together in the first place?
     
  13. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Well, to me at least, I would never enter a relationship where something so important to me wasn't something my partner had too, but then again I'm a very odd person in many ways. But, that's just something too important, something I know would wreck a relationship I'd have if she differentiated too much on that.
    Anyway, the point is that I would choose hobbies over a relationship, but that's because that choice shouldn't come up to begin with a relationship like that.
     
  14. Ashrynn
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    Ashrynn Active Member

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    All I can say is that I'm in a sham of a relationship, but it's given me some perspective as to what a real one is like.

    I've also seen her at her lowest, selfish, angry, and bitter over the smallest things. Despite not knowing me fully, she'll expect the world of me and I'm not capable of such a thing.

    I will say this, it's important that you are able to put time in for yourselves. Even married, you need your own hobbies as you are still individuals.
     
  15. Norm
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    Norm Contributing Member

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    How is what you posted here contrary to my earlier post in any way?
     
  16. Ashrynn
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    Ashrynn Active Member

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    Unoriginality is the rehashing of someone elses view while acting as if it your own.

    *shrug*
     
  17. Orcalot
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    Orcalot Member

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    It's difficult to respond to this, but I feel I have to. I'm a pet portrait artist by profession. In past relationships, I've made the mistake of pushing art to one side and believing it was a "compromise" for the benefit of the relationship. Painting, writing, sculpting, creativity in general, is part of who I am. It's not a hobby. It took me a long, long time to realise this. I can't really advise, only you know your own relationship and feelings towards your partner. But from my own experience, I can tell you that even if you're happy and willing to sacrifice your writing in order to please your partner because you love her, you will end up resenting her and feeling cheated by life down the road. If she can't accept that art is a part of who you are, then maybe she's not the one for you. Just my tu'pence worth, that's all. Hope things work out for you. :D
     
  18. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    One of my best friends was having relationship problems and I thought she'd stopped writing because first she was all happy and distracted and then super busy and then super stressed because it was falling apart - then she told me that he'd told her to stop writing. Never felt so angry about anything in a long time. :/ No one should ever make that choice for someone else, particularly when it makes them happy. You might as well say, "Stop talking and shut up" to them.

    Happy to say that when I went to stay with my boyfriend he let me lie around writing in the middle of the day and I still met my usual word count for the week despite hanging out with him for most of it. :p I don't care how much I like someone - if they told me not to write, to cut back on writing, or to do anything with not writing as much, I would leave them on the spot.
     
  19. Eunoia
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    Eunoia Contributing Member Contributor

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    I guess you've got to agree to disagree in terms of accepting that she isn't going to be interested in your writing. The thing is she's got to respect that writing is your hobby and important to you. She doesn't have to be interested in it, but she does have to respect that it interests you and let you do it. The relationship can't be just about her, or just about you, there has to be a balance. Therefore if she's not letting you do your hobby, yet she can do what she wants then that's not really fair. Surely she has hobbies/interests too? Can she really not spare your company or commitment to your 'life together, home, health, career' to allow you to write for an hour a day or for however long?
     
  20. _Lulu_
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    _Lulu_ Member

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    I would also choose my hobbies over a relationship because that means he wouldn't be accepting me as I am, he would be trying to control me into what he wants me to be.

    Of course I don't know your situation if it's that extreme or not but I do think you should sit down and tell her exactly how you feel and ask her why she doesn't like you writing.
     
  21. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    There is a big difference between telling someone not to write and telling someone that the manner in which they are writing or the amount of time they are taking up with it is damaging the relationship. I would never advocate the former, but I would the latter.

    As I said earlier, relationships are inherently difficult to do well because there is always such a balancing act, and because communication is so important (especially the listening part).

    It's also important to remember that there are no right/wrong answers in the objective sense. The person who says he would choose his art over a relationship is just as correct as the person who would throw all his writing materials away in order to save it. No one can make that choice for you. It all comes down to what you value most highly.
     
  22. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    writing has always been a solitary pursuit... if you can't get the person you live with to accept your need to write, then you've only two choices as i see it...

    1.live alone and write to your heart's content
    or
    2.trade writing willingly, for a happy home life
     
  23. Ashrynn
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    Ashrynn Active Member

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    I think love is sacrifice also.

    Now, if I was ever told to flat out not write I think it'd also be followed by me digging my heels further into the dirt.

    If I was told that....let's say 10 hours I was writing each day that I was neglecting my partner then....Well I'd say that means I need to be a little less selfish and sacrifice a bit.

    It sounds gray, because you need to decide what is 'personal time' and what is 'neglect'.
     
  24. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I don't see this as an issue of him having to choose between whether writing or his partner is more important to him.

    Let's just say that his S/O was in the hospital, and he had to choose between visiting her or staying home to write. Or if she had her own problems that were stressing her out in her life, and tried to turn to him to support, and he didn't care because he was too wrapped up in his writing. That would be an issue of his stories being more important than his lover, and this would be a problem.

    But if your partner tries to discourage you from writing, the choice here is not "writing versus partner;" it's an issue of "being controlled versus your partner respecting your freedom."

    As an example -- If I were dating someone and told him I was going to the movies with a group of girlfriends, and he freaked out because I didn't ask his permission, I'd dump that relationship like a hot potato, immediately, without question. But it's not because I put a weekend out with the girls above my relationship - it's because I refuse to tolerate being bossed around, controlled, or treated like a child. And a situation like that would exemplify that he sees the relationship in a different light than I do and thinks having authority over me is acceptable, which I won't tolerate.

    This I see as being the same way. Although, as Islander said, if you spend ALL of your time writing and NONE with her, evaluate the situation objectively.
     
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  25. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    The solution to leave her is a little dramatic when a $500-$700 laptop could fix the problem.

    If the problem is she wants to control your writing and how the out come should be then that is another thing but have you asked her not to interfere? If so and she is still trying to control your writing then yes you may want to leave her.

    Getting advice on a forum on how to handle personal situations might be a little much. If it is simply support you want, you got it.
     

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