Ask B. Scott: 'My Boyfriend's a 'Struggling Artist' and I Can't Take It Anymore'

Dear B. Scott,

My boyfriend and I have been together for 2 years. He was a struggling artist when I met him and he is a struggling artist now. I am a full-time student with jobs and I am having a hard time supporting the relationship: providing transportation to see each other and food to eat when we are together. I hate seeing successful couples going out, spending money, and enjoying life because I wish we could do more stuff like that. I really think his talent is amazing… I love and want to be with him, but do my needs outweigh that? How can I push and support him on to the next level? Should i just leave the relationship alone?

Dear love muffin,

I believe one of the hardest things to do in a relationship is to sit back and watch someone you love try to ‘get their life together’ — especially when it’s easy to see how much potential they have. I also believe that one should never have to sacrifice their personal happiness to make a relationship work.

Whether you two are dining at high-end restaurants or scraping up change for that two-cheeseburger value meal at McDonald’s, at the end of the day when you go to sleep at night — you should be happy. 

Even though you knew the type of man and the type of lifestyle you were dealing with when you first entered the relationship, that doesn’t mean you can’t express a desire for things to change. Relationships evolve, and so do people’s needs. You have a right to evaluate the state of your union at any given time.

I would suggest that you have an honest, heart-to-heart discussion about the stress his ‘struggling artist’ lifestyle is putting on you. If you’re constantly acting like everything’s fine, then how can you expect him to make any changes?

With that said, you also can’t expect everything to change overnight.

You two need to work on a gradual progression towards equal sharing of the financial burden. Identify small goals (i.e. taking turns providing meals, figuring out low-budget date options, etc.) and both of you make an effort to reduce spending.

In addition, it might help if you talk to him and get a clear understanding of what his goals are, what he’s doing (or not doing) to achieve those goals, and how long he thinks it will take him to accomplish them. It’ll give you a better perspective on what’s going on.

Prepare yourself for the possibility that he doesn’t want to or just not might be able to change his lifestyle. As of right now, your relationship depends on whether or not your love for him outweighs the financial struggle.

At the end of the day what it comes down to is whether or not your love for him outweighs the financial struggle.

Love,

B. Scott

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