Dating a creative is unlike any other romantic encounter.
It can be tough. You may spend a huge chunk of your time enthusiastically posting their art that no one else cares about, or listening to cringeworthy SoundCloud remixes. In the case that they’re actually good at their craft, their ability to remain faithful on tours may be cause for concern. There’s also a chance that you’ll have a a difficult time carving out your own identity beyond being their partner.
Then there’s the stress that comes with being a muse. You’re gleaned from privately, and expected to be silent about it in public. You may feel used and hate being seen as merely a supporter. While third wave feminism and the internet have helped do away with this—women are now able to become their own stars—musing still happens.
Being in a relationship with a creative isn’t all bad, though. In fact, sometimes, it’s a perfect match.
The closeness you feel with an artistic union is unparalleled. The music, art, or poetry that you two make together is nothing short of magical. Your conversations have depth. It is nice to feel seen, and to share a connection beyond basic appearances. You come to appreciate their point of view and how much they pour into their work. The unions of Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson, and Teyana Taylor and Iman Shumpert come to mind.
We chatted with a few Black women about what dating creatives has been like for them. Check out their responses below.
My first relationship was with a visual artist and it was extremely tumultuous. As I’ve dated creatives, I’ve found that their love for art is stronger than having a partner. In that first relationship, I felt objectified more than taken seriously.
This isn’t to male-bash. Being with an artist is beautiful, but it can also be a clash between two creative minds.
I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum. I’ve been the dutiful girlfriend who encouraged a boyfriend to take their art more seriously. I have also been the selfish girlfriend who is way more into her work than anyone else. I think in each relationship though, both sides learned something important about themselves. The relationships taught me about balance and boundaries, and showed me what’s the most important to me.
I can say in a lot of ways, he opened me up to myself, but in that process there was plenty of damage done. Dating a musician, or any artist for that matter, is a commitment to the unorthodox. It’s a journey marked by passion and adventure, but lacking in monotony that makes relationships enjoyable…I found parts of myself and lost others. Artists will absorb you into their work. It seems honorable to be a muse, but you don’t want to be crushed into the canvas of their misery.
When I look back and realize that most of my impactful relationships were with artists [and musicians], I..believe a part of it is because I am a writer and author myself. There is something very…inexplicable about the bond that transpires between two creatives… Whether it’s a platonic or romantic dynamic. They “get” each other in ways that others simply cannot and will not. It’s like they have their own language.
-Shellie Warren, writer
Image credit: Getty Images/Brooklyn White