I have been dating a wonderful man for two years now. He is patient, kind, goofy, loving, and completely supportive. In other words, my ideal partner. Our relationship has gotten pretty serious, and we have discussed marriage. We met in a university music program and both have master’s degrees in music. He is a public school teacher, and I perform on the side while working in marketing. I have great co-workers, a good salary, and benefits while I work out the trajectory of my performing career. Everything was great, until we went on a trip to Los Angeles two months ago. I’d had a nagging feeling that L.A. was the ideal place to pursue my career, but since returning from the trip, I have been positive that in order to fulfill my dreams, I need to move there and truly make a go of it. We live in a beautiful city with an active arts scene, but I am such a highly ambitious person that I know I would rather fall off the fourth rung of the highest ladder than climb to the top of a shorter one.
I finally told him this, and his response was that I shouldn’t take him into consideration if I decide to move there. He told me that he knows he wouldn’t be happy there (something that didn’t surprise me) and that he could never let me quash my dreams on his behalf. He also doesn’t want to break up with me. My therapist suggested that I was approaching the situation with a black-and-white mindset; my choices aren’t stay here and try to forget my aspirations or dump him and move to L.A. If we wanted to, there’s plenty of middle ground to structure a nontraditional relationship. This is all true, but if I’m being honest with myself, I know I couldn’t be truly happy in limbo, either when it comes to my relationship or my career. I am a full-force personality.
Prudence, I am older, fatter, less attractive, and less experienced than just about everyone who dives into acting. I have been told more than once that I am “too smart” to pursue performing and that I’m better suited to academia. I am ready to say “fuck that” to all of that negativity and doubt, but I am not ready to leave behind my biggest champion and, quite frankly, the love of my life. Is there common ground somewhere that I can’t see?
—Supportive Boyfriend Versus Showbiz Dreams