Back in February, YourTango contributor John Bowe posted a piece called "Work vs. Love: A Man's Case for Putting Work First," arguing that it's best for us all to go solo until we've made a living, regardless of how it hurts our romantic prospects in the meantime.
As a fellow (male) writer, I'd like to contend that he's dead wrong. Love doesn't have to interfere with your career; it can actually support it. YourTango reader BookMama asked Bowe, "What if you have more than one dream in life: a partner who loves you, children, and writing or whatever your career is?" My answer would be: Pursue them all, all at once. Here's why:
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1. Relationships don't interfere with your career; dating does
In my experience, it's dating that gets in the way of writers and other ambitious people. Dating can become a serious time suck if you're doing it remotely right and going out at least once a week. The phone calls, the IMs, the discussions with friends—it all adds up to a good deal of work and greatly reduces the ability for career people to focus on their professional lives.
Personally, getting past the constant going-out-and-meeting-people and arriving at the one-person-only relationship phase is integral to my concentration and momentum as a writer.
The bottom line is, if someone truly cares for you, they will understand when your projects are more important than your plans to take them to tango class. (A simple "The money I'm making from this design will help pay for next semester lessons, I promise" certainly helps.) The New Way To Have It All: First Baby, Then Love
2. Living with someone and being creative is better than living alone and being creative
Picture this scenario: you're working on a long-term project that's taking up all your time and energy. You have no significant other at the time and are too busy to date. You sink into depression and become easily distracted while the deadline looms. If you had a boyfriend who came over and brought you takeout, wouldn't that help turn things around?
Your girlfriend or boyfriend can talk you through tough creative patches or keep on your case to apply for a fellowship you're being pessimistic about. Sure, building a career and a marriage ended in disastrous results for greats like Sylvia Plath and Norman Mailer, but it wasn't the writing that caused those relationships to collapse. If you are going to fall in love, why hold back in favor of your career when your Facebook page is about to have its first fan?
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