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Writing and how it messes up your relationships, but you need them anyway…

I admit I’m a nightmare to go out with.

I’d resigned myself to not having a relationship when my children were younger. The main problem was the issue of childcare and not having any significant blocks of time to devote exclusively to a new partner and myself.

But apart from that, I just didn’t think I had time.

A while ago I posted this:

All of which are true, but actually the biggest problem with dating a writer, and indeed in being a writer, is that writing just takes a really long time. So if you have to fit that around a job and single parenthood… well, that’s really hard.

Since my husband died in 2003, I’ve told myself that I didn’t miss being in a relationship – I didn’t allow myself to. This life of solitude and my own thoughts was what I had chosen by being a writer.  And wasn’t it better to see it as a positive choice rather than something I had been forced into by circumstances?

It was, and it wasn’t. I never stopped missing the support and companionship I had when I was married. So last year, with my children just old enough to contemplate a future, I cracked and went back on the dating scene. It was fun, and I needed that relationship to explore who I was as a person.

There’s a dilemma there – we have to have time to write, but we also need to live enough of a life to have something to be passionate and to write about. Sometimes there just aren’t enough hours.

Anyway now I’ve been back out of a relationship for a while, my natural pattern of work has reasserted itself, and it’s an anti-social one at that, involving an ideal of four hours a day of writing/creative activity, two of which occur before 7 in the morning (it’s easier to write before the mechanisms of the daily grind kick in). Most normal people just don’t want to have that inflicted upon them by a partner.

I can’t deny that having a partner gave me my zest for life again. I wasn’t writing nearly as much as this pre-relationship.

But I wasn’t writing this much during-relationship either. It was one of the first things that went out of the window as I tried to make time and be committed. For this reason, I’ve opted out of committed relationships for the time being. I just can’t face the possibility of disappointing someone again, of battling other commitments all the time, of not being enough.

For those of us who have this choice to make, it would be easier if we didn’t write. How can you reconcile the demands of writing and being in a relationship?


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