Posted by
Lesley Arfin
• 02.04.10 10:00 am

I have been with my boyfriend for over four years and things seem to be at a breaking point. We are separated in age by almost a decade, yet I still feel like I need to tell him to grow up.

I have been with my boyfriend for over four years and things seem to be at a breaking point. We are separated in age by almost a decade, yet I still feel like I need to tell him to grow up. Since we have been together, he’s worked on some new creative project that becomes the most important thing ever, surpassing me, his family, his friends, etc. I have been trying to support him to the best of my ability, along with everyone else. He is someone that everyone knows is very intelligent and can achieve anything he puts his mind to … but unfortunately at age 33 he is still working a shit job he hates. A series of crap circumstances put us back in our hometown together.

When I was younger and started dating him, his lifestyle wasn’t a big deal. It was cool to stay up until dawn, getting wasted and watching him draw, listening to music, etc. Now that I am four years older and have seriously been thinking and working on my future, I’m beginning to wonder if there is any hope for us. EVERYTHING has to defer to whatever project he is working on and even while being as supportive as I can be, he is constantly accusing me of demanding his attention. I do want a lot of attention and I’m definitely one of those co-dependent-y types, but in recognizing that, I’m really trying hard to let him be and let him do his thang.

Of course, it is not all bad. I love him and his family. He’s hilarious, the best in bed ever, and has helped me through some really, really, really hard times. But I’m wondering how I’m going to have kids (the ultimate goal) with someone whose creative process seems to consist of smoking a lot of pot and pacing around the house for several hours. Am I a square? Any advice on how to be the significant other of a brilliant mind? I really want this to work.

Thanks so much,

Dear Fake Name,

Thanks for writing. I feel like the “easy” answer here would normally go like, “Break up! Live your life!”, and all that other stuff I sometimes seem to preach (but have a hard time practicing). That is in fact not the right advice to give in this situation and personally, I don’t care if you stay with him or not.

What people don’t often want to admit is that love is not perfect and relationships teach us more about ourselves than anything else. It seems like you really do love him and here is your chance, in the relationship, to maybe learn a little bit more about yourself by getting through this hard time.

My question is, why does EVERYTHING have to defer to his creative process? He’s not pointing a gun to your head and making you care. What you can change is your reaction to his temper tantrums. I think when he’s having these King Baby moments, you sort of have to treat him like a child. You have to put your grown-up pants on and try to speak in a patient and loving way. Tell him you do support him and you’d like to know how you can help.

Sometimes wearing grown-up pants also means ignoring the temper tantrums. I’m sure you see mothers with crying children on line at the bank or whatever. What do those mommies do? They ignore. They let their baby cry it out, and eventually the baby gets tired and stops crying. When he’s in his “I’m a genius — let me smoke pot and pace” mode, simply let him do that and step away. It is through his own path and process that he will come to terms with quitting the job he hates or making the next masterpiece or whatever he thinks is soooo important for him to do.

What about your creative process? What do you do? How do you act when you’re trying to get stuff done? I think the power of example goes such a long way, although at first it can be painful for both partners. By pulling away you are not loving him less, as it would seem, but you are respecting his process more. And your own.

Don’t worry about the having babies thing either. At least not for now. First things first, and you can’t take care of a child (with him or anyone else) until you learn how to take care of yourself.

I hope this helps. I know it is really hard stuff to get through. You focus, like you said, on your future and your life, and watch how things have a very surprising way of working out — regardless of what the end result (termination of the relationship or not) may be.

Thank you again,

Send “Ask Barf” letters to

  1. drippy dog dix and cum bubbles or something says:

    At 33, is he generating any income at all with his art? I don’t think it’s out of line to have doubts about this genius. How will you feel ten years down the line once you’ve shit out a kid and his drawings still don’t pay for daycare? Is growing up considered square?

  2. Anonymous says:

    If it ain’t happening at 33, it ain’t gonna happen. On the off-off-chance it does, you’ll be the one he dumps once he “makes it.”

    Punch and delete. Next!

  3. sharon says:

    great advice

  4. Groid Swayze says:

    the fool’s life at length becomes a Hell on earth

  5. Anonymous says:

    why don’t you post his work? that way we can decide for you whether or not you should stay with him

  6. bring me your white women says:

    stand by your man you bitch

  7. Dork says:

    You are what? 23? No big decisions need to be made right now, but it does sound like you need a life of your own instead of just living an extension of his life.

  8. Mike E says:

    “If it ain’t happening at 33, it ain’t gonna happen” is terrible advice. Maybe if one is looking to be a pro-footballer or model, sure. But age has nothing to do with creative success.

  9. Anonymous says:

    ^^let me guess: you’re over 35 and still a’hopin’…solly cholly.

  10. Mike E says:

    No. I’m thirty and right on track. Quit thinking your computer is a crystal ball and take your anonymous-know-it-all-loser talk elsewhere.

  11. Professor Mudbutt says:

    what if they come up with like an iBall that really is a crystal ball AND a computer? damn, i should write these down and put ’em away so i can find them after i’m 30 and make a fortune and dump my boring gf.

  12. ItsRoutine says:

    Dork makes a good point. What is going on in your own life? If you keep yourself a little more busy it won’t be as big of a deal. Yeah, your guy needs to tone it down a bit and not be such a workaholic, but you need to come up with your own things to keep you occupied.

  13. Loozer Boozer says:

    this is why dating women under 25 sucks. every chick goes through some bullshit “change of heart” around that age. where once a girl liked having fun, getting fucked up, and partying, now they want kids and a house and a boring job. are you mad at him cuz he still has dreams? fuck that. you knew who he was when you got together, and now YOU”RE the cunt changing the rules. You fucking bitch.

  14. bolo says:

    I was once married to a woman who would get angry when I painted while I listened to music instead of watch tv with her. She eventually left me because I didn’t make enough money. Miserable and lonely, I buried myself in my work, in my little ghetto apartment. Soon I was making money and travelling, and without that insane cunt of a ball and chain I was more succesful than I ever hoped to be. So please, do this man a favor and leave him. Even if he never “makes it”, you’ll both be happier.

  15. Leo says:

    I agree with Boozer. But I think King Baby needs to stop smoking pot. This guy is wasted, Fake Name. You have to support him.

  16. kure kure takora says:

    Women can get in your way when you’re trying to “get shit done”. Unless people both either like live together and have separate interests or whatever to keep themselves occupied, it gets on a fast track to shitsville when they’re finally out of work that probably doesn’t fulfill their life long dreams (surprisingly enough, a lot of people don’t get to do “cool shit” at work all day) to do something they want to on their own (be it go to a gym, do artwork, practice guitar, train for a marathon/bobsled team/world sprint cup, etc etc.) and one of them is all like “Waaah I’m bored, entertain me about your day!”

    I totally prize my time with MY GIRLFRIEND, but both people need to have things to do on their own and it’s much more interesting people.

    TL:DR; get a hobby/activity of your own.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Never dump a guy who makes you laugh AND cum. Get yourself a good job and support him. What are you gonna do? Dump him and marry someone who’s equally as boring and goal-oriented as you are? Please.

  18. fake name says:

    thank you lesley (&everyone)! soon after I sent the email I was like “I’m being retarded. If we both love each other as much as we say we do, then spending time apart to pursue interests isn’t going to kill us.” but yes I will have to keep my fingers crossed that when he does “make it,” he will still want me. By that time I’ll be old and only a shadow of my former hotness but whatever. L’chaim!

  19. Anonymous says:

    30 and “right on track” = the hot breath of failure is scorching Mikey’s neck. at least you don’t have to worry about a ballnchain girlfriend. and i don’t need no crystal ball to see that.

  20. Jackie McChuckles says:

    “What? You put on your what-up pants?! No, how about YOU putting my grown-up pants on ME. How the hell would I know why they’re caked in shit! I’m an artist goddamn it, don’t make me fuckin’ explain.”

  21. Crowbar says:

    Boozer firing on all cylinders. couldn’t say it better myself.

  22. Sewer Rats says:

    Yeah, I’m going with boozer on this too, you fucking bitch.

  23. Arv's Mom's Testicles says:

    Ah, just find another dude. I’m sure it’s relatively easy to find an ‘artist’ who makes money for teh future kids and house, but still makes you cum while smoking pot. Love(he has money) or Lust(makes me cum) hmmm, what’s a girl to do? Or better yet, just SHOW TITS OR GTFO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. silly little mongoose says:

    Ah, vegan jules.

  25. Candice says:

    Artists are the hardest people to live with, for SO many reasons. In my experience, it’s worth it, but you need to believe in and find value in their art, or it’s not going to work, because yes, the creative process WILL be stressful for both of you, and WILL mean certain sacrifices, guaranteed. My husband can be like a lost puppy when he’s in creative mode, but I support him (and take care of him, as aggravating as it is to have to do for an adult) because I trust him to do the same with me (I’m bipolar or somethingorothermyheadshrinkerisntquitesureyet, and have shorter but more intense bursts of “genius”, or whateverthehell applies to me, anyway…) The response above is pretty durn good advice.

  26. imyar says:

    enabling a pothead pacer whilst putting your own dreams on hold and letting him steer the ship, it’s going to end. in a mess.

  27. Beej says:

    Fuck im not sure whats wrong with me i really like these “Ask Barf” things now, they’re really good.

    My advice to Fake Name would be to get the proverbial “life”, what your probably very talented other half is wishing is that you would actually do something halfway constructive / creative with your time too.

    Have you got anything that you like doing? know it sounds cliche but get involved in SOMETHING, and you might find yourself wanting to “pace the room” and maybe even smoke some pot once in a while, with the guy, because you’re both working on shit and have shit going on.

    If he’s worth his salt he will keep doing this shit for his WHOLE LIFE, thats what its about, and at some stage if he keeps it up, will inevitably achieve some kind of success from it, whatever ‘it’ is.

    So get a life, stop being a loser yourself and create something once in a while (kids dont count). do a zine or something, get the guy some exposure, get him an exhibition, whatever it is. get involved.

    you sound fucking boring.

  28. drippy dog dix and cum bubbles or something says:

    Totally guys! Life’s fair, and if you just persevere, you’ll make “it”, no matter what :) Too. Many. Movies.

  29. Spandrell says:

    “Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value”–Einstein, bitches

  30. Stallone says:

    Yo, what ever happened to the good old days when you could just hit a woman if she got out of line.

  31. Brucifer says:

    Do what Dork said.

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