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Anyone else married to a failed artist?

(60 Posts)
Vi8 Fri 08-Jul-11 18:48:39

He's a good man, lovely father, but lives in fantasyland! He's been putting all the eggs in one basket all his life (now late '40s), and has "almost made it" quite a few times, which has kept him going. He's still at it, and I respect his commitment and lack of materialism, but we have two DC, and I'm the main provider. I work part-time and between us we get by financially, but I feel burdened and would also like to devote time to myself and further my studies, for example. I've been dreaming of doing a PhD for years, but it's not going to happen. We have huge rows, and he says he would love to give me more, but just can't get the money together. He just about manages to pay all the bills, while I pay mortage, food, clothes and all the extras. I love him but it's really hard, he just has no initiative apart from what he likes doing. He feels a failure, although he's a naturally optimistic person. It was very attractive to be with someone like this when I was in my 20s, but I'm now 40!!!

LoveMyGirls Fri 08-Jul-11 18:52:46

I would love to be an artist but I'm not selfish enough yet (will get there one day). I understand his passion but he needs to be realistic and put his family before his dream. I'm guessing you have explained this to him?

Can't he compromise and at the very least work part time?

Apocalypto Fri 08-Jul-11 18:52:53

He sounds like a complete loser, frankly. What provision is he making for his family's wellbeing if you cant work?

LoveMyGirls Fri 08-Jul-11 18:56:05

What if you both put your dreams on hold for 1 year, both work as many hours as you can and save up to do a phd/ have art as a hobby?

Vi8 Fri 08-Jul-11 19:02:04

He does some building work, when he can get it, and is training to become a counsellor (he's great with people), and the hope that he eventually gets there is what keeps me here. As I said, great dad and the kids adore him. He also adores me, and is always telling me that he loves me and fancies me, etc. But I fear for the future, and get quite anxious about it. I'm getting anxious now, writing about it. I just don't have career security in order to provide for everyone. I suppose this is how many men feel...

Vi8 Fri 08-Jul-11 19:07:40

... and of course we couldn't afford to separate without selling the house and buying two small flats - not very nice for the DC...

HarryPotheadLicksDobby Fri 08-Jul-11 19:12:12

Sorry to be frank, but seriously?? There's loads i'd like to do but can't afford it. Needs must and he has to get a proper job and support his kids!!

He is being pretty selfish.

Can't he paint/sculpt/whatever in evenings and weekends and still work?

dreamingbohemian Fri 08-Jul-11 19:12:41

Very few artists are able to support themselves solely by their art -- either they have family or patrons funding them, or they work in a commercial version of their art (e.g., my photographer friends do wedding photography to pay the bills). It's so unfair for you to have to give up your dreams so your husband can pursue his, even when it's not enough to support the family.

I think you should talk and come up with a date by which he needs to be bringing in more money. He doesn't need to give up his art but he can't be relying on you indefinitely -- he needs a cutoff date.

dreamingbohemian Fri 08-Jul-11 19:14:19

sorry x-post

I don't understand then, he's a builder and a counselor trainee, and what is the art he does? Will he be able to get a steady job when he finishes training? If so, why are you worried?

Vi8 Fri 08-Jul-11 19:21:49

I know... I/we have other artist friends who've remained single or childless and that is not a problem as they only have to look after themselves and can be very frugal, that's fine and I respect it completely. Sometimes I feel guilty having had children with him, maybe he's just not cut out for it - although our DC are unquestionably the centre of his world, and gets really down at not being able to give them more...

moondog Fri 08-Jul-11 19:24:21

Who looks after the kids?
Why don't you work f/t?

It does sound very irritating but if he is not materialistic and happy with little, that's something.

Vi8 Fri 08-Jul-11 19:26:03

He's training to be a counsellor (my idea) and does some building work. It's going to take a while longer, maybe a couple of years, to qualify and then he'll have to build up the counselling work. A long journey when you have kids, but that is what I concentrate on when I feel really down...

Vi8 Fri 08-Jul-11 19:34:34

I work p/t as my kids are small and really want to be there for them - also, jobs don't abound, I check all the time. At the same time I'm very aware that I need to think of my future, and my DC won't be little forever. We share the kid's pickups etc. and have a childminder, so we just about manage. We have no family at all near us, so no support.

moondog Fri 08-Jul-11 19:36:59

So he is home, you are home some of the time and you have a childminder?

moondog Fri 08-Jul-11 19:37:25

How old are yuor kids?

ZZZenAgain Fri 08-Jul-11 19:39:30

if he is training to be a counsellor, isn't he out doing his course? He also odd jobs as a builder. She works part-time and so someone has to look after the preschoolers when they are both out

When is he going to be finished with this training and is he likely to get a job which will improve the financial situation?

tbh I cannot see where he gets a lot of time for his art in between building, training and looking after the dc (if he is doing that?)

silentcatastrophe Fri 08-Jul-11 19:50:01

If his work sells, he hasn't failed. Most artists don't make the big time and just get along. It's a hard draft occupation, and if he's making bits of money here and there by building, it's a bit unkind to call him 'failed'. People don't change, and going from making bugger all money to lots of dosh is a massive shift in attitude. Being an artist who makes a living requires masses of different skills from book-keeping to promotion and PR. It needs a business plan of sorts, and an understanding of the market you are aiming at. Whatever is failing, the art bit is probably fine, but the rest is hard. It takes very thick skin, lots of rejections, and persistance to carry on. Business Link is still going, but will only be online from November. There are often local arts business courses available. Worth looking into.

lucykate Fri 08-Jul-11 19:54:01

i am also married to an artist. ime, most artists with families supplement their income, dh teaches on a uni degree course, and he does his painting mostly in the evenings/weekends.

what kind of art does your dh do?

Vi8 Fri 08-Jul-11 21:17:34

I can't say exactly what he does as too many clues (i know people who read threads on MN), all I can say is that his art only makes maybe a few thousand a year. I have been suggesting some sort of teaching for years, but he's never sorted that out. His counselling course is only one day a week for now, and the building comes and goes. I need a childminder because my youngest is still at nursery only a few hours a day. The break he has been waiting for has never materialised, basically, and he hasn't really done much else waiting for that bloody break...

ZZZenAgain Fri 08-Jul-11 21:18:27

not easy for you

spudulika Fri 08-Jul-11 21:21:56

"If his work sells, he hasn't failed"

Is that the only measure of how worthwhile his art is? How much someone else is willing to pay for it?


Vi8 Fri 08-Jul-11 21:24:55

He says his art keeps him sane and alive, I agree and would never dream of asking him to give up any of what he does. So it is very valuable, but it's about finding avenues and adapting.

travispickles Fri 08-Jul-11 21:28:26

Am with an artist who teaches art. It puts food on the table.

LemonDifficult Fri 08-Jul-11 21:29:21

Do you like his work? You sound like you've been very supportive so clearly that's not the problem.

He sounds a bit depressed. It's hard to let go of the dreams of your youth if you haven't started to replace them with the dreams of your 40s. I reckon he needs to grieve not being a rock star/Damien Hirst/Rio Ferdinand and then re-find what he does as an enjoyable hobby.

Was the counselling course his idea?

Apocalypto Fri 08-Jul-11 21:30:57

I doubt you'd get a 50:50 split any more than ex-husbands do.

If you work and he doesn't, then if you got a divorce, he'd get the house, the kids, maintenance and your pension, on the basis that he's a househusband, you've always funded him, and thus he's entitled for ever.

Financially speaking at least, you'd be the ex-husband, I suspect.

Best to avoid going down that route...!

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