When I say the word “passionate,” I’m not talking about the down on your knees, overly-romantic type fanfare. I am referring to how I describe a person who is passionate about whatever specific interest they hold dear to their heart. Other words such as obsessive, driven, fanatical, and somewhat egotistical also come to mind. What if these tend to describe your partner?
My husband is one of those lucky bastards that loves his work. Like, L-O-V-E-S it. Since he graduated college and became employed, he would go to work for a typical day, come home, and immediately start doing the exact same thing he had just been doing for eight hours. If I could only be that lucky! He is immensely lucky to love his job so much, and it is something I truly admire about him.
Hubs is a Modeler, as in he “sculpts” images in 3D, and most recently has been working on creating an entire video game. He has always had some sort of project he is working on in his spare time (late into the night while I sleep nearby). Regardless of what your passionate partner’s passion is, it is pretty much a moot point. Your partner loves something. Chances are, it’s a symbol of something about your partner that you love, and that drew you together in the first place.
Whether it’s making a video game, rewiring a 1970s boob tube, or writing fantastical stories about neophytes… here are my two cents about how to survive life with a “passionate” partner…
Communicate about time
I still am not entirely sure how my husband functions. I need a good solid 8-9 hours of sleep to feel good about the world. Since I have known him (nearing on 10 years) he has spent most of his nights up for many hours past my bedtime, polishing and creating and thinking and arts-ing.
Now, with young kids, his free time has become much more valuable to me. Knowing that he stayed up the night before to work on his video game, and was most definitely NOT doing the dishes, became much harder to stomach. He became frustrated that sleep became more important, and I felt guilty even asking him to do a chore.
The trick here? Communicate. Knowing when “crunch-time” was upon him made me be a bit more flexible with him. If he had a deadline he would tell me in advance. If I had guests coming over then I would ask him to clean the living room. We also fell into a designated chore schedule. I do the dishes, he does the trash. This way, it was clear when someone had a chore to do: if the trash was full, he had to take it out. It made the cleaning process much more simple.
Give it up
That said, with two toddlers, a full-time worker, a full-time student, and a full-time hobbyist all living under one roof, we had to let the ball drop. Its name was “cleaning.” While we do tidy and up-keep, we actually very rarely mop or dust except when it is excruciatingly obvious or we throw a party. Even then, it is a hack job. I had to let go of some of my idealist expectations of having a clean house. Like, forever. While we aren’t gross people, we are definitely clutter-y people and I just don’t have the time/energy/mental capacity to have one of those sparkling clean homes.
Focus on the pros
Hey, your partner could be off chopping bad people up and stuffing them in barrels (a la Dexter) but instead, they have a hobby. Good for them! In our case, his video game has had some definite perks — he was featured on a gaming reality show and won the prize money, and it finally went on the market. This new moolah means that hopefully it will make a decent down payment to buy a house. Fingers crossed!
I have to say, sometimes I have wanted to yell at my husband, “It’s me or [the project], you can’t have both, pick one!” and storm out of the room in a huff of smoke. But while I have definitely been angry with his obvious love of his projects, I know he sees them as a curse too. It is wonderful to have the will to create something as immense as his project has been, but I know it has also caused him considerable despair. We share this love/hate relationship of his fanatical obsession, and it is something we can bond over. It is indeed an admirable trait to be able to stick with it and take on the monster of their affection, whatever it may be.