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Creatives: How to deal with an unsupportive partner.

Creative people rely on their affect, talents, and techniques to engage in creative endeavors. A lot of the work you do takes places in solitude, as this is the space where creative ideas have the room to emerge and expand in an uncensored way. You reach deep within into the depths of your consciousness and take risks by plunging into the unknown without much of a guarantee of fame or success.

While creative people have been described as introverted and thinking types (not always the case) able to support themselves in the process of creativity, we’re still social beings and need people around us. We need a good supportive system in place and the people around us (partners, friends, family) to encourage us and be there for us when we need it; and in return, we do the same for them.

A supportive partner can truly impact the success of the creative person and an unsupportive one will help bring insecurities and fears to the surface, thus affecting the confidence levels that help you step into the creative space.

Having a relationship with an artist or a creative person might seem exciting at first. People can be easily seduced by the potential of being with someone so complex, as most creative types are, but few understand that creativity in general and the creative person in particular are not stagnant in either work or life; creativity requires movement and change and oftentimes outsiders will feel left out or out of control and attempt to resist this movement by hitting the breaks for the creative and the relationship.

It is not uncommon for people to dislike and resist change but for the creative, change is a desirable and continuous state that needs support and encouragement.

Most times, our partners don’t realize the role they play and the high degree of influence they have over the creative person; their resistance to change and resulting unsupportiveness is not conscious or done out of malice. Putting the breaks for change is a defense system, more than anything, and it has very little to do with the creative person and a whole lot more with their own fears, insecurities, and complexes.

So what do you do when you feel unsupported by your partner?

  • First, determine the ways in which you feel that way. What is it about what your partner is doing or saying that makes you feel unsupported? It may be as obvious as verbal discouragements for further engagement with your creative passion, based on the “fact” that you have yet to earn recognition or to fully rely financially on your craft. There may be subtle comments, sarcastic jokes, or avoidance of the creative community you are part of, things that when taken out of context, might not mean a whole lot.
  • Regardless of what it is you pick up on, take the step to talk to your partner about the things you observe and how they affect you. A talk like this might be scary, especially since it requires you to be vulnerable without the promise of finding understanding or resolve.

It has been my experience (personal and in my therapy practice) that the other person might feel offended by the implication that they negatively affect you, and if you are able to move the discussion past this initial response (using gentle words to describe your experience without blaming and name calling) you might get to the bottom of it and find a resolution.

Many times, the partner of the creative might fear failure and rejection for themselves with no relation to you, so their own feelings end up being projected onto you and what you do.

With a talk like this, some relationships will fail, others get stronger, and yet others remain the same thus creating a state of continuous tension. Either way, for those with a creative drive*, a supportive partner is a must. When you believe that you have no choice but to create there is very little room for concessions and compromises regarding your creative passion and sometimes relationships will fail, particularly when they are used as leverage or to feel in control.

*Note: * Highly creative people, (artists, scientists, inventors) have a drive to create: an internal engine that oversees all the operations of the creative process from distilling an idea, to executing it and finalize it. The drive to create is different from creative endeavor or general creativity because it’s something that comes like an impulse; unless it is satisfied and allowed to take form, it can create an internal disconnect and can lead to affective and emotional issues and disorders.

Creatives: How to deal with an unsupportive partner.

Diana C. Pitaru, M.S., L.P.C.

“Diana” Diana Pitaru is a Romanian psychotherapist in private practice in Denver, Colorado. She writes about universal psychological issues that affect quality of life and impede the creative process. Passionate about psychology, philosophy, art, and culture and how these areas connect to improve mental health, Diana offers support and insight to creative adults and teens who struggle with identity/existential issues and in relationships, have a history of trauma, or suffer with depression or anxiety. You can find her Denver practice at

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APA Reference
, . (2015). Creatives: How to deal with an unsupportive partner.. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2020, from


Last updated: 21 Jan 2015
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