The 10 Truths You Should Know About Dating a Musician

Part of me always wanted a sexy guitarist to serenade me in front of a huge crowd of people. Of course I wanted to feel like the only girl in the room. I thought that’s what dating a musician was all about—until I found myself actually dating a full-time musician.

I’m incredibly sorry to admit this but it’s nothing like the movies, friends.

The ugly but sappy truth

I met my boyfriend after basically becoming his groupie. I saw him perform one night at a coffee shop and started following his groups around Orlando. I couldn’t rest until I met this heartthrob. I mean, not only did he look like Drake Bell’s doppelgänger circa the early 2000s but he also played so passionately it made me tear up a bit.

After meeting my boyfriend through mutual friends, we started seeing each other and before I knew it, I became his number one fan and his girlfriend. All in a month. Yes, I was persistent.

Our relationship has its ups and downs. As the cliché goes, no worthwhile relationship ever comes easy. Our schedules constantly conflict and the beginning stages of our relationship amounted to stolen moments after midnight before my boyfriend passed out with a bowl of cereal on his chest. 

The lifestyle of musicians can be exhausting. Being a creative is already draining because you have to tap into the depths of your soul to create something truly meaningful, but when coupled with traveling gigs, the concept of sleep becomes a mere fantasy.

As much as I love dating a creative, sustaining our relationship is difficult at times. For anyone wondering what it’s truly like to date a musician, it’s frequently frustrating and exhausting trying to find time to spend together. However, the rewards of dating a passionate creator far outweigh any hardships endured.

Because I’ve received so many questions about what it’s like dating a full-time musician, I want to share some tidbits of insight based on my experience.

 

  1. 1. Rehearsals never end.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked my boyfriend, “Do you have rehearsal tonight?” Nearly every day. Full-time musicians have to perfect their craft, which makes rehearsals a necessary evil. Yes, you may be long overdue for a date night, but duty calls. 

    Being a serious musician involves countless rehearsals. I mean, these people may even have rehearsals for rehearsals. Trust me, it’s a real thing. Performing with other musicians, especially if the group has never played together before, is crucial. Just think about any other profession. You wouldn’t walk into a sales meeting or work presentation blindly, right? Well, musicians can’t either. They have to prepare as thoroughly as they can.

    The unfortunate thing is, you can’t really do anything about all of these rehearsals. I knew before committing to my relationship that he’d be busy with rehearsals every week. Is it inconvenient for the relationship at times? Absolutely. 

    You just have to understand that this is part of the profession, and once you do, everything is peachy keen. Just don’t make reservations for date night without asking if your S.O. has rehearsal.

  2. 2. Gigs on gigs on gigs.

    As a full-time musician in Orlando, I’d say my boyfriend has gigs nearly every day. Some days he even has back-to-back gigs. 

    My boyfriend told me that he chose to be a musician so he wouldn’t have to be a morning person. Funny because he often has to wake up at 5 a.m. to play gigs. Not calling him out though. 

    The bottom line is musicians live off gigs. Sometimes they’ll be at your local coffee shop and sometimes they’ll be states away for the entire week.

    It’s their life’s blood. Nothing beats performing.

    Who am I to interfere with that?

  3. 3. When inspiration calls, they must answer.

    I’ve learned to just have a guitar readily available for my boyfriend at this point. If I make him wait more than five minutes while I get ready for a date, chances are he’ll use that time to practice.

    Many times I’ve left the bathroom ready for our date to see him curled up on the couch with a guitar in hand, playing a riff or some scales. My reaction? “I knew I took too long.”

    Sometimes he’ll even stop mid-sentence when he has an idea for a song. They can’t control it. Similar to authors or other creators, inspiration strikes when you least expect it and often requires an immediate response.

    Let’s just say that when my boyfriend disappears into his home studio, I know why.

  4. 4. Nothing’s perfect.

    It took me a while to learn what words of affirmation my boyfriend responds to. For example, saying, “That guitar solo was perfect,” doesn’t fly with him. 

    As a musician, my boyfriend and others in his industry always strive to improve. Telling them their work was flawless or perfect is basically an empty compliment. 

    Instead, I’ll say things like, “I love what you did in that one riff!” Pointing out specific elements of his music works far better than blanket statements.

    Don’t worry. You don’t need to be a music aficionado to compliment a musician. Just don’t say anything problematic and you’ll be fine.

  5. 5. Prepare to have a fire Spotify playlist.

    One of the undeniable perks of dating a musician? An unprecedented expansion of your musical taste.

    Before I met my boyfriend, I hated country music. I couldn’t sit through a single country song. OK, maybe that’s a lie—"Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood was acceptable.

    I also listened to very little instrumental music. To me, instrumental music was meant for the spa, the elevator and other quiet places that needed noise to fill the silence.

    After picking my boyfriend’s brain on music, he broadened my musical taste and I now have a playlist for every genre.

  6. 6. Practice makes perfect (well, not really).

    Every devoted musician will tell you that practice is key. No matter how seasoned the player, you can’t stop practicing.

    My boyfriend practices guitar nearly every day. If he doesn’t, it’s like the world is crashing and burning.

    If musicians ever have a hiccup in a performance, it’s usually blamed on lack of practicing. And there goes my quality time with my boyfriend as he stays cooped up in his room practicing for eight hours.

    You have to understand that musicianship is a career that requires continual honing. Musical talent is not something that just happens overnight.

  7. 7. Meeting the band is basically meeting the parents.

    I was incredibly nervous to meet all of my boyfriend’s bandmates. I felt like I was about to ask for their blessing or something.

    Just know that meeting the members of the band is a musician’s equivalent of meeting the parents. 

    I wanted to make a positive first impression on my boyfriend’s band because I knew he spent more time with these people than his actual family at times.

  8. 8. Sleep deprivation for life.

    A lifestyle of staying up late and waking up early is a musician’s specialty. Every week my boyfriend has a gig Saturday nights until around midnight. He then has to wake up at 6 a.m. on Sunday morning. 

    On days that he has back-to-back shows, he may spend eight hours standing with a total of 30 minutes taking a break—if he’s lucky. Just think about that back pain. Oof.

    In the beginning stages of dating a musician, you may get frustrated with them constantly falling asleep five minutes into a movie. I promise you it’s not intentional.

  9. 9. Look, but don’t touch.

    I have a vivid memory of my first time witnessing girls at my boyfriend’s show gawking over him. I was sitting behind two young girls, listening to them scheme about how to get my boyfriend. Yes, I mean “get” him.

    I’ve seen countless women approach my boyfriend after shows and I just have to smile and wave. It’s flattering they find him so talented and handsome. 

    If you ever date an attractive musician, the same may happen to you. Just remember it’s a form of flattery.

    They can look. They just can’t touch.

  10. 10.  They might roast your music taste.

    I think the biggest letdown of my relationship was finding out that my boyfriend hates Frank Sinatra. Yes, a classic. Frank Sinatra. Trust me, I was shocked and upset, too. Maybe even felt a little attacked.

    My boyfriend is a trained jazz guitarist, and because of this, highly critical of jazz musicians in general. He calls Frank Sinatra a “fake jazz singer.” As painful as this sounds, I understand where his critique comes from.

    Musicians focus on a lot more than just lyrics, stage presence and perceived popularity when it comes to music. My boyfriend told me that he usually ignores lyrics altogether. If musicians are classically trained, there are so many nuances to music that are often overlooked.

    Though I am sad that he ruined Frank Sinatra for me, I now understand why he doesn’t cry when we listen to emo music together. If he listened to the lyrics, he’d ugly cry with me.

I wouldn’t have it any other way

Dating a creative is extremely thrilling and I love hearing about my boyfriend’s new projects every week. I’d much rather hear about his excitement for a new album than complaints about a career he loathes.

The bottom line is—dating a musician often involves scheduling conflicts, late nights and compromise. 

However, if you can sympathize with the demands of a career in music, dating a musician is truly a gift. 

Images: 12, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11