I have been in a relationship with a young woman (she is 20 and I am 23) for about a year now, and she gets angry when I spend time away from her to advance my career.
We are both in college and I am an art student. We both also work. I have told her before that I plan to spend 50 to 60 hours a week in the studio for the rest of my life, attend shows, classes, lectures and exhibit openings, and that these time commitments are rarely, if ever, negotiable. I invite her to as many of these as I can, but it’s rare that she actually wants to join me. Many of these events do come up on short notice as well, but I always give plans priority in the order they were made. I spend 100% of my time not involved in these activities with her, yet every time I inform her that I will be spending a few hours outside of class time at a lecture from an accomplished artist, or working in the studio with someone who can teach me, or that I will work an additional shift so I can pay for rent and tuition, she becomes moody and sullen for either a few hours or a few days. This means that recently we’ve been spending about 50% of what little time we do have together silently stewing in her anger. I have now come to expect that any time an opportunity is presented to me that I will have to deal with her anger rather than be congratulated for moving forward in my field of study.
I would like to have the time we spend together be of a high quality, hiking, cooking and laughing together, but if she’s angry she goes out of her way to make that impossible. How can I fulfill all of my obligations while not making her angry? I don’t want to sacrifice our relationship, but I will put that on the chopping block before my career.