How to Date as an Actor Without Going Crazy

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Photo Source: Photo by Joshua Chun on Unsplash

Dating and putting yourself out there is tough enough as it is, but throw in the added layer of dating as an actor and things start to get complicated (especially if you’re seeing someone outside of the industry who doesn’t “get it”). That said, finding a compatible partner doesn’t have to be a dramatic production or yet another nerve-inducing audition. When it comes to dating in the business, ask yourself these three questions before moving forward with someone.

(Obviously, romantic relationships are more complicated than what I lay out below, but by making sure you’re at least considering these things, you’re laying the groundwork for a solid partnership.)

“Am I being transparent?”
It’s incredibly important to be upfront about your commitment to your career and what that looks like for you, so be honest with your partner (and yourself) about your priorities as an actor.

If you’re dating someone with a more predictable schedule, they may struggle to understand you canceling a date to prep for a callback. Before you take things to the next level, let them know you may have to change plans at the last minute if an opportunity comes up so they don’t have a different set of expectations.

And don’t make promises like, “I promise this won’t happen again” because it likely will. If you’re willing to cancel plans to work on a script, let them know from the start. Doing so will save you and your S.O. a lot of energy and resentment if expectations are clear from the beginning.

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“Is my partner autonomous?”
Balancing autonomy and connectedness is important in any relationship, but when you’re an actor, it’s incredibly important that any potential partner be especially autonomous ie — they need to have their own life.  

Dating someone who hates their job and doesn’t have outside interests or friendships they nurture could prove problematic down the road. They may look to you to fulfill them beyond what is healthy or possible. Make sure you and the relationship aren’t the only sources of support and happiness for a potential partner.   

“Is my partner supportive?”
How do they handle the first time you cancel plans to work on lines for a last-minute audition? Your partner needs to be able to give you the space you need when nose-deep in a script without referencing it passive-aggressively as that time you “flaked on me” in a later argument. Being supportive requires that your partner appreciate the highs right alongside the lows.

They may appreciate the extra time they get to spend with you when you’re between jobs or have just finished a show, but it’s equally important that they can celebrate with you for booking a tour while also understanding you’ll be out of town for a while. Do they grasp and understand that the two of you may have to get creative and put in some extra work to nurture the relationship with the ups and downs of the business?

The spontaneity and lack of monotony of life as an actor can be exciting, but it can also be stressful to not know what’s next. This career requires you to be flexible and be able to roll with the punches. Having a partner who understands the ebbs and flows of your career while being understanding and supportive will make the journey that much more fulfilling and healthy.

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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Jelisha Gatling
Jelisha Gatling is a licensed marriage and family therapist in New York City. She works with couples helping them to unpack their baggage. When she is not with clients, she is writing and presenting workshops on self-care and relationships, as well as running therapy groups for artists. With a creative arts background having written and produced plays, Jelisha weaves creativity and humor into her therapeutic work.
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