When people hear that my boyfriend and I are both musicians, they usually start to tell me how incredible that is. It is incredible and there are a lot of fun things we get to share that are unique to us, but it’s also much more complicated than people think.
I recently told a friend that for us, playing music can be more intimate than sex, something she thought absurd but that I saw as obvious. It occurred to me not many people think this, so I decided to confront my boyfriend about sharing our complicated relationship with music and how it affect us as a couple.
Musicians are crazy. We just are, and there’s no denying that, but that makes loving us all the more intense. We are wildly passionate and exceedingly complex people and finding someone that matches that is amazing. However, while the music can be a compelling force in our relationship, it can also be a slippery slope. There are dozens of complications I could go into, but for this piece’s sake, I’m going to focus on the intimacy of playing together.
My boyfriend and I both dated other musicians before falling into step together and our stories hold similar repercussions. While in these other relationships, we viewed our significant others as being musically superior, damaging our sense of confidence. As a result of those toxic situations, we both have strong insecurities concerning our music which is ironic considering it was once the biggest provider of esteem for us as individuals. These insecurities translate over to an extreme shyness, causing tensions similar to those you may feel prior to having sex with your partner for the first time.
As a musician, music is this raw piece of me that reveals vulnerabilities and being asked to strip that down is hard enough, but when your partner is also a musician, you’re being asked to strip that down in front of someone equally as trained to notice your defects and mistakes. Considering our musical insecurities (and life insecurities I’m sure everyone can relate to), it’s instinct to become terrified of performing.
My boyfriend and I have been together for six months now, and we only recently played our first song together. More than that, we haven’t even performed it for a crowd yet, only in solitude. Being a musician is unlike other things; it sucks you in and becomes who you are in a way that I can’t describe, but being in a relationship with another musician? Yes, it is incredible. We get to go to shows together and share a passion, but we also face a mountain of fear about that passion. Being vulnerable is scary for everyone, and for us our vulnerabilities shine brightest when playing music together.