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Relationship while on tour?

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by Shadow, Oct 8, 2011.

  1. Shadow

    Shadow New Member

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    Hello all! Long time lurker, first time poster.

    Anyway - my question goes out to experienced techs that have done a tour or four: have you had a committed relationship while on tour, and how did you keep it alive?

    Background: I'm 24, young LD with a degree and several internships under my belt. Currently working at a production company here in Denver as an LD/ME. There's a potential opportunity for an international tour (nothing definite yet), but my girlfriend isn't at all happy about the idea of me being gone for 6 months. We're committed but still in the early stages of our relationship.

    I'm jonesing for the opportunity of a lifetime - if I'm going to do an international tour, do it while I'm young, right? And I love to travel. But the GF doesn't feel our relationship can take the stress of the long-distance for that length of time.

    Any and all advice is welcome.
  2. DuckJordan

    DuckJordan Well-Known Member

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    I know this will make me sound like a complete jerk but, its a decision you need to make. Which is more important your career or your girlfriend who may dump you the next time she finds something better... I may be jaded but I'd say hell with it and go on tour. If you want to do something there should be absolutely nothing holding you back. I'm 20 years old and am in a 2 year long relationship, she knows if i get an option to go on tour I'm gone as soon as they need me. I made that clear because I want to learn all i can and the best way right now for me to learn is to get out on tour with companies across the nation and world.
    Toffee and (deleted member) like this.
  3. jglodeklights

    jglodeklights Active Member

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    Tell her to deal with it or leave. This is not an easy business to be in until you have established yourself and get consistent work in a consistent location. Even then, you may be called to take extended trips. Once you have a family.....then things start to get tricky about the jobs you can and can not take (or so I've been told/noticed). I'm 24, also. I've missed out on potential relationships because of both of us carrying busy theater work schedules, or just me having a hectic theater schedule. It sucks until you start getting to where you wanna be, and find that person that will go there with you.
  4. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I'm not going to answer your question exactly, however here is my advice from someone who is married with a great relationship and working in the industry:

    I've never done the tour thing, though I have done the summerstock thing many a time. My wife does what I do.... so much so that she "technically" works for me (at least thats the idea...) and we are now around each other 24/7/365.

    However, there was a time that was not true. My X did not do what I do, she was a math person that had no idea what the industry was like. She was constantly freaked she would become a "theatre widow". We did not make it because I wanted to gig and take a summer gig and she wanted to go out on Friday night.

    Mrs. Footer and I did spend a few summer stock seasons apart working at different gigs. We made it work, but we also knew what the other was doing and why they were doing it. To me, that is the biggest thing. If your GF has no clue why you are doing what you are doing and looks at it as competition, forget about it. This industry leads to a totally different lifestyle all together. It does not fit the box of having kids, having a regular social life, or having a close family. Moving is a constant, sometimes yearly, sometimes monthly, sometimes daily. I have seen plenty of people either leave the industry or go into a sales/shop position that is 9-5 because they wanted the family thing.

    The road dogs out there are 99% of the time single. I know some people have fairly "loose" relationships when out on the road, so that is an option as well.

    When your on the road, you might have an hour or two of down time a day if your lucky. There is no privacy. Your cell phone may or may not work. The internet connection might work if your lucky. Constant contact with the outside world is not a given... That lack on contact can really put a strain on even the best long distance thing.

    All in all, it can be done though. However, both parties involved need to be in on it. Hell, I know of a few people who don't like it when their significant other are in the house for more then a few weeks at a time in between tours. These folks built their relationship on him being gone half the year. However, I don't think your in that camp. If she is not thrilled about it now, she will be less thrilled when you leave. She needs to be in on it to make it work.

    One of the reasons I am a house guy and never did the tour thing was this exactly. Beyond that, I like my things, I like my bed, I like my cats, and I like my privacy.

    No matter what you do, you have chosen a career where having a relationship usually comes second. You can't do both unless both parties are OK with making some concessions. If that means you take the house gig and stay local, than thats what that means. If it means there is a no questions asked when you get home in 6 months... then thats what you will have to live with. Its not an easy decision but its one many of us have had to make.

    I always said I would never date/marry/whatever a person in the industry because I wanted someone "normal". However I did the exact opposite simply due to the above problems.

    Good luck, keep your stick on the ice, we are all in this together.
    echnaret, Toffee, Van and 3 others like this.
  5. derekleffew

    derekleffew Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    If ya liked it, then ya shoulda put a ring on it...

    Then you could come home from tour to half your stuff.;)
  6. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team

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    It sounds like an amazing fun experience to be one of those guys out on the road, seeing the world, cool concerts in amazing venues, playing with millions of dollars in toys, fast living with the rock star world around you.

    But do you know what really makes me happy? Today my wife and I spent two hours playing in a park at the beach with my boys. We climbed on a massive rope structure together. My 7 year old can hook his feet and hang upside down from this cool cargo net thing all by himself now. I fist bumped and "blew it up" with my 5 year old every time he came down the "super fast slide". We came home and ate Chicken Enchiladas from Sam's Club. I showed them "E.T." for the first time and my 5 year old snuggled up on my lap during the scary parts. I've been married 19 years to a wonderful woman who is my best friend and always there for me. Screw the rock star life style. I wouldn't trade this for a job on the U2 360 tour.

    The question is which do you want? What will make YOU happy. You can have the rock star road crew life or you can have the happy family life. But you can't have both. Now if it's just one 6 month tour, you can possibly keep your relationship together and repair it after you get back. But what's your real goal in life? Do you want to be a road warrior or a family man? If you want to be a road warrior then tell the GF this is the thing you want most from life and where you need to go. You hope she'll be there when you get back and you'll do your best to stay in touch, but you understand that the odds are not that great of things working out. If you can't say those words, then the truth is you've already answered the question and the relationship is more important to you than the tour. Don't go. Don't risk something that is that important to you. Choose which is most important and throw yourself at it 100%. Realize that in order to be truly successful at the touring career you are going to have to be willing to sacrifice your relationship. OR in order to be truly successful at the relationship you are going to have to be willing to sacrifice your touring career.

    One other note to consider. You can put relationships on hold and say for the next 5 years I'm going out on tour and I'm going to throw myself at that life. In a few years I'll start looking around and I'll start positioning myself to get a regular gig in Vegas or Broadway. Then, I'll settle down and do the relationship thing. However it doesn't work the other way. If you focus on the relationships now, get serious and settle down, you aren't going to suddenly be in a position to go out on tour in 5 or 10 years.

    By the way it's about time you joined CB and started posting! We noticed you lurking and were starting to think you were a little creepy. ;)
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2011
    Les and (deleted member) like this.
  7. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    6 months straight with out any breaks? That would be a rough one, most of the time after a leg most of the crew gets a week or two off while the gear travels across an ocean. My current project went into prep mid May and ends November 10th. We got just under three weeks off at the end of August while they shipped the gear to Europe. Some people had to go early to cross load and advance but most of us got to be home. Just saying it might not be six months straight.

    But yea it sucks, get skype and get used to hanging out in production with most of the other crew talking to your loved ones. Video chat is nice but it will never be the same as being there, but the advantage to touring is that when you are not working you have all day off. And the money doesn't suck. But your relationships will suffer. You can minimize the impact of being gone for a couple weeks but it will still suffer to some degree. There is suddenly a lack of things in common, the people at home are carrying on as normal but you are in a much different place. They went to work, you went to the Red Square. Hard to have thing to talk about in relation to local events and even national news because its not easy to follow while on tour.
  8. jglodeklights

    jglodeklights Active Member

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    Just sayin...... my summerstock gig ended up being 5 months straight without a break, other people it was 4 1/2 straight for. Let's just say that the girl with a boyfriend got pretty antsy by the end of things............:twisted:
  9. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    Having done both it was easy to be in a relationship while doing summer stock. If for no other reason than you could fly out your SO because you are put up in the same city for the whole run. On most tours if you have three nights in the same hotel that is rare. A few people I worked summer stock used it as a vacation spot for their SO to come visit for ten days or so. We had rotating rep so after the build and tech we only worked between 4-6 hours a day depending on the schedule.
  10. MrsFooter

    MrsFooter CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I've always said that being in theatre is similar to being in the military; your SO can't just love you, they must love your career, too. With the right person, you can totally make it work. Let me repeat that: with the right person. That person has to understand what you do and why you do it. They have to understand the passion that you have for your work and love that about you. And they have to be the kind of person who's okay being independent and on their own for stretches at a time. If your girlfriend isn't that kind of person, if she wants a boyfriend who can go out on Saturday nights and start building a family together, then it's almost unfair to ask her to try and be that person.

    In my personal experience, (so take that for what it's worth,) long distance relationships can work...for a while. I was with a guy for two years doing the long distance thing, and we were happy. But in many ways it takes more work than a regular relationship. Sure, you're not committed to hanging out with her on weekends or going over her parents' house for dinner. But you have to work very hard to keep the passion alive and make sure that they feel that they're an important part of your life even though you're not there. And even your best efforts may not be enough for her.

    But only you know what decision is best for you. You have to look deep in your heart and ask yourself: years from now, when you look back, which will you regret loosing, the opportunity or the girl? Only you can answer that question.

    It's a decision we all have to make at one point or another. Some of us have found ways to have some cake and eat it, too. Some of us have learned to like pie instead.

    Best of luck!
  11. shiben

    shiben Well-Known Member

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    And this ends up being the hardest part. Many a bottle of Stoli and Molson XXX were consumed making this decision myself (not involving tour, but leaving one school and relocating to a different one). If you want my honest, personal advice, then Ill give it to you. Women are not worth ruining/putting your career on hold for unless you KNOW they are something special. A friend of mine got married out of college, and took a crappy job to support himself and his new wife while she went to school, and now hes single and out living the dream. A couple other of my friends (both men and women) are in the same boat. Most of my relationships have ended/not started due to theater. The life is demanding, the hours are so random its disgusting (until you get the house gig), you are out moving around, doing things, and one major thing that some girls you want to date have an issue with is you are usually around a lot of attractive female actresses a lot (and some people just cant handle it - Even if you totally cant stand the actresses. Chalk another for Shiben in the "loose" column). So my personal advice is do what you think will advance your career now. You can always meet someone else at yoga class later.

    Have fun, and try not to get too jaded and cynical (like I am).
  12. MrsFooter

    MrsFooter CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Even with a house gig the life is anything but normal. Those of my co-workers that have families with children do so because they have an SO with a normal job who can take on many of the nights and weekends alone. But even that set up has caused some casualties. My previous boss left because he had a wife, step-daughter, and brand new baby boy and he was commuting two hours to work at all crazy hours. Sometimes, when we had a late night followed by an early morning, he would bring a sleeping bag and sleep in one of the dressing rooms because it wasn't worth driving all the way home just to turn around and drive back. It took a toll on both him and his wife. Missing soccer games, family night, even some holidays; as he put it, "I want to see my baby boy grow up." He's now doing sales for an AV company. It's behind a desk from 9-5. He's no longer working the epic rock shows or the super-artsy dance companies, but he gets to eat dinner with his family every night. Two days behind a desk and I'd want to throw myself into traffic, but he's never been happier.

    You just have to decide what you want in life. That being said, there's nothing to say that you can't have the wild and crazy touring life now with the intent of settling down later in life. You're young, there's plenty of time for family. But only you know whether that life is worth risking this girl. I left a boyfriend of two years because I looked forward towards our future and realized that there was no way I would be able to maintain the lifestyle and that guy. It sucked balls to do, because he really was an amazing guy whom I was very much in love with. But I knew it wasn't fair to him to ask him to sacrifice the life he wanted for my career, and I wasn't about to sacrifice my career for him. That's life.

    But as I and everyone else has said, only your heart knows what the right decision is.

    Merde!
  13. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Seen lots of people try, a normal tour for us is 9 months long. It works for some, doesn't for others. My only advice, Skype is your friend use it often.
  14. bishopthomas

    bishopthomas Well-Known Member

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    6 months is a long time for a first tour, whether you're single or not. My first tour was 2 weeks. It was just the right amount of time to see if I liked it and could be without my wife for an extended period of time. I've now spent over 3 months away from home and really wouldn't want to do that again. I've found 4 weeks is perfect. 6 weeks gets long. 8 seems like eternity. We agreed that I wouldn't go back out again but a couple of years later I have the opportunity for a 4 week run and we agreed that the timing is right for both of us.

    My situation is vastly different from yours. I've been with my wife for over 10 years and we knew within the first year that we were going to end up together for the long haul. Because of that I stayed in my home town for college, something I wouldn't have done otherwise. We make sacrifices for each other and in the end it always works out for both of us. If I hadn't felt that way then I would have left to pursue my own goals and career and I would be a completely different person today because of it.

    I'm glad we're together and I'm glad she is understanding of my career and choices in life. If yours is not then you need to assess which is more important to you, your girl or your career. As has been mentioned, if you have to choose one or the other hopefully you won't have any regrets later in life. Good luck!
  15. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    I was married for a long time before I went on tour for the first time. So I had something stable to come home to. If the relationship is good enough it will survive almost anything. If it isn't, something else will just come along and you'll break up eventually anyway. Take the opportunity. Go.
  16. jbrem003

    jbrem003 New Member

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    As someone who did Naval tours before becoming a full-time theater technician all I can say is that you have one of a few options. Be single and have a blast on tour, be in a relationship and feel guilty on tour, be in a relationship but have an understanding companion who can sympathise with the separation or take break from the relationship on both ends until the tour completes. All tough decisions that each have their pros and cons, but in the end you have to choose what's best for you. It's your life and you only get one.

    Best of luck.
  17. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    One more thing to think about... (and one of my favorite Dan Savage quotes...)

    Every relationship you have in life will fail until one doesn't. (and then you die).
  18. ack

    ack New Member

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    This:

    :clap:

    The road is exciting and seductive until you get sick of it (or don't). Just like your relationship. Tough to know the future so look in your heart and make the most honest decision you can with what you know.

    ack
  19. Scarrgo

    Scarrgo Member

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    I have toured for around 15 years,
    started dating this girl(not in the biz), and for some reason she decided that she wanted to stay with me after 9 years of on/off again, and then she became my wif.

    Been 18yrs(I think) and two very awesome kids.:)

    Did we have some rocky times? you bet, but it worked out for me.

    But, that was my life, I picked the love and the pain of touring. 9 months out, three months home.

    Only you can make the choice for you.

    So, talk it out, than make the decision that works for you, who knows, you may hate the road, maybe not

    Break a neck

    Sean...
  20. ruinexplorer

    ruinexplorer Kojak CB Mods Premium Member

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    Even if you end up with the house gig, you will have to find someone who is willing to deal with this career choice. I never toured, but have worked in road houses and AV companies. It's rare to have the holidays or weekends off (that's when people come to see the shows, I just had to work on my daughter's birthday this week as an example). I, too, married a non-theater person, who wasn't even a theater patron. It takes quite a while to come to the understanding of the lifestyle. Not only that, but you can tend to limit yourself as to where you will end up living. I make a much better living in Las Vegas than I did elsewhere, but the downside is that I live in Las Vegas. It's not the worst place to live, but there are many places that I'd rather live, if I could have the same caliber of work.

    How will you feel if you give up the tour, but your relationship ends in the near future anyway? How will you feel if you go on tour, knowing that you will probably doom your relationship, but know that you have given your future self an advantage? I can definitely say that I arrived at where I am with having a family young, but it was very rocky. It took a lot of sacrifice that nearly ended my marriage more than once. At the same time, I do not dread going to work. I have tried doing other jobs and always ended up back in a theater (I don't bother to mention those on my resume).

    It doesn't sound like you really are looking at the family goal right now. You seem to really care about your girlfriend, but I'm not hearing that you are ready to settle down. If she is interested in going out on Fridays when you are working, she may not be ready to be with someone in the business. It may be heart wrenching, but, as [user]MrsFooter[/user] put it, you may have to just move on. It will suck. I had one of those relationships myself, but that's another story.

    Talk to her about your joint long term goals. If she doesn't really see how this will benefit your career and thus enhance your life in the future, then that's something to consider. I like the above analogy of likening this career to the military, because it is a lifestyle and not just a job.

    Don't be afraid to come back and ask more advice after talking to her. Just make sure that you talk with her before making your decision.

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