Is Her Boyfriend Working Hard Enough?

Q: Joe and I have been together for a year and a half. We have a solid, loving relationship and have lived together in my apartment for six months. Joe is 34 and a professionally trained actor with a college degree, and I'm a full-time nurse.

My problem is that I don't know how hard he is working towards his goal. I know acting is an ultra-competitive field, but while I'm at work I wonder how productive he actually is. I don't want to come home and grill him and emasculate him, but I do wonder. He always tells me when he has auditions, callbacks and jobs, and he is contributing toward the rent, so I don't mind being the major earner right now. I know we can have a real future together, and I'm willing to wait, but when is too late? — Amelia, 28

Dr. Susan: If you plan to commit to your boyfriend for the long term, recognize that being an actor, as with any kind of creative profession, isn't like working in an office. The guideposts are vague, and a good year may be followed by some bad ones. Can you trust that he's doing his best and that the actual results in terms of acting jobs may not fully reflect his efforts? If you would like him to do something additional in order to feel he's pulling his own weight, discuss it with him. Talk about his own realistic goals, and what he would do if he didn't "break through" to success within some period of time. Don't set goals for him, of course. But you're entitled to have a sense of what goals he's set for himself.

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