I have fallen for a VFX Artist, but not knowing much about VFX, I sometimes find we have difficulty understanding each other. I love my partner very much and want us to grow closer, but to be honest, I’m not too interested in VFX. I worry this could become an obstacle in our relationship. Could you please give me some advice?
Dear Normal Human,
Congratulations! It’s uncommon for VFX Artists to date outside of their industry, so the fact that you’ve met one and developed a serious relationship is an accomplishment! VFX is a time-demanding job that involves working overtime and self-study outside of work. That is why many VFX Artists may only date within the VFX community. It makes it easier to understand the choices and work of their partner. Plus, it’s difficult to meet people outside of work when you spend so much time in front of a computer.
Does your VFX partner exhibit any of the following characteristics?
1. Works long hours, sometimes losing track of time
2. Has trouble completing basic mental tasks after work, moves and speaks like a zombie
3. Inability to stop watching a movie until the end of the credits
4. Wants to have a long conversation about the movie immediately after watching it
5. Frequently complains about how bad movies are, despite spending so much time watching them
6. Always (or never) wants to go outside on weekends
7. Stares too long at people, animals, objects, reflections, shadows (or takes a lot of photos of them)
Don’t worry, these strange behaviors are quite common. Of course, everyone is different. Yet every relationship has obstacles, highs, and lows. Your friends only appear to have flawless relationships on social media. People only share what they want to share, and images can be manipulated (that’s kind of what your partner gets paid to do). Rather than trying to avoid relationship problems, it helps to be understanding and forgiving towards each other, so that when there are issues, both of you can work through them.
I cannot claim to be a relationship expert. I can only speak of people I know and my own experience as a VFX Artist married to someone working outside the field of VFX. We are living proof that there are couples like you and your VFX partner who can make it work. Whether your relationship grows stronger will probably depend less on your interests and more on your priorities, values, and how you both deal with obstacles in your lives.
My partner helps me stay grounded and keep things in perspective. I’ve learned by her example how to take better care of myself physically, mentally, and emotionally. This isn’t usually taught or considered much in a VFX workplace: it’s expected you know how and will take care of yourself. In an industry that is subject to many quick changes and developments, the stability you can provide will be invaluable. Your VFX partner’s job is essentially about trying to make the client happy by finding quick ways to change their project to better match their vision (or to hide all the mistakes). So, if you ask your partner to wash the dishes more carefully and their emotional response seems way too big, this might be a sign that they’ve reached a tipping point of people being unsatisfied with their work from that day. In other words, the reason they’re upset could have little to do with you. If you know they’ve had a hard day and are extra supportive and affirmative of your VFX partner after work, they will heal faster and appreciate you even more.
What do you want from this relationship? What does your partner want? The answers to these questions will guide you in supporting each other. Learning about your partner is a never-ending journey, but one that makes all the difference, because to know someone is to love them, and vice-versa. This doesn’t mean you need to know exactly what they do each day at work. Asking them how their day was, how they feel about a certain person, or to tell you about their goals and dreams will tell you far more about them as a person than trying to fully understand their job.