Over at Quora, film director Heather Ferreira answered the question "Why do so many celebrity marriages fail?" Most comedians ain't celebs but I think her answer sheds some light on why comics (and other performers) often have a hard time sustaining a relationship.
Speaking as someone devoted to making motion pictures for a living, I will admit, and warned my current boyfriend when we started our relationship together, that I am absolutely one-hundred and ninety-nine percent married to my art. I love him but the craft of making films will come before him in every decision unless I make desperately concentrated efforts to override that inclination...
Fame is a strange business. It demands the most of you and is a jealous mistress. Faking or half-assing devotion to her will make her walk off and leave you for another; and when you're living in a world where, say, you're a good pop singer but there are equally competitive rivals like Lady Gaga in the room who won't ditch a rehearsal or songwriting session to hang out with the boyf and listen to how great he is, this realization will keep you awake at night.
A marriage takes a lot of work. It requires you to give your partner attention and emotional support, to spend quality time with them, and to take the focus off of you and instead place it on them.
And then there's this article from the NY Times about the perils of oversharing online: For Couples, New Source of Online Friction.
After a few relationship-testing episodes, some spouses have started insisting that their partners ask for approval before posting comments and photographs that include them. Couples also are talking through rules as early as the first date (a kind of social media prenup) about what is O.K. to share. Even tweeting about something as seemingly innocent as a house repair can become a lesson in boundary-setting.
The "what is O.K. to share" issue pops up for comics too. Is anything your partner says/does fair game to be included in a bit? Or do you need to get permission first? Or do you just not even go there? If you're a comic who does personal material, you want to be able to bring up real life stuff. But if it pisses off the person you date, you've got a problem. Thorny, eh?
I remember talking to a comic's girlfriend once about this. I was talking to her about a joke that involved a gal I was dating at the time. I asked, "Will she be pissed if I talk about her onstage?" This gal's response: "She'll probably be more pissed if you don't talk about her onstage." Reminded me of the old "any PR is good PR" argument.