In spite of his short life, his ill health, and a relatively small number of public performances, Chopin is someone who achieved great popular status, similar to today’s pop stars superstar status! Chopin spent most of his life living as an artist. He paid the bills with his art form – music. Teaching, performing, composing, and publishing all played a part in his lifestyle from the age of 20 until his death at age 39. And his artistic lifestyle had an impact on his personal life.
In 1835 Chopin met old friends of his family from Poland. Their daughter, Maria Wodzińska, was now 16. He pursued her and proposed in the fall of 1836. Initially her family supported this proposition, however, they were concerned about Chopin’s health. He was prone to illness. By early 1837, Countess Wodzińska, Maria’s mother, had written to Chopin to let him know that the engagement would not end with a marriage. Aside some his ill health, there is speculation that his prospective mother-in-law did not approve of his lifestyle or his associations with other women.
In 1836, through mutual friends, Chopin had met Aurore Dedevant, the French writer known as George Sand. At that point, Chopin’s romantic interests lay with Maria. However, after the engagement and his heart were broken, the friendship between Chopin and Sand deepened and they became a couple from 1838 to 1847. They never married but did live together for much of this time. The early part of the relationship seems happy. And while he was often ill, Sand did a lot to aid in his convalescence over the years – moving them into her estate outside of Paris, and trips to warmer climates in particular. Chopin ended the relationship in 1847 and died 2 years later of tuberculosis, with his sister and Sand’s daughter at his side.