It is important to note that this section is not talking about romantic relationships. It’s talking about entrepreneur partnerships or the business partnership between two entrepreneurs. So what does this section have to do with dating or marriage? After all, I’m married and when I met my husband he knew I had goals.
This section has a lot to do with dating (or marriage) because an entrepreneur’s relationship with their partner and their business are both equally important. The entrepreneur must be able to meet the needs of their partner and their business in order to be successful. With that being said, no human can be another human’s sole source of happiness and fulfillment. Every person needs hobbies and goals of their own. So, if you think your mate is the only person who can fully make you happy, you’re wrong and you need some hobbies.
For example: if you have a startup or a new job opportunity that requires frequent travel and you want to take your girlfriend on the trip with you, explain what exactly is going on and why she should be willing to make the sacrifice of giving up time with her friends during a certain period. You might even plan something romantic to do while you’re on the trip in addition to whatever business thing you have going on. In other words, don’t leave her out (especially if you plan on getting it on).
So, what are some things you can do as an entrepreneur in a relationship to remain happy? Well, as someone married for eight years, I’m so glad you asked.
5 Ways to Remain Happy as an Entrepreneur in a Relationship
Successful entrepreneurs are often told that they need to be relentless, but that might not be the best advice. It’s important to know what makes you happy and your partner happy together and then find a way to make that happen. Your partner is not a business opportunity. They are a person.
Keep Learning Together
Your business means a lot to you, but you’re not the only person with ideas, goals, dreams…or even interests. Find out about things your significant other is interested in (you should do that anyway – you’re into them), and make an effort to learn about those things with them. And, no, they might not return the favor. Don’t worry about it. We entrepreneurs are “on” practically all the time. Frankly, they’re tired of it. If you’re lucky enough to have a partner who is interested, good. Let them learn something. Don’t dissuade them. Indulge them (and I don’t mean that in a condescending manner). My husband has learned all kinds of things about my business. I learn things about jiujitsu and Dungeons and Dragons. It works.
Don’t Let Expectations Ruin Your Relationship
This is really for both partners, but as entrepreneurs, we have to learn how to back down and shut up sometimes. Our partners and families need us. I know that our businesses need us, too. So, if your family has an expectation that you’ll be somewhere at a certain time because of Susie’s music recital and little Billy’s play off, those things go on your calendar first and don’t you fucking dare overbook yourself or put it off for something business-related.
I know we become entrepreneurs to give Susie and Billy and ourselves and our partners a better life, but sometimes that better life is just showing up. So when I say don’t let expectations ruin your relationship, I mean you need to meet those expectations of being a real human and not being defined as Mx. Big Shot Entrepreneur who is too busy to be there.
Also, don’t set expectations for your partner to be involved with your business if:
- They don’t want to be (and they’ve told you this in words or actions even once)
- Especially unpaid or underpaid.
There are dozens of other expectations I could talk about…including housework. No one is your slave, male, female, third-gender, all-gender, ambiguous, whatever. My husband and I just do what needs to be done. Granted, my pretty blue velvet chair is covered in laundry, but I think everyone probably has a laundry chair.
Have Fun with Each Other’s Interests
I don’t know how much fun my husband has with my interests. I also don’t find jiujitsu particularly fun. And that’s cool. But you know what we don’t do? We don’t put each other’s interests down. We don’t demand that the other stop them. In fact, as I write this, he’s coaching at a jiujitsu tournament. Jiujitsu is his thing and he loves it. Why would I take that away? It makes him light up. I have multiple crafty interests. He doesn’t care. He shows (or pretends to show) interest. He uses my sewing machine to sew on patches for his students.
We both enjoy outdoor gardens, the zoo, and things like that. We enjoy paranormal shows. We enjoy family time and cooking.
My point here is that you can and should be supportive of and find a way to enjoy each other’s interests. I’ve gone to several of his tournaments when he competes. Our youngest kid doesn’t enjoy the noise because of his sensory issues so now we stay home a lot of the time, but he knows why (it’s his kid and he’s witnessed the fall out). But he knows I’m the most supportive person in the house. I’ve never once complained about his gym time, prep time, teaching time, etc.
He doesn’t complain about my crafts, yarn, crafting needles, etc. We are a team and we love each other.
Take Care of Yourself Independently
I am a highly independent person. I covet my alone time. I am extremely introverted. I love silence (despite extreme tinnitus which for a long time I honestly thought was the SOUND OF SILENCE). You do NOT have to be glued to your partner. I love being with my husband. But I don’t need to be with him 24/7. I am secure in our relationship. I’m not worried about what he doesn’t if I’m not there…and vice versa.
You both can and should do things independently and respectively (meaning don’t do anything you wouldn’t have to confess later). You can have a life and still be in a relationship. I love being home. I am very “boring.” I just enjoy my peace and quiet. I just don’t like driving around, getting out into crowds, etc. Once in a while, I do go to craft stores alone, etc. Or out shopping for clothes (thrift store shoppppperrrssss, MOUNT UP!)
Share Responsibilities Equally with Your Partner
So, what does equally mean? A lot you will think 50/50. And, yes, generally, it does. I am thinking more in terms of equity, but equally has a better ring when you’re writing sub-titles. As someone with a connective tissue disease that often impairs my ability to walk, it can make it hard to move around my own house…which really sucks. It can make it hard for me to do the dishes, laundry, pick things up off the floor, or even cook (standing for very long is exceedingly painful).
What looks like “equal” to us, may look different to others. I currently take Voltaran, an anti-inflammatory (the pill version, not the OTC cream). And when I’m not in a giant flare, it does okay. Today, for instance, I’ve cooked, done the dishes, and some laundry. I move slow, but I can get it done. I am losing the ability to move my right hip much. It is what it is, though. I have a beautiful purple cane known as the Purple People Beater. I work, of course, and when I can, I do as much of the things around the house as possible because I hate it when I can’t do anything at all. My husband does those things on the other days. Hoping that when my referral goes through to rheumatology that whatever the treatment plan is helps me feel well enough that I can go back to doing things around the house. I actually miss it. Sitting around doesn’t suit me.
Both partners have a give and take, especially if you live together. Think of it this way: if you live alone, you would still need to do it. Do not say that to your partner – that is what you say to yourself only. Then you get up and do whatever it is or you ask, not demand, help.
Relationships Take Work: Positivity Helps!
If you’re an entrepreneur in a relationship, it’s a lot of work balancing a business and your significant other. Positivity helps. Use the five tips above and remember that the person you’re with is a human, not a business. Treat them with dignity and respect. If you are a person in an abusive relationship of any kind, whether they hit you or not, please get out. Please. Please. Please. You do not deserve it and there is help.