Many years ago, I dated an entrepreneur. He was extremely driven and consumed with his business affairs. At the time, I felt neglected and constantly in competition with his business for his attention.
Although he assured me that wasn’t the case; he had to admit his business was constantly on his mind. Needless to say, our relationship didn’t last.
But now that I’m a full-time entrepreneur, I get it. As an entrepreneur, you are responsible for all aspects of your business. You are thinking about your business nonstop 24/7, 365 days of the year. Thoughts are constantly crossing your mind regarding acquiring new customers, marketing, payroll etc. So although you are committed to a relationship, your business comes first.
I stayed in touch with my former flame, and I was able to share with him my newfound revelation. We both agreed that people don’t understand the challenges with being an entrepreneur until you are actually an entrepreneur.
I think if I had the following tips during our relationships, things would have turned out a little differently.
Here are five tips on keeping your sanity while dating an entrepreneur:
Allow Quiet Time
An entrepreneur’s mind is nonstop. Taking “me time” is crucial to maintaining their sanity. Allow them the flexibility to reschedule date night after a hard day or long week without taking it personal.
Realize the change of plans has nothing to do with you or the other person’s dedication to you, but it’s about their need to be refreshed. Recognize that this is a win for you as well; the down time allows them to regroup, so the focus will now be on you and not the challenges at work.
Form a Partnership
An entrepreneur’s mind is always thinking of innovative ways to expand their business. So don’t be surprised if while at dinner, your significant other begins to jot down ideas for their business. Something in the restaurant may have sparked a creative business idea.
Don’t resent those moments, instead find ways to help them flush out their ideas. In doing so, you become a partner in their success. This will allow you to see things from their perspective; as well as position you as an asset and not a liability in their eyes.
Also, don’t allow the creativity to be one-sided. Allow them to give input regarding your career goals as well; become partners in each other’s lives.
Discuss Your Non-Negotiables
Life happens, and although we want the special people in our lives to be there for us, it’s not always a reality. Be upfront and honest regarding your must have’s in your relationship and allow them to do the same.
Determine if both of your non-negotiables are workable. If yes, proceed. If not, end the relationship. If you don’t, the two of you will constantly be disappointed because the other person is not living up to your expectations.
Focus on YOU
An entrepreneur’s life is very fluid. As such, plans will change at a moment’s notice. Spend your available time focused on you. If your relationship isn’t monogamous, date other people. Spend time with friends, and live your life.
With my situation, I was dating other people and doing more without him than I was with him. He was in the middle of working on his initial business and a new start-up. He was constantly consumed with business challenges. Looking back now, it’s amazing that we spent as much time as we did.
Determine if this works for you:
Entrepreneurs are great people. However, they are so focused on their business that they inadvertently alienate others. You have to determine if this is a relationship that is right for you. Ask questions, research entrepreneurship to gain a clear understanding of what you may possibly encounter.
This isn’t by any means an exhaustive list, but hopefully these five tips will give you an idea of the mindset you need to have when dating an entrepreneur.
BMWK, what challenges have you faced in dating and entrepreneur?