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Entrepreneurs have unique characteristics and a one-of-a-kind lifestyle. They are risk-takers, inventors, relentlessly ambitious, demand independence, and are overall exciting people. Some call them workaholics, and that’s not false. They spend the majority of their time working, solving problems, and learning. Did I mention learning?
But dating an entrepreneur can be quite adventurous and there are a few factors that you should take into consideration when dealing with your lover. They are wired differently than you and you may misinterpret their actions. We’re going to cover the basics and then some.
Remember their first relationship is with their business
This is probably the most important factor to acknowledge when dating an entrepreneur. Between business meetings, traveling, fundraisers, and working on weekends, most of their time is occupied with their business. All of this is necessary because networking and conferences are essential for a successful business. You’ll have to get accustomed to a part-time long-distance relationship as your significant other attend pitch meetings across the globe.
The 9-5 schedule doesn’t exist in their world
An entrepreneur fulfills more than one role. Not only are they the marketer, but they are the salesperson, content creators, financial analysts, receptionists, and leaders. They work all hours throughout the day with the intense workload they carry and most of the time you will find them working past 8 pm or starting at 5 am.
Relaxing doesn’t come naturally to them
Because there is always more work to do. When you run your own business it’s rather impossible to not want to check more tasks off of your to-do list (does it ever end?). If you want to go on a date night with them, it’s best to schedule it. Don’t be surprised if at some point while you are out, your significant other takes out their phone or they seem to be elsewhere, lost in their thoughts. It has nothing to do with you and everything to do about the inspiration they were just filled with.
They are always learning
This means that you will most likely have to endure the plethora of questions they ponder. Entrepreneurs are known to be curious people who want to fill their brains with as much information as possible. Most entrepreneurs are a Jack of all trades because of this. They have a thirst for knowledge that is seldom quenched. They will read self-development books and articles and the memoirs of people they look up to.
They can take on too much
At one point or another, your partner is likely to bite off more than they can chew. They will always say yes because they are always trying to achieve more. Though it’s rewarding to achieve goals, this can lead them to burnout, and recovering from burnout is even more exhausting and can further stress them out. Try to remind your partner of this if they are telling you about all the events and tasks that are coming up. Doing more work than they can handle will not ensure quality work.
They are goal-oriented
And they work towards multiple goals at once. Achieving these goals fuels their drive and gives them the motivation to keep going. This also means that your support means the world to them. They can’t ask for much more than to have you by their side egging them on and celebrating with them throughout their journey.
They likely have mood swings…daily
Dating an entrepreneur will have you on an emotional rollercoaster. One minute they’ll be too excited to sit down and the next you may have to pry them off of the floor because their startup just failed. Sometimes the progress is simply slower than they want it to be and this can make them irritated. As I stated before that your support means everything to them, don’t forget to encourage them during the highs and lows. Remind them of their potential, celebrate their wins with them, and believe in their dreams even more than they do.
They will test your traits
Specifically, your nurturing side, patience, flexibility, and ability to spend time alone. When they’re not having a good day, it will test your nurturing side. When they miss your events because they have to work or when you feel like they’re not listening to anything you say, they will test your patience. When you’ve been looking forward to that trip you planned and it gets canceled because something came up, it will test your flexibility. And when they simply need space, it will test your relationship with yourself. You are a complete being on your own. Hang out with your friends, go on a solo adventure, or indulge in one of your hobbies while your partner has some breathing room.
They need solitude
They need time to be alone without any interruptions and they will ask for this. Sometimes your silence will be loud to them and they will need to be in a different room to focus and be productive. Try not to be offended. When they are finished with their alone time, they will likely be more attentive to you and happier as they have figured out what they needed to.
Encourage them to spend time with fellow entrepreneurs
You may notice that your partner seems to be a superhero. It could be because they are pretending everything is fine and they don’t want to burden you with their problems or setbacks. By encouraging them to spend time with other entrepreneurs it will enable your partner to get advice and share the problems they don’t want to bring into the relationship. Besides, most of the time you probably do not understand what they are saying (though you will learn). It’s healthy for your partner to be around other people who are in the same position and who can relate to them.
Refrain from asking these questions, and if you cannot; rephrase them
Avoid these questions or questions similar to them: Why are you working so much? Why aren’t you taking the weekend off? Do you care more about your business than me? Are you going to choose me or the business? When is the prime time for a business to fail? Do you ever relax? Don’t you think you’re investing too much into your business? How much time are you going to spend on your phone?
Your significant other is working excessively because they are the person that’s keeping the business going. If you are feeling left out or ignored, ask them kindly to spend 20 minutes with you to take a walk outside or to do an activity you both enjoy. Make a system with your partner that works best for both of you and knows that being an entrepreneur can be lonely and your partner appreciates you.
The weekends are used for working and not for partying because a business needs constant attention. Try to schedule a date night ahead of time and be as flexible as possible.
Avoid accusing your partner of favoring their business over their relationship with you. Think about how much time and effort the business needs and then ask your partner for some quality alone time. You don’t want to accuse them of being workaholics, but expressing your needs in a playful and loving manner is the best way to handle this situation.
Ultimatums will not get you anywhere
An entrepreneur cannot (and will not) change everything about themselves and their lives to be with you, and it’s not because they don’t love you. Sure, they can improve in certain areas, but asking them to choose your or their business is absurd. Their career is a part of them. You cannot have one without the other. Additionally, ultimatums lead to resentment in the long run for having to give up on your dreams or change who you are even though you didn’t really want to.
An entrepreneur is already filled with anxiety, doubt, and fear because they know that their business has the potential to fail. Keep the thoughts to yourself if they are negative because it’s not going to benefit anyone; it’s going to fuel the anxiety and fear-ridden thoughts.
It’s likely that your partner is going to be stressed out 50% of the time. This is the life of an entrepreneur. They want to achieve their goals and continue to work. They are not concerned with kicking back and relaxing. If their stress seems to be at an all-time high and you are concerned about that, ask your partner what you can do to help them relax.
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Your partner is never going to invest “too much” into their business. They will do whatever it takes to make their dreams come true.
If you want your partner to spend less time on their phone, it is likely because you want their attention. Since entrepreneurs do not necessarily have time off, they will be on their phones whenever they need to be. Think about the status of your partner’s business and the hard work that it took them to get there. Occupy yourself while your partner is taking care of business.
So, if you’re dating an entrepreneur, you may need to adjust to their flighty life. Through communication and dedication to your partner, it is possible to achieve a fun and balanced relationship.
Have any more advice for dating entrepreneurs? Let us know down in the comments.
This article was originally published in GREY Journal.