In 2015 I made the decision I was done wasting my time in unhealthy relationships and that I needed more dating experience to understand how to have a successful relationship while maintaining my lifestyle. If you’re working at a fast paced startup, freelancing, or rely on doing a lot of networking to make a living you likely know all too well how problems in a relationships can drain you of the energy needed to be successful and make your way in this world.
Understand everyone has characteristics that are rather worrisome, for me recognizing these as quirks vs deal breakers is one of the most important skills to have if you want to enter healthy relationships. Getting to know someone is taking the time to understand how your quirks interact with theirs and determining if those interactions are healthy or not in a romantic relationship.
Though obviously important I think this should be even more so to the entrepreneur.
I could be head over heels in love with someone but opt to never pursue a romantic relationship if I don’t trust them. It may sound harsh but here’s why, understand as an entrepreneur I take risks for a living whereas the average person does the opposite and actually mitigates risk for a living by holding down a 9-5 and getting stable income. So when it comes to ones personal life the average person has the privilege / freedom to take more risks without constantly maxing out their risk tolerance.
Here is the top expectation I establish from the start.
My ability to make a living depends on my availability to seize opportunity at a moments notice. As I started going on more and more dates and retroactively looking at my previous relationships it became absolutely clear when ever they weren’t okay with the time and attention requirements to maintain my professional success problems arose rather quickly. See the default expectation of most partners is that you will have a work schedule that fits neatly into a box, for entrepreneurs and freelancers this is simply not a reality of life.
If you start a relationship with a person by accommodating your lifestyle to their every need and desire they will absolutely expect it for the rest of the relationship. It’d also be fair of them to do so considering you sold them on a relationship based on what type of person your actions portrayed you to be, changing later and expecting the same behavior from them is the equivalent of a bait and switch. Problems with this only further compound if you fail to include them in the thought process behind a behavioral change so drastically different than what they’ve came to expect from you.
In the past I’ve put everything into a relationship right from the start, but I’ve since come to recognize this as counter productive prior to solidifying a relationship and here’s why.
Just because you go in 100% doesn’t mean they will, so you should start off at 20–30% instead as you slowly work your way up to 100%. Having talked to people about this I understand some view it as a selfish tactic. My response to this is that the idea of going 100% from the start is a fallacy and actually impossible to properly do before understanding what it means to be with a specific person.
Starting off at 20–30% isn’t talking about how faithful you are it’s talking about exercising patience with big decisions that impact both your lives.
When it comes to how long this process takes, naturally it can be different for everyone. Personally the metric I go by is seeing how someone responds under a lot of pressure so I can understand how they will treat / respect me, friends, and family when things aren’t going well in life. Knowing at times life will be hectic, even more so for an entrepreneur I feel it’s something I need to know before going in 100%.
When it comes to how much energy to spend on people the upfront costs are usually the highest.
The beginning is the time for determining compatibility of goals not the time to prove your capacity for love & sacrifice. I’ve met amazing people on my journey exploring the dating scene, some today I count among my good friends but have chosen not to date because our personal goals didn’t align.
The ability to separate a persons capacity to love / care about someone romantically from a persons decision to be with them romantically is vital to setting you both up to have a successful relationship no matter what the relationship looks like in the end.
If the eventual outcome of being with another person is that you will become partners who think “we” instead of “me” then it’s wise to respect the implications of such a bond from the start.
There’s obviously overlap between what an entrepreneur should look for and someone who doesn’t identify as such, after traveling across the US meeting other entrepreneurs and seeing how others have experienced their personal relationships negatively impact the startups and side projects they’re working on my goal was to share best practices I learned that enable me to respect my craft, time, and commitment to achieving my goals all while making room in my life for another person along with their desires. Hopefully it was helpful!
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