How can entrepreneurs have successful intimate relationships?
I think good life partners for entrepreneurs need patience and empathy. Being an entrepreneur is demanding and has its ups and downs, so you need to find someone who is understanding and supportive. Someone with flexible expectations is better able to cope with the lifestyle of an entrepreneur in terms of work life balance. For some people, it's nice to be with other entrepreneurs and startup founders when you can, but this can also be a recipe for disaster if you're both running on high energy all the time.
My boyfriend and I are both entrepreneurs (he founded a YC company and I am a consultant for startups).
We both value:
1) The ability to brainstorm with each other
2) Having someone who provides useful and genuine feedback about our ideas/products/strategies (even when it has sharp criticisms).
3) Having someone who drives you forward when your motivation is running low.
4) Balance. We both have a lot in common, but we aren't twins. He likes to procrastinate and I finish things early. I'm extroverted and he's introverted. While these are challenges for some, the differences in our personalities and life experiences are what enhances our relationship.
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An entrepreneur needs a partner who wants to be one half of a powerful team. Ideally they are somebody that is able to be patient, empathetic, calm, spiritual, and believes in their partner in a rational and unbiased way. They are able to set aside their own fears so as to listen to and support their partner on their journey. They have to be able to withstand major ups and downs. Being married to an entrepreneur and being an entrepreneur myself and being together through multiple ventures over 11 years I'm certainly able to talk to you about what I have learned on both sides of the partnership. Happy to talk to you for follow up
Very important question that is often overlooked. I think empathy and emotional support are critical factors. Entrepreneurship especially the startup years, can sometimes feel very lonely. During this time u want to have a partner who understands you even without a detailed explanation.
Also critical is someone who can ask tough questions but will stay the course with you especially during tough financial decisions such as taking out money from a retirement account or a home equity to pay for employee salaries, etc.
My research into high growth Indian American immigrant entrepreneurs showed clear evidence that spousal support was a key factors that helped them stay the course during tough economic conditions.
Let me know if I be of further help!
BTW let us know how it goes :)
Note: I've been single 28 years.
The keys to successful relationships are pretty clear, but not easy to do. You need to be honest, respectful, generous, giving, appreciative, vulnerable, and be willing to have a relationship of mutual responsibility. You have to decide that to be with this person requires you to change, to sacrifice some of what you've come to expect, in order to have a mutually beneficial relationship. On top of that, I'd look for someone who is happy, has a genuine concern for others, and has a set of values that can be described in the context of their lifestyle. Third, look for someone whose life experience has some compatible connections. Same education level, same vacation interests, etc.
Are these high standards? Of course, an entrepreneur wouldn't want to have it any other way. Correct? But they are worth living up to them in order to find someone to join you as a partner.
Iron sharpens iron and likemindedness may be best suited by both parties. Whether one or both are entrepreneurs, it's important to remember to support each endeavor wholeheartedly. Difficult, yes-but not impossible.
There are a couple of distinctions. One is to avoid two extremes: a. rigidity and b. Chaos. If you or your partner have very rigid conditions, then it may be difficult to handle the unpredictable (p.s. the unpredictable is always predictable to happen) and the tough situations that will arise. On the other hand if there is chaos in your partnership (e.g. lack of boundaries and clear agreements), then you may be facing avoidable troubles (shame on you for not thinking it through). The third option is flexibility which may be more dynamic (i.e. moving and changing with the situation, growth and maturing of both parties and other unpredictable conditions) - this may require practices of honest communications, unfettered listening, bravery to face the truths (not just courage).. and the willingness to learn what to let go off and what to fight for in the relationship. These are abstractions I admit: lets talk if you want to regarding specifics. Kind regards