When you first met your spouse and they told you they wanted to start their own business, you probably found it charming. “The love of my life has such drive!” you told yourself.
But as the years pass, your spouse’s devotion to their job has become a lot less respectable and a lot more irritating. So you may ask yourself, why is it so hard be be married to an entrepreneur?
Many people find the life of a married entrepreneur to be overwhelming. But does a relationship with an entrepreneur means that you’ll be thrown on the backburner – your marriage doomed to fail?
Not necessarily, but both partners must make the relationship a priority to succeed. This means keeping the lines of communication open, having a regular date night, and maintaining a proper work-life balance.
If you find it difficult to be married to an entrepreneur or come second to a fledgling company, you are not alone. Here are 10 reasons why it’s hard to have a third love in your marriage – business.
1. Quality time is important – but sparse
A date night is a chance to get away from it all – work, stresses of life, raising children – and allows opportunities for couples to spend quality time together.
Studies show this can help maintain a strong and healthy marriage because couples who spend time together experience greater happiness and less stress in their lives.
The Survey of Marital Generosity shows that couples who have a date night at least once a week was significantly less likely to get divorced.
Spending time together also predicated better communication skills, a more satisfying intimate life, higher levels of romantic love, and a reduction in marital boredom.
In order to make these important changes in your relationship, your spouse must be willing to make time for you.
This would mean taking time away from work. It sounds simple, doesn’t it? Yet, when you are married to an entrepreneur, you quickly learn that you don’t always come above your partner’s job.
2. A lack of communication
Communication is the backbone of a solid marriage, especially for married entrepreneurs. Couples thrive when they know how to openly express their thoughts and feelings in a way that is respectful and kind.
Communication also helps couples to resolve issues as a team, instead of arguing like enemies. If your spouse is so busy with work that they do not have time to communicate or to listen to your concerns, your relationship will falter.
3. Finances can be tight
Finances are notoriously difficult for couples to talk about. In a survey of 748 instances of conflict between 100 married partners, the subject of money was the most repetitive and salient arguments.
If you are someone who enjoys financial stability, being married to an entrepreneur may be your emotional undoing.
The life of an entrepreneur does not always equal success. In fact, statistics suggest that up to 90 percent of start-ups will fail and the ones who don’t will need an incredible amount of money in order to succeed.
This means that the financial burden may fall on you – for everything. Taking care of the house, car payments, insurance, and even funneling money back into your spouse’s business will all be on your shoulder.
4. You share stress
It takes great determination, strength, and courage to start a business. Your spouse is likely full of charisma and passion for their work, but just because they’ve gone out on their own doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be good at it.
Watching the person you love struggle to get their feet off the ground is a difficult thing to watch. Like any good spouse, you become their sounding board.
They come to you for encouragement, a listening ear, and you may even act as an employee on more than one occasion.
Many partners are perfectly willing to put the business first at the beginning of the entrepreneurial endeavor, but such actions can become tiring as you begin to take on your sweetheart’s stress.
On top of working your own job, potentially raising and taking care of children, taking care of household and family responsibilities, you now take on your partner’s worry.
You begin thinking about the business nonstop and instead of feeling excited about the opportunities it brings, you begin to dread the very thought of it.
5. Smartphones take over
Married entrepreneurs have a strong relationship – with their phones. Their phone is their window into the work world, so don’t be surprised if they are checking e-mails, responding to texts, and taking work calls well after they get home from the office.
All of this screen time can have a negative impact on your marriage.
A 308-person survey by Baylor University found that nearly 50 percent of participants felt they were being ignored by a partner using a cellphone.
In a Chinese survey of 243 married couples, results found that ignoring your partner in favor of your cellphone (dubbed “phubbing”) can increase your chances of developing depression and reducing marital satisfaction. Those who spend more time on their phones are also more likely to have mental health issues than those who have a healthy smartphone-life balance.
6. It’s hard to raise a family
Have you always dreamed of starting a family? If so, you may want to steer clear of marriage to an entrepreneur.
As a parent, your kids are your whole world. You would do anything to make them smile or to solve their problems. And when your spouse doesn’t feel the same way, or won’t leave work to come to your child’s play, sports games, ballet, etc, it’s going to break your heart.
At times, you may feel like a single parent. You will be devastated when you realize that work deadlines will be put before family meals, social gatherings, anniversaries, and your children’s events.
If you thought a lack of work-life balance was hurtful when it was just the two of you, once you have children you will feel heartbreak like never before.
7. Opportunity for infidelity
Unless you and your partner are shut-ins, one could argue that there is always an opportunity for infidelity within a marriage. But this temptation somehow feels heightened as a married entrepreneur couple.
The more successful your spouse becomes, or the more networking they do to boost business, the more travel opportunities there are.
Traveling is one of the best perks of being married to an entrepreneur. You get to see exciting new places and experience different cultures as a couple. But whether it’s because of work or family obligations, you won’t always be able to go on trips with your spouse.
Trust is important to a successful relationship. Indeed, studies show that couples who trust one another feel more fulfilled and safer in their marriage.
However, traveling alone certainly provides the opportunity for your partner to cheat. And since entrepreneurs often have a risky personality type to begin with, this opportunity likely doesn’t fill you with comfort.
Similarly, as the spouse outside the business, you may begin to feel neglected by your partner. A lack of sexual and emotional intimacy can cause you to draw away from your spouse and look outside the marriage to be fulfilled.
8. No energy for sexual connection
Everybody knows that intimacy is important in relationships because the oxytocin released during sex helps boost trust and promotes bonding. But did you also know that it lowers stress?
Carnegie Mellon University found that happy couples carry less of the stress hormone, cortisol, in their bloodstreams than divorced or single people do.
Sex is also good for your health. Studies show that regular love making raises immunoglobulin A in the body. This antibody helps ward off infections, meaning an active sex life may help ward off the common cold and flu!
But those who are married to their work will have little energy to be intimate after the end of a tiring work day.
9. No work-life balance
Married entrepreneurs want to hustle. It’s in their blood. This means that even if they’ve left the office for the day, they’re going to want to come home and work.
You may feel that if you let them, they would stay home all day without so much as looking in your direction because they’re so focused on answering the next e-mail or making the next business connection.
Drive and passion are great for business, but it’s also great for marriage. If your spouse does not have a work-life balance, your relationship will suffer.
10. No opportunities to socialize
How much time do you and your partner spend together? Research shows that couples are happier when sharing friends. This gives them more opportunities to build social relationships together and have quality time outside of the house.
But when you are in a relationship with an entrepreneur, the opportunities to socialize with friends and few and far between.
You will be more likely to attend a networking event or work-party than spending time with friends and loved ones.
The life of a married entrepreneur is not an easy one. When you marry a business owner, you take on their stress and financial worries. You also sacrifice quality and family time together.
To make your marriage a success, you must consistently make time for one another and work on your communication.
Sylvia Smith is a writer who likes to write about relationships and how couples can revitalize their love lives in and out of the bedroom. She is currently associated with Marriage.com. She is a big believer in living consciously and encourages couples to adopt its principles in their relationships. By taking purposeful and intentional action, Sylvia feels any relationship or marriage can be transformed and truly enjoyed.