Friday, April 15, 2011
I am coming out of a four and a half year relationship that ended in December 2010. Emotionally draining is an understatement, however, I made a conscious decision not to put up this concrete wall around my heart just because things didn't work out. In comes the new year, which brought about a great business opportunity with one of my male friends. We hadn't seen each other in a while and low and behold, in catching up on things, we were both coming out of long term relationships. We have spent a considerable amount of time together since the beginning of January, and truth be told, we have been seeing each other exclusively since then. I am taking it day by day, but I really can't fathom that I would feel strongly about someone so soon. I know that business and pleasure shouldn't mix, but, if it's working, there's always an exception to this rule, right? Speaking of rules, I feel like we are formulating our own set of rules that work for our situation. We have great communication and we are meeting goals business wise.
My issue is, I am scared to death. Everything is happening so quickly and I do think about if this is too much too soon. Can you give me an objective viewpoint? Perhaps there are some things I haven't thought about that you can assist with putting all of this into perspective.
This is a good one. I’ll have to address a couple things here. Let’s deal with the working relationship first.
I normally advise against mixing business with pleasure. Since I’m not a fan of sexual harassment lawsuits, office nooky is not my thing.
That being said, since I know you personally and know your situation isn’t an office fling - and neither of you actually works “for” the other one - there’s a little bit of leeway here. Being business partners and lovers can have its rewards. Most of us spend the majority of our time with people we work with, so common interests are usually shared and that can draw people together. Since you both share a passion in the same industry (music), sparks can fly and passion can boil over at home – which is always fun. The trick is finding balance.
But before we get to balance, make sure your love of music isn’t misinterpreted as a love for each other. People can spend lots of time together because work dictates that, but I’m curious to know one thing – if you took the business end of the relationship out of it, would you still be attracted to him? Do you think you would have still come together despite this business opportunity? I ask because you’ve known him a while and it seems the interest or attraction wasn’t there until this business opportunity presented itself. Maybe the excitement of the business is what is drawing you towards each other, but if the business didn't exist, would that excitement still be there?
Sometimes it takes us a little longer to see what was right in front of us all along – but other times we rebound…and I want you to check your heart to make sure he isn’t a rebound who just happens to share your love of music. Four and a half years is a long time to be in a relationship, so finding love a month after an emotionally draining experience may be your heart’s way of soothing itself. Did you give yourself enough time to grieve the other relationship before reconnecting with this new guy? Ask yourself honestly.
If you’ve searched your soul and you’re convinced the new/old friend isn’t a rebound, then I say simply enjoy being with him…and working with him. There are no rules in love, and if you’re making your own rules that work best for you both – then roll with it. What works for some may not work for others, and it sounds to me like you have a pretty good handle on the relationship. If that is the case, then the only thing I can say is be careful. Working with your lover/boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse can blow up if you don’t find balance. A few things of concern:
1. Are you mixing money? The number one reason why both marriages AND businesses fail is because of money. So if your business goes belly-up, so might your relationship. Keep finances separate, jus sayin.
2. Romance. Do you discuss business over candlelight dinners, or how sexy you think he is? You might be able to do both, but after a while, the business conversations can overpower the romantic conversations – or vice versa. You have to leave your emotions and the constant business talk at the company door. Don’t take personal stuff to work and don’t replay work drama at home.
3. Make sure you have other interests and friends. If you work together all day every day, then you might get sick of each other. And you won’t have anyone to bitch and complain to about work to if he’s the one getting on your nerves.
4. Hurt feelings. We all know how we feel when our boss reprimands us and tells us we screwed up. Imagine hearing that from someone you share a bed with. He might give you some constructive criticism about how you handled your business, and if you don’t like it, you might decide not to give him the business in the bedroom…if you know what I mean. If you or he doesn’t agree with a business decision, it could go left REAL QUICK. Most couples get emotional with each other – that’s only natural. You can’t take things personally, and you have to look at business advice or criticism through a different lens than the one you view your relationship with.
5. Is he an alpha male? By that, I mean does he think he’s the head of the household? If so, he might see himself as the boss of you too where the business is concerned. It may be hard to be equals at home AND at work if he feels like he’s the “man.” I have no problem letting my man be my man in a relationship, but some women (and men) wouldn’t take so kindly to their lover being their boss too or telling them what to do.
I’ll stop here so that others can weigh in on some of their concerns as well, but I don’t want to turn this into a “why you CAN’T mix business and pleasure” blog. It can happen, those are just some red flags that came to mind right off the top of my head as I read your letter. If Bey and Jay can make beautiful music together, I don’t see why you both can’t either.
Now…as for you being afraid, who isn’t when it comes to relationships? When you meet someone great and you hit it off really fast, we’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Don’t worry about that. Great love and great success require great risk. Don’t be afraid to go after love – if it doesn’t work out, at least you tried and you both can remain friends. If the past couple of months have shown you anything, it’s that time heals all wounds and you’re resilient. Your heart can take it.
Enjoy getting to know him more, spending time with him and growing your business. Hopefully the success of the business won’t determine the success of the relationship – because they are very different. It sounds as if you have each other’s back in both aspects, so if one is doing well, the other just might follow – just don’t confuse the two.
What advice does the blog family have to give? Can you work with your spouse? Imagine being really angry at your man/woman for leaving dishes in the sink - but then having to head to the office or get on a call to discuss business and focus on working together in harmony all day. Think you could do it? Give your two cents :-)