Friday, April 15, 2011

Dear Brookey,

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.

Thanks Brookey!!!

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 :-)




The Fury said...

First Beeyotches! Go get a late pass!

Craig n 'em said...

Second Ho's!!! Meet me in the back of the bleachers!

Stef said...

Third Mofos!

...okay, I got nuttin :)

Annamaria said...

Fourth Fuckers!!!!
I have 20 more minutes before I start my weekend!

Craig n 'em said...

Stef, you jacked up the SCHOOL FLOW! ANAJOLIA! I miss you and your cursing, knife throwing ways!

The Fury said...

A double rebound with a friend of the opposite sex and you're in business together!!?? Not keen on this at all. I say look at it as a rebound from jump. Both of you should put the friendship and business first. Y'all can still relate on a sexual level, but there has to be a CLEARLY defined conversation on what's happening.

If you don't have articles of incorporation or some kind of business memo explaining business roles and who makes decisions based on certain criteria as well as a third party that acts as tie breaker, be sure to get it.

A rebound this early with someone so close can flame out quickly.

...and the Summer is coming!

A-buzzzzzz said...

Ok on a serious note one thing stood out in my mind....
What is the dudes take on everything? Have you guys talked about the situation? How does he feel? What is his opinion on the relationship/future/possible consequences..

Reason I ask is because women are the more emotional creatures & she may be going all in, etc etc..but as she stated first he had just come out of a long relationship also. So this may not be a rebound for her BUT be one for him & that is setting things up for a possible disaster...

NOW if you have discussed everything and you both are on the same page I say go for it.. Our society is too stuck on dating rules & if you stick with them you might just miss out on the perfect man... :)

Good Luck & I'm OUT B*TCHES....

Courtney said...


Your advice is great and on point, as usual. All your red flags are mine as well - and I think you addressed them beautifully! Well done!

Stef said...

Sorry Craig, I couldn't think of anything!

Like Annamaria said, we're only getting her perspective, but what about him? What does he have to say? Does he have the same fears? I'm assuming he feels the same way, but make sure first. He might be rebounding too and that's no good, especially in business.

The Cable Guy said...

I like your response Brooke, but I say it's a rebound. Hopefully money isn't being shared and they're not the only 2 in the business. I need more information, but business or no business, if they're both coming out of a long term relationship, I say slow down and be careful.

Sillouette said...

Hey Fam!!! Happy Friday!!

Oh I definitely say "NO" to mixing business with pleasure. Brooke hit alot of valid points. I mean she hit it on the head. Working side by side in the office sounds real cute and cuddley on paper. But you do have to read the fine print. I prefer keep things separate, its soooo much safer...Because everyone do not work the same, meaning he may be uptight when he works and she may be a relaxed worker or vice versa. Now the both of you are getting the work done, its just differently. But one sees something wrong with how the other is doing something, then it escalates and then you feel like you being looked over and critiqued like a child. Then you go home and he wants some yum yum that nite, like Brooke Said, and then shes looking at him like he's lost his mind like " Yum excuse me , do you not remember what you said to me a couple hrs ago..

The lists goes o n and on. Its too much room for things to get messy. it too difficult to separate the two. That why encourage people NOT to do it...

Sillouette said...

They both needed time to heal and rejevenate from the former relationships. I see them both as a rebound for each unintentionally. Its like they are there for each other to take their mind off of the hurt from the last realtionships they are coming from. They didnt think about all the consequences to go with it. It was definitely too fast for the both of them... Its like there are each other escape goat. And that isnt fair at all to no one.

Brooke said...

Let me ask you all this - does the nature of the job matter?

In this case, they do not work in an office setting together. They both have "day jobs" but work on a side business together. They both work with a record label. He's a songwriter, audio engineer and she handles more of the business side of things. Their paths really don't cross in a way you might expect - so does this change things?

If he was an artist and she managed him, then maybe that would be a sticky situation. Wendy Williams speaks a bit about that in the new issue of Essence Magazine where she speaks of her husband managing her, as well as his role as an EP on her show. She may not agree with some things he doe as a manager and has to tell him when he messes up as an EP - and he has to give her criticism sometimes - so her feelings get hurt in some insteances, and he may not like having to work FOR her sometimes.

It can get touchy if the lines aren't clearly drawn and you have to have a thick skin and a tender heart at the same time. In the "Dear Brookey" case, she's not in a posotion tof ire him, nor can he fire her...and they're on different ends of the spectrum as far as their partnership goes. I think sometimes it can work, depending on the industry, details, circumstance, etc.

Jay said...


I think people can mix business and pleasure if they're clear about it. Like Fury said, if they draw up a business agreement that is separate from their personal lives, it can work. If you share a passion and a common goal and are equals in the business, you both will have a vested interest in making that business succeed, as well as your relationship. They're both partnerships, and I think it can be done.

However, my issue isn't with them working together, but moreso the rebound issue. It sounds to me that if the relationship doesn't work out, then they can both still work for the same record label without having to cross paths. But if she's getting her heart in it, I hope they're in it together.

Rebounds work differently for men and women, in my I hope he's of the same mindset as she is. I think they need to take it slow for the sake of their own emotions, not for the business. Like B said, the excitment of the business might have them looking through rose colored glasses, along with trying to escape the hurt of the failed long term relationships, so when the glasses come off, then they see each other for who they truly are. Being friends and being lovers are very different, so I hope they don't lose the friendship in trying to move forward romantically.

I wish them well. Good blog B.

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