I have a great relationship. My significant other and I have been together for five years. We never fight and we have a great time together. The relationship I’m talking about is with my business. Dating, on the other hand, has been a complete nightmare.
I chalked it up to entrepreneurs being stubborn, picky, and always in “work mode.” I knew I wasn’t the only one in this boat so I reached out to Patti Stanger, founder of Millionaire’s Club, and star of the hit TV show Millionaire Matchmaker. Stanger is a successful matchmaker as well as entrepreneur, recently launching her own line of wine, P.S. Match.
While speaking with Stanger, she identified six main reasons why dating can be complicated for some entrepreneurs. The key word is “some”—there are plenty of entrepreneurs in happy and healthy relationships, but I’m also willing to bet that there are many who also feel like dating is a nightmare.
1. Entrepreneurs prioritize business first.
When business comes first that means everything else plays second fiddle, including relationships. I attribute this as being the number-one reason why I have trouble in the dating world—my business comes first, and I anticipate that isn’t going to change anytime soon.
“Since entrepreneurs prioritize business, they tend to put romance second, which puts potential mates off and leaves love on the back burner,” Stanger says.
2. Entrepreneurs travel often for business.
Traveling often for business means that you don’t have roots firmly planted, which is a requirement for relationships. Being away from someone often can lead to disaster—look at how many celebrity and athlete relationships fall apart. Travel and being away is usually to blame.
“An entrepreneur and his or her partner are rarely in the same place at the same time," Stanger says. "If they are in the millionaire category, they often have homes all over. And, as great as that sounds, it doesn’t lend itself to a settled environment, which turns off family-minded daters.”
3. Entrepreneurs are workaholics.
I’m so guilty of this. I can’t count the number of times I have postponed a date or canceled plans because I felt the need to keep working through the night. It isn’t always due to pressing matters that need to be addressed right then and there—I simply get addicted to my work and feel strange if I’m not consumed by it. This is something that I have personally made an effort to change, and I’m slowly finding a healthier work-life and personal-life balance.
Stanger agrees that I'm not alone in this.
“The art of the deal is often [entrepreneurs] true love, always creating new products and avenues to build their businesses," she says. "They often take for granted their relationships and this irritates their mates and they end up breaking up because of this.”
4. Entrepreneurs suffer from the “bigger, better deal” syndrome.
“Entrepreneurs have a bad case of 'bigger, better deal.' They often change their minds constantly, and once they get the girl or guy, the challenge is over," Stanger says. "This leads them to greener pastures. Then, they aren’t taken seriously and get labeled as players.”
Stanger hit the nail on the head with that statement. I always want to be a better entrepreneur and build a better business. That has definitely spilled over into my dating life. I’ll be honest—I could be dating a Victoria Secret model and I would think in my head, “Yeah, but she isn’t the one on the cover.” It’s completely asinine and something I personally have to work on.
5. Entrepreneurs thrive on conquering business-related goals.
This relates to the first point above—when your business is your number-one priority, business goals and social activities related to your business will naturally come first.
“Some entrepreneurs tend to live large, always wanting to be seen at the best places and go on the best vacations," Stanger says. "Some can also be status chasers, and social climbing to the top turns into their true love, vs. their mates.”
6. Entrepreneurs mix business and personal emotions.
I’ll be the first to admit that it’s difficult to balance and separate business and personal emotions. Letting business emotions completely carry over into your personal life can cause problems, as can completely cutting them out, causing communication problems. You need to find a happy medium.
“Some entrepreneurs aren’t good at expressing their emotions to the one they love. They often will not realize what they have until they’ve lost that special someone," Stanger says. "This is because business can be cold and showing emotion is to show a sign of weakness. If this carries over into the relationship, it results in disaster. Nobody wants to be an extra in the movie of your life. Either they get a co-starring role or they leave.”
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This article also appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editor.