The Biggest Dating Problem Entrepreneurs Have Entrepreneurs need love, too. Trouble is, many of us are terrible at our approach to relationships and dating.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Being single isn't fun when you don't want to be. But, for many entrepreneurs, it is a fact of life.
Entrepreneurs aren't your typical person. We eat, breathe and sleep our businesses 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year in a way that even the most dedicated employee doesn't. Entrepreneurs are responsible for their organizations ability to pay bills, pay employees, pay themselves and still generate a profit. They are responsible for the health and well-being of the enterprise and for the company's ability to remain relevant and grow. There is almost no separation between them and their businesses and they are always working, even if that work is simply thinking about their business.
So much of our business is our life that we tend to approach relationships as business transactions, too. And that's why so many dating and relationship experiences fail for us. Really.
Don't believe me? I asked an expert. Christina Weber is creator and host of New York City-based Underground Unattached, a unique dating experience that brings together 40 (20 men and 20 women) prescreened, like-soul and like-minded singles for an evening of play, with the intention of creating meaningful connections. She specializes in driven, ambitious professionals. What has she found? Well, she says, when entrepreneurs find themselves in a relationship that isn't working, they make a similar mistake that corporations make: "They hire quickly and fire slowly," she said.
Since entrepreneurs dedicate most of their energy to their work, they find it easier to have someone than no one. Therefore, it's easier to keep Mr. or Mrs. Wrong around than it is to cut their losses and move on to finding Mr. or Mrs. Right. Christina says that entrepreneurs are perfectionists and, therefore, rather than looking for love, they are "seeking great love. They don't want to 'settle.'" For that reason and a lack of time dedication, that is why many entrepreneurs remain single.
Now, being single isn't the worst thing. Many "experts" insist that it's better to spend your 20s getting to know yourself, developing your career and creating financial stability for before you settle down. That's a change from the time where getting married was high on your list of priorities. In fact, if you got to your 40s without a mate, people just plain looked at you funny.
Nowadays, though, there is no rush. And online experiences like Plenty of Fish and Tinder make dating almost a game. Saying you're "looking to get married" on one of these sites is almost as taboo as being single well into your 30s a few decades ago.
But entrpreneurs run the risk of losing an opportunity to meet their soulmate. Despite how easy technology has made dating, unless you're lucky enough to meet your partner in your professional travels (like I did), meeting Mr. or Ms. Right requires time and commitment that entrepreneurs generally don't want to spare. And even when someone catches their interest, after a short time of dating, there's a good chance that the dedication and time devoted to their work gets old fast and becomes the demise of the relationship. For entrepreneurs, it's not only about finding someone who is compatible and attractive. It's about finding someone who understands you, encourages you and supports you and your crazy work schedule.
So if you're a driven, ambitious, work-around-the-clock entrepreneur, what's the answer to you finding love and partnership that will last? According to Weber, you have to "trust that as you continue to grow as a leader, you will meet someone to complement your efforts and push you further along your journey. With that said, you also must invest energy in finding a mate."
Approach your relationship as you do your career, she says. "A successful relationship doesn't happen overnight," she said. "Date. If you find a shortage of people to date, hire a matchmaker, ask friends if they have an introduction for you, try online dating... put yourself out there."
Regardless of your approach, one thing's for sure: you must keep a positive attitude because attitude really is everything. If you start thinking or (worse) saying, "I'm never going to meet 'the one,'" then you've already set yourself up for failure. You are ambitious in your professional life, so apply that ambition to your personal life as well.
Like you would in business, if what you're not doing isn't working, change your approach fast!
Related: Before You Rush to Fail, Read This