We say that success is best enjoyed when shared. But what happens when your significant other doesn’t share the excitement of your professional conquests?
I’ve come across this a lot: Hard-working women who have come to realise that their partners just don’t support them in their career journey as much as they would want. When the world went into lockdown a new dilemma hit working parents: Which one of us will get to focus on their career, and who will be expected to homeschool/take care of the children? I bet it won’t surprise you that women have been affected the hardest by the school closures, taking on most of the childcare while juggling their careers. But the root of the issue was there before lockdown and will be there long after lockdown is over.
A study made in 2009 showed that men and women think of spousal support differently when starting a business. While men assume that support is forthcoming and also tend to start businesses without explicit support from their wives, women turn to their husbands for business advice, support and encouragement, and consider the effects that starting a business may have on their spouses.
One client told me: “I was feeling so good about my business. I had worked so hard and was finally seeing the fruit of the labour, but then I turned around and saw on my husband’s face that he wasn’t at all excited.”
This woman feared the worst: that her husband’s reluctance to celebrate her wins was the start of her relationship collapsing. Was her success making him uncomfortable? Did he resent that she spent a lot of time and effort on something he wasn’t a part of? And would that eventually make her resent him?
Before you embark on a downward spiral and fall out with your partner, you need to backtrack and see what went wrong. A common mistake is failing to bring your partner along on your business building journey. Their only experience was you disappearing into it, and now you’re back happy, while they were left in the lurch. If you’re disappointed that he isn’t celebrating your wins with you, knowing this could awaken some compassion in you for what it’s been like for him.
This is a good starting point for cleaning up the mess and making promises about the future. Put a weekly recurring entry in your calendar for updating him on the challenges and upticks of your venture. Also, make sure to acknowledge him for his patience and support as you get your business off the ground. Whether you feel it from him or not. Chances he’ll get fully behind you are greater if you do.
There are a lot of challenges involved with starting and running a business. Many of those will also be felt by a significant other. Finances, long term plans and the amount of time you spend away from home are decisions that your partner needs to be involved and considered in.
Women have stood behind their men and supported their careers for centuries now. When building a business you will have to rely on that same support. You deserve it.
It’s your business – but it’s your partnership. The two of you. Building your business will be very difficult if you don’t find a solution to how it will work for the partnership. Take the time to figure that out. It’s worth the investment and, as your business grows, it will save you a lot of trouble in the future.
Experience has a great article that touches upon the subject. Check it out!