Start Treating Your Relationships Like A Business And You’ll Be Happier

New love is exciting. It fills your tummy with butterflies and allows you to see the world through rose-tinted glasses. If you’re in your mid-20s or early 30s, though, chances are you’ve worked hard to achieve your career goals and ensure financial security and you can’t afford to let a few butterflies jeopardize that. Here’s why you need to start looking at relationships as a business:

  1. A relationship is an investment. You wouldn’t invest money in a business venture that was doomed to fail, would you? While you might not be investing money in your relationship from the onset, you are investing time and energy — two very valuable commodities. If you’re serious about finding a life partner, you need to be thinking long-term when you make decisions about who you’ll be spending your time on.
  2. You need a partner, not just a lover. When the going gets tough, you’ll need somebody who can step in and help wherever you might need it. You need to be considering a partner who compliments your strengths to help you develop. Not great at financial planning? Find a partner who is. Not great with people? Find a partner who can help be your “social buffer” with the rest of the world.
  3. You need to talk about the “M” word. No, not marriage — although that should come up at some stage. You need to have an honest, unbiased conversation about money. Relationships often fall apart because of financial stress; if you approach your finances from a business point of view and are open and honest about your personal financial situation, you’ll be able to weather many storms in the future.
  4. You need to keep emotions out of financial decisions. While it’s easy to want to stop paying the cable bill just to spite your boyfriend when you’ve had a major blow-out, what happens when you kiss and make up? Emotions can cloud our judgment when it comes to financial decisions. If you consider financial choices as if you were a business analyst, factoring all possible risks (like a breakup) in, you’ll be making much wiser decisions.
  5. You need to be on the same page about your goals. If you want to be squirreling away money for your retirement but your partner wants to “live in the now,” your relationship won’t work. You need to find a way to align your goals and work towards them as a team as opposed to stagnating. As business partners, you need to be moving in the same direction.
  6. Your relationship needs to be mutually beneficial. A business wouldn’t provide a service or product for free; neither should you. If your relationship is not mutually beneficial, you’ll be wasting your time. Remember the point about investment? You need to be seeing returns on that investment. As hard as it may be, you’ll have to regularly consider the aspects of your relationship to determine whether it’s still the right one for you.
  7. Growth takes time. Most start-up founders will be able to attest to the fact any new business needs care and attention to grow. It’s important to understand that the same is true for relationships. The more time and energy you put into your business, the bigger your returns will be. Strong relationships are built on patience and getting to know one another, something that’s impossible to achieve without time.
  8. Regular check-in meetings are essential. Just like businesses need regular status meetings, you need to place a high importance on regularly checking in with each other to ensure your house is in order. Whether you have a set date night or Sunday morning routine, checking in with your partner needs to be a priority to make sure you’re still on the same page. Create an environment where you can openly discuss and address concerns.
  9. You both have roles to play and you need to know what they are. Company hierarchies work when employees know what’s expected of them. Both of you need to be aware of your roles and responsibilities in the relationship — or around the house — and treat it as your job to avoid those awful, silly fights about whose turn it is to do dishes. Tackling tasks together will give you more time for each other. Knowing what your partner needs from you makes it easier to live up to their expectations.
  10. Consultants have their place. A business would call in an expert or consultant to help in an area they are having difficulty with. Your relationship should be no different. Couples fight, that’s part of the package, but you’d have a lot better chance of making up and moving on if you’re willing to consider outside advice. Whether this comes from a financial planner or a relationship counselor, couples need to accept that they might not always have the necessary skills or resources to do the job, and that’s okay, but giving up would mean throwing away a possibly sound investment.
Freelance writer/ video editor/ translator. Former entertainment editor for WP Media/Media24.
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