A: My boyfriend is starting a business, but he pretty much refuses to talk to me about any aspect of it. I’ve offered to help him many times, but he just thinks it’ll work out on his own without talking to anyone else, including a lawyer or accountant. He’s not interested in learning about marketing or strategizing in any way. I’m losing my mind. I’ve decided to let it go, but how can I learn to deal with his lack of organization when I care about him and want him to succeed?
Q: I can understand why you have been frustrated with this situation, as I’m sure you feel it’s a little unrealistic for him to start everything on his own without any help from others. I think it’s a positive move that you’ve decided to let it go, but of course that is sometimes easier said than done, right?
The thing I think is the most important here is respect and support for him and his ideas, as well as making sure that these things are clearly communicated. I am sure you feel you have been showing that, and I certainly believe you have, but sometimes there is a lot of miscommunication when it appears one person wants the other to do something different than they are.
Your boyfriend may feel like you are trampling on his big idea and possibly not respecting and supporting him because you’re suggesting things he should do that he hasn’t done already. I’m not saying that your suggestions to him are bad. On the contrary – they’re great! But I think we can and have all seen that most men can be quite prideful and stubborn when it comes to help. This is a result of the culture that we live in. Western masculinity puts men in this box where they can’t escape the pressures of having a strong, standalone, “I-can-do-everything” mentality. He may know that your suggestions are good, but he may feel that he needed to come to that on his own. Hopefully he will. Sometimes you just have to let go, like you have decided to, and let him come to this on his own, however frustrating.
Do you know anyone who has started a business or business-like venture? Would it be possible to set up a dinner date or small get-together with that person (and a few other people – don’t want to make it obvious!). By hearing about their success, it could plant some seeds in your boyfriend’s head to open him up to new perspectives.
Now let’s focus on you. It’s so important that when you’re frustrated with this situation you take care of yourself. In my profession, we call this “self-care.” It will help you de-stress and cope with everything. I don’t know what you’re into, or what would be relaxing for you, because everyone is different – but what I normally suggest for people is getting into a really good book, taking walks (maybe more realistic for warmer weather!), hitting the gym, getting together with an awesome gurlfriend at a café, or even a spa for a nice little getaway. This one is all up to you, but it’s important that you do make it a core focus in your life right now. Setting aside time for yourself is the most important thing you can do.
I hope that things turn around with your boyfriend’s perspective, and I also hope that he ends up having a successful business. Just always make sure that he knows you respect and support him 100 percent. He may not change his mind about anything, but I hope you find some peace within yourself as you watch him go down this road.
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