HR

Q & A with Kimberly Koehler

Inter-personal relationships, networking and HR

By Kimberly Koehler

Q: I'm exploring a business partnership with a member of the opposite sex. Is there a way I can position my business partnership with the current person and further my business while also reassuring my spouse?

A: First ask yourself, "Does my spouse have any reason to be jealous? Is there an attraction or energy that my spouse is seeing that I do not or refuse to admit?" If the answers to these questions are "yes," then you may be taking too great a risk moving forward with the partnership, regardless of whether you think you can keep your professional and personal life seperated. 

Many entrepreneurs find themselves putting in long hours and late nights. In the beginning stages of opening a business the hours can be even longer and the nights even later. More than likely, you will spend more hours with your business partner then you will with your spouse. An undertone of attraction could lead to finding yourself in a very undesirable situation. It's important to remember to stay professional on and off-the-clock when starting a business relationship. 

If you are truly honest with yourself and have no attraction to this potential business partner, then establishing solid boundaries from the beginning will be key to a successful business relationship and, hopefully, ease your spouse's negativity with the idea. 

Many business partners start off with great intentions and solid boundaries. However, given the nature of this kind of business partnership, maintaining those boundaries and keeping a professional distance can blur and become difficult. It's up to you to dictate in each situation what your boundaries and intentions are. By leaving no room for potential romance, you'll find yourself more focused on the success of your business.

 

3 Critical Boundaries to Be Sure to Have

Keep Your Relationship Professional

It is virtually impossible to not engage in personal conversation with a business partner, so keep the conversations short. Be selective with what you share and how deep your conversations go. When either of you experience difficult personal times be sure to limit the amount of time each of you spend offering a sympathetic ear to the other. Well intended friendship can lead to blurred boundaries very quickly.

The Rule of Three

It is virtually impossible to not engage in personal conversation with a business partner, so keep the conversations short. Be selective with what you share and how deep your conversations go. When either of you experience difficult personal times be sure to limit the amount of time each of you spend offering a sympathetic ear to the other. Well intended friendship can lead to blurred boundaries very quickly.

Seperate Working Spaces Matter

Keep your working areas as far apart as possible. Creating physical distance acts as a spatial reminder of personal boundaries. Take the time to sit down with your spouse and get down to the real issue. Is it really an issue with the business partner or are there greater concerns? Are there some weak spots in your marriage that you should take time to strengthen before starting this business partnership? If you work through the concerns and decide to move forward with the business partnership, commit to finding a balance between your professional life and a healthy relationship with your spouse.

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