Earlier this week, my friend Bob Buskirk wrote a blog post on being an entrepreneur and having a relationship. When you run your own business, the world of work can be all-consuming. You can easily find yourself working 16-18 hour days and the chosen significant other can then feel neglected or ignored. They may not understand where you’re coming from.

Work Takes Priority?

In that post, Bob says that unless he’s married or has kids, work should always come first. I don’t think I can agree with that statement. It can easily become self-fulfilling.

Don’t get me wrong. Spending time on your business is important and you’ve got to “hustle” to keep it all alive. At the same time, if you always allow work to take priority over other aspects of your life, particularly the romantic parts of your life, you may never give yourself an honest opportunity to get married or to have kids. You could quite easily go through a series of unfulfilling relationships, because you’re not putting in the effort to nurture them. You could very easily become “married” to your work and then your personal relationships become little more than the “mistress” on the side.

It should come as no surprise, then, when the mistress becomes unhappy with that arrangement and you find yourself right back where you started. With your self-fulfilling prophecy.

Work Takes the Back Seat?

As a professional freelance writer whose life is almost completely consumed by work, I can certainly appreciate the sentiment that Bob expresses. I perfectly understand how the entrepreneurial life can come first, because it plays such a big role in who we are. Things can come up and “real life” may have to play second fiddle from time to time.

But that doesn’t mean a romantic relationship and the entrepreneurial life are incompatible. You just have to find the right person to share that life with you.

Bob seems to have this mentality that “spending time” with a girlfriend is going to be detrimental to the success of his business. He seems to view it as a zero-sum game where tipping the scale one way necessarily detracts from the other side. That’s not true at all. I haven’t been able to achieve what success I have in my freelance writing business despite devoting my time and attention toward nurturing a loving relationship; I’ve been able to get to where I am today because of the life I’ve built with my then-girlfriend and now-wife.

I Am Not Alone

I am not a rich man, by any stretch of the imagination, but I have been able to build something here that fills me with pride. I’ve been able to build a freelance writing business from scratch and have it generate a sustainable and reliable full-time income. If it were not for the loving support of my wife, I’m not sure I would have gotten here. Asking her for that first date was quite literally the best decision of my life. It’s not that I’m dependent on her, just as much as she isn’t dependent on me. We are whole within ourselves, but we also make one another better.

If you were to ask many successful entrepreneurs and small business owners how they got to where they are, the story is oftentimes the same. Behind every strong man is a stronger woman. It’s something that John Chow brings up all the time too. If it were not for Sarah, he may not be where he is. Business is business, but it’s also personal. And most of us want to share that with someone we love.