I did not see my boyfriend for two months, even though we are in the same city and a half-hour drive apart. That dilemma triggered me to perform a Google search: how to date an entrepreneur. I landed on a heartwarming post, which totally lightened me up.
Most people do not understand the reality of dating an entrepreneur, and it is a sweet reality I am learning to enjoy.
Entrepreneurs are highly driven. They have a clear purpose; they work their ass off to achieve their goals. They meet people all the time. They do not sleep; they have odd ideas at odd hours, and they need a lot of space and time to think and to strategize.
Here are 10 things I've learned about the unique experience of dating an entrepreneur:
1. You have to learn to date yourself
Be prepared to have a lot of "me" time. Sometimes you read a book, or you listen to a sad song, and you want to talk to someone, but he is not there.
You need to be comfortable being with yourself, developing your own passion, honing your skills and navigating your way toward your goals, just as he does. Spending time on your own gives you the space to reflect on what matters in your life and what you value.
Your heart will tell you if he is worth the long wait.
2. You are awesome and complete as a person
M Scott Peck said that two people love each other only when they are quite capable of living without each other, but choose to live together.
Yes, your boyfriend may be an accomplished professional, or even public figure, but you should not be intimidated by what he does.
3. You don’t have to be like him
Let’s be frank: There will be times you feel like you're not enough while he is doing heavy lifting that changes the world. When you see his live updates all over social media about the next big thing he is doing, you wonder what the hell you are doing.
Always remind yourself that every human being is born with unique traits. There will only be one Steve Jobs, one Martin Luther King and one Mother Teresa.
You should focus on using your strength to contribute to society. The true measure of greatness is our capacity to navigate between our opposites with agility, and grace to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never to stop trying to get better.
4. Redefine dating
What is dating? Hanging out together after work? Going out for romantic dinner on Friday night? Looming the mall during the weekend? None of these fit into your current pattern.
You learn to define being "present" differently. Presence is the ability to understand each other’s mental state and value in life, and being able to communicate that.
5. Be open-minded, inquisitive and learn about his geeky stuff
He told you he has a Google alert on you. So, you learn about SEO, coding, web analytics and so on. He has ways to know if someone read his email; he has ways to track someone’s search record, and he has so many ways to stalk people for business purposes.
Now you want to express your thoughts on dating an entrepreneur, and you start feeling self-conscious about what he will think when he sees it.
6. You will never, ever be his number one
That’s okay. He should not be your number one, either (see point two).
You attend his talk, his launch, his stand up -- all occasions where he will be the center of attention. He hugs you when he comes down the stage, and that feels special. As you watch him surrounded by an audience later, you feel proud that he has a big heart to reach out and be helpful to others.
7. New way of seeing calendar
To him, every day is a workday, and every day is a challenge.
When you are feeling pumped that the weekend is finally here, he says the weekend is when business happens. His schedule is like a Lego block: packed and stacked.
You have to always be prepared to be ditched for a date because there is always something important coming up randomly. That is okay, too. If you have a fulfilling life of your own, you understand what he is doing.
8. You learn about the bizarre human biological clock
He totally flips all of the biological theories you learned in school about sleep, alertness and stress. Four hours of sleep is normal; late-night writing happens every day, and productivity peaks at night.
You and he will never sleep at the same time. He left the bed after watching you fall asleep, and you watch him sleep in the morning. You love it, though -- no complaints.
9. Life is too short to find fault in each other
Every month, he will (try his best to) block a weekend out for us look for a new place and spend the weekend together, outside of work.
I love that he turns into the ordinary guy in shorts and flip flops, and talks about the science of F1, instead of VC, investment, return and money.
Dating a super busy man like him, I learn to treasure every rare second we get to spend together. Life is too short to find fault in each other.
10. Trust your gut
Why do you date him? Make sure you have a firm answer in your heart that has nothing to do with monetary value. A real entrepreneur does not hoard wealth; he invests and generates value to improve lives. Choose him for his present value.
It is not easy dating an entrepreneur. There will be times you feel lonely, proud, in doubt and in love, but you know right this moment you want to be there for him. That's how you know.
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