This piece is a semi-response to this article about why dating an entrepreneur is special. I use a female pronoun simply because in my situation, the incredible significant other is a girl.
There is a trend in our country that will pay great dividends for our economy: the celebration or recognition of entrepreneurship.
People like Elon Musk and Steve Jobs are now idolized almost as much as many athletes, or actors and actresses.
As many smart individuals have opined, including Andrew Yang in "Smart People Should Build Things," holding these types of individuals in such high esteem is one of the first steps to better integrating entrepreneurship, innovation and creation into our economy and the aspirations of young people.
However, what I have seen in my own journey is there is another type of person who is equally, if not more so, deserving of credit: an entrepreneur's significant other.
When I recently read Brad Feld's account of the depression and issues that stemmed from his entrepreneurial drive and endeavors, I was certainly impressed by his courageous vulnerability.
However, what really struck me was how incredible of a person his wife had to be to know what his entrepreneurship was doing to him.
She unwaveringly supported him through it, despite not getting any credit for his public success.
In my own life, I'm constantly humbled that, for the time being at least, I have found such an incredible woman who is able to stand by me, support me through this journey and deal with the crap that stems from entrepreneurship... yet does not get any of the credit for the strides I or my company makes.
She never tells me to give up on my business, despite all the time it takes out of my life.
She never tires of listening to me. She never complains. She never has expected any credit or recognition for what she's done for me.
Here are five specific reasons it takes a very special person to date an entrepreneur:
1. Entrepreneurs tend to be obsessive.
Researchers from the Swinburne University of Technology found that entrepreneurs are, "vulnerable to the dark side of obsession."
Think about this in the context of a relationship. That speck of doubt or that little mistake you made, which usually would be let go and forgotten, can often become something entrepreneurial people obsess over and can't let go.
2. Entrepreneurs' emotions are often tied to their companies. (Meaning: We're moody.)
This one is pretty self-explanatory. It's well accepted that entrepreneurs' emotions are tied to their businesses, and their respective successes and failures.
Gary Vaynerchuk is one entrepreneur who handles this extraordinarily (at 4:46); however, not all entrepreneurs are so skilled.
I certainly try not to bring work headaches home, but when the company is your baby and your life, it is much easier said than done.
Imagine if your significant other's mood was completely dependent on work, and just something you knew you had to deal with?
Just this week, I texted my girlfriend saying, "Just wanted to let you know, I'm going through a spell where I'm feeling isolated and like it is harder to connect with people. I think it's just because of stuff with my company."
Rather than be annoyed that she has to deal with this or complain or even just be disregarding... she said, "Okay so what does that mean? Like what can I do to help, or how can I be there? What do you need from me?"
Words can not say how much that meant to me, or how grateful I am for her.
3. Entrepreneurs date their companies, so you have to be incredibly independent.
My girlfriend means much more to me than my company, and when it matters, she knows she comes first.
But in day-to-day life, our companies are our priorities.
We date our companies. We love our companies. We obsess over our companies. And we never stop working.
To date an entrepreneur, you have to be independent and totally okay with this. You have to live your life and not sit around waiting for us.
It is so respectable and attractive when I realize I have not talked to her in a bit, but rather than her being upset or sitting around waiting for a text or call, she did not even notice because she was busy living her own life.
4. You have to be very secure to date an entrepreneur.
This one also ties into the above reason.
Entrepreneurs are usually very friendly, even flirty people, who constantly are networking.
And, on top of that (like I said above), we often get totally lost in our business and can neglect or become unaware of our shortcomings and our significant other.
You have to be very secure in yourself and your relationship to date an entrepreneur.
5. You have to be incredibly humble and unassuming.
Those dating entrepreneurs deal with all the problems of starting and running a business, but if it takes off, they get none of the credit.
My girlfriend has talked me through all the ups and downs. She loves me so much that her empathy causes her to feel pain from our losses.
She's been stressed just because of me when my business stretches me thin.
Behind the scenes, she deals with just as much of the stress and problems, and is just as responsible for every success and every rebound from failure, yet she never gets the credit or recognition.
She probably has never even thought about this.
She never wavers for one second in her support of me and my company, and yet never expects anything at all in return for her support.
I think it is a great thing that our society is starting to value entrepreneurs more and more, but let's not forget about who else needs to be valued.
Although it does usually take a certain type of person to be an entrepreneur, it takes an even rarer breed to date an entrepreneur.