How to Manage a Business and Pleasure Relationship with the Same Partner
I was recently approached for an interview by Bella Magazine (published January 2020) regarding a piece they were writing about couples who also work together, in this case: Andrea McLea, Loose Women presenter.
Working together as a couple can add additional stress to any relationship. Couples, inevitably experience some level of relationship conflict and power struggle. As night follows the day, power struggles follow the ‘honeymoon stage’ of a relationship.
It is also inevitable to experience some level of tension at work.
When coming home after a tough day at the office, your partner can offer soothing, stress release and support. You can leave work stuff behind and relax at home. The partner’s distance from work, whether emotionally and/or physically, also helps with bringing new perspectives, to calm down, let go and recharge with new energy. When, however, you and your partner work together, you go home with the same person who might be, in your perspective, the source of tension and conflict.
Even without work conflict, it can feel tricky to put boundaries in place, and shift from business talk and decisions to romance and intimacy, once the ‘workday’ is over. Working with your partner means you need to be more mindful and conscious about clear division strategies for how to operate as a couple and as partners at work. When couples know how to bring out the best in themselves and their partner and they can really be an advocate for each other, then there is great joy in working together.
How can you manage a business and pleasure relationship with the same partner? Follow the next 7 tips to success.
7 Tips for how to manage a romantic relationship for couples who are also business partners:
1. Use separate mobile phones.
One mobile phone each only for romance and relationship caring, intimate sexting, and supporting calls and messages. Make sure you text at least once a day some appreciation for your partner that is not work- related.
2. Agree on clear work/job responsibilities.
This can be useful and minimize conflict and crossover at work. Taking care of your responsibilities and at the same time respecting and trusting your partner’s decisions and performance is the key to a good business relationship. You can, of course, share your opinion on any aspect of the business. Remember- it is not what you say, but the way you say it, that will affect your relationship. In any case, knowing in advance the areas of responsibilities will help manage expectations.
3. Create a daily routine of quality time.
Decide and plan specific daily time when you can talk about anything but work. For example, it can be 15 minutes before going to bed, breakfast or during lunch. Talk about future exciting plans, your relationship vision, movie you watched, something you look forward, or learn something new about your partner. Anything but work. I recommend that you attach the quality time to an already established daily routine. Doing so increases the likelihood of implementing the quality time.
4. Leave work concerns outside ‘home time’, and practice letting go.
You can have a ritual of writing everything on your mind related to work in a notebook 5 minutes before coming home. Knowing this will be there for the next day will help you let go for the evening. Then take several deep breaths to relax your mind and welcome your partner with a hug and a smile as if you haven’t seen them all day.
5. Have time for a separate hobby or going out with friends.
When working together it is good to have some separate experiences where you then bring another exciting energy to the relationship and have an opportunity to miss your partner.
6. Play with different role- play characters during sex.
This can aid moving away from reactivity regarding work issues to a fantasy world of possibilities, connection and pleasure.
7. Surprise your partner once every 2-3 weeks.
Listen behind their words for what will bring their heart joy. It can be a small gift, a romantic note left for them to discover, any chore that you know your partner will appreciate your help or to take care of children and arrange free time for themselves. If you still don’t know how to surprise them, listen carefully to their complains. Beneath each complaint there is a wish for you to discover. The goal of surprises is that your brain will associate your partner with pleasure, rather than work.
Have more suggestions?
Add them in the comments section below.
When expectations and issues are talked about with respect and love, and you know how to take care of the romance in your relationship (regardless of work situations), you can do great things together-- in both business and pleasure!
This article was written by couples therapist and parental advisor Dr Kalanit Ben-Ari. With a doctorate in Psychology, Dr Ben-Ari has worked in the field for over 20 years and runs a private clinic in Hampstead, London. She is also an author, speaker, therapist supervisor and has been the Chair of Imago UK since 2013.