Business and Marriage: Why Some Entrepreneurs Unintentionally Destroy Their Personal Relationships

couple's conflict

Entrepreneurs dedicate their lives to their business to the point that it can sometimes destroy their personal relationships. A business is more than just a source of income and wealth. It is the fulfillment of a dream for those who have always wanted to open and establish their own ventures. It is a desire to help enrich the lives of people through ingenious products and services.

That is entrepreneurs are known to pour not just their time, energy, and resources, but also their heart and soul toward growing their business. As a result, maintaining a good personal relationship becomes a challenge.

Many marriages end after entrepreneurs have started a business or grew their business. But, even the most successful experience marital problems that eventually lead to a divorce. Just this month, Bill Gates and Melinda Gates announced their separation after 27 years of marriage. In 2019, Jeff Bezos and McKenzie Scott parted ways after 25 years. Elon Musk has been divorced three times.

There is a way to successfully manage a business without unknowingly sabotaging your marriage and other personal relationships. However, first, you have to be aware of the common causes of marital strife among entrepreneurs and their families.

Pressure and Expectations

All marriages encounter obstacles in their relationship that challenges their love, trust, and devotion. However, there are problems that are very specific and common among entrepreneurs.

No matter how much you try to leave work-related problems at work, these things will always come home with you. The pressure of increasing sales and revenue, paying your staff on time, pursuing new clients, keeping up with your competitors, introducing new products and services, and other stressors create negative feelings that you will not be able to mask.

Moreover, there is a necessity to succeed when you have a family. Unlike a salaried job, there is no stability or security in the business. There is always a chance that a misstep can lead to your business going under. There is no assurance that you will earn the same amount of money month after month, either, making budgeting an almost impossible task.

Stress can, unfortunately, lead to conflict and put a strain on relationships. After a while, negative feelings can build up and cause bigger and more intense arguments that end up upsetting both parties. The conflict that can no longer be reconciled can lead to separation.

For marital strife caused by pressure, expectations, stress, and conflict, couples can save their relationship by seeing a therapist and a marriage counselor. Both can help defuse the tension and guide the couple on how to approach the problem in a calm, empathetic, and loving manner.

Time Commitment


Unlike an office employee, an entrepreneur does not clock off after an eight-hour shift. They often dedicate more hours to complete tasks, come up with ideas and solutions, and prepare their business for the next day.

Entrepreneurs spend upwards of 80 hours a week managing their business. They also rarely take holidays. A survey from 2017 found that 70 percent of all small business owners have not taken a vacation from work, even during Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, 49 percent of respondents said that they plan to take less than three days off for Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s Eve.

That leaves very little time for personal relationships.

Relationships deteriorate when one or both people make no attempts to reach out and bond. Time is essential not just to keep a marriage strong, but to preserve friendships, too. By working 24/7, you may be making your spouse feel that you have abandoned them or you are no longer committed to the marriage.

Creating a schedule that sets aside time for family is a simple but effective step that can save your marriage.

Becoming a Different Person

Your business can open opportunities not available to you before, create situations where you can meet new people, and challenge you with obstacles that can make you more resilient. It can also change you.

Being an entrepreneur, for example, requires you to be an extrovert to convince clients to work with you. Some traits that lead to success in the business landscape, such as arrogance, are not too desirable in real life. Your partner may not like the new type of person you have become.

Unfortunately, a change in personality can lead to separation. It is more difficult to save the marriage if the spouse can no longer tolerate the differences.

Separation is not the natural end to marriage if you are an entrepreneur. There are entrepreneurs who have been successful in business and in relationships. The key is to learn how to balance both.

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