Is Your Bad Relationship Creating Bad Business?


We tell you how to know if a bad relationship is creating bad business and how to cope!

Relationships don't just happen when you are off the clock. As therapists and business coaches, we see how the two worlds of personal and business collide. Often when we see business coaching clients, they want to talk about what tools they can use to get their struggling business back on track. Inevitably we find the issue is a lot deeper. Sometimes behind a bad business is a bad relationship.

Here are some signs that you might have a problem:

  • People at work, know about your relationship. (And not in a good way) They have the scoop on the drama. If your partner calls you at work and arguments ensue, don't be surprised if the person in the next cubicle or office can hear you. And once they hear how you fight with your partner, the assumption gets made that you can end up acting that way at work too. What use to be a routine check in from your partner has turned into an opportunity to display your problems. At this point, it can feel out of control and all boundaries about when to deal with your relationship are lost.
  • You have a foggy focus. Loosing track of your time isn't just about time management but also about focus. If you are consumed with the emotional angst of your relationship, there is little else that you will focus on. Sitting at your desk with your mind wandering, imagining, catastrophizing - you become a zombie and loose track of the present moment and what needs to be done.
  • You come in late, lunch long and leave early. Any of these show that you don't want to be at your business. We aren't talking about the occasional long lunch either. We are talking about a pattern. One time I showed up to an appointment and the person I was meeting with wasn't there. Their office assistant rolled their eyes and muttered under their breath about how the person always has drama. Do you think the office assistant ever spoke to them about this? I doubt it! But you can quickly lose the respect of the people around you when you aren't prioritizing your work, especially if they have to cover for you.
  • You are losing customers. Nothing worse than money lost. The strain of finanical problems at work will futher contribute to the strain on your relationship. If you can't follow through with your work, you can't expect people to keep paying for work you aren't doing. You might be in the business of getting people to come back on occasion for your services. Your customer says they will make that appointment in a few weeks or purchase that product eventually and then they slowly fade away.

Ok, so now what?

It can feel overwhelming to cope with work and life, especially when they keep tugging at us for attention. Here are some tips on how to start to get perspective and control of the situation:

  • Talk to your partner about what has been happening and set up some ground rules for when and how you handle the issues in your relationship. Maybe a check in at work is all the communication you are going to have during the work day. Stop engaging in long texting conversations, drawn out phone calls, or allowing your partner to stop by at work to talk.
  • Evaluate if this relationship is worth the cost. You may really care about your partner, having invested a lot of time and nurturing into your relationship. However, if you can't function in a major area of your life, how long can you keep that up?
  • Own your decisions. If you choose to keep a bad relationship, just own up to that. Stop the victimization- bad things aren't just happening to you. At some point, you continuing to be with your partner is giving chaos permission in your life. 
  • Get a wider lens. Take a step back and look at the big picture. Is this a pattern for you? Do you really want to be in your business? Do you really want to be in your relationship
  • Who you pick to be in relationship speaks volumes about your self esteem and what you value. If you sacrifice your livelihood to keep a bad relationship alive, you are saying that you don't deserve better. You may want to talk to a therapist or counselor about how to build your self esteem so that you make positive choices that impact not just your personal relationships but your business as well.

If you think that your relationship is robbing you of time and energy at work, don't ignore it. Just recognizing it is an issue and trying a different way of handling things is a start. Ignored problems fester and grow into bigger ones. Don't wait for it to go way. Take care of business!