In the wake of shocking news that HGTV’s “Flip or Flop” couple Tarek & Christina El Moussa have separated, real estate couples all over might stop and ponder the ramifications on their own businesses.  Speaking out to People Magazine for the first time about their split, the couple alludes to the pressures of fame.  While most agent couples aren’t also dealing with the level of celebrity these two have garnered, what about the daily pressures of just two regular people owning a business together?

For many like-minded spouses, the idea sounds intriguing.  Instead of schlepping to a punch-the-clock job, the thought of setting up shop at home with your best friend and watching the commissions roll in is exciting.  But true reality is rarely ‘as seen on TV’.  The jokes, the jabs and the 30 minute wrap-up of problems are reserved for the cameras and don’t reflect the inside pressures of being dependent upon mutual efforts that will result in either feast or famine!

So, if you and your partner are ready to take the business plunge (or maybe you’re already there?), how can you ease the tension and keep perspective, especially when the deals aren’t exactly going as planned!

  1. Separate working areas/desks. Most couples aren’t a carbon copy of each other. One is usually naturally more organized and the other more prone to clutter.  One sure way to get on each others nerves (and lose important information too!) is to expect both of you to exist in too-close quarters.  Besides, everyone needs space to process information, reflect without interruption and not be distracted.
  2. Set boundaries on office-talk. How tempting it is to spend all of dinner talking about the client that ticked you off or the inspection that was wrought this problems.  But if all you do is talk about work, you’ll start to feel more like business partners only than a real couple. Decide on a time each day when the work chat comes to an end and you focus on each other, your family and other aspects of your life. At that time, close your home office spaces/doors and leave them closed until the next morning!
  3. Have a hobby or activity together outside of work. If work is all you do together, there won’t be anything else to talk about once you’ve closed the office door each night! The more activities you engage in together, the more ways you can release stress, have fun, learn a new skill and strengthen your relationship and communication in venues that don’t have the pressure of having to earn a paycheck together because of it.

Don’t allow the pressures of being a successful entrepreneur couple to rob you of the most important lifetime relationship you have.  You can have a fruitful business and marriage, but both partnerships require special and individual attention!

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