It happens. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our work and our horizons start to broaden, and perhaps this expansion brings travel opportunities for conferences etc., and maybe our partners don’t fully comprehend the scope of our business, or perhaps don’t show any interest. What’s behind the silence or the snarky remarks?
Often, when one partner experiences growth in their business, the other tends to feel left out. Not necessarily left out of the celebration or understanding of the business, but they may begin to experience feelings of unworthiness, insecurity in the relationship, fears of being abandoned, or perhaps just some plain old fashioned envy.
No applause, no kudos received for our accomplishments in praise or recognition can also become an imagined insult for the successor too. They may feel that they no longer wish to share their achievements with their partner, either to avoid sounding superior, or because they feel if they’re not being supported, why bother sharing their victories? Quite often there is much to analyze behind the emotions exhibited by the partner who feels left behind.
What Lies Beneath?
Insecurity – Your partner may feel that your growth is eating into your relationship time with them and quite possibly going to create a distance in the relationship.
A sense of unworthiness – Your partner may experiences feelings of inadequacy. They may feel they’re not on the same level of recognition anymore.
Fear – Your partner starts to develop fears that because they aren’t sharing in your new world of success that they’ll be left behind in the relationship, with fears of abandonment.
What Does This Mean?
The new feelings of inadequacy can begin to eat away at the relationship. The left out partner may react in various ways, depending on the nature of their character.
They May Choose to:
Recoil by refraining from talking about things in their world, feeling as though their life has become insignificant compared to the successor’s.
Become sarcastic in response to anything the successor has to share, which is always a sign of jealousy.
Begin to ignore the successor by not wanting to share any personal feelings, creating an emotional distance.
Choose to retaliate for their perceived feelings of being left behind. These tactics can range anywhere from staying out late to avoid confronting their partner with concerns, or possibly looking for an outlet such as: company, drugs or alcohol to mask their unhappiness.
What Can You Do?
1. Speak. Talk to your partner. Don’t let the distance grow between you as time passes. Ask them why your achievements are causing them anxiety. Offer them assurance that your accomplishments are helping to grow your income and that it shouldn’t make them feel as though they aren’t as important to you as your business. People want to feel secure.
2. Listen. Ask your partner to share their fears with you. Often suppressing fears and worries grows into bigger issues. These issues will eat into a relationship down the road. Discuss their fears with them and give them positive feedback on how you will work together on your relationship so they don’t feel left out in the cold.
3. Share. Keep the dialogue alive between you. Even though your business may not be understood by your partner, keeping them abreast of daily dealings will make them feel they are still a part of your world.
4. Strengthen. Keep your relationship alive with common interest. Ask them about their job or hobby, or simply, how their day went. Make date nights. Watch a movie together. Talk about friends and relatives together. Plan a vacation with no work. Create events that you can both look forward to sharing.
5. Include. Ask your partner to attend functions with you, business or otherwise. Ask them to look at some of your work and offer suggestions on how you may be able to improve something. Ask them what they would do if they were faced with a business dilemma you may be encountering. Everybody needs to feel important in a relationship whether business or emotional. The best way to do that is to keep them included and abreast of your work.
Remember: Silence speaks volumes. If you notice the behavior of your partner is changing as your success expands, begin taking action before it escalates into something unpleasant and grows into something larger than the original issue.
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