A recent article on Business Insider’s website may come as a surprise to many successful singles. It states that success at work can sometimes come at the expense of relationship stability.
That’s because the qualities that make someone good at their job can also make them a less-than-ideal partner. This phenomenon is especially common among entrepreneurs, who tend to seek novelty and resist routine. Still, some experts say that, in moderation, certain traits that help someone at work may also help their relationship.
“Just about every entrepreneur has that attitude of, ‘I don’t like people telling me what to do,’” says therapist Peter Pearson of the Couples Institute in Menlo Park, California.
Also, it’s common that entrepreneurs tend to resist anything that resembles structure, predictability, or routine. People high in novelty-seeking also get bored more easily, which means they’ll get bored with you.
Novelty seekers are fun to date because they are exciting and tend to get absorbed in the moment, which means they are really into you…at the time.
But over time, every marriage or relationship begins to develop mundane routines. As a result, the marriage starts to feel less interesting, stimulating, or exciting as work. In some cases, entrepreneurs may find it difficult to enter a stable relationship in the first place.
Being in a relationship with a CEO, for example, can be problematic, as they tend to have higher levels of psychopathic traits than the rest of the population. This is a large part of why they’re successful in the first place. An executive needs that emotional numbness to negative feedback, but in the context of intimate relationships, it’s destructive.
However, those extreme personality traits that make someone successful in their career can also help in a relationship. For example, the very competitive, aggressive person can often use that to protect the family.
And as long as you’re not too emotionally distant, that calmness and rationality can be helpful in negotiating things that might otherwise become explosive and overly emotional in a relationship.
As for Epstein, she’s certain that the traits that make her husband a skilled physician are the same traits that initially drew her to him. His determination and single-minded focus are things she finds attractive — but they can be “detrimental if they go too far,” like if she feels the relationship is secondary to his career.
When it comes to the relationship, she said, these traits are only beneficial in moderation. It’s important for successful professionals to remember that their life needs a balance, and if they want a relationship to work, they will have to spend just as much time nurturing their personal relationships and working on themselves, just as they would do for their company.