It’s no surprise that entrepreneurs—in the hustle of meeting payroll and growing their business—find that personal life takes a backseat from time to time. However, when romantic relationships can’t endure, business owners face professional and financial setbacks in addition to emotional ones, according to a new survey from Clarify Capitol, which provides loans to small business owners.
Divorce as an entrepreneur
For business owners experiencing divorce, 57% say their company has taken a financial hit, and 70% couldn’t focus on their work the same way. Three in five reported decreased mental well-being and motivation at work, and 35% of owners had to rely on outside help, such as family and friends, to keep their business afloat. And, during divorce proceedings, owners faced an average $4,000 a month revenue decline.
Beyond the cost to the business itself, divorce has a hefty price tag. It costs between $20,000 and $40,000 for half of couples, Laura Wasser, family law attorney at the Los Angeles firm Wasser, Cooperman & Mandles, previously told Fortune. A vast majority of the money is often prepping for a trial that never happens, she adds.
As a result, nearly one in 20 business owners close their doors due to the financial brunt of divorce, the survey found.
It’s clear from the survey of 1,000 Americans, who are either business owners or have dated them, that entrepreneurs are struggling to maintain healthy relationsips. Nearly half of entrepreneurs surveyed said they have a “poor romantic life.” Those with successful companies don’t fare any better—25% also rate their romantic life “poor.”
Due to stacked duties and late-night meetings, business owners say the primary reason for a poor love life is a lack of quality time with their partner. At the same time, they are 64% more likely to prioritize their business successes over their romantic partners.
In addition, more than 25% of business owners are unsatisfied with their work-life balance.
Whether you’re getting back out on the scene after a divorce or hoping your current one flourishes, experts share tips for strengthening communication and engaging with a romantic partner—especially given the emotional and financial toll.
Research shows that the strength of our relationships determines our happiness far more than material success.
“It is the quality of our relationships that will determine the quality of our lives,” Esther Perel, who has a class on MasterClass about developing relational intelligence, previously told Fortune.
Communication is vital for fostering healthy relationships. Time-strapped business owners who may not be around as much for their partner, in particular, need to find creative ways to ensure communication. The survey found that relational dynamics to consider before dating a business owner included how to balance personal and professional life, and finding comfortability with time constraints.
According to John Gottman, Ph.D., a relationship and marriage researcher and therapist, alongside his wife, psychologist Julie Gottman, Ph.D, how we communicate heavily predicts divorce—even during brief interactions in passing. The experts, who co-founded The Gottman Institute, have observed over 40,000 married couples and can predict divorce with 94% accuracy, largely based on whether or not they are “turning toward.”
“When a couple turns toward each other, they make and respond to what we call ‘bids for connection,’” the Gottmans penned in a CNBC article. Happy couples turn toward their partner 20 times more than unhappy couples, according to their research.
Turning toward means acknowledging and responding to your partner, showing your care, and responding to what the Gottman’s call bids for affection. Especially for busy business owners, communication is key for fostering healthy relationships—and turning toward is a great way to show appreciation.
Another way to improve communication is to see your partner as the “co-CEO” of your life, Barbie Adler, founder and president of Selective Search Matchmaking, previously told Fortune. Encourage them in their pursuits and find novel ways to grow together.
More importantly, she says, is to expect challenges and articulate your needs.