My startup is killing my marriage.. we have a new son too.. and I am completely and utterly consumed by my startup. Every waking moment, every single thought, every single amount of brain space is occupied by how we can be successful. I NEED HELP!

  • Oh I so understand!

    We found out I was pregnant with our 2nd child two weeks before the grand opening of my business. (Our first daughter was only 1 at the time too!). We now have two little girls, and although my marriage is far far far from completely healthy, I feel like I’m doing fairly well when it comes to spending time with my girls and my husband.

    If i’m not intentional about being present with my family, I fall off hard into “la-la-my-business-world” (because dreams are exciting, and watching them happen before you with the energy you put into them is like a drug).

    I do have to attribute any of the success in spending time with my family to my husband though. Although I don’t always like him for it, he demands that we reserve nights & weekends for family time. (& I still find that I spend a LOT of that time working from my computer or phone too)… But… because my girls are important to me, I do my best to really be present with them & set my electronics down & just play, or look at them, or talk with them, or just pay attention. I know this time is important, and although my business hits some big dream strings in my heart, I know that these girls are so much more important than that! I’ve had to make some sacrifices from my business for them, but my clients have really respected me for it, and I believe has even attributed to added success.

    • OP here – thank you so much. And well done on striking a balance. I’m completely obsessed at the moment and with pressure from my wife to succeed and bring in money fast – I am about to burst with the pressure. So I can’t rest until things take off.

  • Coaching really helped me deal with a similar episode.

    If you can’t afford this. Here is what my coach suggested I do:

    Do meditation

    Do daily exercise

    Stop work at the same time every day.

    Stop using devices after work.

    Keep a diary analysing your feelings and those around you

    Plan at the end of every day and keep a list of things you have accomplished and things you have to do.

    Talk about your feelings with your spouse and spend time talking with your children.

    All these things will help you be more present with others, even though they will take you away from doing work.

    I am still relatively obsessed with entrepreneurship but I am pretty convinced I get better results from being calm. I probably work ten to 15 hours less a week than I used to and generate substantially more revenues for the business by being relaxed and focused when I am working.

    Good luck.

  • You’ve got people who are depending on you in a number of ways– emotionally, financially, operationally.

    Whatever you value most is where you will put your energy and time. Nature will sort itself out.

  • Working on a startup while married, even without children, bleeds a relationship. I’m married and have been bootstrapping my startup for a couple of years. I’ve paid attention to wifey and her needs all throughout the process, addressing whatever is in my power. Doing so has slowed the bleeding, but the loss over time can’t be replaced without bringing in income.

    Had I gone 100% into my work, dropped all of my other responsibilities, and neglected my wife’s needs I don’t think that my marriage would have lasted this long.

  • When you are working, put 1000% into it. When 7pm hits, there’s not too many customers that will answer the phone. So until 7am the next morning, spend time with the family you are working so hard to provide for.

  • I’m a founder of a rapidly growing tech company that has surpassed it’s series B financing. I can tell you that it is incredibly easy to obsess over your startup due to the amount of physical and mental time you devote to it. As a founder & CEO it’s even harder – it’s your vision at stake and the buck stops with you. It feels like you can’t ever turn off because if you do everything will come to a halt.

    If that sounds familiar then let me tell you, you have to force separation for your own personal health. This is a long arduous climb. If you try to run this flat out you will exhaust yourself. It’s narcissistic to think that the people you’ve empowered can’t do their jobs without you. They can and they should. If they genuinely can’t solve for that problem. You must get leverage out of people and create space between you and your company. That doesn’t mean you care less. It doesn’t mean you’ll be less successful. It means you’ve figured out how to lead and how to build something to last.

    I’ve been told by extremely wealthy people to leave my partner and focus on the money. The people telling me this were in their sunset years and alone. A quality relationship should be cherished. That said, your partner needs to understand what he/she signed up for. This isn’t a job so much as it is a lifestyle. It’s nearly impossible for anyone who has devoted their careers to working for others to comprehend the sense of duty you have to your own venture. You have to help them appreciate it even if they can’t fully internalize it. And then you have to appreciate their needs. You’re useless as a founder if you’re unhappy. Figure out how to create some (however small) mental space between your business and your life ASAP for the health of your relationship, company, and self.

    Good luck

  • OP here – I’m completely overwhelmed with the support and the suggestions. Thank you all for taking the time to give insight – you didn’t have to, but you did. Thank you.

    I kinda broke down to my wife last night over a bottle and it felt good to take a weight off my shoulders. We both cried and I told her that I was sorry for putting my family at risk. She said she couldn’t imagine being with anyone else.

    Wife is happy again and we are in a great place (at least for this week) – so it’s back to it.

  • i was going to suggest crying on your wifes shoulder while slightly intoxicated on two buck chuck, seems you figured it out.

  • Find friends and family to support you. It takes a village to raise a child – African Proverb. If you find a way to take care of your kids, its very likely that you will be able to save your marriage. You have an entrepreneur’s best wishes!

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