Why Entrepreneurs Divorce

Five Reasons Successful Professionals Suck at Love

As I write this, I’m thinking of a few famous self-starters who’ve managed to make it the distance. But for every Bill and Melinda. there are 10 or more Trump and Ivanas out in the world. Divorce is annoyingly common. But among work-obsessed, empire-builders, it can be almost a sure-fire ending to a marriage.

I did some research to get the truth straight from Tinseltown’s most famous (and infamous) entrepreneurs. Each one has made marital mistakes. Some have been bold about admitting them. Those who haven’t, have had plenty written about the demise of their marriages. They reveal real insight into why entrepreneurs divorce.

The Five Big Reasons Entrepreneurs Divorce and What You Can Do to Avoid It

Here they are. And they come straight from entrepreneurs who lived through divorce. Who better to learn from, right? In no particular order, entrepreneurs divorce for the following major reasons:

1. Infidelity

In the 90’s, Donald Trump made himself the poster child of wealth, power, dating models, and naming buildings and airplanes after himself. Whether or not his documented philandering was an extension of his self-admiration and megalomania, I’m not qualified to say.

While married to his first wife, Ivana, The Donald began a years-long torrid love affair with the woman who would eventually become his second wife, Marla Maples.

The gotcha scene played out on the Aspen ski slopes. And it was a buffet of fodder for the media who were quick to cover the betrayal, sparing no graphic detail. Don’t wanna end up like Trump? I don’t blame you.

Here’s how you can prevent it. You ready?

Don’t marry someone if you’re not done exploring what’s out there! Voila! Problem solved, eh?

Get married when you’re serious, when you’re sure that this one person is 100% worth whatever possibilities are out there. If you’re still thinking about exes or the one that got away, do not, I repeat, DO NOT get married!

2. Physical and Emotional Distance

Daymond John launched his first clothing line, Fubu, in the 90’s. The hip, urban brand gained massive success! Seeing dollar signs ahead, he put all of his time and energy into traveling and networking to promote his new label.

When asked about his regrets, John said that though he’d circled the globe several times, he regrets treating his home more like an airport than his space.

Wealth is secondary. Building cash hoards is secondary. In hindsight, he says he could’ve done it better. In an interview with GQ Magazine, he said:

It’s never been about money. Money will come when you love each other. Money will come when you’re having fun. But it’s never been about money.

The intoxicating high of success and a healthy bankroll is as addicting as heroin! Numbed in just the right places, it makes it difficult to feel and see the damage that emotional and physical distance does to a family.

The task of building the empire swallows everything else. Originally meant to provide for the household, instead the business acts more like a jealous monster. It replaces them.

Distancing yourself from your loved ones is easy. Get in there and grab on tighter when you feel yourself slipping away. Let your successes be theirs. Share your good fortune by including your family in your travels and in your decision making.

3. They Can’t Not Be the Alpha

As an entrepreneur, I’ve been called, “difficult,” “a control freak,” “distrusting,” and “motivated by money.” At one time or another, they’ve probably all been true.

It really is lonely at the top. There’s so much you keep to yourself – a lot you can’t say. You live in a bubble remain guarded for fear of trusting in the wrong people.

Elon Musk struggles with that too. His first wife, Canadian author Justine Musk, reports that on their wedding day the Tesla company founder said, “I am the alpha in this relationship.”

She claims to have shrugged it off. But soon found out he was serious about it.

To overcome it, you have to shut it off at some point. Hand over control. Run your company with an iron fist, but run your home as part of a cohesive family unit. Sit down with your spouse and agree to split up responsibilities. Then, hold up your end.

Too busy to keep track of all there is to do? Hire an assistant and delegate professional duties out wherever you can. Your family is everything.

4. They Outgrow Their “Starter” Marriage

Aston George Taylor is a successful musician and DJ on the party/nightclub scene. His first wife, Monica Joseph-Taylor stars in her own brand new reality show on TLC called, Starter Wife Confidential.

As part of a cast of several other “starter” wives of successful men, she talks about feeling like she and the couple’s children were simply outgrown. As Taylor achieved success, he disconnected from his family, as if bored by domesticated life.

Disillusioned, Joseph-Taylor filed for divorce.

It’s human nature to want more and better than what they have. This one’s tough. In case you were wondering, what I just described is called greed. People who assess the value of their home lives and compare that to the value of their businesses need counseling.

People aren’t appraisable objects. Counseling can help couples get through tough spots and better involve their families in their uphill climb. Stay in and get excited about your family! Stay that way.

5. They Fail to Treat Marriage as Seriously as They Do Their Business

Shark Tank‘s Kevin O’Leary said it better than I ever could in his interview with Kim Lachance Shandrow for Entrepreneur Magazine:

The number one reason for divorce is not infidelity or falling out of love. It’s money. It’s one partner outspending the other. It’s going into debt. It’s not respecting the joint finances. If you avoid doing all of that, you’re in it for the long haul. If not, forget it.

The father of two and married man of 25 years nearly found himself divorced. After a two-year split from his wife, they reconciled and reunited their family. Now, he advises other parents against getting divorced.

O’Leary (author of Cold Hard Truth: On Family, Kids and Money) says all marriages hit rocks. Instead of walking away, respect the partnership you formed. Honor your side of the bargain. And treat your marriage like you do your business. Devote time to its maintenance. It’ll pay off!

In Closing

Entrepreneurs divorce for a myriad of reasons. Infidelity plays a part as much as isolating oneself from the union. If you’re not willing to put in the time to go the distance, don’t bother with marriage at all. Staying together is tough. Bill and Melinda Gates are a real rarity. And achieving that is a possibility.

Use these five tips from the pros to help you build both a long-lasting marriage and business. Learn from their mistakes. Behave yourself. You’re an adult. Be mindful of your distance. You don’t need to be the alpha in every situation. Feeling like you’re outgrowing your family is symptomatic of needing serious family counseling. And finally, treat your union like its a partnership. That’s how you make it last!

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