Answer by Jae Jun, founder of . Value Investing services, on Quora,

I can totally relate. My girlfriend at the time, now my wife, demanded the same thing. It was a battle and we fought for years.

But it came down to two things.
1. she didn't understand what I was doing and how much passion I had for my business
2. I spent more time and was more excited about working on the business than spending time with her

We both had problems.

Now, she's more passionate than I am, staying up until 3am every day to help me and to grow her own business.

That's the key. She is now involved in her own business and finally understands the situation I was in, and the dream I was trying to pursue. We are both working like crazy but enjoy every minute of it.

But back to your dilemma.

Look at how many hours you are spending on your startup.

Are you ignoring little things like taking her out on a date?
Are you doing something spontaneous once a while?
Are you answering emails or calls or talking about your business while with her? Or are you totally committed when you are spending time together?

The big mistake I had was that even during our time together, my mind was racing of things to do. Now after so many years, I've learned to separate life and business.

It's all about open and honest communication in the end. Expect conflict and confrontation, but it's a problem because the balance has been broken. Now work to come up with what that balance is.

And when you are with your girlfriend, turn your damn phone off.


Answer by Jason M. Lemkin, partner @ Storm Ventures; ceo/co-founder @ EchoSign (acq'd by Adobe), the web's #1 electronic signature , on Quora,

The other answers here are great. Jae Jun's points above really nail it:

"But it came down to two things.
1. she didn't understand what I was doing and how much passion I had for my business
2. I spent more time and was more excited about working on the business than spending time with her"

>> Let me add my learning, from 10 years as a 2x successful founder:

You Will Have to Choose. At least, choose who comes first.

I'm sorry. And if you don't chose the start-up, it will probably fail.

I think most of us as founders are Family First by nature. We care about our teams like a family. We build a Work Family, in fact.

I know you want balance.

If you want balance, seriously--don't be a founder. Be a VP. Be a manager. Even, be a COO.

But no one, except another co-founder, will really understand. And even if they do, they can't take all the lows, all the drama, all the near death experiences. Even if they can, they'll end up tuning out after X months. It's too much.

Your family can come a close second. But your start-up will have to come first.

If you want to win.

Because if you aren't thinking about your start-up ever minute of every day, unless you are absolutely, insanely, epically better than your competition--you will lose.

This is also why I am so much more bullish on start-ups with 2 true co-founders.


Answer by Julia Heil, AO/ASIF Orthopaedic Trauma Consultant, on Quora,

Hard one. As the wife of a start-up guy (David Greenspan, Etherpad/Appjet/Meteor), I can give you the chick side.

When we first started dating, David was on the start-up schedule; this looks something like a vampire/cocaine addict to someone from the outside. All-nighters, long crash sessions, and complete engrossment into the code. This "mode" is common, and sometimes necessary to ship 1.0 out. It does make it hard on the relationship to not be "synced" on a similar biorhythm. While he was still in this mode, we found out that Google wanted him to move to Sydney, Australia as part of an acquisition; that was crazy. Now we were also in very different time zones with two demanding jobs (bless Skype). Once he came back stateside however, we started living together and things really improved. He naturally started to sync a bit more with my schedule (still a night owl, but not as many all-nighters), and that was awesome. It's amazing how much going to bed together makes you feel like more of unit. It gives you a moment to catch up on your day and reconnect (even if you sneak out of bed at 2am to write more code.

I am not saying that the "fix" is to live together, merely highlighting something that helped me as the other half. That reconnect time is paramount and really doesn't take that long. One meal, two hours, just something to let her know you are thinking of her. I also found that it really helped David to have some time off. He needed to hit the reset button sometimes, get a hug, talk about the work he was doing. The more you let her in on what you are actually working on, the better. David always made me feel important in the process ..."you are so good for me", "I love it when we reconnect"... let her know that the creature comforts of her body and mind are important for your health and well being, not just something you look to when you come up for air.

Work from home if you can. Depending on your role in the company, there is usually some solo writing that needs to be done (David is pretty solitary when it comes to the bulk of his programming). Get a white board, take your lap top to her place, whatever. Find a way to work with her nearby so that you can steal the occasional kiss. David would lock himself away in his office for a few hours at a time, and it was awesome to know that he was home. I could make a home-cooked dinner and pop into the office, steal a kiss, have him tell me I am awesome, and leave him to it. If she demands your attention 24/7 at home, that's a red flag. If you're never home, you need to re-assess.

Involve your co-founders. One of the reasons that Meteor is an awesome start-up is that they involve the families/SOs. Group dinner nights, even if just once every couple of months, make it feel like we are all contributing to the cause. They are also super nice about visits to the office; I know I can visit David if I want to, just to say hi or bring our son in for a visit.

All of this said, there is no way I could have ever left David. I was/am crazy about him, and he was crazy about me. It takes the belief that you two are in your own start-up as well; beginning something amazing that will form the base of your family. Have a real conversation about that, about her feelings of breaking up, etc. She may just need to hear that she is important in your life.

Good luck.

My girlfriend is asking me to choose between my startup and her. What should I do?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and get insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:

Published on: Oct 20, 2014