Relationships are difficult and it doesn’t matter whether they are with a human or a group of humans or now that I have realized it the hard way – with your company. Last year I finalized my divorce with my husband ( I never got around to using the term “ex”, somehow it does not make sense). This year I had another divorce – with my startup.
Like any other relationship, it also started with a random meeting in a startup event and then few discussions over coffee, lunches, dinners. And soon we realized that we wanted to spend the next few years of our lives together and build something magnificent. But then, like all things (good and bad), this also came to an end, and with the same emotional and social drama, we sealed the divorce papers.
With no title of “Founder”, “Sales Head”, “Partner”, no incoming calls to my phone, my number replaced from all possible portals of my startup, no meetings, no group discussions, and thanks to my kind partners, no responsibility whatsoever in the current operations as well. Now I am officially professional single again – in every possible way that one can imagine. Wise people from my friends circle applauded this decision as they are required to do just that. Others told me the bright side of it, when something ends new doors open. Some came with a bottle of wine to celebrate (or grieve) I still don’t know. For me, it felt fresh, light and something very new.
I soon learned that I am available in the market again. I can join another startup, or give birth to another one. There was also this option of entering into an arranged marriage with an established company and have limited role and responsibility with decided perks. With this, started my dating season. Now I have been out of practice for so long, so it was important to understand how much the tactics have changed.
Here is what I realized – after few dates with few of the startups, and couple of invites for a live in flings, and even some borderline serious commitment proposals (which were extremely questionable) – it’s a difficult world out here. Like our personal relationships, this too has become a doubtful world. And trust me on this, there are the same reaction of “I am so sorry to hear about the divorce!”, and questions like “what happened?”, “why are you guys not together anymore?”, “did you cheat or did the other party cheat?” - same gossip ;) And the best is - commercial side - did you opt for maintenance or bulk deal?
Long late night calls, concepts of commitment, willingness to be there for each other, compassion, understanding, value system alignment – it is all getting tested and assessed all the same. The same games of hide and seek are being played here. You cannot reveal too much, your past startup relationship decides your future prospects, your past gives you credit but you are also required to explain the reasons for your actions. And most importantly, here too, you cannot be dating two at the same time (if you know what I mean). If you show you are interested before the startup shows the same, you are needy. If you don’t, then you are confused. If you show too much interest, you are taken for granted. I knew these games exist in the human relationship world, but now I know, it’s the same with professional also. I now understand why some people stay single and start charting their own path. I now realise why some people decide not to have any babies – human or startups.
I now understand why certain people choose to stay single and unattached personally and professionally. They get tired of these stupid games, and flings, dates, random ego pleasures. Before I end this rant (yes, I do realise it sounds like one), like some good men, there are some good startups out there. And this article is not supposed to hurt their sentiments. Wherever you are, I hope we meet some day. Kisses and love in advance.
About Author- Pallavi Pareek is the former co-founder of legal startup IPleaders, cat mommy, and a go getter looking for her next adventure.