My boyfriend is about to own a bar, but we have different views about what that entails. He thinks it's just a place to hang out and de-stress, and he is spending a lot of time trying to plan events. I think owning a bar is providing people with alcohol and taking their money without giving them something good in return. We almost broke up over it and he said that he can't be with someone who doesn't support his career. Everything else with us is great except his job situation so we decided to wait and see how things go. Do you have any advice as to where to go from here?
— Bar Blues Betsey
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Dear Bar Blues Betsey,
Going the entrepreneurial route and opening any business is always a risk. Even if you have a perfectly defined business plan that doesn't mean it's going to work out the way you think it will. And often, the plan has to change along the way. Your boyfriend has a vision for his bar, and I don't think there's anything wrong with trying to make that happen. As far as your differing views about what a bar should be, I think there's a place for both of them.
Obviously to make money, a bar needs to sell drinks, but to get people there and keep them there, it might need a bit more oomph, which is what your boyfriend is looking to achieve. I think the solution is to support his ideas, while also reminding him that a profitable business needs a successful business plan. By telling him you think he's wrong, you're only closing him off from your very legitimate concerns.
As far as your relationship goes, I think there might be more going on here that you guys need to work out. Are you worried that he's going to fail? If so, what does this failure really mean for you and your relationship? I think answering these questions may help you get to the root of your feelings and determine the right way to move forward. I assure you that once the business gets going, things are only going to get more stressful so now is the time to figure out if this is something you can live with or not.