R&B superstar Usher is reportedly engaged to his manager girlfriend, Grace Miguel. The rumors stemmed from a recent photograph of Grace in Miami, Florida wearing what appeared to be an engagement ring. The power couple has been together since Usher split from his first wife Tameka Foster in 2008.
It is not unusual for people to mix romance with business. Countless couples, married or not, work together every day. They invest their emotional well-being and their professional well-being in the same person. They hope they will always be able to trust each other, and that they will have each other's best interests at heart.
If it's true that Grace and Usher are planning to tie the knot, it's important that they keep in mind that becoming romantically involved with someone you work with can be tricky because of the complications of playing many different roles in one relationship. More important, though, the real gamble is investing so much trust in that one person to love and support you through all the important aspects of your life. That can be a huge benefit or a potential mistake.
For some it can be great. Angelina Jolie recently told the New York Daily News that working with and directing her husband Brad Pitt in the upcoming movie By the Sea made them closer and gave her support she wouldn't find with someone else. "In the end, it was an amazing thing, because there's no actor who wants to help me more, or push me more as an actress, or give me more as a director or writer than my husband, and there's no man I want to see succeed more than him. We were so there for each other," she said. In their case there were great benefits in working with the person they each committed their life to because it ushered in -- no pun intended -- an even greater level of intimacy. Clearly they felt they had each other's back, they were dedicated to seeing their partner succeed, and that made for a rich professional environment as well as a safe home.
The flip side is that the mix of business and home life can be complicated. From simple things like calling you by your pet nickname at work which you would prefer your colleagues never heard to unleashing competition between the two of you, the choice can become hazardous. It can lead to questioning the support of your partner and maybe feeling that you aren't getting what you are hoping for, or, even worse, that your partner is really looking out for their own best interest at your expense. For example, they may be making suggestions for you to do things or try things that don't feel comfortable, and yet you might feel compelled to go along for fear of creating an argument. In other words, to keep the home front peaceful, either partner might feel pressure to do something he or she might rather not at the office, or vice versa.
If you are in the first camp with Angelina and Brad where combining your love life and professional life is working positively, then keep doing what you are doing. However, if you are feeling that you're not getting the support you want and expect, or that you are being undermined in some way, then it is important to address it. Schedule a work meeting at the office rather than bringing it home to discuss what is going on between the two of you. By having the discussions on the job you will be building in boundaries that will help keep you from bringing the problems home. Tell your partner how you would like it to be. If it is something as easy as wanting your partner to talk to you in a more professional way around the office, you can offer examples of what bothers you and what you would instead prefer. Keep it positive. As a general rule of thumb, keep these meetings in place even when everything seems fine because they will safeguard things remaining that way. Plan them as often as needed, from once a week to once a month, whatever works for you. That way you will always have the forum in place to make sure things are running smoothly between you.
Hopefully Usher and Grace will have the same experience Angelina and Brad have had, and the only meetings they will have to call will be for official business or a stolen romantic moment.
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