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Gidi in Heels with ‘Layemi: The Business Side of Relationships



dreamstime_l_60446437Recently, I had the privilege of having a no-holds-barred conversation with a witty septuagenarian, whom I admire greatly. He gave me a lot of wise counsel about life, business, religion and marriage. On the subject of marriage, he was of the opinion that a lot of relationships and marriages do not work because people walk into them with a lot of assumptions and expectations that may or may not be realistic.

Spending a lifetime in a relationship where your expectations are continuously not being met can be a little too much to bear and so according to him, one of the fundamentals for entering into a relationship was to approach it deliberately.

He said and I quote “If people would spend as much time defining their expectations before entering into a relationship as they do when entering into a business partnership, perhaps they would have less trouble along the way”.

Are you comparing a relationship to a business partnership? They are not the same”! My romantic self exclaimed.

He laughed…obviously he had been expecting the outburst and then he asked;

What is the difference? Don’t the same rules of partnership apply in both scenarios?

He had me there and so I asked him to explain his line of thought to me.

In his analysis, he explained that when people desire a business partnership, they follow the following rules:

  • They consider their options of potential partners (in the case of relationships, this is the process of choosing a mate/friend).
  • They find out as much as they can about the shortlisted candidate (in the case of relationships this is the phase where you cyber stalk check social media handles and make enquiries).
  • They begin negotiations and define expectations (which is the missing link when it comes to romance).
  • Finally, they formalise the partnership by signing a contract (in the case of relationships they both agree to enter into a romantic relationship or become friends).

I noticed that perhaps step 3 in the partnership process was the missing link in relationships and why a lot of expectations remained unmet.

After the conversation, I began to think of the analogy my “mentor” had used; comparing relationships to business partnerships and I came to the realization that there are basically three types of relationships (whether it be romantic or platonic). I am of the opinion that perhaps if we understand the pros and cons of each type, we would be able to leverage the benefits that come with the kind of relationship we are in and watch out for the major pitfalls associated with it:

1)The Merger Relationship
A merger in business occurs when two firms come together and become one legal entity.

A relationship merger occurs when two financially, mental and socially independent individuals enter into a relationship or become friends.

Benefits of a Merger Relationship:
A merger relationship brings with it increased resources to achieve shared goals; these include financial resources, social networks, career/business expertise etc.

The parties involved can pull together resources to execute projects they may not have been able to execute alone.

There also tends to be a high level of emotional and intellectual maturity which may guarantee a stable relationship/friendship.

Pitfalls to avoid:
The major pitfall to watch out for is the difficulty one or both partners may experience in adjusting to co-dependence. Remember each partner was independent and self-sufficient before the relationship/friendship was established. Suddenly becoming accountable to another individual may be difficult in the beginning and may lead to conflicts and power tussles.

Both parties should learn the art of negotiation and compromise.

2)The Acquisition Relationship
In simple terms, an acquisition occurs when a corporation takes ownership of an establishment smaller in asset base.
An acquisition relationship is one where one partner is significantly more experienced in fundamental areas such as finances, career advancement, education, exposure and so on.

Benefits of an Acquisition Relationship:
An acquisition relationship presents the opportunity for the more experienced partner to provide some form of mentoring, coaching or support to the less experienced partner in the relationship. This can create an invaluable bond as it tends to bring the partners closer.

Pitfalls to avoid:
In these kind of relationships, both parties have to be make a conscious effort to maintain a balance. The more experienced party must try not to be too domineering and the less experienced party must maintain a healthy self-esteem and ensure he/she is able to contribute to decision making within the relationship freely.

3)The Joint Venture Relationship
In business, a joint venture occurs when two entities come together to accomplish a set objective or goal. Therefore, it may be a time-bound/goal specific partnership and not a permanent one.

A joint venture relationship is usually circumstantial and both parties often know from the on-set that there are little possibilities of building a future together.

Benefits of a Joint Venture Relationship
Both parties get to negotiate the terms of the relationship since it is mostly temporary and also enjoy a level of flexibility as the expectations are well managed from the beginning.

Pitfalls to avoid:
The major pitfall in this kind of relationship is a breach of “the contract”. One party may begin to catch feelings want more despite previous agreements on the temporary basis which may lead to disputes when it is time to dissolve the partnership.

This is simply an analogy to help manage expectations in relationships. Perhaps relationships would work better when people understand how to leverage the kind of relationship they are in and also watch out for the major pitfalls.

As a hopeless romantic, I am inclined to go with the “love is all that matters” school of thought but really boardroom strategies are sometimes required to protect the love – which really does matter!

Layemi is a career woman, a writer and a relentless dreamer. She is an eternal optimist, hopeless romantic and an advocate for equity. She wants to be remembered for impacting the world and inspiring billions through her writing which she hopes will someday earn her a Nobel Prize in Literature. She occasionally tweets with the handle @luola12


  1. Ito

    July 14, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    Nice piece, and awesome twist on relationships

    • Tosin

      July 15, 2016 at 10:38 pm


  2. Lucinda

    July 14, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    This thing we call “hopeless romantic” is chemicals playing tricks with our head. It’s not easy, but if you want to enjoy your relationship on the long run, you have to approach things like a business at the very early stages of the relationship. If you don’t know your worth, you’ll be scared this approach will chase the right person away. My sisters, It won’t.

  3. Yasmine

    July 14, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    Spot on! Boardroom strategies do apply in the bedroom sometimes especially if you want to build a long lasting and mutually beneficial relationship. By the way is the Joint Venture Relationship now another name for “hooking up”…Lol.

  4. Tinuke

    July 14, 2016 at 6:52 pm

    But is it necessary to use words like septuagenarian.
    this is 2016. simplicity is Key. you lost me at that word and i didn’t bother reading the rest of the article because immediately, I knew we couldn’t relate.
    they days when you earned brownie points for using big words are long gone.
    get with the times.

    • X-Factor

      July 14, 2016 at 7:38 pm

      @ Tinuke, obviously the writer’s piece is for the reserved class of urbane elites who appreciates the perfect blend of depth, insight and impeccable weave of words and not for mentally lazy, hateful and possibly shallow minds….so its OK for you to pass ( if you get what i mean)

    • Bea

      July 14, 2016 at 9:25 pm

      Seriously, God bless you for this comment, took the words right out of my mouth.

    • Tinuke

      July 14, 2016 at 9:35 pm

      Honestly it’s such an old and outdated mentality to associate intelligence or as you put it ‘reserved class of urbane elites who appreciates the perfect blend of depth, insight and impeccable weave of words’ with the use of big words. If you ask me doing that is quite shallow in itself.

      Simplicity is key. if you like don’t learn from me.

    • Pls use google

      July 15, 2016 at 4:28 am

      In the future use google, because of one word, you discredit a whole article.

    • Don

      July 15, 2016 at 5:22 pm

      I think you did not need to express yourself in the mean way you did because you did not understand the word septuagenarian. Simplicity is key, doesn’t mean, everyone is ‘condemned’ to be simple. Life is about choice, Thank God the writer did not need your permission to write. It is a very simple and courteous thing to do to respect the thoughts, believes, ideas and expressions of others without rudely making demeaning comments…it is so simple enough that you did not understand your definition of simplicity. People who respect simplicity don’t attempt to put others down. It is crude, evil and crass…I hope those words are simple. Simplicity being key also means rather than ‘showcase’ your lack of willingness to learn new things, you could have picked a dictionary or SIMPLY googled it. Have you thought that you could have failed an exam or an interview because you did not know the meaning of septuagenarian? Abeg park well…you weren’t even forced to read it the wise words contained there. Remain Simply Dumb!

  5. Frozen

    July 14, 2016 at 7:10 pm

    I honestly wish I have had this mindset from the very beginning. I could have avoided the heartbreak that has made me scared of entering into a relationship till today.

    The sad fact is that it happened 8 years ago. He’s married and has a family while I’ve not being in a relationship since then because I’m too scared. Nice guys have approached me but I find some little fault and run away.

    And no, I’m not in love with him anymore neither do I hold any grudges against him. All na experience.

    I had always planned that i would be married at 24. Now I’m past that age. My close friends are all married and some have even had their kids. I can see they are happy and I’m sincerely happy for them. My younger ones are of age and are even dating while I have no one.

    I noticed recently that I have started subconsciously preparing for life as a single person which with all honesty is not what I want.

    Sorry for the story. Just had to let it out…..

    • Abi

      July 16, 2016 at 11:17 am

      This makes me sad. Please there is a way out – counseling. A psychologist will comb out the ‘koko’ or tangles in your mind as regards relationships and your past. Over time, you will regain the courage to trust and date again.

      Please, 8 years is already too long to suffer. I went through a traumatic experience (not relationship-related) nine years ago, and it took me five years to be ok. I should have gone for counseling/seen a psychologist. I didn’t. I usually don’t have ‘regrets’, but I wish I had not suffered so much. If I could change something, it would be that. Love to you.

  6. Lol

    July 14, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    Ah ah Tinuke septuagenarian isn’t that big of a word now.

  7. Champ

    July 14, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    Errrmmmm…what is so complicated about the word in this google age??? That is why people go about making statements like “Nigerians don’t read” if this were published on The Huffington Post no one will pick on the word. Please when you come across an unfamiliar word or term it is an opportunity to expand your vocabulary as opposed to getting put off and missing out on a nicely written article’ phew!

  8. Omolade

    July 14, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    Back to the article ;-)I was chief of business merger when I started my relationship. I asked questions die. Times have changed and were not all born in the same village anymore we may both Nigerian names but these days thats about it. I stated very clearly with my boyfriend what I expected in my relationship and i asked him what he expected. At the beginning he didn’t reall feel he had much expectations. He played it down.Babe all i need is really for you to respect and be a helper to me (men find these questions difficult).A year later he was finally able to be clear about his expectations and his list was loooong o. Till this day we continue to discuss the ‘business plan’ looool. My advice save all the romance for marriage you have all the years in the world to be romantic. But if you don’t use those dating days to discuss those terms and conditions your ‘business’ will crash one day.

  9. Ijeoma. O

    July 15, 2016 at 11:59 am

    True, to the extent that you’re going into a relationship with your complete senses (which isn’t the case most of the time) and realistic expectations. I disagree however because with a business, you necessarily do not have to commit to one person except there’s a clause in the contract e.g conflict of interest. But with relationships, commitment is key (well, at some point) if a party is to be taken seriously. Commitment here may not necessarily mean committing to “better or for worse”(not just yet) but committing to that one person you are currently with. It’s a good read, Layemi. Well done, keep it coming…

  10. esteem

    July 15, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    Nice write up dear. But common you can’t involve business in a relationship cos expectation changes overtime, and fallacy shouldn’t be a good theory, be prepared to make a mistake until you meet the one that got what you what. Relationship and love is like one going to the market to buy cloth without knowing your size, you can buy your size at the first purchase, or purchase an over size or the one tithier than that but certainly you will purchase the one that fits you one day.

    • Mz_Danielz

      July 16, 2016 at 11:57 am

      My darling, as a size 8 living in Nigeria, no time to be finding my size. I have a good tailor who ‘shapes’ my clothes perfectly ?

    • "changing moniker"

      July 17, 2016 at 2:46 am

      Hahaha……shape hIm as you like ba?

  11. I am Nneka

    July 15, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    The best piece I have read so far. Love the business approach….very applicable

  12. Sisterly

    July 16, 2016 at 10:17 am

    Great piece hun…….keep doing what you love. There are people who love and appreciate what you do. Meanwhile, keep LOOSING bad belle people (‘you lost me’ she said ). Lol

  13. yummychickcummummy

    July 16, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    brilliant piece of work!!!!!!!!m definitely going to put it to use..

  14. "changing moniker"

    July 17, 2016 at 2:47 am

    I’ve learned something from this article. Thank God I read it….
    I like you ‘Layemi. ….
    Keep writing, ma.

  15. charles odii

    July 19, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    This is an interesting read, it gave me something to think about

  16. Princess Oluwakemi

    January 3, 2020 at 8:40 pm

    This is wonderful, a unique concept about relationships

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