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You Asked: I'm Not a Fan of His Career Choice

You Asked: I'm Not a Fan of His Career Choice

Dear Sugar,

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

To see DearSugar's answer,


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.


Join The Conversation
Kat-E Kat-E 8 years
My boyfriend owns two bars and my helping him out on occasion at the bars has helped me to understand just how much work goes into owning a bar. It's a lot of work but it can also be a really rewarding experience. I would have never thought that I would date a bar owner (I'm not much of a drinker), but I see how much his bars really create a place for people to unwind and enjoy themselves, and I'm proud of what he's accomplished. My best advice is to support him with as much of a Can-Do attitude as you can, get involved, and support your man. It can be a really rewarding experience for the both of you and create a stronger bond :)
AlexE70 AlexE70 8 years
If it is his dream, regardless of what your personal opinion is about it, let him follow it. And give him your full support along the way. One of the many things relationships are bound by is the hope that our significant other will support us in our endeavors, and vice versa. And, should they falter, be there for them to help pick up the pieces. I can understand your reservations about the whole bar atmosphere, but as part-owner of a pub, I can genuinely tell you it's not as bad as you make it seem to be. Atmosphere, de-stressing, and genuine laughs and fun are to be expected at most bars. And if he'll be able to turn a profit in the progress, then why not support him. Perhaps you should let him give it a shot, and stop by from time to time. You may find that your reservations might not be entirely warranted.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i would have thought that maybe it was a trust thing that made you really upset about his choice. i have faith in my fiance for being honest and trustworthy but we all know what goes on in bars, and yes you think that you're just going to be the owner and all that, but you know that he's going to be involved with promoters, and depending on the type of bar, maybe getting bands and all that - and maybe it's a part of his life that you won't have a piece of. it's hard, but think about how he'll really be happy if this is something that he can do and be successful at. men want nothing more than to feel like they've achieved things and that they are in control....
Janine22 Janine22 8 years
As someone else here said, you really do sound judgemental. I say be happy that you are with a man who is financially independent and business minded. If you can't support his goals and dreams, there are many other women that would. I think that bars are can be a good investment and people go to bars for many reasons, not just for the alcohol.
Stephabbey Stephabbey 8 years
At least give him points for being an entrepreneur. If you can't deal with his career choice, move on. Hating on his life decisions is not a good way to continue a relationship
Stephabbey Stephabbey 8 years
Sheesh he owns a bar, not a meth lab.
Berlin Berlin 8 years
As a bartender, I take MUCH offense to this! Owning a bar is a wonderful career choice. If maybe all you did when you went out to drink was get plastered and taken advantage of, then I can see where the assumption comes from. But going out drinking with friends at a bar provides a place to get away from the stressors of life, meet new people, dance or watch games, and celebrate life with friends! Sounds like you have a problem with people drinking and that is influencing your decision. If you can't support him then he isn't the guy for you...sorry but you sound like you are way overreacting.
Meike Meike 8 years
"I think owning a bar is providing people with alcohol and taking their money without giving them something good in return." Good in return = "place to hang out and de-stress". There you go. Even I know what bars are good for and I don't drink alcohol. People de-stress in different ways. Some go to a masseuse, some to a gym, and some to a bar. Don't ruin his career because you're on some moral high ground.
smugirl smugirl 8 years
Like everyone else, I am still confused by your statement "I think owning a bar is providing people with alcohol and taking their money without giving them something good in return." Would you rather he owned a fast food joint? All they do is take your money and hand over a greasy burger and fries, leading to obesity which leads to diabetes, heart disease, etc. People have met their future spouses in bars, made new friends in bars, bonded with old friends, enjoyed watching sporting events, grabbed a bite to eat, and lots of other positive fun things. Plus, as others have said you're his girlfriend. If you love him you will support his dreams just as he should support yours. There is nothing wrong with owning a bar. He's not selling drugs, hookers, stolen goods.
Jammi Jammi 8 years
I agree with all of the above, your reasoning isn't very logical and as such he won't take your concerns seriously. What you should do, in an attempt to be supportive, is research a bunch of things about the hardwork that goes into a successful bar. Find stats, spend a day with him just hitting up popular bars [not during their hours of course] and then speaking with managers if they'll talk to you about the hours and money that goes into maintaining said bar, etc. after he realises that for the first five years it'll actually be pure hell he will think about it logically. But you two definitely need to figure something out, because I could never be with someone who didn't support my dreams, especially if the reason they give is as weak as yours. It sounds as if there's some underlying insecurity//issue and that's something you need to deal with. Good luck.
elizabethsosewn elizabethsosewn 8 years
i'm with CaterpillarGirl! Did you have a traumatizing experience with a bar or something?
candace87 candace87 8 years
You're either not being honest with yourself about the real reason you don't want this, or you don't have much of an arguement here. Is it really because of the 'innocent' bar-goers or is it because you have some underlying insecurity? Do you think hes going to be drinking at his own bar partying all night? Because managing and owning a business is a lot of work, and that most likely won't be the case. If it's because you feel like he'll be spending time with girls who want to flirt to get in free, then you either have to just trust him, or not be in this relationship. If your only real worry is that he'll be taking money from innocent people.. there is no real grounds for arguement, the people who go to bars and buy overpriced drinks know EXACTLY what they're getting into; besides, its a bar, not the bunny ranch.
bluestar bluestar 8 years
"I think owning a bar is providing people with alcohol and taking their money without giving them something good in return." Ummm...people know what they are getting when they go to a bar! What do you think they're paying for? To get a buzz on!!
brookrene brookrene 8 years
I think both of you are delusional. OWNING a business is HARD work. He thinks it's gonna be fun and he's wrong...when it becomes fun for him he's not running it correctly. He's in for a big surprise. But you thinking that he takes their money and gives nothing in return is ludicrous. When you are a patron of a place you PAY for alcohol, food, pool tables, etc. You PAY to have a good time. You both have no idea what he's getting into and I'm afraid it'll be rough going for you both unless you guys get clued in.
herjoiedevivre herjoiedevivre 8 years
first of all, it sounds like you have different personalities. you have a very surprisingly conservative view on what it means to have a hangout place. he sounds like he's much more laidback. but beyond the idea that you can't let your ideas about what kind of people buy alcohol and what "kind" of people sell alcohol totally kill your support for him. opening up a business is hard enough without your s/o trying to force his/her views into it. the thing about giving people nothing for money made me laugh, and I'm not trying to be rude, but what do you see the people who hang out in bars as? victims who just don't understand that they're paying for something horrible, lol? people have accountability, they can make their choices, and it's not the 'bar's fault. just like it's not your boyfriend's fault for wanting to open one.
cubadog cubadog 8 years
I agree with everyone that thinks you are off base in regard to people not getting anything from a bar. Either support him or end the relationship you are being incredibly unfair and judgmental.
Poster-of-a-Girl Poster-of-a-Girl 8 years
is it that you think that he will hang out at his own bar all the time and get drunk? my ex had the same dream about which i wasn't thrilled because i thought he had a drinking problem. A dude who has a drinking problem opening his own bar seemed like a disaster waiting to happen to me. He had no serious idea of what running a BUSINESS is like, it was this rosy hangout place.
beautiful-disaster beautiful-disaster 8 years
taking their money without giving them something GOOD in return... ok, alcohol in moderation is not BAD. the way i see it, youre making it look like opening a bar is morally wrong. if thats the case, either try to understand that we are way past prohibition, that many people like to go to bars to meet up with friends because: a) theyre not a fan of starbucks.. especially at night.. who can sleep with all that caffeine in their system? b) its not as time consuming and expensive as a full dinner at a restaurant c) you can have fun, hear music, meet people, in some cases dance a little. or leave him and let him follow his dream on his own. theres always going to be some idiot who drinks too much, but that is easily solved by calling the cops and getting him/her removed from the premiases. the reasons listed above are the reasons i like going to bars with friends.. i do not drink a lot, but we have a good time and meet interesting people. your boyfriend wanting to open a bar tells me that he frecuents them... do you not ever go with him? do you and the girls never meet up for a drink? o some nachos, fries, cokes?
Ac2366 Ac2366 8 years
A man who owned and ran a bar would be my dream man. I love bars. I love the atmosphere, the people, and yes the booze too. It makes for a fun weekend. I def don't think that he would be taking peoples money and not giving them anything in return. That's crazy talk. People don't go to bars to give their money away they go for a reason whether it be to have fun, meet new people, or drown their sorrows. Who are you to be the judge on how people use their money? I also wouldn't go as far as to say that every bar owner is going to be faced with loads of drugs and women. Men frequent bars also and I don't think that drugs in bars are a prevalent problem. All that aside, if my significant other did not support my dream I would be crushed and begin to seriously question the entire relationship.
CYL CYL 8 years
"the way i see it, it's a risky investment opportunity where he will be spending tons of time, late at night with sometimes shady characters, loads of booze, drugs, and girls, thereby creating an unstable environment to sustain a relationship and build a family" see I think skigirl's reason makes more sense as the reason for not wanting him to own a bar. Is this the REAL reason why you don't want him owning a bar? I mean the whole "a bar is providing people with alcohol and taking their money without giving them something good in return." thing really makes no sense to me..I mean its not like anyone forces people to go to bars, it their choice to go and buy booze and hang out. How is it different than owning a coffee are providing with a drink...and I would a argue the same amount of people (maybe more? I don't know the stats) are addicted to caffeine on a regular basis EVERY morning than booze. And we know coffee is horrible for are you not ok with him owning a small cafe then?
kourt kourt 8 years
If you are really into this guy and see a future with him, I think you will have to agree to disagree and support him in whatever he does. Owning a bar will be a long time commitment and something you do not wish to support. These are the things we do for those we love! ;)
alltherage alltherage 8 years
i agree with perfect score. also whether its a bar or whatever if u cant support him in this or whatever his career is - it may be a dealbreaker.
ThePerfectScore ThePerfectScore 8 years
Be like Miranda and support Steve's dream of opening Scout. Sorry it just totally reminded me of SATC. I think you should support him. Bars are a great investment if you can make it a place worth going.
skigurl skigurl 8 years
the reason you don't want him to own the bar is very strange the way i see it, it's a risky investment opportunity where he will be spending tons of time, late at night with sometimes shady characters, loads of booze, drugs, and girls, thereby creating an unstable environment to sustain a relationship and build a family not sure how far into the future you're looking, but i wouldn't marry a guy who owned and personally ran a bar
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
"taking thier money without giving them something in return?" that dude should run away fast..this girl is crazy.
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