Why do relationships end? Here’s a general answer to that ever-personal question, according to Elizabeth Bernstein’s article in today’s Wall Street Journal:
We are attracted to a person’s positive qualities, and then we come to resent their negative sides. The more we like a certain trait, the more we resent its dark side, according to Diane Felmlee, a professor of sociology at Penn State University, who started calling the phenomenon “fatal attraction” when she began studying it two decades ago.
Felmlee goes on to name a few fatal attractions. For example: You’re initially attracted to someone’s sense of humor, only to find out they’re incapable of being serious. Or you’re initially attracted to someone’s decisiveness, only to find out they’re a control freak. And so on and so forth.
Okay–but how does all of this apply to business partnerships? You can begin to see the correlation when Felmlee lists the ways in which fatal attractions manifest themselves. Two of them, in particular, are commonplace reasons for business breakups:
1. Sour grapes. In this scenario, one partner “is coping with problems in the relationship, or its demise,” writes Bernstein. You can find a great example in the breakup story of Roberto Angulo, CEO and cofounder of AfterCollege, a San Francisco company connecting college students and alumni with employers.