You’ve finally embarked on starting your dream business. You and your business partner seem perfectly matched and equally committed to the project – or so you thought. Now your partner doesn’t seem to have your passion – or he or she is accusing you of lacking sufficient passion.  What can you do to get your startup back on track?

Maybe one of you has a demanding job, family obligations or health issues, or some combination of these.  Maybe spending several nights a week on getting your business off the ground is easier for one of you than it is for the other.

Things can change during the partnership

Partners may also start out in analogous life situations, only to have something change – a promotion, layoff, relocation on the job front or something on the family front such as a pregnancy or a separation.

Paradoxically, it might be easier if you and your partner were not close friends or relatives beforehand. You expect more from people who are close to you and will take it a lot more personally if you feel they are letting you down.  And your partner would be that much more stung if he thinks you are the one not doing enough.

The bad feelings may only intensify if they bring up a sore spot. If you are single and childless and wish that were not the case, you might resent a partner asking to do less due to family obligations. If you are holding down two jobs to make ends meet, you might resent your independently wealthy partner telling you to work harder.

So it’s entirely possible that both of you remain deeply committed to the project, only you each have a different concept of what a deep commitment is.

What partners can do to make things better

One way to improve a partnership can be to set boundaries. Establish an off-limits time for phone calls, emails and texts.  If you were already close friends or relatives, time apart could also prevent you from spending too much time in contact with one another, which could also result in stress.

If you both conclude that one partner does have a greater commitment than the other, but you still want to work together, executive coach experts say you can renegotiate a 50-50 partnership into one in which the more committed partner has a greater share.

Even if your partnership is going swimmingly, you should still have a written agreement in place that accounts for potential changes in the partnership. Planning for potential problems reduces the chance of those problems torpedoing the partnership.