How Does Silicon Valley’s Culture Affect Your Marriage? | Couple's Net | Chandrama Anderson | Palo Alto Online |

Local Blogs

By Chandrama Anderson

How Does Silicon Valley’s Culture Affect Your Marriage?

Uploaded: Apr 28, 2017

I had the great pleasure to interview Ron Weissman, an extremely accomplished man in all of his seven careers (look him up online). Ron is currently an Angel investor, and in my new book (that many of you gave title ideas for—thank you), the heroine falls in love with an Angel investor.

Ron was easy to talk with and answered all my questions about the life of an Angel. Ron and his wife have been married over 40 years. He says the key to marital success is humor. And he teased me about ruining a perfectly good romance with SV types!

After we met, Ron sent me a presentation he prepared called The Angel Economy in 2017, and a few things stood out to me regarding couples here, even though it wasn’t geared for that.

Here’s part of the list Ron created about the culture of SV:

Risk taking
Networking 24/7
Long-term loyalty to network, not to companies
Engineers are heroes
Everyone is a foreigner
Cultural rebels: Anything Goes

And here are items from his slide on the Dark Side of SV:

We live in a bubble and believe our own hype
Cult of personality/CEO as Hero
Lack of intellectual diversity
The cult of Perpetual Adolescence

Do you recognize yourself or your spouse in any of these descriptions? The first list consists of what has brought amazing products and services to the world, and the Dark Side is what causes the SV blinder syndrome (think of a horse).

However, I would say that all of the items on both lists may have to do with unhappy and disconnected marriages or relationships around here. Unless you focus on your marriage and make it stronger—every day.

Being constantly work focused doesn’t allow a partner in. Believing you’re bigger than your britches—and that money or creating new things makes it so—doesn’t equal intimacy. Coming in your front door as though you’re the big Kahuna—and you are at work—and expecting your family to hop-to doesn’t bring about closeness and make room for the love in your marriage and family.

Many people come to SV from all over the country and world to live and work here—and find it very hard to make friends because everyone is so busy making sure they are even more successful and that their kids are, too. I know I sound a bit harsh saying that. I urge you to slow down and bring a newcomer into your circle. You were a newcomer once, too, even if it was a while back.

I’ve written about the perpetual adolescent before. Jung called him Puer—the eternal boy. Fun, engaging, playful, and full of ideas—but quickly losing interest and/or chafing against the responsibilities when it comes to being a husband, and perhaps eventually a father. The Puer fights against “being tied down” and “letting my wife know when I’ll be home” and “why do I have to do my share at home?” and “Why can’t I tinker on my projects for hours on end leaving you to your own devices?” and “I don’t want to change diapers” and “why do I have to babysit [his own kids?” and “Why is eye contact important?” There are women versions of Puer, too.

Puers want to “Go out drinking with my co-workers” and “work as long as I want” and “not have to tell her/him where I am, what I’m doing, or when I’ll be home” and so on.

The thing is, I know you are capable of an intimate (close, cherished, faithful and trusting) and loving relationship. And I want that for you. When loyalty is to one’s network, not a company, let your beloved be the furthest inner network you’ll ever have.