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In the Grown Zone we teach what it means to make healthy, Grown decisions (not merely the adult choices you have the right to make, whether or not they are to your advantage). This includes challenging self-destructive beliefs about how to create and sustain healthy relationships, including marriages.

Relationship education is key to protecting your business, career and finances. If your wealth, influence, visibility and status are on the rise, you are particularly vulnerable to making poor relationship choices. Success is attractive, but not everyone it attracts is good for you. Relationship education is necessary for you to distinguish the predators, opportunists, adult dependents, drama kings/queens and others who are unhealthy for you, from those truly qualified to safely engage with you as potential partners in healthy relationships of honor, esteem and respect.

This is a particularly important topic for entrepreneurs, corporate executives, actors, entertainers, professional athletes and others who have or are on a path to status, fame and wealth. With Grown Zone Relationship Education, we address three ways you are vulnerable to putting your current and future success, finances and happiness at risk in relationships:

You attract and choose potential relationship partners based on what you have, not who you are. Success is the ultimate relationship attractor, because it is strongly associated with money, physical attractiveness, sexual desirability, social status and the other attractors we identify in our book Loving In The Grown Zone. Moreover, your bias toward such attractors becomes more pronounced as you begin to think in terms of what you deserve (i.e., a “model chick” or a prominent and connected executive) based on the levels of success you’ve achieved or aspire to.

The danger here is that focusing on and over-valuing such attractors in yourself and others will cause you to dismiss and/or bypass the sustainer characteristics—including fidelity, respect, compassion—necessary for safe, healthy and sustainable relationships. Unlike beauty or social status (which are either readily apparent or easily faked), sustainers can only be revealed over time. Without relationship education and training, your bias toward attractors (what a person looks like, has and can do) will cause you to overlook and devalue the sustainers that define who a person is—placing you and your resources at risk.

You are in trouble when you start thinking of relationship prospects in terms of who would be good for your image or “brand,” instead who would be healthy for you, using the Grown Zone standard of honor, esteem and respect. Your bias toward attractor characteristics will communicate to others exactly what they need to be (or pretend to be) to gain access to your body, money, heart and home—whether they are worthy of it or not.

You attract and are attracted to adult dependents who drain, but can’t replenish, you and your resources. They are attracted to you because you have the means to enable their dependency. And in the absence of relationship education rooted in self-love and personal growth, you’ll be attracted to them, too, because their dependence feeds your ego and provides a false sense of security and control.

However, in times of adversity, when your success is threatened or lost, that illusion of security and control goes with it. Adult dependents either become burdensome distractions, or absent, in order to replace you with another provider (while likely taking many of your assets and resources with them). In the meantime, your relationship will be driven by ego and possessiveness, not the respect and partnership only found in relationships of equals. It will be inherently unhealthy, dissatisfying and prone to conflict and resentment—likely draining your finances and distracting you from the business or career you are relying on to sustain you.