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Boyfriend lacking ambition, worried for my future


greyshadow

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Hi everyone

 

This is my first time posting and I am looking for a bit of advice for my current situation. The topic may be a bit sensitive and I am worried I will come accross as shallow or selfish so please understand that I just want advice.

 

Basically I have been with my boyfriend for about 3 years. When we first met we were both in minimum wage jobs (I was studying and this was his career). I have since finished studying and have moved onto get a reasonably well paying job with potential for advancement. I am always looking for the next promotion and want to earn good money so I can be comfortable and one day hopefully provide a nice life for my children. On the other hand my boyfriend has stayed where he is and brings in just under half what I do. My boyfriend is really happy where he is and when I ask him what his plans for the future is he just says he wants to stay where he is. He has no real ambition or goals to even move up in his field and is happy bringing in the money he does.

 

The problem here is after our rent bills etc are paid off he has no money left for the week. He lives pay check to pay check and I often hear him on the phone to his mum asking for money. As our relationship has gone on he has discussed getting married, buying a house, having kids etc but I am worried about how we can do this. He says things like I will have to put more money into the house/pay the deposit as I earn more and when we have kids he will stay home and I will have to work as I earn more etc ... When I ask why he doesn't get a better paying job or try to move up in the world he gets really upset and throws tantrums and basically says it's because he isnt intelligent enough.

 

I am 24 and want to go on holidays and see the world but he can never come as he cant afford it. I still go but I feel sad and lonely the whole time. My bf is 29 and has been broke or close to it the whole three years I have known him

 

I don't see myself as a gold digger and I feel very selfish even writing this post. Is it wrong of me to want someone one who is roughly financially equal? Im not after a millionaire or anything I just want someone who is equal with me or who has goals and ambitions to move up in the world?

I don't want to live in a beach front mansion I just want to be able to feed my kids, provide them a good life/send them to good schools etc.... I know I wont be able to do any of this with my current bf and Im worried. Ive tried so many times to motivate him to strive for more but he just yells and storms away.

 

Does anyone have any advice on what I should do here?

 

Everything else aside my bf is a nice guy and will do anything for me. He doesn't often ask me for money and pays his way in our rental house .... Im just very worried about what sort of future we can have together?

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He doesn't pay his own way..his parents are subsidizing him.

He isn't going to change. If the.picture of him staying home with your kids, you fitting the bills, no vacations...doesn't appeal to you, the handwriting is on the wall.

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Agree with mhowe. And besides, he doesnt sound like he'd be a great parent or hubby anyway. What kind of man is fine with letting his wife go to work, pay bills, save money, rear his children, etc. he has alot of growing up to do. Men this day n age are such losers! My dad was bluecollar, but a damn good provider for his family.

 

Id lose him. Youve grown apart, time to move on.

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I don't think you're shallow/selfish at all and I say this from the perspective of a guy who sounds like your boyfriend. I'm 25, still living at home with my parents and while my job doesn't pay minimum wage, it's a low paying job and I do have some ambition to get out of it but that's more the problem here that I think is worth addressing. In my view anyway, while it does come down to money, it sounds like you're more disappointed that your boyfriend lacks motivation or ambition.

 

I think you've been incredibly patient to stay with him this long but unfortunately, when it comes to these things, it's not always something in your control or in anyone else's control. If you'd like to see your boyfriend become more goal oriented and eventually get out of his minimum wage job and find something more interesting and higher paying, that's on him. You can encourage him (as I'm sure you've done) and help him out to a point but he has to be able to take that step and maintain a new career without someone's help.

 

I'm just wondering if he has had any bouts of depression because it sounds like he's become comfortable in something (his current job) and that comfort zone is something he's anxious about moving away from. I'm sure that while he may genuinely love the job, he wouldn't mind making more money, it's only human nature. He also knows that doing so will require a lot more work, he'll have to leave a place with people and things he's familiar with and venture into something with no gaurantee of advancement and he needs an incredible passion in what he's doing for it to be sustainable. What are his interests other than work? Do you see something in him, like an interest in music, engineering, mechanics, etc. etc. it doesn't have to be a glamorous job but we all have talents, hobbies that, if used right can be applied to a new job/career. For some people, this is more obvious than others. If he's the kind of person who keeps to themselves (as I tend to be), you may not realize what this passion is but I'd be surprised if there wasn't a part of him that secretly does want more for himself and for your relationship. It's not your requirement to uncover that, however.

 

I hate to make suggestions like this, because I don't know the entire situation, but I can only apply it to my narrow frame of reference (which in a way, makes me a bit selfish too). The only thing that motivated me ultimately was my girlfriend leaving me 2 years ago. I wanted to do better, I was frustrated that I still counted on mom for support financially but I was in a bad emotional place, not because of my relationship but just bc of those other problems. My "wake up call" was her leaving me (even though that's not what she intended it to be) and since our breakup, I finished my college degree, and while I still live at home, I'm saving up money and have 2 jobs and trying to get a job in my field since I got my bachelors in graphic design. I don't know that that would've happened if my gf stayed patient with me and I continued wasting time beating myself up or turning down help.

 

I'm not saying to break up with him, please dont misunderstand me, but maybe put some more pressure on him. Tell him that it's not about the money he makes or doesn't make but more about his ambition and that for his own well-being self confidence and the stability of your relationship, you'd really like to see him put more effort into finding a more worthwhile career. Ultimately, if he still doesn't respond, it's up to you how you'd like to proceed, but I'd hate to see your hard work go to waste when it shouldn't. You've done well for yourself and are absolutely entitled to want the things you want and he should share in those dreams. Best of luck

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there's some serious talking to be done there.

 

first, what is your ideal financial situation in a relationship? I don't mind putting more money to the house, as I strongly believe that women fought for equal rights, so as long as I put more money and he takes care of all the household chores I hate doing, I can be pretty happy and still find him sexy and masculine in the end of the day (actually, I dated a guy who more than once left me sleeping in bed to wash the dishes naked - it was sooo hot to wake up to that XD but then he was a med student, not a chance I'd make more money than him). you clearly think a male's role is the provider one - could you see yourself adjusting to a middle ground?

 

I agree that you should squeeze him a little bit more into stepping off the comfort zone, minimum wage is still too low to make any kind of commitment...

 

but he says he's not smart enough to do better than that. ever wondered he might be right? not everyone is fit to rise above...

 

btw, congrats on your focus on improving and doing the things you dreamed. be it besides him or not.

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Have you had the conversation where you lay out how important this is for you, and what you want in your future and for this relationship?

 

Instead of trying to encourage him and shake him to be more like how you want him to be; simply state what is important to you and what you want out of this relationship.

 

Then I'd give it a deadline, in your own head/heart. He either rises to what you need from a partner, or he doesn't. And you know what to do.

 

You can't change people. If there was one single piece of wisdom that I wished I'd learned earlier, it's that one. anytime you find yourself trying to convince a partner of anything, remember it.

 

And I agree with mhowe - he isn't even paying his own way if he is getting money from his folks. He is 29 and hasn't gotten his legs yet. I wouldn't sit around waiting for it.

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Thank-you everyone so much for your replies. Like I mentioned I was nervous about posting this as I thought I might get a bit of a bashing or called shallow etc but all your responses have made me feel so much better.

 

Sonicfan thankyou for taking the time to write such an insightful response. Everything you said made me feel a lot better about the situation. You are correct in saying its not about the money but more about the lack of ambition etc. I do not think he struggles with depression I just think he is happy living a more simple life. He has said before he could not bare the stresses of a corporate 9 -5 type job. I also have yet to find any hobbies he has which worries me. I personally love travelling and am hugely into competitive sport and I find it difficult that he has no passions such as that. As you suggested I have tried to help him and put some pressure on him but it ends in a full blown argument so I have literally given up. He just keeps saying that he isn't capable of more etc and he is happy where he is.

 

Agatha thankyou also for your reply. I guess my ideal situation would to be equals. I wouldnt mind putting a bit more into a house etc if the other party was working hard to get somewhere or was working around the house but that doesnt seem to be the case. Unfortunately I am incharge of all bills and most maintaince around the house. If I ask him to do something it will take weeks for him to get it done and he will get really stressed over it. It just seems easier to do it myself.

He says he is not smart enough to do anything else but I do not agree. I feel like thats his way of giving up? I got told I wasnt smart enough to go to uni but I went and I tried really hard and came away with two degrees. I guess its that lack of motivation to try that frustrates me.

 

He is an all round good guy, doesn't hit me, cheat on me etc and Im worried if I leave him I will end up with a more financial stable but cheating partner. How do you know if it's worth taking the risk?

 

Again thankyou for all the responses

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I have tried to tell him about this but he gets really worked up whenever I bring it up. He ends up storming out the room and saying there is so much injustice in the world etc.

You say give him a date to sort himself out but what kind of person would I be If I told him I needed someone with more money/ambition so he needs to leave the job he is comfortable in and enjoys to make me happy?

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He doesn't hit you or cheat on you.

You need to raise the bar...there are men out there that share you ambitions, you passions and your values. They will not cheat and they will treat you with respect.

 

However you will never meet them if you don't leave this 29 year old BOY.

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I have tried to tell him about this but he gets really worked up whenever I bring it up. He ends up storming out the room and saying there is so much injustice in the world etc.

You say give him a date to sort himself out but what kind of person would I be If I told him I needed someone with more money/ambition so he needs to leave the job he is comfortable in and enjoys to make me happy?

 

An honest person who is not willing to compromise her goals and future.

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I have tried to tell him about this but he gets really worked up whenever I bring it up. He ends up storming out the room and saying there is so much injustice in the world etc.

You say give him a date to sort himself out but what kind of person would I be If I told him I needed someone with more money/ambition so he needs to leave the job he is comfortable in and enjoys to make me happy?

 

Well, you wouldn't be telling him what to do. You would simply be letting him know what is important to you. It is still totally up to him what he would like to do about it.

 

It's worrisome that when you bring it up, he gets defensive and angry. Obviously this is a hot button issue to him, but from my experience (played a few of those tricks myself back in the day) that kind of response is simply a way to avoid facing the issue at hand. It's an avoidance tactic.

 

Communication is really important in a relationship. And he is shutting down when you are telling him something near and dear to you and regarding the relationship. That isn't so good!

 

It's also worrisome to me that he doesn't pull his weight around the house.

 

It's totally your decision. But I hear so much guilt in your posts. Like you feel guilty for wanting what it is you want.

 

And honestly? I don't think what you want is too much to ask for at all. It's super reasonable. An equal partner who is at the same stage as you are.

 

It just doesn't sound like your boyfriend is at that place. It seems like you are the more mature one in this relationship.

 

best of luck.

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Thankyou itsallgrand and mhowie. I really appreciate your responses. They have made me feel better about myself, as you mentioned I have been feeling guilty for having these thoughts.

My bf also has real trouble dealing with any sort of conflict so this could be why he blows up when I try to bring up the situation. There has been a few times over the years when I have had a run in with a flatmate or one of his friends and he cant deal with the conflict at all and will never stand up for me which really hurts. He wants to get along with everyone so you could call him all sorts of nasty names and break all of his items and he wont do or say a thing about it. This has unfortunately lead to me looking like the nasty gf a few times as I have had to stand up to people taking advantage of him etc

 

But thankyou again for all the responses, It has opened my eyes and made me feel less of an awful person with ridiculous demands!

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I wonder what the responses would be like if the genders were reversed.

 

At the end of the day, you can't change this about him. It's either you can live with it or you can't. If you try to change him, it's going to turn into such a dreadful experience for both of you.

 

When I was 17 I lived with the most wonderful couple. They worked just barely enough to scrape by. They were brilliant, artsy, loving, had the most amazing relationship and lived meaningful lives. The guy had an ex who was always on his case to go out and work. He hated it.

 

Sometimes relationships are more about finding the right fit than tailoring the wrong guy to your preferred measurements.

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He says he is not smart enough to do anything else but I do not agree. I feel like thats his way of giving up? I got told I wasnt smart enough to go to uni but I went and I tried really hard and came away with two degrees. I guess its that lack of motivation to try that frustrates me.

 

 

Exactly right.

 

I doubt he isn't smart enough either but again, sometimes human nature is to come up with excuses, or not even excuses but statements that you find so valid, you start believing them. He may truly believe he isn't smart enough to reach another level, but again, what IS that other level? He says he's not cut out for a corporate 9-5 type of job but that's not every job that's out there. I think the real problem is he's not motivated in ANY direction. It doesn't even sound like he's motivated to keep working where he is, it's just something that's convenient for him.

 

So, unless you're suggesting he become a doctor, lawyer or something in that vein, I'm not sure why he responds with "I'm not smart enough" without even attempting something that may be difficult.

 

As someone who went through college and attained 2 degrees as yourself (congrats on that, that can be an arduous journey so I commend you on a job well done), you know what is possible through hard work and determination. Of course, it all boils down to that word again ; motivation. He may not necessarily need 2 degrees or even 1 degree, but some kind of training at some kind of job should be in his future or even moving upward in the company/job he's with. Btw, I'm surprised his parents/family or other people haven't brought this up to him at some point. At the age of 29, I'm sure this has been an issue in his life at some point other than now. I commend you for taking on so much responsibility but ultimately, the burden isn't yours to bear

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I have tried to tell him about this but he gets really worked up whenever I bring it up. He ends up storming out the room and saying there is so much injustice in the world etc.

You say give him a date to sort himself out but what kind of person would I be If I told him I needed someone with more money/ambition so he needs to leave the job he is comfortable in and enjoys to make me happy?

 

Then he's a child. If you cannot have a serious conversation with him about this, which is what is vital right now, then you should really leave him.

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I wonder what the responses would be like if the genders were reversed.
If the genders were reversed and this was a man complaining that his GF was only interested in staying home and watching TV, was not interested in getting an education, had no motivation to get a better job or improve herself and threw a tantrum whenever the subject was brought up, I would be even more harsh and suggest that aside from dumping her, he make sure he has condoms on him at all times in case of any post-breakup sex. Because I would think that she might angle to get pregnant by him in an attempt to force him to take care of her -- for the most part, they don't call men gold-diggers. In this case, I say just dump him as her goals and his goals are completely incompatible and will always cause them to be upset with each other. I wonder if her BF is wishing she would relax, not be so focused on stuff she wants to achieve all the time.

 

When I was 17 I lived with the most wonderful couple. They worked just barely enough to scrape by. They were brilliant, artsy, loving, had the most amazing relationship and lived meaningful lives.
But THEY agreed to live their lives that way. THEY are choosing it. In this case, she is trying to get ahead in life and he isn't interested or motivated to do that. She feels like he's a boat anchor around her neck (although she won't say it that way), holding her back/not doing his share towards the life she thinks they should both be living. So I think she should let him go to find the kind of woman that you describe above, who is OK with more of a slacker (for lack of a better word) lifestyle. And then she would be free to find someone who has more motivation and ambition like she does. Short term pain, long term gain for both. People grow apart. What brought them together in the beginning is apparently not enough to sustain them in the long run. That sucks and it hurts but it unfortunately happens all the time.
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My bf also has real trouble dealing with any sort of conflict so this could be why he blows up when I try to bring up the situation. There has been a few times over the years when I have had a run in with a flatmate or one of his friends and he cant deal with the conflict at all and will never stand up for me which really hurts. He wants to get along with everyone so you could call him all sorts of nasty names and break all of his items and he wont do or say a thing about it. This has unfortunately lead to me looking like the nasty gf a few times as I have had to stand up to people taking advantage of him etc

 

Ugh.

 

No. No. No.

 

I can almost guarantee that if you stay with this guy, you will lose more and more respect for him as time goes on and he continues to be a passive and lazy doormat. You can do better than this.

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