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I´ve been wanting to break up with my boyfriend because he has no ambition or life goals


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My boyfriend and I have been together for just about 3,5 years. I'm 23 years old and he's 21. We both still live with our parents and we see each other every weekend. I've been a university student for two years now studying psychology and I go to school three days a week and two days a week I go to my internship. Now my boyfriend has a degree, not at a very high level. When he got his degree in programming he started his first job but it ended very dramatically. They were gonna fire him because of getting into arguments almost every week so he quit his job before they were able to fire him. According to him, he did nothing wrong. Then he went to work at a grocery store and his 6 month contract wasn't renewed after that. So now he's jobless. Then he went back to the programming company he did his internship with for school. but eventually they had to let him go cause they couldn't afford to pay him anymore.

So in short nothing worked out for him, whether it was by his own doing or not. When we first met, he was super ambitious about programming. He would even do it in his free time. Now after encountering these few companies and colleagues he didn't see eye to eye with, he says he never wants to work with computers ever again. Then his next plan was to start going to university like me. He said he would easily be able to handle it because he is a hard worker (in his own opinion). Then not even a few months later he takes this vague job opportunity to start a trajectory of becoming a store manager, something he never had mentioned to have wanted to do. This was proposed to him at a new job. Not even a week after that he was fired again, for calling in sick. I don't think it's right that they fired him for calling in sick with COVID during these years. He did the right thing and they were wrong to fire him over it. So now we are in the present.

My boyfriend has a history of gaming addiction and I slowly but surely am noticing it coming back. He does absolutely nothing all day every day but game and lay in his bed while I'm working my ass off for uni. He even gets annoyed at me over it, clearly cause he's bored and doesn't know what to do with his life. Every time I talk to him about what he wants to do he gets angry and ***es at me how I shouldn't stick my nose in his business. At the same time he tells me he needs my advice all the time. Very confusing. So right now my life looks like this; I study all day and I work two days at my paid internship and on the weekends I see my boyfriend but I also work many hours to complete my uni essays, researches etc. My boyfriend in the meantime wants my attention 24/7 even when he knows I can't do that. He starts arguments for no reason (not just with me also with his own parents). He is super negative about basically everything. He says to have no idea at all what he wants to do in the future and he doesn't do anything to change what his life is like. He's also heavily overweight because of his lifestyle; sitting and eating all day. It drives me insane cause I'm a career woman.

Everyday I push myself to become better and to learn new things. I try to make every day a good day and a learning experience. My boyfriend has turned into a sour, unmotivated and negative person. I don't know why he is like this and I'm not sure if I want to hold onto this relationship anymore. He causes fights in my family at times as well which is very uncomfortable for me cause I don't want to pick sides. When I'm not with my boyfriend I feel like I can breath freely and just be positive every day. He brings down my energy to his level. What can I do about this? I've tried talking to him but when I do he doesn't take any responsibility for what's been happening between us. He just gets angry and acts like nothing happened the day after an argument.

It just seems like he doesn't take anything seriously in his life. Not his relationships, not his income, not his future or his health. It's sad to see him like this but I'm not the one who can change him. He has to get his *** together himself and be intrinsically motivated to change. Maybe he doesn't want to change though and if he doesn't then I'm definately breaking up with him. But for now I want to give him a few more chances to prove that he really cares for me and to better his life. I want to see a little ambition and effort coming from him. Has anyone gone through this or is going through something similar? Let me know your thoughts on my story. A little advice also doesn't hurt. Feel free to critisize me as well if you think I'm doing something wrong here. I want to do anything that's possible to save this relationship cause I do love him still...

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Your relationship has run its course. 

What worked as younger adults has stopped working now that you're entering a different phase of your life. You grew up - he didn't.

I would cleanly part ways. 

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5 minutes ago, MissCanuck said:

Your relationship has run its course. 

What worked as younger adults has stopped working now that you're entering a different phase of your life. You grew up - he didn't.

I would cleanly part ways. 

I mean, I agree that I grew up and that I'm in a different phase than he is. He's still in his childhood phase, he seems to be stuck there. But to be honest he's only 21 years old. Sometimes I feel like he's way too young to be a real adult yet. Plus his mother babies him extremely. For me it's the struggle of wanting to put in the effort to wait it out and see if he grows up in the next coming year or not. That would be the deal breaker or maker for me. But I appreciate your comment and it helps me to hear that you think I should part ways, it kind of a declaration of my feelings right now.

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21 is not a child. 

He's plenty old enough to know how to hold down a job, if he really wanted to. Maany 21-year-olds can and do handle that. He doesn't want to work, so he sabotages whatever employment he does land. You better believe he pulls some of that malarkey on purpose so he has a "reason" to not continue showing up for work. 

He games his days away and is lazy and unmotivated, and it's causing problems for your relationship and in your family (how is that even possible, by the way?)

Don't fall into his Mom's habit of enabling him and making excuses for him. 

 

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15 minutes ago, MissCanuck said:

21 is not a child. 

He's plenty old enough to know how to hold down a job, if he really wanted to. Maany 21-year-olds can and do handle that. He doesn't want to work, so he sabotages whatever employment he does land. You better believe he pulls some of that malarkey on purpose so he has a "reason" to not continue showing up for work. 

He games his days away and is lazy and unmotivated, and it's causing problems for your relationship and in your family (how is that even possible, by the way?)

Don't fall into his Mom's habit of enabling him and making excuses for him. 

 

My mom tells me this same thing usually, but I'm not one to be very harsh or unforgiving. Even when I should be. I mean he did already get so many chances from me. My mother really cares about my future, that includes the partner I'm gonna be with. That's why sometimes it causes friction between us cause I don't tell her the whole truth about him. I am willing to come clean about his behaviour though, maybe she can come up with some advice too. I tend to enable him too in a way. Of course I do tell him how I feel about him being lazy. Just yesterday he told me after I had been working on a paper all day "your life is boring". I told him "My life is boring? Look at you, you do nothing all day. Don't talk about my life being boring when you literally don't do *** all day." But even when I confront him he acts like I didn't just say that and he keeps on doing the samt thing all over again every day. But yeah, you are right. 21 year olds shouldn't behave like children.

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1 minute ago, B.S. said:

My mom tells me this same thing usually, but I'm not one to be very harsh or unforgiving. 

You're confusing being "harsh" with having appropriate boundaries and expectations with a 21-year-old man. 

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Just now, MissCanuck said:

You're confusing being "harsh" with having appropriate boundaries and expectations with a 21-year-old man. 

yeah harsh isn't the word I was looking for. More like straightforward. 

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45 minutes ago, Seraphim said:

He sounds depressed but that is for him to deal with as in his choice to go to a doctor about it. 

yes I've asked him before and he said he is depressed. I was depressed for 10 years and I'm almost finished with me therapy now. I always tell him how much therapy has helped me but he won't give it a chance at all.

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3 minutes ago, gamon said:

Just realize that if you dump him you probably won't get another chance because gems like this guy don't stay single for long before someone else snaps them up.

I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic with this comment or not, but please mind that this is a serious issue. It's nothing to do with what happens after I break up with him. I just need advice on what to do right now.

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The two of you have completely different ways of managing your life. I've broken down your comments into bullet points to make this more clear:

1 hour ago, B.S. said:

My boyfriend.... 

  • wants my attention 24/7 even when he knows I can't do that.
  • He starts arguments for no reason (not just with me also with his own parents).
  • He causes fights in my family at times as well which is very uncomfortable for me cause I don't want to pick sides.
  • He is super negative about basically everything.
  • He says to have no idea at all what he wants to do in the future and he doesn't do anything to change what his life is like.
  • He's also heavily overweight because of his lifestyle; sitting and eating all day.
  • My boyfriend has turned into a sour, unmotivated and negative person.
  • It just seems like he doesn't take anything seriously in his life. Not his relationships, not his income, not his future or his health.
  • He brings down my energy to his level.

 

I'm a career woman.

  • Everyday I push myself to become better and to learn new things.
  • I try to make every day a good day and a learning experience.
  • I study all day and I work two days at my paid internship and on the weekends I see my boyfriend but I also work many hours to complete my uni essays, researches etc.
  • When I'm not with my boyfriend I feel like I can breath freely and just be positive every day.

See what I mean?

1 hour ago, B.S. said:

What can I do about this?

The only thing you can actually do about it is take care of yourself, which is truly your only responsibility. You have to come to terms with the fact that you and your boyfriend have fundamental character and value differences that make an effective partnership impossible.

Being different on these levels doesn't mean that you can't like each other, or that you can't love each other. It just means that you are incompatible at the level of boyfriend/ girlfriend or husband/wife. You can't have a partner who is a dead weight. It doesn't work. 

What seems like slight differences now will be massive differences ten years down the line. Believe me. Best to cut ties cleanly as soon as possible.

1 hour ago, B.S. said:

I don't know why he is like this

The answer is so simple that it's hard to understand: Different strokes for different folks.

You're used to being you, and the way that you are makes sense to you. But you're not the standard for the whole planet (no offense). There are over 8 billion people on the planet, all different. Many different methods of operation work. Not everybody understands each other, and not everyone is compatible on a deep level.

In short: There's nothing wrong with him. He's just different that you are, with different standards.

1 hour ago, B.S. said:

I'm not the one who can change him. He has to get his *** together himself and be intrinsically motivated to change.

Exactly.

3.5 years is a long time to be with somebody. Don't commit the fallacy of sunk cost and stay with him just because you've spent so much time already. You will be miserable. 

Your boyfriend seems to take some degree of satisfaction from being miserable, but not you. You will never feel satisfied in a relationship with somebody like him.

Edited by Jibralta
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1 hour ago, B.S. said:

My mother really cares about my future, that includes the partner I'm gonna be with. That's why sometimes it causes friction between us cause I don't tell her the whole truth about him. 

He's holding you back. You can fix him or re-raise him. Dating is what you see is what you get.

It's not about 'potential' contingent on major changes in personality, lifestyle and values.

You've already wasted 3.5 years of your life on this frustrating headache and heartache. Cut your losses and date young men who are  supportive, not draining.

Edited by Wiseman2
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1 hour ago, MissCanuck said:

Your relationship has run its course. 

What worked as younger adults has stopped working now that you're entering a different phase of your life. You grew up - he didn't.

I would cleanly part ways. 

Yes my thoughts exactly -you didn't care -or as much -when you started out.  Now you do.  It's normal.  You're not a "career woman" just like men who have careers aren't "career men" -you're a person who values having a career, who now values ambition, work ethic, reliability, accountability, actions that back up words.  I bet at some point you'd also be a person who wants marriage and maybe family or some sort of long term commitment. 

So I only dated men who were very ambitious and wanted a career not just a job, well educated ,strong work ethic (even better if their families also did like my family).  Nothing to do with being rich - because not all careers command high salaries for sure.  So I don't have to work -I saved enough and my husband makes enough that if I wanted to I wouldn't have to continue working at my career.  I also have a child.  We are in our 50s. 

Here's what I'm going to tell you as an example  - during these pandemic times my son is home 24/7 -virtual school, we are both teleworking, we live in an apartment.  I work part time -about 20 hours/week but sometimes under intense deadlines /unpredictable hours. I worked more than full time for over 15 years, went through an intense grad program too.

My son sees me working hard since he is home. It makes a real impression on him -to be honest sometimes not great when he is wanting my attention- but he told his teacher I was the woman who inspires him most because I work so hard.  But here's the thing -if my husband wasn't career-minded, ambitious, strong work ethic -all the values that go with it -I can see him easily trying to pressure me to quit -because I am working so hard and unpredictably with the result that sometimes we both have work meetings at the same time and we have to juggle who's going to take care of child/school related responsibilities -because I need to work out every morning to let off steam, etc.

So if he didn't "get it" - he would tell me to quit -I don't make that much $ but love my work, my contribution via my career, etc.  But he gets it.  He always has from our very first date when the first question he asked was why I chose the career we both did -he said -"because I wanted to make sure you had passion for our career and wanted a career".  We were in our 20s back then.  He's never told me to quit, even when I've asked him to sacrifice here or there time-wise so I could go to the office/work, etc.  Not even close -cause he gets "it".

Pick someone who is compatible with your values - whether you like the same video game or tv show is far less relevant.  The values will get you through the hard times.  Good luck.

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2 hours ago, B.S. said:

I want to see a little ambition and effort coming from him. Has anyone gone through this or is going through something similar?

Yes, in my first husband, I saw patterns of his poor decision making when it came to jobs and ridiculous notions about career. I should have heeded that red flag to the point of ending things, but got married while too young and too stupid. Patterns rarely change, and it's wiser to not hope for people to change in a major way, because the majority of the time they won't. He also suffered from depression and only once did something about it, but for only 2 years, went off the meds, and became far worse.

My advice is to get out now. I was older and wiser when marrying the second time. You now have relationship experience that you've learned what you DON'T want in a relationship. Embrace your freedom for a while and concentrate on you. Good luck.

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This happens more than you might think. Motivation comes from within, sure others like your parents, friends and even bf/gf can encourage you and support you but it is always the sole responsibility of ourselves to motivate from within.

My son is 21, is brilliant, funny, has a job, is a hard worker and is always willing to help anyone he can BUT he has squandered several chances for his future and is stuck not moving forward.  My son is disabled so he knows he needs a degree to have a good career and life because he cannot work physically demanding jobs.  I paid for college and he dropped out of his first semester just before finals.  He then went sideways for a while and 6 months later he snapped out of it and started community college which he insisted on paying for.  He did pretty well grades wise but then didn't sign up for the next semester.  He doesn't know why he is not motivated and makes excuses about doing online course because of the pandemic but it boiled down to he is not being self motivated.  He needed the responsibility of having to actually show up and be counted in class to get him to do it.

Your bf mom has made his life so easy he has fallen into a trap.  There is always time to do something with his life, there is always a safety net underneath him and there are no consequences for getting fired or failure.  It is simply not a big deal to him but it is to you.  You and your bf are polar opposites right now and probably will be for a long time. You are thinking career and a future while he is thinking cruise along and see what happens.

Speaking of the future.  Are you thinking marriage one day?  Do you want children?  What kind of partner do you want for the rest of your life?  I can easily see him expecting you to fill in for his mommy...

I know you care for him and want this to work but sometimes people grow in different directions and become incompatible.  If you met him for the first time tomorrow and were considering dating him would you knowing all you know right now?

 Talk to him but no ultimatums as it needs to be true change not just to keep you around change.  Be clear about what you want for your future and see what he wants for his future then if his actions don't match his words you will know what you have to do.

Best wishes

  Lost

 

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But for now I want to give him a few more chances to prove that he really cares for me and to better his life.

It'll end in more resentment. I doubt anything anyone says will matter at this point if you've rationalized it this way. The relationship just has last a few more tries before you're ready to throw in the towel. This is less about him and more about you - what you see for yourself in your future. 

The drive to work or do new things in life is intrinsic to a person and can't be imbued by someone else. Being around you might motivate him a little but it won't change who he is. He either discovers it on his own or he has it before he's met you. I don't think relationships existing this way change. Those journeys are very personal.

I just want to mention also that 21-23 is still very young. A lot of young people at that age are still bumping around and figuring out what they want to do with life. I think the impact of him being in your life is driving both of you further apart. That he drains you, frustrates you, seems unmotivated to you, creates enough friction for you to pour even more of your energies into your schooling or career. The gap grows wider and meanwhile, he is still having a tough time understanding why you can't accept him for who he is. 

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If he got fired because he had Covid he might consider seeing an employment attorney. I don't think it's legal to fire someone because they have Covid.

So, you want to give him a "few more" chances? To do what? Change? I mean, why would he want to change? He pays for nothing, he doesn't have to do anything but game and eat all day, plus he has you! Where are the negatives for him? Sure, you sometimes go at him a bit but then you forgive him and stay with him, wanting to give him chance after chance. I bet you even tell him you love him. Maybe you have sex with him. Again, why would he want to change any of that? I always say, no consequences, no change. He's losing nothing right now. 

Think about how you want your life to be. If you always dreamed of a husband who games all day, doesn't work, is possibly depressed and refuses treatment and who you have to support financially...well then, carry on. But if that's not your dream you have to make a difficult decision.

One more point...if you are hiding the truth about your relationship from your family, think about why that is.

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5 hours ago, B.S. said:

. He does absolutely nothing all day every day but game and lay in his bed while I'm working my ass off for uni. He even gets annoyed at me over it, clearly cause he's bored and doesn't know what to do with his life. Every time I talk to him about what he wants to do he gets angry and ***es at me how I shouldn't stick my nose in his business. At the same time he tells me he needs my advice all the time. Very confusing.

- His defenses are kicking in.. Inside, I am sure he knows very well what he is doing - but maybe does not know what else or how to 'get out of it'?

 

5 hours ago, B.S. said:

He starts arguments for no reason (not just with me also with his own parents). He is super negative about basically everything.

- Not good 😕 ... been there with one of mine.  They are challenging! 

 

5 hours ago, B.S. said:

When I'm not with my boyfriend I feel like I can breath freely and just be positive every day.

Yes, that's what one finds easier, to feel good... a positive life.

 

I feel he's just so frustrated/ overwhelmed, and he's fallen into a 'low', which causes these 'moods' with him & he is dragging you down now as well 😞 .

But, you cannot fix this.. do not feel bad.  It is on him to try to fix things & himself. ( If he feels so lost, maybe he should look into some prof help, instead of laying into those around him?).  He could/ should speak to his parents about this...

 

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The dude has some serious anger and  addiction issues,  and zero  work ethic.   I would move on, as the future looks very bleak. 

How many chances do you intend on giving him?  He has shown you for some time that he has zero ambition and an attitude problem.  What do you get out of this relationship?    He sounds awful.

You should be honest with your family.   

Edited by Hollyj
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I'm sorry you're going through this. You want the relationship to work, but that won't happen unless he changes--but you can't change another person.

So you'll need to decide how long you'll want to allow the guy to keep pulling you down.

Sometimes the kindest and most helpful thing we can do for someone who won't step up is to part ways. It's like a miracle--if he has it in him to turn his life around, he'll do it. If not, isn't that something you'll want to know early?

Sticking around while someone takes you for granted and does nothing to help himself isn't 'good' for him, just as it isn't good for you.

Research the term 'enabling' and consider why it's not beneficial and why it's not likely to 'help' him.

Head high, and write more if it helps.

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I agree with everyone else and don't have too much to add in that sense. But what I did want to add is that it's alarming that he has now been fired or not renewed at about three jobs. Maybe even four. Maybe if he was a much older person who had this happen to them but usually all their jobs were fine, maybe you wouldn't think it was too bad. But considering he's only 21 and it's literally every job he had, that is very concerning.

People get fired or contract not renewed because they are a bad employee. They are doing something wrong, most likely not doing the job properly. Such as they're late, lazy, rude. Even if your boyfriend didn't "see eye to eye" on a personal level with his colleagues, he should have still been polite and professional and got along with them because it's his job. Work colleagues are not his friends so he needs to act polite and friendly even if he's not super clicking with them. People don't get fired just because they're not all buddy buddy with their colleagues. They usually get fired because they are flat out rude and can't get along with people at work. Also maybe it was wrong of his latest workplace to fire him because he was sick, but there may have been more to it. If someone is a good staff member who is valued at work, they wouldn't want to fire him so easily. So obviously they didn't think he was a good employee and didn't really care if he was there or not. 

I understand if you wanted to give your boyfriend more chances if he was just depressed and anxious and found it hard to find work. Or because he's struggling to find work during the pandemic. But when he's been fired from like four jobs in a row and it's ALL his jobs, it's something about him and the way he behaves. It's not just depression or bad circumstances so that's a big red flag.

Edited by Tinydance
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