What To Do If Your Boyfriend Has No Ambition, Motivation, Or Goals

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You dream about a successful career and have big plans for the future, but your boyfriend is perfectly happy just sitting on the couch scratching himself for as long as he lives.

Maybe he has a dead-end job or has no job whatsoever, but it’s not just about his professional life anyway.

He is simply satisfied with the life he has and doesn’t aspire to achieve anything more. He’s not working toward anything, and it’s very likely that his life will be the same years from now. What’s more, he’s probably fine with that.

But are you fine with that?

Where would you like to be a few years from now?

Can you picture him there with you? Can you even picture yourself there if you stay with him?

Here’s what you should do when you’re ambitious, but your boyfriend isn’t:

1. Don’t expect him to change.

Start with the assumption that your boyfriend is never going to modify his current behavior.

It’s always a bad idea to try to change a man, especially if he is content with the way things are. You might be able to push him in the right direction, but you can’t keep pushing him, so don’t expect things to change.

Keep in mind that change requires motivation, which your partner lacks. It also requires time, effort, and persistence. Your partner is unlikely to put so much energy into changing who he is if he’s perfectly satisfied with his life the way it is now.

Don’t turn a boyfriend into another project that you need to work on. You already have projects and goals that require your energy, and besides, he’s a human being with free will.

He will be who he wants to be, not who you want him to be.

So, with this in mind, think about whether you can accept him the way he is and still be happy with how your life will turn out.

2. Understand the importance of common goals and values.

Yes, opposites can attract, but it doesn’t mean that it works out in the end. Most of the time, a happy, healthy relationship requires the two people involved to be on the same page. You should have similar goals when it comes to the future, whether it’s regarding your career, location, or starting a family.

If your dreams and goals are ambitious, but your boyfriend wants an easy, quiet life, your relationship is an obstacle to the life you want.

People in relationships often share similar opinions and values. Even if they don’t at first, one becomes more like the other and the other way around. This means that your boyfriend’s traits might rub off on you, and you might settle for the quiet life he wants, while your dreams were much more ambitious.

Maybe you will change your mind and want the same things as your boyfriend, but don’t let him drag you down if you dream of something more.

3. Consider your definition of ambition.

What is ambition? It is being motivated and driven to achieve something. It is the desire to achieve success, not the success itself.

Maybe you don’t want your boyfriend to be driven, you want him to be successful. This term has a different meaning to different people. Many associate it with wealth and power, so is this what you actually want?

Your boyfriend’s definition of success might be entirely different from yours. You might associate success with luxury, while he considers having a decent job and a family as the success that he wants to achieve. The point is that your boyfriend might not lack ambition, but his ambition might not match yours.

So consider what it is that you are looking for. Obviously, if you want a luxurious life and your boyfriend wants to live in his family home forever, your goals for the future are very different. Whether you’ll accept this depends on what’s more important to you. What are your deal breakers?

4. Understand what you want and be okay with it.

Hey, no one is here to judge you, and no one should! If you want a rich boyfriend or anything else that can be the result of ambition, that is perfectly fine. Just like your boyfriend, you have the right to choose the life you want for yourself.

You’re not a gold digger or a bad person if you want to be with an ambitious man. You are driven yourself, so it’s only natural to want someone who can keep up with you or even be ahead of you.

When you’re choosing the man you’ll spend your life with, you’re also choosing the kind of life that you’re going to have. And people get into relationships with the goal of them lasting forever, right?

So, what would you be willing to compromise on, your dreams of a better life or your relationship?

5. Consider whether you could accept his lack of ambition.

Maybe you don’t want a luxurious life, you would just like your boyfriend to show some more ambition. Assuming that things aren’t going to change, can you accept his lack of drive and the consequences that follow?

Would you be okay with making more money than your boyfriend and covering most of the expenses? Would you be fine with him having a dead-end job forever? When others ask what he does for a living, will you be comfortable with his response? Can he reach your intellectual capacity and keep up with you?

Once you are aware of your answers to these questions, you should know whether you can accept his lack of ambition or not. However, keep reading because there are more things to consider, and there are some benefits to this situation as well.

If you love your boyfriend and the lack of ambition is the only problem, staying in the relationship is definitely worth considering.

6. Consider whether his lack of ambition is circumstantial.

When a person lacks drive, it can be a character trait, but it can also be caused by the situation that the person’s in.

Don’t go making excuses for your man just because you hope that his problem is circumstantial, but consider that possibility. Maybe he has debt or low self-esteem. However, maybe he’s happy not having a job and not thinking about tomorrow.

If your man is simply not driven, never was, and never will be, you need to accept that fact and decide how to proceed. On the other hand, if he’s currently in a bad place, there is a chance that he can find his ambition once more.

Again, this will entirely depend on him, and all you can do is encourage him, not change him.

7. Talk to him about it.

Don’t wait to talk to your boyfriend about what’s been bothering you. If you keep silent about it for long enough, it will escalate, and you’ll just cause a big fight that he won’t be able to understand.

So, talk to him while this issue is still minor. Keep a positive attitude and be open to what he has to say to you. Maybe he would like to be more ambitious and will actually try to be. As long as there is a slight chance of it happening, focus on that option while you talk to him.

However, keep in mind that your boyfriend might make promises that he can’t keep. If he wants to improve, that’s a great sign, but then again, he might just be saying it. Wait for him to show progress before concluding that he wants to change.

He might never become as driven as you’d like him to be. However, if you can have common goals and work toward that future together, you have a good chance of achieving them.

8. Consider whether he is happy with his life.

Ambition is related to what you want in life. While working at a dead-end job and playing video games the rest of the time might sound terrible to you, it might be making your boyfriend happy. Maybe he doesn’t have a life outside of you but that’s the way he likes it.

Not everyone wants a successful career, a big house, and a fast car. Some are perfectly fine just where they are, and you need to respect their choice. However, can you be happy with a man like that when you desire more?

If you are going to share a life, you can’t have different ideas about what that life will look like. When you talk to your boyfriend, ask him whether he is happy with the way things are. Ambitious people strive to achieve more than what they currently have.

Those who lack ambition can be entirely fine with never reaching anything beyond what they currently have. If he is happy with the way his life is now, he is likely to keep living the same life years from now.

But where will you be then? Rather, where would you like to be? Would he still be happy if you push him to follow you there?

9. Think about your relationship.

Hopefully, you have set aside your feelings for your boyfriend and considered things from a rational perspective. However, now it’s time to focus on why you’re with him.

Think about your relationship and your boyfriend. Are you happy? Does he treat you well? Do you get along and work through your problems? Are there any significant issues other than his lack of ambition? Do you love him?

Being in a situation where you have to choose between the life you want and the love you have is difficult. However, you only get one life, and there’s no limit to the number of times you can love someone new.

Do you really need someone new though? Consider what kind of life you could have with your boyfriend and whether it could work with the life that you want to create for yourself.

Would you still be able to be ambitious even though he isn’t? Could he give you the support that you need to achieve your goals even if he doesn’t work on achieving them with you?

10. Encourage him and give him support.

You can’t force your boyfriend to become more driven, but you can encourage him to become motivated enough to pursue his goals. Maybe the very reason why he lacks ambition is that he didn’t have the support system that he needed.

So, talk to him about his goals and help him come up with a plan to achieve them. Help him set realistic, attainable, and specific goals.

Clearly define some progress goals, not outcome goals. For instance, “Finding a job this month” is an outcome goal, and it’s not specific enough. Instead, the goal could be “Apply to the job at the X and Y company next week.”

If your boyfriend has never been ambitious, he is probably not used to setting goals. Give him some time to think about what he would like to achieve and help him set goals that he can achieve in a short amount of time. Achieving short-term goals might motivate him enough to pursue his long-term goals.

11. Consider his likes and interests.

Make sure that your boyfriend sets his own goals; don’t dictate your goals to him. Consider his likes and dislikes when making suggestions about the goals he should set.

Maybe he has a hobby that he likes that could easily turn into a side job. Maybe there are some skills that he would like to learn that could help him get better jobs in the future.

Make suggestions based on his likes and dislikes, not what would make you happy. He is not going to be happy being ambitious if he’s doing it just for you, not for himself.

In fact, he could end up resenting you if you push him into something that he never wanted to begin with.

12. Don’t push him or become overbearing.

Encouraging your boyfriend is one thing, pushing him into something that he doesn’t want to do is a whole other thing. So, don’t become controlling and overbearing.

Don’t restrict his freedom or offer unsolicited advice. You can help your boyfriend, but don’t push him to accept your help if he doesn’t want it. Know when to take a step back and let him do things at his own pace.

The very first point we made in this article is that you should start with the assumption that your boyfriend isn’t going to change. Learn to accept him the way he is if you want to be with him, and don’t try to change him.

Even if he wants to change, all you can do is encourage him and give him the support that he might not have had before. The rest is up to him, and you shouldn’t overdo it with helping him either.

13. Be respectful and subtle.

Respect his decisions and his choices. Perhaps he has no motivation to change his life, and if so, back away rather than trying to force your help onto him. He is a person with his own thoughts and feelings, so remember that.

Be subtle when you offer help, advice, or encouragement. Your boyfriend will be more likely to accept your help if he is not entirely aware that you’re helping him. The more you make it obvious and push it, the more reluctant he’ll be to accept your help.

If he doesn’t want to be more ambitious, you need to respect that too. Whether you’ll stay with him or not is up to you, but what he wants his life to be is up to him.

If you want different things, it’s better to go your separate ways than to force your lifestyle choice onto your partner when he’s happy with the life he already has.

14. Give him time.

Maybe your boyfriend will try to be more ambitious. If so, you shouldn’t expect drastic changes overnight. He is not suddenly going to turn into a millionaire. Give him room to grow and time to get to where he wants to be. If he’s making progress, applaud his success and encourage him to keep moving forward.

Don’t rush him, and appreciate the effort he makes. Celebrate his achievements together and let him get used to feeling accomplished. The feeling can be addictive and insatiable.

As already mentioned, once he accomplishes his short-term goals he’ll be more motivated to put additional time into pursuing his long-term goals.

15. Consider the bright side.

Finally, there are benefits of being with a man who has no dreams or goals to speak of, so consider the bright side. You could still chase after your dreams while he supports you on your path.

For instance, if you end up having a successful career, he could be a stay-at-home dad and take care of the kids. In addition, a lack of ambition comes with a lot of free time that he could give to you, unlike a man who is always busy chasing after his dreams.

There are countless driven men that date women who lack ambition, so why couldn’t it work the other way around? Forget about ancient gender roles and accept the benefits of being the ambitious one in a relationship.

Your partner can help you out in other areas of your life while you focus on your career. There’s nothing wrong with your man making you a delicious dinner after you get home from a hard day at work. No, it doesn’t have to be the other way around anymore.

If you still feel like you need to be with a man who is more ambitious than you are, that’s okay too. Anything you want is alright, just make sure that it’s what you want, not what you think things should be like.

16. Think about your goals and your future.

Now that you’ve paid enough attention to what your boyfriend wants or doesn’t want, what do you want? Think about your goals and your plans for the future.

Could you have that future if you stay with him? Could you have that future if you are single, or do you need an ambitious man to get you there?

Consider your must-haves and your deal breakers. Compare the future that you want to the one that you could have if you stayed in this relationship. Can you compromise on some things, or would you be unhappy with your life if you stayed in the relationship?

17. Consider leaving the relationship.

Did you do all you could? If you understood your boyfriend’s mindset, encouraged him, gave him time, and considered the benefits, then there’s nothing more to be done.

After all that, did you find yourself in a situation that you’re happy with? If not, you might need to consider leaving the relationship.

Your boyfriend’s lack of purpose can stand in the way of your happiness and reflect on much more than just his professional life. If he has an empty life and is constantly bored and dissatisfied, that’s a good enough reason to walk away from the relationship once you’ve tried your best to help him improve his situation.

18. Trust your instincts.

Do you want to leave? Maybe you care about him too much to walk away because of his lack of ambition and that’s okay too. However, make sure that you end up happy with whichever decision you make. Trust your instincts to tell you what the right thing to do is, and focus on finding your happiness.

If you think that you could be happy with your boyfriend, find a way to accept him the way he is. But if you think that staying with him would cost you the life you want to have, you probably aren’t going to be content.

Trust your gut after considering everything on this list and do what feels right for you.

19. Don’t become less ambitious if you stay in the relationship.

As already mentioned, your partner’s traits could rub off on you. You could become less ambitious, or your boyfriend could drag you down. So, be aware of this if you decide to stay with him, and don’t let it happen. Work on the life that you want to have whether you stay with your boyfriend or not.

You might not be able to make him more ambitious, but don’t let him make you less goal-oriented either. If your relationship is standing in the way of your success, you have every right to end it. Know what you can and can’t compromise on.

20. Talk to a relationship counselor.

If you are still unsure what to do about the relationship you find yourself in, you could talk to a relationship expert by yourself to help you figure things out.

It’s not an easy situation to be in, and it might be all the more difficult if you don’t have anyone neutral to talk to about it. Talking to someone is a great way to get your thoughts and your worries out of your head so you can work through them.

A relationship expert is trained to help people in situations like yours. They can listen to you and offer tailored advice to help you decide what you really want – whether that’s to stay in the relationship or end things.

And if you do decide to end things, they can help you cope with any regrets, doubts, and other painful feelings you have.

A good place to get help is the website Relationship Hero – here, you’ll be able to connect with a relationship counselor via phone, video, or instant message.

While you can try to work through this situation yourself or as a couple, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can fix. And if it is affecting your relationship and mental well-being, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.

Too many people – both couples and individuals – try to muddle through and do their best to solve problems that they never really get to grips with. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, speaking to a relationship expert is 100% the best way forward.

Click here if you’d like to learn more about the service Relationship Hero provide and the process of getting started.

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About Author

Ana Vakos enjoys writing about love and all the problems that come with it. Everyone has experiences with love, and everyone needs dating advice, so giving these topics more attention and spreading the word means a lot to her.