Should I keep trying to motivate my partner, career-wise?
September 4, 2008 7:58 PM Subscribe
Should I continue trying to motivate my partner, ambition-wise? Should I try harder to encourage him / accept him for who he is, or is this a sign our values are just too different?
posted by Weng to human relations (15 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
My SO seems to lack ambition, initiative and / or specific life goals. He definitely has passion, talent & a range of creative interests, but works an unchallenging job that he doesn’t enjoy. Occasionally he gets sad and emotional about “not going anywhere with his life, not knowing what he’s doing” (his words, not mine)… at these times I suggest to him that everyone has these thoughts at one time or another, it’s totally normal but also maybe it’s an opportunity to try changing it up, e.g. in a job that interests and excites him, or developing his hobbies & talents into some kind of project or career. But he never pursues this, just says "hmm", changes the subject and seems uncomfortable or just stays silent if I mention the topic later on or ask if he wants to talk.
I feel like I have a lot of support to offer in this area, because I’ve been through a bit of a 'direction crisis' myself recently. But when I try occasionally to bring up (in a kind way) the topic of his future - e.g. what he dreamed he would do when he was a kid, or if he would like me to make a free appointment with this great careers counsellor I know, or maybe think about the both of us working overseas in a year or two, he is evasive and non-committal. I don't want to nag him, but I also want to encourage him in a practical sort of way.
He is 33, and I'm 25 & we've been together around a year. I'd say we've both had enough life experience on various fronts to be able to make informed choices about where we're heading. I'm now quite driven to finish my Phd, work overseas, learn a new language and other things. Obviously I still feel sad and clueless sometimes, as does everyone (right?), but I have at least a few long-term goals that keep me getting up in the morning & give me a sense of purpose most days. I also (eventually) would like to bring any potential children up to try and work towards their dreams etc, as idealistic / old-fashioned as that might sound.
As much as I was attracted to his casual, laid-back lifestyle to begin with, it's starting to seem slightly immature and uninspiring. I wouldn't mind at ALL if he was contented with just doing his thing, but he does seem sad and unfulfilled by it. So why won't he DO something about this? Am I being pushy by discussing it with him?
Do you think it harsh that I'm beginning to find his apparent lack of motivation or ambition a turn-off? I love many things about him, should I just also accept that he doesn't appear to value achievement in the same way I do?
[Just to clarify, this is NOT to do with having money, status, or being considered a 'success'. I wouldn't care WHAT he did - work, study, meditating all day long! - if he was being proactive about finding something he considers to be worthy of his time, energy and intellect! Do I sound like his mother here?]
Has anyone been in a similar situation? How did you accept / work beyond these differences?