how to deal with differing levels of ambition and motivation in a relationship?
posted by humiliated_grape to Human Relations (14 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I've officially been with my SO for about 6 months now. He's 26, smart, talented, attractive, kind-hearted, great in bed, and overall, he makes me feel very special. I always look forward to spending time with him, but recently I've been a little anxious about a few things when thinking about whether or not this relationship really has long-term partnership potential. I realize that this is ultimately a decision that I'll have to make for myself, but I thought I'd open it up to the great wisdom of Ask MeFi and see if anyone could offer any insights. I'm 22, and this is my second relationship, and at this point, I still really want to make it work, if at all possible. (The other one lasted several years.)
1. Sometimes I'm afraid that we're too similar. On the one hand, this means we're very compatible and get along easily... we haven't even had a single fight yet, which is a pleasant change from my last relationship, which was quite volatile. But at the same time, I'm afraid that this doesn't allow for much growth. We tend to reinforce each other's bad habits... and while it's certainly not like I want a constant nag or paternal figure to keep me in line, it seems like it would be nice to have a partner who could help me become a slightly better person in some way.
2. I already have a tendency to be a little lazy, but this is something that I feel a little guilty about and want to improve. I could easily sleep the day away if I didn't have to be anywhere, and I have to force myself to go to the gym and exercise... but I ultimately do it because it makes me feel happier and more productive afterwards. My SO is the same way, except he doesn't feel the slightest bit guilty about it, so he actually encourages me to be less motivated, in a bizarre way. We don't live together right now, but I'm afraid that if we did, I'd be less motivated to accomplish things, simply because he'd always be tempting me to hang out on the couch and watch TV and such instead. Obviously it's up to me to make myself do it anyways, and it's not up to me to change my SO (I'm definitely not that person in a relationship, and I don't want to be), but sometimes we could help each other become more motivated.
3. This ties into a general sort of lack of ambition on his part, which worries me a little. I consider myself to be fairly ambitious, and recent conversations with him have made me realize that he'd be perfectly content to work the same menial job for the rest of his life and augment his free time with video games, TV, weed, and booze. To be fair, he's not a deadbeat. He's very generous and considerate, and he holds a job and participates in another successful creative outlet as well (I don't want to be too specific here, just for the sake of anonymity). But I don't sense much, if any, desire for self-improvement.
4. I've realized that the times I feel the most frustrated with the relationship are when I sort of let him take the reins during our time together... and we end up sleeping way too much and watching tons of TV. I like it when we actually do things together, like cook or play music or hang out with friends, and so forth. Too much TV makes me feel bored and depressed, but I don't know how to tell him this without (a) making him feel like I'm judging him, since this is clearly a major way he likes to spend his time, and... (b) i'm having a hard time thinking of things i could suggest that we do instead.
Ideas? Thoughts? Anyone in a successful relationship with a less ambitious and/or less motivated SO? I don't want to be the type of person who finds fault with everyone I date, and I don't want to underestimate the importance of my SO's many good qualities. I just wish we could get motivated enough to be productive and bring out the best in each other when we spend time together.