My Boyfriend is Wonderful, but Not Ambitious or Successful

a man relaxing on the couch

Hi Evan,

I have been struggling with the fact I have a wonderful man in my life who loves me more than I’ve ever felt loved, but I’m just not satisfied somehow. We have known one another for about ten years dating on and off, taking a four year break at one point. He is VERY persistent and continues to take me back into his life if I let him. We are compatible on many levels, but there is one thing that continues to turn me off (from ten years ago to now) and that is his lack of ambition to be successful professionally. I wouldn’t be picky about his career field of choice but at the rate it’s going I’ll never see him in a 6 o’clock loosened tie… which is a huge turn on for me.

I’m very much that young professional go getter with the high stress job, always moving to the next promotion. I’m busy all the time professionally and personally because I thrive on feeling accomplished. He on the other hand is satisfied with bringing home an okay pay check to put food on his table, not that concerned with finishing college (he’s 31) and rarely has anything interesting to talk about outside of “us”, movies, and other media outlet driven conversation. A full day of freedom in my life does not revolve around TV, 90% of his would.

I can’t let go of wishing he were a stronger, more creative, more successful man who I could look to for experienced life advice. I’m very independent but I’d also like to get some reassurance and empathy from a reliable source from time to time. I know that’s harsh. I would never say those things to him, but it’s how I feel. I find the sexiest thing about a man is his intelligence, and no matter if a person is well read or not, a great deal of intelligence comes from professional life experience. Please tell me I’m being too hard on him and myself.   I should be happy to have a man who loves me and I can trust.


Thank you, CJ, for writing one of the most self-aware letters I’ve run. I think everyone here can feel your pain. Love is only easy when we’re so whipped that we can’t even think clearly. In such circumstances, there are no decisions to be made. But right now, you’re seeing things quite clearly. Which means the world is grey, not black and white.

Love is only easy when we’re so whipped that we can’t even think clearly.

So before I get into talking about him, let’s talk about you.

You’re not a gold-digger for wanting a guy who is more ambitious.
You’re not snobby for finding intelligence sexy.
You’re not shallow for craving conversation that doesn’t revolve around pop culture.
And you’re not wrong for wishing he were stronger, more creative, and more experienced professionally.

The questions that linger for me are these….

1)       Are compatibility and kindness more important than worldliness and ambition?
2)       Is it realistic to think that you can find a worldly, professional man who is as kind and compatible as your current boyfriend?

This is the calculus of dating. And the same answers don’t apply to everyone. Which is why giving advice on such individual matters is somewhere between impossible and pointless.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t try.

Someone told me recently that women expect men to fulfill ALL of their needs, which sets them up for failure. They want men to fulfill the role of their best girlfriend and their rock solid Marlboro Man simultaneously. As I said in “Men Don’t Go Both Ways” chapter of “Why You’re Still Single”, these are different men and you’ll always be disappointed if you expect a man to cover all bases. Strangely, this is one area in which I think men “get it” more. We can compartmentalize. Which is why we’d rather watch football with only the guys, while you’d like us to come shoe shopping with you.

Point is, it’s a failing proposition to expect one man to be all things to you. Thus, you have to make hard choices. What’s most important to you? And what things can you NOT get from anyone BUT your boyfriend?

I’ve wrestled with that myself, because, like you, I get a rise out of ambition, philosophy, and creativity. Who doesn’t? But I can talk to my business coach about my business, I can talk to my best guy friend about philosophy, and I can experience my own creativity and others’ creativity in 1000 other forms. But I can’t make love to my business coach. I can’t wake up next to my best guy friend. And with all the art and culture out in the world, I don’t need my spouse to be a creator as much as an appreciator.

I get the joy of sophistication. It’s fun to feel like the witty, urbane couple that can break bread with the prime minister if need be. Just know that apart from the spark you feel around a sophisticate, it doesn’t have much inherent value. The ability to quote Proust pales in comparison with the person who will drive you to your chemo treatments in thirty years.

The ability to quote Proust pales in comparison with the person who will drive you to your chemo treatments in thirty years.

So, back to the original question: are compatibility and kindness more important than worldliness and ambition? Well, if it were either kindness OR worldliness, I’d say yes. But there are ambitious people who are kind as well. And it would be easy to tell you to dump your guy and seek one of these guys out. The thing is that most good qualities often come with bad qualities as well. The ambitious guy may work 70 hours a week. The sophisticated guy may be a know-it-all and a snob. You just don’t know until you put yourself out there. There’s a pretty big risk in doing so.

I would encourage you to look long and hard at what really matters, CJ, and how hard it is to find it. For years, I said that I wasn’t jealous of any of my married friends because it’s not like they married MY wife. And I meant it — I never really met anyone with whom I was super-compatible. But now that I have someone with whom I’m super-compatible, my mind succumbs to the temptation — what if there’s someone else? Someone younger. Someone more accomplished. Someone more well-read.

Is there someone like that out there? Maybe. But she wouldn’t have the number one quality that my girlfriend has: she accepts me as I am, and loves me unconditionally. No other girlfriend I’ve ever had has done that. Which is why I’m keeping her and never letting her go.

I can’t say what’s right for you, my friend. Intellectual stimulation matters. Money definitely matters. But if you can get stimulation from other people and you can make money yourself, why not land the one thing you can’t get anywhere else — a partner for life?

Join our conversation (331 Comments).
Click Here To Leave Your Comment Below.


  1. 21

    Marriage is about a partnership-love isn’t always enough. I don’t believe two ppl have to place the same importance on career success and salary, but I do believe you have to be somewhat similar in your work ethic.

    That is one of the take home quotes of this thread.

    It hits the nail right on the head. I’ve seen this stressor in the relationships of my friends and family. It happens even if the wife/girlfriend is the non-worker, low-ambition person where the people involved grew up accepting that it is okay for wives to be like that.

  2. 22

    Sarah G, post #20.
    I believe CJ wrote in her letter that the BF took her back, not that he pursued her. I also don’t think it is necessary to use labels like “loser”. Different people want different things out of life and other people are not losers because they don’t share someone else’s desires. I think that is one of the core issues for CJ, coming to terms that she and her boyfriend have different values.

    1. 22.1

      Different values, that is the truth. I am in the exact situation as her and stuck on a lease with my guy. I have realized after a year and a half that he won’t improve. At the end of the day I am not okay with a guy who pays bills late, barely squeaks by, and would rather spend on beer than pay for car insurance. I cant bring children into that. It really hurts because he is so sweet and adoring, but he doesn’t live in adult reality.

  3. 23

    Hey ceej, go get your 6 figure salary man. Just make sure you post here when you catch him snorting coke off some hooker’s ass.

    1. 23.1

      Lol, you’ve described half the “successful’ men I use to date before I got married.

      1. 23.1.1

        Nikki, how would you describe the man you married, in comparison to the “successful” men?

        So lookng at the opposite side of the spectrum it sounds like you can find just the opposite: arrogance & dishonesty ..? Of course theres great sucessful guys out there too!

        I too am a go getter, in a 7 year relationship with a loving, intuitive, smart, funny & interesting 31 yo … but I honestly dont think he’s held a job for mote than 6 months. I feel like his greatest accomplishment (which we’re both rightfully proud of) is the full reno of a 5 bed 2.5 bath home (with a big yard & garage that needed love too). I work out of town more than half the year and make enough for the both of us to live a fun & exciting life – but, if the house is 99% done, he needs to get a job and/or at least finish the few items that have been on that list for months. yes the economy is tough – especially in the oil & gas town where we live … but theres still jobs to be found! his argument, “why get a job that im bored with right away, just to quit and repeat?”

        So his once lack of ambition has now evolved unto a lack of interest …

        he thinks he wants to be a mechanic now. We’ve both been on edge with eachother as I ended “nagging” which drives him nuts, but i come from a mindset of “theres no time to waste” and ” If you want something bad enough, theres always a way to make it happen – now go make it happen! lol”

        I know i can be impatient, but this is wearing me thin. not to mention his DUI hasnt helped, and a few other items that adults are expected to have sorted out (eg. an active bank account, even a secured credit card?) … We both know that his level of ambition has made gradual leaps and bounds. Now its just taking that energy and monitizing it – and keeping in the good books 🙄 lol.

        ive been advised by 2 psychics that he is very sweet and loves me unconditionally, and that its hard to find a mate with such great qualities … even his parents have said that hes a great guy and would make the best dad … at yhe cost of me supporting him as an almost garanteed house husband.

        Risk – lose my very best friend in hopes that ill find a more suitable match? I dint handle loneliness well at all.

        Reward – POSSIBLY find a good match where he’s earning a steady income doung something he enjoys, and THEN hope that our grand plans fir life & lifestyle match (I’m working on becoming location independent – which could drastically shrink the longer term dating pool, if travelling abroad …)

        Wow, long response/question … at this point I plan to wait it out – but for how long …?

        he did have an interview to try somethjng new and bartend – that is a skill you can take anywhere. It can pay well, and he loves chatting to ppl so hopefully it would be a good fit – for now!

        *Pls disregard all the typos. my phone keeps freezing up.

    2. 23.2

      So true! Lol

  4. 24
    Sarah G

    I wasn’t calling her boyfriend a loser. I was using the word to explain my example. I was saying that we don’t know if he’s a loser looking to attach himself to a winner, I was saying that we need more info. But so many people were coming down hard on CJ for not seeing his value, and I was saying that MAYBE there is another way to interpret her angst, that it might be justifiable. And she described him as “persistent,” which I interpret as saying that he pursued her and took her back after the break up. Again, maybe that isn’t what happened. We don’t have enough info.

    1. 24.1
      I love EMK

      Your original answer was fabulous. You should start your own blog.

      Whether it’s some male who’s no longer attracted to his girlfriend or a woman no longer attracted to her boyfriend – if it can’t be fixed (after trying for a few months and seeing change), stop forcing ourselves to stick it out. Who said unhappy long relationships were what we should strive for? Why does everyone feel there is a risk in ending relationships. Being single male or female can be amazing. Find another more compatible partner even more amazing.

      The world is full of awesome people.   Why would someone know and continue with a relationship that would be terrible long term, especially one not conducive to bring little ones into. We are here for a long time, do you really want to stick it out with an unambitious (or a woman you are no longer attracted to) woman for the next 60 years? That’s a long time to be in a prison.

      When children come along, making this end is unbelievably painful for everyone involved and you may end up sticking it out for the kids and end up resentful and waste your life. End crappy relationships before children come along. There’s so much less pain that way.

      This relationship is bound to end. Use your youth wisely CJ

    2. 24.2


      I agree! Your original comment was my favourite. Please don’t be offended by people that cannot properly read your response! I liked how you used the loser-winner scenario. Its very effective. Your last post hit the nail on the head. I could see you and I becoming good friends by the way you speak. I found the last portion of your response having the most depth – like “someone adoring you does not mean they are compatible” and also asking why he did not go find someone else if he is valuable! Very good point! This relates to me so much, I want to show my boyfriend this thread so we can have an open discussion but I also don’t want to offend him. But I am very worried for our future too. So many of these peoples’ stories match what I’m going through – a guy that dropped out of high school and only wants to work at Walmart for the rest of his life following in the footsteps of his family members and friends. I’m from a big city and am starting my career in real estate and wish we could be doing it together. I don’t have the charisma and charm he has, and he would be great at the social aspect, (I’m more of an introvert and analytical thinker) and we could be a team! 😀 But…he’s not interested in that…

      He’s also not interested in my interests of conspiracy theories, government research, art philosophy, spirituality, cracking the codes of human existence, and tantric sex.

      I’ve tried like a mad-house teacher to sit him down at multiple occasions and teach him what I know, through diagrams, articles, documentaries, just casually talking about it. But he wants to retreat to his media driven lifestyle of watching TV and movies, being enthralled in 25 year old guy stuff. To me, all that stuff is part of mass mind control that we are under as a human species, leading to destruction. I want to be able to break the barriers and talk about important things with him. But how do I talk to someone who was put in special ed, and told that they  cannot achieve anything because they are  too  stupid?  He tells me he is just not interested in it, its boring to him and he’d rather look up ghost stories, dinosaurs or the new “IT” movie. I  KNOW from my research that this is a  SYMPTOM of brainwashing! I have told him he was brainwashed from his education and by leaving school to get a job, he is even more wrecked. He wants the simple life, he is afraid of “knowing too much” as he tells me when I get going.

      I need to be satisfied having a couple counterpart to share my knowledge with, to share a bond where we can support each other if the world falls apart. Part of their plan is to break the nuclear family so that humans struggle more. So the conditioning of young men to either fit into category 1) SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS MAN or 2) COUCH POTATO, will mean that they will  NEVER  have a proper connection with another human being as we are supposed to in this reality. The business man will always be too busy and apathetic, the couch potato will be apathetic and unmotivated.  WHEN WILL PEOPLE REALIZE WE ARE NOT GOING TO WIN THIS ALONE. THEY ARE CREATING THIS DIVIDE ON PURPOSE!  

      The last thing I want to talk about is sex…tantric sex. Most of us know that pornography has changed millennials (him and I are 25), and we are taught in porn, movies and our peers what sex is supposed to be. Average, and quick, and disregarding female or sacred male pleasure. I have tried to explain this over and over to my boyfriend! Trying to break the mould in his mind of what sex is – we are GETTING THERE. (Not to mention he is the ONLY MAN to actually listen to some of my rants is why I am still with him and believing in him!!!) His environment, social life, friends and family are the ones that have also brainwashed him into not having a good sex life – as the world leaders want them to be the ones to destroy healthy sexual relationships. He is learning, and so am I. But its hard to give someone a fillet mignon when they have only ever tasted Burger King. They have *NO IDEA*   how much better quality, fulfilling life would be if they opened spiritually to tantra and to the ability to connect with someone on a sacred spiritual bond. He is so confused, disinterested and prefers not to talk about it.

      He doesn’t understand half the words I use, and most of the time he lies to me and says he understands because if he stopped me half the times he needs to, to explain what I mean, it would take us all day. Which I understand is unreasonable…THANKS SPECIAL ED AND   YOUR  MESSED  UP EDUCATION SYSTEM IN NEW YORK!!!!

      He is incapable of opening his mind to wholesomeness, and submits to the brainwashing of the world and through the media. I  NEED   a counterpart who will stand by me and work with me to grasp the most utmost fulfilling life.

      Its funny how we even fit together…but he is my BFF, my best friend, he gets me as a 25 year old, is extremely physically attractive, and TRIES HIS BEST to understand me and my information. I have never actually seen a man so driven to  TRY, and for that I am thankful…but I wish that him and I could go deeper into understanding our human souls and our deep, repressed sexual desires. Our hidden, inner beauty, to cut the distractions and heal together. I hope everyone reading this finds peace in their relationships, I hope that we all make it. I hope in years to come we find true sexual spirituality and fulfillment between the gender lines and that they do not divide and conquer us more than they already have.

      ~ Tanya

      1. 24.2.1


        wow wow wow! Im 47 and so impressed and uour intellect and insight!   You are 100% correct and you deserve to be with someone who at least grasps part of this knowledge!   My son and his friends all get it they are only 17-20.   I hope one day he finds a girl like you he and his frineds dont even want cell phones.   Im going out with a 47 yr old British guy not sure he comprehends any of it either.   Best of luck to you.   If your ever in Florida look me up!

  5. 25

    Hmmmmm. Interesting replies.

    This falls squarely into my observation that women in general will be unhappy unless their guys makes no less than, and preferable more than her. Generalization, I grant, but I think it occurs more often than not.

    If CJ thinks she’s worth more and can get a better guy monetarily, then she should cut him loose. Period. See BeenThruTheWars’ post #8.

    A few quotes struck a chord.

    naturegirl in #14:
    “Will you be happy paying child support and alimony to an underperforming ex-husband? There is a good chance that you will end up carrying him financially.”

    smartcookie in #19:
    “I tried and tried to not let that bother me, but in the end, my success and financial stability was becoming a problem.” Also “For a time he was unemployed and happy to collect a check from the government. I wondered, what would happen if I couldn’t work-would he step up? Could he step up?”

    I don’t want to have a gender war on this subject, but CJ’s situation is one where the shoe’s on the other foot, so to speak. In other threads I’ve read where it’s okay to seek a guy who makes more money. But here, it’s a problem.

    Perhaps the answer is only to date people who make the same money as you do, whether you’re a guy or a girl. If I make more than a woman, I won’t have to worry about having to support her. The same thing goes for the resistance of women to be with men who make less. If it’s equal, there are no worries, then.

    I wonder how much that would thin the dating herd…

  6. 26

    to vino,

    that is a very small pool of single women, that you talk about in your last paragraph. If a woman has collected material things, she, stays out of the dating scene, what does she need a man for?…..

    1. 26.1
      I love EMK

      Women who have accumulated wealth love people too.

      Just because they are successful, doesn’t mean along the way they lost their heart and need for connection


      1. 26.1.1

        I love EMK, successful women haven’t lost their heart and need for connection(to men)?….tell us about it….

        1. I love EMK

          Maybe you’re projecting something from your perspective on life and that’s OK. I do it too as we only have our life experience to base what life is about.

          I’m not sure what you want me to tell you about? How a successful woman with material possessions is towards men. I love them.

          I’ve worked exceptionally hard (my ex husband kept me very busy paying for his big toys while he stayed at home and I worked 60 hour weeks (so I can understand how many men are frustrated with materialistic wives. Just for the record,   we didn’t break up for money reasons, we broke up because he didn’t want to be intimate with me as we later realized he is asexual)

          Anyway, I’m now 41 years old, a multi-millionaire (not bad for someone who did it solely with children) and I live a pretty minimalist lifestyle so my salary over rides my spending. I have taught my children to be similar – we dont need to consume and consume and ruin the earth.

          The only thing I want is my my children and a place to train (like my Crossfit gym), my girlfriends, family and someone to share life with. When my children are older, I would love to travel too but STUFF doesn’t and has never excited me.

          I would love an equal, someone who isn’t a Peter Pan who just wants me because I’m a work horse. I want someone who’s an equal so I can respect him, not so I can take his money, although 2 dozen red roses would be a dream to receive at least once in my life.

          Money wont replace love and connection. Only the superficial people base relationships on beauty or wealth alone. Most normal people see it as an added bonus.

          I can’t wait to feel in love again Mr Hunter. I want an older man than what I attract (attracting babies at around 25 years old) but I really want that mid 30’s man, they are the hottest.   If a man my own age came along without a pot belly and skinny arms, I’d definitely consider him especially if he was business savvy and intelligent.

          I see many gorgeous men around and I long for the day when I find someone I’m attracted to and vice versa. it will happen and let me remind you that money will never replace wonderful men. It definitely can’t hug you and protect you like big muscly arms can.

          When women say they dont need men, they mean, they don’t need useless men, they want an equal (or better), they’d rather be single than the headache and drama of men who are still acting like spoilt children.Have I made sense?

      2. 26.1.2

        I love emk,

        I wish you well in your search…

        1. I love EMK

          Mr Hunter,

          Have you got some superhero powers or something because I have found someone and he is amazing. At 41 years of age, I am finally experiencing that “honeymoon” period most people experience in their teenage years.   This feeling is overwhelmingly blissful and perfect.


          Simone (I love EMK)

  7. 27
    T Hatch

    I don’t think CJ is getting a fair shake in some of these posts.

    If you read through her letter, you’ll notice that she’s not really complaining that her boyfriend isn’t making lots of money, but that he doesn’t seem interested in accomplishing much with his life and doesn’t have much going on intellectually. Yes, I know that she points out that he only makes an “okay pay check”, but that’s in the context of illustrating how unambitious he is. I think CJ’s real issue with this guy is that he’s boring, not that he’s not rich, and that she fundamentally doesn’t respect him.

    It would be fascinating to see what CJ’s attitude would be if her boyfriend had a demanding job but didn’t make much cash. Suppose he was lawyer who passed on the big bucks in corporate law and instead worked to provide legal services to the poor — would she have a problem with that? If so, then yes, it would be fair to say that money was an issue. But for the moment let’s give CJ the benefit of the doubt and presume that she wouldn’t object to that scenario.

    Personally, I think every successful relationship is based on respect, and that’s not just true of romantic relationships. Whether or not you base your respect for someone on their accomplishments or intellect, CJ does, and that’s not an unreasonable value system. Yes, it’s true that the guy who can quote Proust might be a snobby jerk, but CJ’s issue was that her boyfriend sits around all day and watches TV. There’s a lot of space between those two extremes! I think she just wants to avoid the bottom end. Perhaps it’s true that her devoted boyfriend will be there in 30 years to drive her to her chemo appointments, but is that car ride really worth 30 years of frustration and disappointment? Just call a cab.

    On the other hand, I have to agree with everyone who has said — make a decision! It’s been ten years. You’ve been aware from the start that he’s not ambitious, and it’s bothered you from the start, and it’s unlikely that either of you will change. This is the way it will be for the rest of both of your lives. Part of accepting somebody for who they are is being able to say, “Maybe we’re not right for each other.” So, either make the substantial compromise that the relationship will require of you, or cut the guy loose so that he can find someone who will be happy with what he has to offer.

    1. 27.1

      Best comment ever! 😀 I love the cab part. 🙂

    2. 27.2
      I love EMK

      She should make a decision but what if she leaves this guy and he ends up hating everyone on here that told her so. What if he likes living the easy life and we just created him complete and utter misery. What if he thought she was the greatest thing on earth and going back into the dating scene and actually making more effort is a nightmare for him. Many assume he would love to go out and find someone, but for those of us who know men like this, know they like everything laid back and easy. Dating is not easy particularly for men. He has to spend money, chase and get many rejections. He may love having a woman who’s alpha (compared to him).

      I suspect she hasn’t exactly hurt him in the 10 years she provided him a great companion. I think she’s only hurting herself staying here. I doubt he is harmed by her sticking around for 10 years (give or take their 4 year break).   It’s not like he has a biological clock ticking (well actually he does – aged sperm cause more mental disorders) but anyway he doesn’t “feel” that clock like a woman does.

      Many of us are projecting how we would want to be treated but lets put ourselves in his shoes and ask what would a less than ambitious person want….definitely not to go back into the dating scene when he has an interesting wordly, ambitious lady by his side.

      1. 27.2.1

        Women really should stop worrying about this nonsense. So what if he hates everyone on here? So what if he wants the easy life? His needs are not more important than hers and if she needs to leave, she needs to leave and not give AF about someone who constantly puts themselves and their fragile male gender first. Dating may not be easy for men, but no matter how hard it is for men it’s always 100% harder for women. Always. Women are rejected just as much as men are, women have to spend just as much as men (and women are paid less for equal work) on dates and gifts, women are raped and sexually harassed at higher rates than men while on dates, and I think that just goes to show how little men value women. It’s always “boohoo she hurt my feelings and rejected me, what a bitch” while women are always “well, I hope he doesn’t kill/rape me for saying NO”. IDGAF about his shoes bc my whole life as a woman I’ve been told to make “men” and their emotional/physical needs my priority. He needs to put himself in her shoes for once and realize he’s hurting their relationship by not meeting her halfway.Relationships take two to work. The only difference is men are allowed to be mediocre while women have to constantly Exceed Expectations. Don’t believe me? When was the last time some dad “babysat” the kids for an hour and everyone was all on him for being such a great dad when all he did was the bare minimum meanwhile mom is being given shit for going on a spa day and abandoning the kids. Or in this case, boyfriend has mediocre life goals and everyone is giving CJ shit for wanting someone more mature and in line with her needs. But nope. Women just have to put themselves in male mediocre shoes and realign their whole life goals to cater to his.

        1. Cathalei

          She mustn’t stay if the relationship doesn’t please her, but this whole men = bad women= victim tripe has no basis in reality yet so overused. She didn’t say he put his “fragile male gender” first, she said their expectations are not in alignment. In fact, the need to label every man who has different expectations than you do could just as easily be labeled as “fragile female ego”, but that doesn’t get anyone anywhere.

          Rejection happens to those who approach first and men usually do. Women have to spend too, but there is no “wage gap” for equal work. And if someone attempts to assault you while on a date it would show in their behavior. If you hate men that much, that’s up to you but when you desire a partnership with a man that would completely backfire on you.

          And the latter part is totally down to you. You needn’t spend time with someone just to assuage their feelings and then feel like a martyr and blame them. As for “babysitting” maybe that’s an example of how fathers are less valued by their parental skills. Everyone is TOLD to to certain things at some point but it’s up to you to see whether they’re working or not. And if you still complain about how much of a victim you are while ignoring others’ needs and points of view, you shouldn’t complain when the prophecy about all those around you fulfills itself. Because if you have to “put yourself n male mediocre shoes and realign your WHOLE LIFE goals to cater to his”, chances are you aren’t such a catch either.

    3. 27.3

      Best one

  8. 28

    I actually liked and agreed with Evan’s response. And I don’t always like or agree with Evan’s respones. 🙂 haha.

  9. 29

    Vino, sooooooo does one ask to see a potential partner’s W-2’s or 1099’s (for the past several years) before the first kiss?

    And although I’d like to think that the present state of the economy is temporary, what happens if one of the partners looses her/his job/career? The interim (until a new job/career is found) could certainly place the relationship in peril.

    Please don’t feel that I am patronizing your words because that is not the case. I think the entire dating game takes on different personas depending on an individual’s past experiences.

  10. 30

    Great question and great advice from Evan.
    I have to say though, I can understand CJ going back and forth on this for the past 10 years. People change a lot between 21 and 31, and it’s not unrealistic for CJ to have thought that her guy may have grown to appreciate ambition a bit more. At this point though, major changes in life philosphies are unlikely, so it’s a matter of figuring out what you can live with.
    It’s a tough, tough call.

  11. 31
    Lee Coles

    Ambitious is connected to confidence, and is thus sexy.

  12. 32


    My point exactly. She doesn’t. If a man has collected material things, he, stays out of the dating scene, what does he need a woman for?..

    Same analysis applies both ways.


    Don’t think you are patronizing at all. I’m simply taking what I see as reluctance on CJ’s part to py for bf, the comments by smartcookie and nature girl, coupled with other threads on here to reach the conclusion that many, if not most women, have a problem with possible having to support a guy. I’m just taking that & saying guys should have the same problem with support women, creating the only solution – equal earners should date.

    Of course this is patently absurd in practice. But I wonder how women (not all but most) would react to having the same criteria applied to them as they apply to men vis-a-vis money issues…

    1. 32.1

      To the concept of if women expect men to make more then why shouldn’t men expect the same, therefore date someone who makes equal – while in theory this seems fair the fact that, in general women overall still earn less than men, this becomes less balanced than it sounds.  
      Whether it be by choice career or not. Although I don’t think the issue here with CJ necessarily is the money, but the ambition and drive for growth, what those attributes bring to the table in the relationship and interactions (intelligence, experience, etc).  

  13. 33
    Sarah G

    Another thought: Who is going to be taking him to chemotherapy treatments? (And planning for retirement, feeding the 401K, buying the house, etc.?)

    1. 33.1

      @Sarah G – Yes!! Good point. 🙂

      And I don’t want to take away from that. Or CJ’s sincere dilemma. But here is another perspective.

      My brother loved a sensitive, loving, emotive, artist-type girl about 20 years ago, but chose to marry a more savvy, “take no prisoners” type of woman with not only ambition, but a very large inheritance.

      It broke everyone’s hearts. Why?

      Artist Girl was lovely, gifted, deep, complex and made Logical Boy feel unlike anyone else. He said she was the girl of his dreams – and now only haunts his dreams.

      But you can’t be soft or sentimental when it comes to things such as ambition, retirement, 401K, etc., right? You have to be logical.

      What happened?

      He and Inheritance Girl bought a lavish million plus dollar home right before the last real estate bubble. They are currently underwater by more than 80% of the purchase price.

      Inheritance Girl’s business busted around the same time – she became depressed and apparently cheated with the stay at home husband next door (who also bought before the bubble burst and had also married for money, ahem, security).

      Logical Boy was disheartened, remorseful, but too destitute to leave.

      The inheritance is no more. The well-funded 401K, drained dry. The Lavish house? Run down from being ill-kept. The moral of this story? Obvious.

      Hard not to see the irony in that. (Notice I did not say Karma)

      Not every situation will end up like this. There are many variables and different circumstances. But there is also a difference between laziness and lais ·sez-faire, CJ.

      Please take note of that.

      Logical Boy stumbled back to his home town and looked Artist Girl up, for old times sake, of course. But Artist Girl had gone to Law School apparently and though she still continues her artistic bent, she is G’s ahead of my brother. Not that she cares. But he does.

      My take on his situation? Go for Love. ALWAYS. Not bad behavior, or complacency or anything remotely underhanded because it looks better on paper.

      Just real, true Love and Connection. It’s one of those funny things in Life that somehow seems to bear true time and time again.

      Your Conscious




      1. 33.1.1

        Edit: Your “Conscience”, not “conscious”.


        Your Highness (haha)

  14. 34

    To Michele,

    What happens if the she loses her job/career? I work with herds of men and this happens often. The marriage, continues, only he cuts back on buying his toys, and the exotic vacation spots are no longer planned….

  15. 35

    To Michele post #29

    You ask what happens if a partner loses their job. This is the crux of the problem, if that partner is ambitious then they will look for a new job and during that time you would be happy to support them. If on the other hand they have no ambition and sit watching daytime tv every day then your patience and support are going to run out very quickly, as well as your money.

  16. 36
    Sarah G

    The only situations I know of where a man is supporting a woman is when there are kids involved and they’ve decided that it’s better for her to stay home to raise them. I can’t think of one relationship where the man is supporting the woman in any other situation. Back in 1955 women didn’t support themselves, but it just isn’t like that anymore. So I never understand it when these threads turn to talk about men supporting women as if this really happens out there in most people’s lives. Any woman on this board (who isn’t a stay at home mom) being supported by a man?

    To bring it back to the OP, however: I don’t think that anyone wants to support another able-bodied adult, and in the case of a marriage nothing can be assumed in that regard — career/childcare issues are handled in all different ways these days. But CJ isn’t supporting her boyfriend, she just wants a guy with a vision and finds that a nice guy without a vision just doesn’t turn her on. That’s how I read the issue, anyway. I get it — she’s firey and he’s watery. Water douses fire and when fire is your nature, water can be a real drag. There are lots of tie-wearing guys out there who are upright (not cocaine-snorting whore-mongers) who want a woman who is smart and effective in the world; lots of women (as indicated on this board) who want a guy who’s just nice and in for the long haul.

    I don’t understand why this has to turn into a gender issue — CJ is ambitious and loves the world of work and is presumably good at it and wants to share that with her intimate partner. Why are some on here punishing her with cancer diagnoses and abusive boyfriend scenarios? Why aren’t we wondering what the glue is that has held these two people together for 10 years off and on and coming back for more (on both sides)? The glue is the important part — the important question would be, Is the glue based on something positive (to be affirmed) or negative (to be rejected)? Only those two can answer that question. Which, I guess, is what Evan said. 🙂

  17. 37

    vino…regarding your post #32.

    I asked you a direct question and you did NOT answer it.

  18. 38

    hunter…your post #34.

    If those herds of men are satisfied with their wives unemployed status, something seems amiss (in my opinion).

    1. 38.1

      …michele #38

      …most men I know are in there 3 marriage….don’t want to go through the divorce process again…..

  19. 39

    to Sarah G,

    I think CJ must be maturing, age wise, because, there, was nothing wrong with her boyfriend in the early stages of the relationship. People, as we mature, it is not like we become selective, it is more like we get sensitive..

    1. 39.1

      Well said, Hunter:-)

  20. 40

    Sarah G wrote:

    “The only situations I know of where a man is supporting a woman is when there are kids involved and they’ve decided that it’s better for her to stay home to raise them. I can’t think of one relationship where the man is supporting the woman in any other situation.”

    – Ummmm I grant that there are instances where they jointly decide she can stay home & raise the kids. However, particularly if married, he doesn’t really have any say in it, unless he’s willing to divorce. Because, I’ve run across the latter situation, where the kids are off to school, and she does nada. She puts foot down, under pain of divorce. He’s screwed, because he’ll pay through nose if bluff is called, particularly if she hasn’t been working.

    Kinda circles back on the point that ladies in general like guys who make more, as they have more options. Stay home with kids or not. Point is, he has none…keep earning.

    “Any woman on this board (who isn’t a stay at home mom) being supported by a man?”

    – Not trying to pick a fight, but any women on this board who expects men to pay for everything in the relationship IS being supported by a man. He’s underwriting her social life, at a minimum.

    I read CJ’s dissatisfied on personal levels but financial ones also. “…one thing that continues to turn me off (from ten years ago to now) and that is his lack of ambition to be successful professionally. ”

    Also, CJ wrote “He on the other hand is satisfied with bringing home an okay pay check to put food on his table…”

    Clearly, money is on her mind also. It’s a gender issue when you look at the larger picture…that being women in general like guys to make more $ than they do (or the same, at bare minimum), no matter how much $ they themselves (ladies) make. My only point is that I think to be fair, guys should apply the same standard to the ladies they date.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *