Question: Dear Luise: I have been dating my boyfriend for almost a year and I love him very much. We have a strong connection and I can see myself with him for the long term. However, I just realized he is a bit lazy and a bit apathetic. He is 30, living with his mother and he still does not know what to do with his life. We talk about our plans together and he agrees about studying a degree and search for a proper job for him. It’s just that I’m not sure he is as determined as I am and I’m afraid that when it comes to real life, he is somewhat immature. I have already talk with him about his “life direction” but I’m not 100% sure about his will, though I have seen that with my help, he really can start things. From your point of view, do you think I should wait a bit until he puts himself into action? And also, keep on telling him from time to time, what he should be doing? I don’t want to be his second mother but I want to help him. Thanks a lot, V.
Answer: Dear V.: I wonder if you wrote to me because you fear on some level that you may be headed for trouble.
The way I see it, you are right on the mark when you look closely at the guy’s relationship with his mother. Good for you for noting that he may look for a mother in you as well. It isn’t your job to inspire, push, prod and/or motivate him. It’s his job to plot out his life plan and then do the necessary work to make it happen. Where has he been the last ten years?
You might want to consider the possibility that he may not be interested in such a plan. He may prefer to drift along, hanging onto his mother’s apron strings. I know looking closely at that can’t help but be painful for you.
It is hard sometimes to get that if doesn’t work to try to tell another adult what to do. The truth is it’s his business…not yours and you can’t change the way he is.
Ambition comes from within. A dependent person is often not comfortable with a “life plan.” It may be seen as both difficult and basically unnecessary. Charm is often valued as the greatest asset.
As I see it, this guy may eventually hook up with a “go-getter” and expect a free ride. The women who just love that arrangement are the ones who want a “grown-baby.” To such women, that role feels important and satisfying and they love being in charge. Truth be told, they don’t want their “boys” to ever grow up!
To take on the job of changing your guy is not only hopeless, it will generate strife and conflict once he realizes you’re serious. Talking about it is as far as he may be able to go. Permanent and consistent action will not necessarily follow. Your instincts are right on and waiting would be a useless exercise on your part
I’d back off and look for someone more mature. Being a helpmate to a guy with ambition is a whole different ball game. But to do that, you need a partner, not a dependent child. Blessings, Luise