Can an ambitious gal find happiness with a lackadaisical guy?

Bev, a DG reader, shared:

I met a guy a couple months ago, and I really like him. He is everything I could possibly ask for, except for one thing, he doesn’t work. He is only 43 and on a pension. He told me that he was ill for two years and has not worked for two years since he got well.

I like to consider myself an understanding person and am always thoughtful of the well-being of others. The fact that he hasn’t worked for quite some time, and I don’t see any improvement in that area, except that he says he is planning to start his own business “sometime” has me concerned.

pint of beerI work very hard as a single mother with 2 teens, and I do a lot of overtime when I can. I don’t have a lot of time for pleasure, but I do try to get out as much as I can, and this guy has all the time in the world to go out to pubs and stay up all night through the week, and sleep as much through the day as he wants. All of this just doesn’t sit well with me.

I really like him a lot, and he has a lot to offer as far as a relationship goes, and he has told me that he really wants me, but I am just not sure I can deal with the fact that he is unemployed and living on a very tight budget. I don’t want to make myself look materialistic, and I don’t feel that I am, but I am torn and I don’t know what to do.

So he’s on a very tight budget but he goes to the pub multiple times a week? He has money for a few pints, but not enough to have the lifestyle that matches yours?

This is a tough one. My ex and I had different levels of ambition and lifestyle desires. It created tension as he was happy with thrift-store furniture, for example, and I wanted nicer things. He liked to camp and hike on vacation and I’m a more bed-and-breakfast kinda gal. Money issues are one of the top topics couples argue about.

You’ve only been seeing him for a few months. I’d say that when it is time to have the “exclusivity” talk, you should share what you need to feel comfortable being in a relationship. Some men need a little wake up call to see that if they want to be with a great woman, they need to think beyond their own lifestyle choices. If he wants to continue living a meager life, he can do so. And you’ll choose to see him along with others, decide you don’t want to settle for constant financial struggles, or that you’ll continue as it is now and see if he starts to shift his financial situation.

Whatever you do, don’t stifle your desires without communicating. It will only cause you both frustration. Best to share your vision of what you want and both of you deciding if you can sign on to creating a life together that you both love.

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15 responses to “Can an ambitious gal find happiness with a lackadaisical guy?”

  1. Sassy Avatar

    Two things strike me here. One, you say you really like him a lot, but you never say why. If I were you, I’d pull back and see what about him you really like and what he is bringing to the table. The other thing I’d say is that there is a difference between being materialistic and making sure that you have a good life for you and your children.

  2. sdl Avatar


    Be VERY careful about him ‘changing’ for you ‘because he wants to keep you’!!

    This backfired horribly on me, but it took nearly 15 years for him to say it-

    He declared himself to me, committed himself to making me happy, and I truly thought this was my reward for life.

    I honestly thought that my quite gentle prodding had gotten him ‘back on track’ in the career field he loved from being unemployed, and doing work he was proud to claim, having prestige within his peer groups, and getting more responsibilities and decision-making authority over technical things, which he loves.

    It certainly caused his income to climb dramatically over the years.


    BUT, he now says, I was demanding he conform with what *I* wanted him to be, and he wasn’t happy, and he had ‘things’ he wanted to do and didn’t because of the ‘responsibility’ of myself and my children (what I can’t tell you and neither can he), and me struggling to keep the finances in line during all but a few years of it (can you believe it, with over $100K/year I still struggled with his spending patterns!).

    And he took this out in power-struggles with my two kids over needless and petty things.

    And his now-spoken resentment is his ‘justification’ for being unfaithful –for a number of years it now seems….

    Just be VERY CAREFUL.

  3. Rodney Avatar

    I would think that a lack of ambition might even point to some depression in this guy… or the most obvious thing is that he is just plain lazy. The first is treatable, the second nearly fatal to your relationship – because if he’s lazy enough not to work then he’s probably lazy in everything else, including the work it takes to keep a solid relationship going. Red flag. Approach with extreme caution.

  4. hunter Avatar

    …….this blog puts a smile on my face, because, men like him are all over, and they prey on career women making bookoo bucks. I hear they are very passionate, entertaining, fun, and playful……..yes…

  5. Bev Avatar

    DG….Thank you for posting my question, I really appreciate the advice and comments on this issue.
    Thank you also to the readers who posted comments as well. It helps a lot to know that I am not in the wrong to be thinking and feeling the way I do.
    Sassy, I like him a lot because of the way he treats me, very kind and thoughtful.
    Sdl, you’re right about being careful about him ‘changing’ for me, that reminds me of one thing my Mom always said to me and that was ‘you can never change a man’ haha.
    Rodney, I also thought of depression with him, but then I thought that if he was depressed he wouldn’t want to be going out to the pubs for a good time would he? I think the latter is the best description, and I couldn’t put up with a lazy person, so I do have the red flag up 🙂
    Hunter, you are right, he is very passionate, entertaining, fun and playful….yes….lol
    Thanks again all 🙂

  6. Ally Avatar

    Bev, you may not be in the wrong to think and feel the way you do, but neither is he. He may be depressed, or he may have come out of depression – I was likely a ‘game-changing’ event to be very sick for 2 years. It all goes back to what DG said – best to share what you both want and decide from there.

  7. Sassy Avatar


    I thought about what you said about the depression “but then I thought that if he was depressed he wouldn’t want to be going out to the pubs for a good time would he? ”

    Yes, he could be. He could be “medicating” his depression with the alcohol and pub visits. I don’t want to tell you what to do, just to be careful. Also there is probably another man or two or twelve out there who would be kind and thoughtful to you without the issues about no work. Good luck!

  8. hunter Avatar

    to Sassy,

    …kind and thoughtful men are boring, they have a dry wit, monotonous and over all, not fun…..

  9. LA Avatar

    . . . . and he has a lot to offer as far as a relationship goes, . . .

    He has nothing to offer you. What kind of role model is he to your children. What kind of role model are YOU to your children if you allow this man into your house, sleeping all day, making messes, going to the pub, coming home drunk. Fighting over money. Don’t do it sister. What are your fears that you are settling for such a “relationship?”

  10. Dating Goddess Avatar

    Hunter: I don’t agree. Kind and thoughtful men can be witty, interesting, sexy and fun.

  11. RedFred Avatar

    Depression could be just a small portion of the fact. I am willing to bet the guy is just lazy and looking for someone to take care of him. I would turn and run the other direction as fast as I could. As Rodney said, depression is treatable. With bipolar depression, you want to be out with others some of the time and then there are times when you want to be by yourself. Somedays you can conquer the world, others the world conquers you. That doesn’t sound like the case here. Be afraid, be very afraid. If your instinct tells you to run, do it.

    The depression thing, I’ve been there, done that. Took a lot of deciding what is best for me to get out of the dump.

    Good luck.

  12. Sassy Avatar

    to Hunter:
    Not sure who you are hanging around with, but I’ve got plenty of kind and thoughtful men in my life who are funny, intelligent, sexy and adventurous!

  13. nysharon Avatar

    He may be an alcohol abuser. No one has mentioned this. ONly Bev would know for sure.
    Again, think about your kids. You deserve what you really want, don’t settle.

  14. tk Avatar

    I’d try the “four man plan.” I bet this guy would be “squeezed out” in a heartbeat . . .

  15. nysharon Avatar

    I just read up on the 4 man plan. Funny, amusing, but interesting. Interesting concept, thanks tk.