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When you first start dating someone, you just think about things like, “Does he make me laugh? Is there a physical attraction? Do we share the same values? Do I feel excited around him? Does he have his life at least somewhat together?” Those are certainly important characteristics of any working relationship, and they create the groundwork for something that can really grow. But one thing we often overlook until it’s too late (aka we’re really attached to the person and breaking up would hurt a lot) is how ambitious our partner is.

I’m not talking about success or quick results because the truth is we have little control over when our big break comes. What we can control, however, is how much work and passion we put into our goals. And if you put a lot into yours, but your partner puts little into his…or doesn’t even have goals…your relationship may hit a dead end. Here is the trouble with dating someone less ambitious than yourself.

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They won’t be as social

If you’re career- and goal-oriented, you’re pretty game to meet people and socialize. You like sharing ideas and making connections! Who knows what a new friend may bring. An unambitious partner will want to stay in more and will want you to stay in with him.

So what happens?

You’ll constantly have to choose between spending time with your partner and spending time with everybody else. That’s a terrible place to be.

 

 

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They won’t be as curious

You never know what may inspire you, so you look for inspiration everywhere. You’re up for all types of exhibits, concerts, lectures and destinations because they might turn on a light bulb in your brain. Unambitious people usually like to stick to what they know and may not be as curious as you are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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So what happens?

You’ll go to those things by yourself. You’ll miss out on the important bonding that happens when you experience and witness things together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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They won’t like your schedule

If you’re truly ambitious, you rarely lead a 9 to 5 life. You go to after-work events and drinks to keep building that network. An unambitious partner may resent the fact that you don’t come home at 6 for dinner, and won’t understand why that’s the case.

 

 

 

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So what happens?

If you stay at work late, you just feel guilty the entire time and are not as mentally present as you’d like to be. If you go home early, you feel angry at your partner for making you do that and, once again, are not mentally present.

 

 

 

 

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You’ll run out of things to talk about

What do people talk about at the end of the day? They talk about how things went at work, what they achieved, what they’d like to go different tomorrow and what they hope to achieve. If your partner just hopes to achieve being in bed by 9 pm and watching a new episode of his show, but he can’t see beyond that, your conversations will die off quickly.

 

So what happens?

You’ll turn to books or television, or going out with friends instead of talking to each other. That’s no relationship at all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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He won’t be passionate in general

People who are not passionate about their personal goals are, typically, just not very passionate. They may have emotional issues that make them afraid to express passion—it would be like opening Pandora’s box, and they would quickly realize all the areas of their life that could use more passion.

 

 

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So what happens?

You will probably feel your partner doesn’t really engage in deep discussions, doesn’t really fight for you when you’re angry at him and isn’t all that present during sex.

 

 

 

 

 

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They can’t dream big financially

It’s okay to want a bigger house one day, or a nice car, or the money to send a child to a prestigious college. If you are working hard towards your goals, and you have big goals, you can think like that. An unambitious partner won’t really indulge those conversations; he knows exactly what his highest pay will be. Ever. End of story.

 

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So what happens?

Something that used to be fun—daydreaming about a better life—is now something you feel bad about. Your partner may even make you believe you are ungrateful for what you have, just for wanting more. And that’s not fair.

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You’ll feel guilty

You may end up feeling guilty about being so ambitious. Conversations will feel one-sided because you’ll talk for thirty minutes about your dreams, and your partner will talk for five minutes about which groceries you need. You may feel like you overpower conversations, just because you are yourself.

 

 

 

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So what happens?

You will probably start to talk to somebody else about your goals and dreams—you have to let it out somewhere! You’ll probably start developing feelings for that person, and feel very distant from your partner.

 

 

 

 

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He won’t like that you’re always on

When you’re truly ambitious, your mind is never entirely off of your goals. Something on date night will spark your thought process about your career. Your unambitious partner will think it’s rude that you are always thinking about your goals.

 

 

 

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So what happens?

You make an effort not to think or talk about your goals on date night. But then you end up dreading and resenting date night because it just feels like some penalty box keeping you from your goals. Date night feels more like a punishment than a pleasure.

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There’s a reason he is unambitious

It’s human nature to want more—literally! We evolved because our ancestors who had a gene that made them want more (like better shelter and fire) outlived the others. Your unambitious partner does want more, but he has some unresolved issues stopping him from admitting that.

 

 

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So what happens?

Whatever those unresolved issues are, your partner is going to have to face them eventually. He may be in no position to be in a relationship when that intensive therapy begins.

 

 

 

 

 

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You will be more successful

There is no denying the math; if you are ambitious and your partner is not then you will end up drastically more successful than he is.

 

 

 

 

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So what happens?

Your partner may begin to feel inferior and take that feeling out on you in passive aggressive ways, like making snide, demeaning remarks about your career. Then you end up in a very ugly place.

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