posted 2012-05-12 12:15:19

Advice Column

Envoy Advice,

Thanks for all that you do. Lately, I have been having a problem with my boyfriend. We’ve been together a while, and I like him a lot. However, he lacks motivation and drive. We both go to Hunter, and I am straight A student, while his GPA staggers around 2.5. I’ve been a high achiever all of my life – I was my high school valedictorian! He, however, seems totally comfortable sailing through life as mediocre. The problem is that he isn’t mediocre; he is incredibly smart and talented, he just doesn’t do anything about it. I’ve tried motivating him with rewards, and I’ve tried telling him how important it is to me to be with someone who has similar goals, but nothing seems to get through to him. Lately, I have found that I am mad at him all of the time, and we fight a lot. I don’t really want to break up with him because I love him, and I have never felt so at home with anyone ever in my life. I am graduating this year, but unsurprisingly he is not. How do I either 1. Make him be more driven or 2. Convince myself that it is no big deal?


Hopelessly Devoted


Hopelessly Devoted,

What a doozy. This guy, let’s call him Rex, sounds like a piece of work. The first piece of advice I can offer you is that you need to internalize the fact that you are not going to change Rex. It doesn’t work that way. Rex may change himself, but that’s the best you can hope for. You’re also not going to suddenly realize that Rex’s lack of drive is “no big deal” because it isn’t to you, and that is okay. So it sounds to me like you have two options, and each have different options for outcomes.

1. Break up with Rex.

2. Don’t break up with Rex.

Now, if you go with option # 1 you risk losing Rex forever, which I know is not a pretty prospect to you right now. However, if you break up with him one of three things will happen:

A. He will figure out how much he loves you and needs to change.

B. He will realize he likes being a lazy loafer and say “good riddance”

C. You will realize how trivial this all may be, and beg for him back.

If you prefer option # 2, I see two possible outcomes:

A. Everything stays the same except for that your anger at Rex keeps brewing beneath the surface until you explode at him and either break up or involve yourself in something worse.

B. Your continued devotion to Rex shows him that you are a woman worth working for, and his motivation will g row through your inspiration until he reaches achievements you never dreamed of.

Which of these options did you read without cringing about their unlikelihood? None of them? Smart woman. It is time to talk to your significant other again. Sit him down and tell him the choices that you feel like you are being faced with, and the challenges weighing on you. Tell him what you are looking for in a partner and where you feel like he is coming up short. Do it in an honest, calm, and non-accusatory manner, and ask him what is up with his lack of motivation. His response to you should tell you a lot. If he wont talk, then it sounds like option # 1 is for you, but the only way to know is to have one last go at a good conversation. If all else fails, just remember that even Steve Jobs dropped out of college. Boy did Reed College lose out on that graduate!

Good luck,

Envoy Advice

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