What to do when you’re dating a woman with no ambition

Two months ago I was dating a hot, smart and amazing woman.

I’m not anymore.

What was the problem?

It wasn’t her looks. Those were through the roof. It wasn’t her intelligence, she was a sharp cookie. Also, it wasn’t her sense of humor and banter, I found her hilarious and engaging.

The problem was more basic.

She had no ambition. I mean zero. What made it twice as bad is that we lived together and I earned all the money and paid all the bills.

I felt used and really worried about the future because she didn’t have any goals for her life apart from being with me.

I mean…I was flattered.

But it eventually became too much for me.

Here are my tips if you’re finding yourself in a situation like this as well.

What to do when you’re dating a woman with no ambition

1) Be clear on what you mean

We all come from different backgrounds and have different priorities.

Ambition does not mean the same thing to everyone.

In some cultures, a woman’s greatest ambition is to become a CEO or a medical doctor, while in others being a wife or mother is the greatest accomplishment possible.

It’s not black or white either.

We all have different personalities, and due to many factors including upbringing, some women simply expect to be pampered and looked after.

Does this give them a right to be looked after and never work or take responsibility?

Not really, but it helps explain a lot.

And if you’re dealing with a lack of ambition it’s important to be clear on what ambition means to you and what you’d hope for it to mean for a woman you’re dating.

2) Talk to her

In my case, my girlfriend’s lack of ambition is specifically regarding career, but also a general kind of passivity.

As a self-made guy, it honestly drives me nuts at times. She knows that completely, and she says she’s “looking for work” and knows that it’s not easy for me to pay all our expenses.

I get it. And I know she has vague ideas about finding work or helping out.

But vague ambition isn’t really ambition, at least not in my books.

I want and expect more from her in terms of her financial contributions and her search for work.

I’ve given her quite a few suggestions and ideas, but I feel like she still resists or still expects something to just somehow arrive on her doorstep.

Some amazing job, benefactor, or something like that.

If you’re dealing with this, you’ll need to talk to the woman. She needs to hear from you directly about what’s concerning you with her lack of ambition.

3) Research options

As I mentioned, I’ve tried to help my girlfriend out with quite a few ideas and options, mostly without much interest from her end.

She’s mainly into crafting and loves making jewelry, so I suggested some ideas to make handmade necklaces or research trying to sell a few bracelets at local markets.

She kind of nodded and smiled but never made any effort.

Then I looked into places online like Etsy, which have had a real revival under the pandemic.

I mentioned this to my girlfriend as a promising lead. After all, I’d read about online sellers making a bundle from unique crafts and jewelry.

But a week later when I asked if she’d checked it out, she shrugged and said she hadn’t gotten around to it.

The most you can do is try.

I tried my best…

4) Explore your own emotions

What is it about ambition that is interesting, remarkable, upsetting or a priority for you?

Explore your own emotions around it, and also try to get your girlfriend to open up about hers.

I know that in my situation it was a bit complex.

I was actually raised by a single dad who always worried about money and made me stressed out about it.

He also pushed me hard to be successful, which is part of why I have dedicated myself so much to my job.

I have to admit that my attitudes around ambition aren’t just vocational or financial, they’re personal.

I consider it weak, lame, and shortsighted to have a lack ambition, and I also have negative attitudes toward women who think men should take care of them.

Does that make me a feminist or a misogynist (or both)? You tell me…

The point is that ambition is a big deal for me, and I know that its roots trace all the way back to my earliest years of watching my dad struggle to raise my brothers and I.

5) Do not be a doormat

My girlfriend’s own beliefs about ambition were much different than mine:

She considered it a man’s job to look after a woman and said that my focus on career and money was stifling her creativity.

As I said, I strongly encouraged her to get creative and ambitious by selling her crafts on Etsy and other similar platforms but she expressed zero interest.

Let’s just say there’s a reason she’s my ex-girlfriend now.

But if you’re dating a woman and hoping for it to become more than a failed relationship, I strongly encourage you not to become a doormat.

Betraying your own values about ambition and your standards for the woman you are dating is only going to show up later in the relationship and blow it up.

You need to stand up for yourself, draw your limits and let her know that you are not a piggy bank.

If that leads to a break up then she wasn’t the right one for you anyway.

6) Honor yourself

A big part of not being a doormat is honoring and respecting yourself.

To do this, you really need to find and embrace your own personal power.

Instead of focusing on how this woman is letting you down, focus on where you are moving in your own life.

Then invite her to join you for the ride or stay sunk in her own sphere of inaction.

7) Rank your priorities

What are your priorities in life and in your romantic relationships?

In my case, ranking my priorities was a big part of realizing that my relationship wasn’t going to work out.

But in your case, it could be much different.

It’s really a matter of getting it down in writing and understanding exactly where you stand with regard to who you’re dating.


What is your priority in a partner? For example, it may be:

  • Have a happy family
  • Have somebody to have fun with
  • Physical and mental health
  • Having a partner with strong goals
  • Having shared values

Or it could be:

  • Having a partner with strong goals
  • Having shared values
  • Having a life together without kids
  • Exploring the world
  • Having a partner who appreciates you

Or anything else and anything in between!

8) Respect your limit

We all have a limit, including in our personal lives.

You need to both know and respect your limit.

If you are dating a woman with no ambition, this may be a dealbreaker for you or it might just be one aspect of your relationship that doesn’t bother you too much.

You need to know what your limit is in terms of dealing with disappointment and frustrations in your relationship.

Also, keep in mind that there are likely aspects of yourself that are frustrating to your girlfriend as well.

Try to communicate about these obstacles as openly as possible.

At the same time, be aware and ready to act when it comes to your own limits.

If you’re dating a woman with no ambition and the relationship has now become unhealthy or codependent to an unhealthy degree, then you will eventually need to put your foot down and leave the relationship.

9) Know the difference between a loser and someone who’s struggling

There’s a big difference between a loser and somebody who’s going through a hard time.

“While career/ambition is far from the only way in which being a loser can manifest itself, it’s definitely common and prominent,” is what Ian Lang wrote for Ask Men.

The difference is ambition and the drive to succeed.

We all have tough situations, periods of doubting ourselves, and different definitions of ambition.

But if you’re dating someone with zero ambition of any kind and no real drive in any area of her life then there’s no doubt you’ve found yourself a loser.

Someone who is losing is not a loser.

Someone who doesn’t care about anything and is passive (no matter how good their outer default position may be and advantages) is a loser by definition.

Be careful who you get attached to.

Should you move on or stick it out?

Ultimately this decision is up to you.

I moved on and left.

I heard my ex-girlfriend is currently living with a drug dealer who’s on probation.

I guess she’s still looking for that perfect provider.

Whatever you decide to do, don’t gaslight yourself and lie to yourself. If you’re dating a woman with no ambition, try to talk to her and work it out.

If there’s no progress being made then decide whether this is the right relationship for you.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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