Can She Change Her Lazy Guy?
Q: I love my boyfriend: he's smart and kind, generous and sweet. The problem is that he's SO unmotivated! He's unhappy at work and always complains that he should go back to school or find another career — but he never does. He talks about places he wants to visit, restaurants he wants to take me to, or events he wants to attend — but never makes plans. He volunteers to wash the dishes or do the laundry — but doesn't get off the couch. I don't want to leave him, but is there a way to get him to move forward without being a nag? - Reese, 34
Dr. Susan: Simple answer: no. If you stay with this "all talk, no action" fellow, be prepared to either do everything yourself, or nag him to the point where he'll resent you. If, even this early in a relationship, a guy won't budge himself to follow through on things he's promised, even something as simple as keeping his word to do the dishes, don't expect miraculous positive change. Personality change doesn't happen that way, if it happens at all.
Speak up, tell him why his inaction bothers you, focusing on the activities most important and relevant to you. Urge him to select one small area of life to get moving on at a time. If that doesn't work, then you'll have to choose: this smart, kind, generous, sweet guy, or someone with similar characteristics who actually follows through on his words.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.