Harriette Cole: I’d rather not get a new boyfriend if I can improve my current one

DEAR HARRIETTE: I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for five years now, and, while he is a great person, I’ve come to realize that he lacks ambition in his life. He is complacent with his job and doesn’t want to try and better his position.

On the other hand, I am making sure that every two to four years I am either getting a promotion within my company or moving to a new company.

As I plan and work toward my goals, it has become increasingly apparent that our paths and aspirations are splitting. I believe ambition and drive are essential qualities for personal growth, and I find myself craving a partner who shares similar goals and aspirations. However, the thought of breaking up with him is difficult, as he is genuinely caring and supportive.

How can I approach the conversation about our differing ambitions and express my need for a partner who shares similar goals and get him to consider changing?

— Step Up

DEAR STEP UP: You cannot get your boyfriend to become like you. He is who he is. Look at him differently for a change.

What is he good at? Why do you like him? How does he contribute to your well-being? Does he bring you joy?

Sometimes partners complement each other because they are different. You may find that you value a partner who will hold down the fort while you conquer the world. Does he like to cook and take care of the household finances? Is he good at supporting you in ways that you need outside of ambition or moneymaking?

Think long and hard about what you really want and need, and determine if he provides those things. If so, stop being mad at him for not being you, and accept him for who he is.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am clumsy. This time I tripped and fell when walking home. I injured my leg badly and will need surgery.

That’s a bummer, but my problem is that my husband writes off whatever happens to me as me being a hypochondriac.

He is horrible when it comes to patient support. He doesn’t ask the right questions, blames me for getting myself into the predicament and judges under his breath the whole way.

I need real support. And in a pinch, I might need a rational decisionmaker. So I have asked my sister to be my emergency contact, proxy and the first person to call if I cannot make decisions myself.

Should I feel guilty for not making that person my husband?

— Be My Advocate

DEAR BE MY ADVOCATE: When it comes to your health, you must make smart decisions to support your life.

If your husband is unfit or unable to handle the responsibility, do not give it to him and later wonder why he messed up. Instead, ask your sister if she is willing to be on alert like that if needed. You can list him as your second point of contact to keep him in the loop if you like.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions toaskharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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Author: Harriette Cole