You’re more ambitious and driven than your man: Is that a bad thing?

Friday June 26 2020
Man resting

To be honest, I get bored with a man who is less ambitious. Most of these men are complacent and indecisive. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK


You are the ambitious ascendant career woman, then in your dating pursuits you meet this man, Sam, who touches your heart but is nothing like you in the rat race. Sam, is comfortable to drift through the days and live the YOLO lifestyle.

He harbours zero drive. He is satisfied with bringing home an okay pay check to put food on his table, at 31 he’s not that concerned with finishing college and rarely has anything interesting to talk about outside of “us”, movies, and other media outlet driven conversation. His days revolves around TV and the next hangout, while yours is spent fighting for that promotion.

‘Are you being paranoid? Will your relationship survive or are you simply being too hard on him?’ you wonder.

On Netflix, the mini-series Self Made: The life of Madam C.J Walker tells the story of an ambitious woman, Madam C.J Walker. She is zealous to make and sell hair products to black women. Her husband is a newspaper salesman and quite comfortable with what he does.

It was a tough journey for the couple and her ambition to come up with the hair products centers their arguments and results to power struggles. Joseph Walker- the husband complains that she does not spend quality time with him and sometimes embittered, he says she thinks that she was the “smart” one. Though he eventually joins her company, she wonders why he is not supportive of her dream. Their marriage ends up in divorce.

Recently, a woman went online with the same problem. On one of the Facebook groups, she posted, “I like my partner but he is not as ambitious and industrious as I am. We started dating a few months and I don't know how to handle this.”


The response was overwhelming. While some advised her to leave as the man will be insecure and an obstacle to her dreams, others suggested that she stays put and challenge the man. The jury was out.

According to relationship coach Chris Hart, there is a big difference between unambitious and being responsible.

“A woman needs a partner who works hard, earns enough to pay his way in the relationship (however modestly) and uses money well. So if he cannot be relied on to do that, then there is no point of going on with the relationship.

I know of many successful and happy couples, Hart says, where he works hard at a ‘low flying’ job with no wish to get to the top, and compensates for that by being responsible and reliable, and being there for his wife while she goes all out in her ‘high flying’ career.

The woman on social media went on to say that she wondered how people deal with partners who don't challenge them.

“Does your man still cheer you on and encourage you to pursue your dreams?” a woman on the thread posed.

It is a good yet a difficult question to ask, Chris says. “There is not one answer. But before getting married or serious in a relationship, talk about these individual ambitions. Each couple will have to answer them for themselves as they play out against their individual personalities.

Would you date a partner who is more aggressive than you?

 Daniel Nyingi, 27, Digital media strategist

I am yet to meet a more ambitious woman than myself but if I did, I would date her. But, this will depend on how we interact and how she treats me. Does she still respect me? Or does she look at me with contempt?

I think these are things I would know early on in our relationship. If I feel intimidated or she looks down on me, this would be a turn off for me.

Rispah Mburu, 28, Founder Ris Foundation

I think I am one ambitious woman and that is why I have been single for a long time before I met my current partner whose ambitions matches mine.

To be honest, I get bored with a man who is less ambitious. Most of these men are complacent and indecisive. They don't challenge your thoughts or decisions and sway with the flow.

I carry many burdens in life so having such a partner can overwhelm me and I might end up not appreciating or supporting him.

Mike Njeru, Digital content creator and actor

Yes! Ambition is one of those things that I have come to appreciate over time. If you take it positively, it is actually contagious. Also, it opens you to a greater unknown and from there on, you have to make a decision. Are you going to go about it headstrong or bail out maybe for personal reasons such as fear?

If the ambition does not get in the way of the relationship but it's more targeted, then that's fine.

For me, ambition shows the desire to succeed which means that this woman wants a better life for herself. That in itself is attractive.

Who knows, maybe mine will match up to hers but if she is more ambitious, it is not a problem to me. I will support her.