When someone asks me what I look for in a man, I’ll typically spell out the obvious answers:
That I hope he’s smart, attractive, funny, kind, family-oriented, loyal, trustworthy, and has a bit of an edge that keeps me excited and “on my toes”.
However, the older I’ve gotten, and the more mature I’ve become, I’ve learned that one of the most important things to me has become something much different.
Trumping many of the items on my list, I now wish most for someone with genuine ambition.
Dictionary.com describes ambition as, “a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work.”
Essentially, I want a partner who cares about their personal goals and makes moves to get what they want – especially when it comes to things that mean the most to them.
Why does ambition suddenly matter so much to me?
Because I believe that as a person who has suffered from depression and anxiety, I need to be surrounded by people, and partners, who value their work, their interests, and themselves – separate from their relationship with me.
In other words, I want to be around those who have a true zest for their own lives.
Those who don’t just dream about the “what ifs” – they dive in to find out.
Those who take action and believe in a better tomorrow because they believe in themselves.
Those who do not heighten my risk of losing myself – by allowing me to become too passive, vulnerable, un-motivated, or hopeless.
Who is this man? He’s someone with:
Ambitious people see the world through a different lens than those who lack motivation.
Instead of “hmmm-ing and haaaa-ing” about what career path to take, or which fear to conquer, these people put time aside to figure it out and then put their all into going after it.
Without drive and direction, a person can easily become aimless, un-motivated, lazy, self-loathing, and introduce negativity into any relationship – without looking for ways to improve their situation.
You’ve met these guys: They dropped out of college, complain about their job, spend each night getting high, spend what money they do have on beer, and won’t spend one hour on their resume.
And frankly, I find these dudes exhausting.
When I date them, I end up working so hard to better their situation for them (because I know they’re unhappy), spend hours trying to empower them to make change (because I feel it’s my job as their support system), start trying to do the work for them (hoping they’ll step up), and then I end up disappointed – feeling that I wasn’t enough to spark the fire under them.
I now realize how toxic this can be.
Now, I’m not saying my next boyfriend needs to be making six figures, but ambitious people tend to be financially secure – because they want to live a comfortable life – providing for their loved ones.
As a person who works hard for their money, and to save, being with someone who conscious about their finances is an asset. Money-wise people value hard work and therefore are less likely to dig themselves into risky or over-spending situations.
Good Communication Skills
Communication is critical to me as I value a person who is able to articulate how they feel about any event, topic, or situation – especially when it comes to their personal life and relationships.
Too many men suppress their feelings and feel “un-manly” when opening up. They hide their motives, their pain, their thoughts, and allow it to fester and build – sometimes until their emotions explode (often in drunken blunders).
I feel that ambitious people are less likely to bottle their thoughts because they understand the impact of thoughtful communication. They find value in truth, critique, feedback, and improvement – because they’re always looking to be their best self.
People with ambition aren’t fearful to communicate because they want to spend the least amount of time being unhappy, unproductive, and upset. If they can vent and learn to cope – they’ll do it.
Ambitious people never stop learning. They read, explore, and investigate – to become aware of the world and the injustices at play. They want to know as much as they can – and become better for it.
Being with someone who isn’t ignorant is huge for me. I need a partner who is willing to talk about the tough stuff and who has an educated opinion about sensitive world issues.
No Concern For Commitment
I’ve found that ambitious people always seem to know who and what they want – and they commit – because they feel confident in the things and people who help to drive their personal and professional successes forward.
With an ambitious person, you know where you stand at all times. You will also know you have their focus – because they never spread themselves too thin and do not stray when they know they’ve got a good thing.
This doesn’t have to mean marriage and official titles – it just means you’re not left guessing about that fuckboy who only texts you when he’s drunk.
When it comes to millennial dating – this is a rare characteristic to be truly valued.
This is a big one.
Ambitious people rarely lose hope. They turn “failures” into lessons and grow from each experience. They keep on moving forward, no matter what stands in their way.
The energy you surround yourself with directly impacts your day-to-day life.
By choosing a man who is hopeful about his future, and about me, I too believe that I will feel even more equipped to take on my darkest days.
One of the best things about ambitious people is that don’t make someone else their whole world. They respect themselves and their happiness on their own terms – falling in love and gaining new friends is simply a bonus that helps to fulfill them emotionally.
This may be the most important thing to me.
The more I’ve learned about myself, the more I’ve realized that I need a partner who does not smother or overwhelm me. I need space to take care of myself and to focus on my own hobbies and my health.
I need my relationship to be fulfilling – but not the sole purpose of my existence, nor should it ever threaten to define me.
I believe that when a partner is truly independent, I too will be my most independent and not feel guilty or burdened to be better or to pay more attention.
I’ll be able to feel whole and confident – without sacrificing any parts of myself – because we’ll both have our own shit to focus on and build.
Ambitious people fight for what they want. If something isn’t going their way, they don’t run, they don’t hide – they fight the issue head on until a healthy resolution is made.
I want a man with a hell of a lot of passion and fight in him. Who doesn’t back down when things aren’t perfect, who understands my flaws, and who is willing to call me on my shit – without making me feel broken or crazy.
I want an ambitious person who believes in me, believes in himself, and believes in us.
I want a man who loves with his whole heart.
When it all breaks down, my biggest relationship epiphany is this:
I use to seek men who I thought I could make better, who I could fix – players who I could turn into ideal, loving boyfriends – who would love only me for their entire lives. The man who would change for me – because I was “worth it”.
But, I now I want a man who is whole on his own.
Who sees me as his equal.
Who challenges me – not emotionally, but in my drive to be my best self.
Who respects and support my dreams.
But who doesn’t sacrifice his deepest wants for me.
I want a man who knows his future will be bright, not just because I’m in it, but because he can’t wait to become the man he’s always wanted to be – beside me, not for me.