How to date someone who’s always busy

When we imagine our ideal partner, we don’t usually visualise that he or she is hiding her feelings for you or someone who’s so busy they have zero time to spend with us. Sometimes it’s the way a relationship begins, us entering into it willingly, knowing it has major time challenges. In other circumstances, the battle for time can creep in slowly with promotions, longer commutes or a change in a partner’s working shifts. Whichever way it happens it can elicit a range of emotions in the person left at home alone, some of these rational and justified, others a tad unfair. So, to keep what is otherwise a wonderful relationship from ending before its time, you need to make sure you’ve both tried everything you can. And, we’re starting with you, the one with all the free time.

Have your own life

It’s one hundred per cent harder to date someone who is always busy if you don’t have a life of your own. There can be much co-dependence within relationships that is unhealthy and it’s never a good idea to feel as though another person is your lifeline, or link to social happiness, so you can ask: ‘Am I in the right relationship?‘. We’re not saying behave or pretend that you’re single, but do recognise that your partner doesn’t necessarily have to be at the centre of your calendar for the relationship to thrive.

It’s important to have your own diary that not only contains scheduled plans, but also some last minute solo options, such as movies you want to see or exhibitions with flexible opening hours. You don’t always need a friend or partner present to hold your hand. Having said this, loyalty with friends will stand you well in a relationship such as yours, so don’t make a habit of always dropping arrangements you’ve made with others because your partner becomes unexpectedly available.

You probably think the aim of being in a relationship is to not have to prep as suggested above because you’re part of a loving couple, but at some point you need to accept this is how it is for you. If you really can’t cope then yes, leaving is an option, but if you want to try harder then you have to use the facts to your advantage. Complaining is easy to do and if the hours are unavoidable i.e. you’re dating a doctor or someone with multiple businesses, you’ll only end up adding to your partner’s stress and resentment will build both ways.

Schedule your couple time

We’ve discussed making plans with your friends and creating multiple options for your alone time, so this scheduling is about making sure your time as a couple is just as well spent. If there are certain days or hours when you know you’re both free, use them positively and to the best of your means. Plan lunch picnics, quick dinners on their side of town (inside the office or out), whatever works for the both of you. Take care to know what you most enjoy doing together and what is necessary that you do together. There’s little more frustrating than finally having a day with each other and spending half of it working out your plans, or running errands you could do more easily on your own.

Don’t forget to also allow time for your partner to be alone once in a while, if there’s any chance that’s something they might need. If they’re busy with work and then have every other spare moment filled with being one half of a couple, life has the possibility of becoming very draining. It’s important for all our mental health that we are able to recharge our batteries when necessary. You’re not being snubbed, it’s just a part of life.

Set boundaries

We set boundaries in life all the time, it’s just that we sometimes don’t communicate them effectively. Unfortunately, sometimes our spouses only find out what our boundaries are after they’ve crossed them. This means we spend a lot of time reacting when we’re upset, rather than informing partners of the things that are sure to hurt us. Communicate your pain-points ahead of time, bug-bears such as them accepting work calls in the bedroom, or not switching the phone off during planned outings.

Prioritising each other once in a while is essential, but remember that this looks different for every couple and each individual within that couple. List the birthdays, anniversaries and important dates or holiday seasons where you both agree extra effort must be made. Prepare in advance for a better success rate and if necessary find some sort of positive outlet to help you, if there’s a possibility of being let down.

Visualise your future

If you know the person you’re dating is likely to be busy for much of their career, you need to start thinking long term about what that looks like for your future. It’s no use just plodding on day by day, seeing what happens, you have to be proactive in your decision-making. Everything from your holiday seasons, to vacations and the support you may receive from them as a parent will be affected. Feeling let down repeatedly or as though you are nowhere on their priority list is a hard reality to live.

Most of us are tougher than we think and loving someone can strengthen that resolve in ways we can’t imagine. However, this doesn’t make our emotions invincible. If you’re finding it tough in the early stages, no one will blame you for taking a few moments to double check you have the stamina to go the long haul.

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