Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Am I Being Too Needy?”

I have been dating my boyfriend for close to three years now. He is incredibly sweet, attentive, smart, and funny. I love him and know that he loves me too. Things are great when we are together, but the issue is that with his crazy schedule, we are never together. He has a pretty demanding job and goes to grad school one night a week, and I try to be sympathetic to that. However, he gets involved with all of these other activities that limit any time we can spend together.

Between volunteer groups, organized sports, and networking events, I pretty much never see him, yet we live only a few miles apart. I can understand if his activities are work or grad school-related; I want him to be successful and I support him in those. But with everything else, it makes me question what kind of priority I am for him. I am plenty busy myself — I have a good job, friends, and like to stay active, but it irks me that he NEVER attempts to make plans with me — never a call to ask me to dinner, or a movie. It’s usually me asking him to do something, or inviting him to dinner at my place. And even then, he has to decline half of the time because he’s got something else going on.

I should also add that about a year ago we broke up for several months. He broke up with me telling me he felt bad that he didn’t have enough time for me in our relationship. We got back together last August when he told me he couldn’t live without me, that he wanted to spend his life with me and have children and everything else I wanted. I’m afraid that I am being too hard on him since we’ve gotten back together, that I’m being too defensive. Or am I in a relationship where I will never be a priority for my partner? I love him, I know he’s great, but I don’t want to spend my life with someone who doesn’t want to make time for me. Am I being too needy? — Needy or Not?


As some wise Dear Wendy commenter once said, having needs and being “needy” are two different things. Perhaps a better way for you to look at your situation is not so much what your specific needs are (that aren’t being met), but what the needs of your relationship are. Clearly, things didn’t work out the first time you were together because your boyfriend was too busy for a relationship. So, that would mean that in trying again, your boyfriend would need to make a bigger investment of time for your relationship to succeed. But he’s not, is he? How is Part II any different from Part I, when your relationship eventually ended? How has your boyfriend proven to you that he values the relationship — that he values you?

Currently, you have to practically beg for a nugget of his time and attention and you’re actually thinking of marrying this guy and having kids with him? Do you really want to spend your life feeling like you don’t matter? What if he treats his relationship with your children the same way he treats his relationship with you?! If you can’t stand feeling “needy” about your own needs, then at least think about the needs of your future kids. Don’t they deserve a father who will make them and their family a priority? Well, darlin’, if the man you’re with hasn’t made you a priority, why on earth do you think he’d suddenly have time for your kids?

You broke up once and you gave your boyfriend a second chance. Rather than take advantage of that chance and show you how much he’s learned and grown since your breakup, he has squandered the opportunity you’ve given him and totally taken you and your relationship for granted. He manipulated you into taking him back because he likes the security your presence in his life gives him. But while he’s willing to work at everything else he wants, he’s shown zero effort in keeping you. Where is your incentive to stick around? Why are you still with this guy? If he truly wanted a future with you, he’d be putting in real work to make your present worthwhile. He’s not, and it’s time for your to MOA, sister.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at [email protected] and be sure to follow me on Twitter.

104 comments… add one
  • avatar

    AnitaBath May 12, 2011, 12:14 pm

    It sounds like the guy broke up with the LW the first time around because he felt he was being selfish and wasn’t able to give the LW the time she deserved. Understandable.

    It sounds like he got back together with her because HE was being selfish and decided he didn’t want to be alone. He’d rather the LW be the one to suffer, not him. He doesn’t care about changing the situation because he thinks he doesn’t have to.

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  • avatar

    MissDre May 12, 2011, 12:15 pm

    I have been in the exact situation with a guy I dated, the only difference is that it lasted only 3 months instead of 3 years. He told me all the time that he was crazy about me and wanted me in his life. But, he was SO busy. Full time job, evening classes, the gym, coaching soccer, teaching dance… he never had time to see me! Then he’d head out on a weekend camping trip with his friends without inviting me along.

    I basically told him straight up, “I really like you a lot. You’re a great guy and I enjoy being with you, but I want somebody who will make me a priority in their life. You aren’t doing that!” And I pretty much said goodbye.

    I still think he’s a great guy, he just wasn’t the right guy for me. About a month after ending things with him, I met the most amazing, loving and attentive boyfriend I’ve ever had!

    Wendy and the commentors are right. Having needs and being needy are NOT the same thing. You are perfectly within your rights to want/need a boyfriend who is attentive to you. And it is perfectly ok for you end things with this guy and look for somebody who WILL meet your needs. In fact, you DESERVE to have your needs met.

    Put yourself first, girl. This guy isn’t your husband or fiance, it’s not your job to be the one always supporting him. Support your own needs first!!!

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    • avatar

      MissDre May 12, 2011, 12:28 pm

      Also, others on this site have heard me say this multiple times so I apologize to all you Dear Wendy readers for repeating myself – I just think telling my personal story may benefit the LW…

      My current boyfriend of 1 year works 2 jobs. He wakes up at 2:30am to deliver newspapers, and then heads over to the factory where he works and is on his feet until 5pm. He is saving money to finance the music business he wants to start, so he also spends a lot of time on his music, and is very dedicated to helping out his mother during the week. Point being, he is BUSY. And he is TIRED. But he still texts me throughout the day to see how I am, he still comes over to my place for dinner twice during the work week, even offers to cook when I’m tired! and he still spends Saturday night and all of Sunday with me.

      I’m telling you this because I want you to know that THERE ARE GOOD MEN OUT THERE who will make you a priority and give you the time you deserve. I ALMOST hung on to the guy who didn’t make time for me… I thought maybe I was just being too needy and I should back off… but I trusted my gut and ended things. And now look who I’ve found? I’m so much happier.

      LW, you really do deserve better!!!

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  • Skyblossom

    Skyblossom May 12, 2011, 12:18 pm

    It isn’t too needy to expect your partner to be a companion who would like to do things with you. It’s okay for you to know how much time you would like from a partner and to know that you aren’t getting what you need. I think the worst aspect here is that if the two of you have plans they are always initiated by you. It would be interesting to see how long it took him to get in touch with you if you didn’t make any plans with him. How long would it take him to notice that you quit making the effort? How long would it take him to call you if you didn’t call him? I think that would tell you a tremendous amount about where you fall in his priorities. Maybe it’s just a habit to let you call because people do fall into patterns in how they do things but probably it’s just that you’re not that much of a priority to him.

    As Wendy said, this relationship isn’t working any better the second time around and what you get now is probably the best of him because most people are on their best behavior when trying to impress someone and get that someone to spend their life with them. If this is the best, can you live with it? Can you live with even less? I doubt it or you wouldn’t be writing for advice.

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    • avatar

      MissDre May 12, 2011, 12:22 pm

      For real, I say don’t call or text him AT ALL and see how long it takes him to get in touch with you. That just might be the wake up call you need and give you more motivation to drop him.

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      • Jess

        Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com May 12, 2011, 12:28 pm

        That’s exactly the kind of thing I’d end up doing. But then again, I am stubborn 😉

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      • avatar

        kerrycontrary May 12, 2011, 1:03 pm

        I agree that the LW having to initiate everything is a big clue to where she falls in her boyfriend’s list of priorities, but the I think the whole “I won’t call until he does” thing is a game. Playing games never works out.

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      • avatar

        Maracuya May 12, 2011, 1:24 pm

        Yeah, plus he might not get the message or understand unless she says it explicitly. After all, she’s been okay with being the one to initiate date nights for years.

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      • avatar

        sarita_f May 12, 2011, 1:37 pm

        Agreed – IF she’s not 100% ready to let him go, I’d like to see her tell him upfront “Hey, so I know you’re busy, I’m over making all the plans, ball’s in your court, but I’m not holding my breath and waiting around.” And then she should activate an online dating account and see what else might be out there.

        All above board. However, for this to work she really truly needs to accept that this may be the end, and this can just be proof that she needs.

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      • avatar

        Christy May 12, 2011, 3:36 pm

        I completely agree! It will just cause you more stress to play the games with him! TALK to him about it and see where you stand.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom May 12, 2011, 4:28 pm

        I don’t see it as playing games but instead as a test. In many couples one partner is the pursuer and the other partner is the pursued. The pursuer is the one most likely to initiate hugs, kisses, sex, dinner, etc while the pursued is more passive. He may just be more passive in the relationship and be happy to go with whatever she lines up. So if she usually invites him to come to dinner some night during the week and she doesn’t does he contact her near the end of the week to say he missed seeing her during the week and hopes they have dinner next week or does she just not hear from him at all. If he’s just passive she’ll hear from him but if she doesn’t hear from him she’s just not important to him.

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      • avatar

        Annie May 16, 2011, 7:35 pm

        I did this one time with an ex, and it worked like you’re describing. I was always the one to get in touch with him and never the other way around, I tried the direct approach and nothing changed. And it wasn’t stressful to wait to hear from him! The longer it went on, I stopped waiting for him to contact me and I had a nice, productive week of focusing on myself. So, I would recommend it in spite of what other people are saying.

        He always explained his behavior by saying that he liked for me to get in touch with him because it lets him know that I was thinking about him. But that’s exactly why it should work both ways in a relationship. He was such an ass.

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    • avatar

      Elle May 12, 2011, 12:48 pm

      I think he’s taking the LW for granted. He doesn’t have to put in any effort, she’ll remind him when she wants him, and she’ll always be there, even if he puts in minimum effort in the relationship.

      I would definitely not contact him, to see how long it will take him to get in touch. And when he does, his first question will be ‘Why didn’t you call me?’.

      Another thing that popped into my mind – can you join him in his volunteer activities? Maybe he’ll feel closer to you if he sees you supporting him and his volunteering work. Do you guys work out together? Maybe you two could take up tennis? Tennis is a good sport, and you always need a partner.

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      • avatar

        MissDre May 12, 2011, 12:51 pm

        Elle, I’d agree with you about finding activities to do together, if it weren’t for the fact that they already broke up once over this. Clearly it’s been an issue for a while and he’s not doing or suggesting anything to help make it better. I think she needs to get out and find somebody that suits her better.

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      • Skyblossom

        Skyblossom May 12, 2011, 4:30 pm

        Doing activities together is a great idea. It gives you shared experiences and gives you something to talk about when together. I think it’s a great way to build intimacy.

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      • avatar

        demoiselle May 12, 2011, 6:18 pm

        However, she shouldn’t have to take on all his interests, hobbies, and volunter projects (especially if they are ones that do not interest her) just to be able to see him. He ought to consider her enough of a priority to be joining her in HER things, too. Chasing him and making things happen on his terms will work out much better for him than for her own personal happiness, because even if she signs up for all his activities to be with him, she’ll still know he’s there for his activities, and she’s incidental.

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      • avatar

        Elle May 13, 2011, 2:24 pm

        My idea was based on the advice usually given to singles: do some volunteer work, and you’ll meet someone who shares the same interest as you. Maybe the LW and her boyfriend don’t have a lot of common interests? It looks like the only time they spend together is one-on-one.

        Maybe I wasn’t clear enough, but I didn’t mean she should follow him around like a sick puppy. With his busy schedule, I thought it was safe to assume he doesn’t do volunteer work 10 times a week. (Last time I volunteered, I had to be there 5 hours. I don’t have 5 hours every day or even every week to volunteer. Once every two-three weeks, sure).

        And definitely she shouldn’t take on all his hobbies. He needs to be his own person, as does she. My suggestion was they both take on a new hobby together. Maybe learn a new language together. I don’t know, something that the guy would like to do but doesn’t find time, and the LW would like to try too.

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      • avatar

        kali May 13, 2011, 3:54 pm

        Exactly! Join in the fun and be with him. Or get used to spending lots of time alone. This is his MO and if it’s not how you want to live you life (and wouldn’t it be so much fun to raise kids on your own?) then you need to MOA.

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    • avatar

      dobby May 12, 2011, 2:18 pm

      I was in this situation with a guy and did the “I won’t call until he does” routine… he never called… c’est la vie

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  • avatar

    ReginaRey May 12, 2011, 12:22 pm

    I actually did a double-take while reading this letter, because it sounded SO similar to a predicament my best friend found herself in a year ago. Her boyfriend of about 2 years was constantly busy – fraternity events, socials, clubs, volunteering, school work – and she, like you, felt guilty for requesting time with him. Because these things he was doing, they were GOOD things. They advanced his career, built his resume (wish I could put accent marks on that!), and helped other people. How could she possibly take him away from those things without feeling needy?

    When she graduated and moved to a different town, it got worse. There were times when the only thing she’d hear from him all day might be a text message. She emailed me, so frustrated about the lack of communication and determined to fix his horrible “communication skills.”

    A few weeks later, he broke up with her. His reason wasn’t that he was too busy…it was because he “couldn’t see the relationship progressing past this point.” He didn’t give her the time of day because ultimately, he didn’t think she was WORTH the time.

    People make time for the things they want to make time for. Your boyfriend is making time for everything else in his life BESIDES YOU. The silver lining here is that this isn’t the first time it’s happened. You have the benefit of a previous failed attempt to tell you that THIS failed attempt isn’t a fluke…it’s fact. Don’t ignore what’s staring you in the face, or try to write it off anymore. The answer is very clear.

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    • avatar

      justpeachy May 12, 2011, 3:17 pm

      I completely agree. When I was in high school, during the summer breaks, I basically had nothing to do, but my boyfriend was taking extra summer classes. After he got out of class at 4PM every day, he would call me to hang out. And you know what? A lot of those days, even though I had nothing else going on, I would put off hanging out with him or make up an excuse not to see him at all. Looking back, I was too young and naive to realize that when you have a good relationship with someone, you WANT to spent time with them. You work to fit them into your life. Your boyfriend may not have bad communication, he just might not understand yet that the fact that he’s not making an effort means he’s just not into you anymore and you should stop wasting your time.

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    • avatar

      Rachelgrace53 May 12, 2011, 8:58 pm

      “wish I could put accent marks on that!”
      Double thumbs up for this!

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      • avatar

        plasticepoxy May 13, 2011, 10:15 am

        Maybe you could use the keyboard command to make an accented letter? é is created by holding Alt and typing 0233.

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  • avatar

    oldie May 12, 2011, 12:24 pm

    I’ve observed many marriages like this. Some worked fine, others simply endured, others failed. The husband did not like spending a lot of domestic time and other things — work overtime and travel, volunteering, sports nights with the guy friends consumed much of the time. Where it worked, the wives were extremely independent women with their own interests, who were able to happily occupy their time and spending a couple or three nights a week with their husband, perhaps every other week, was adequate for them. I think for most women it is not adequate and it certainly is not adequate for most kids. One of my closest friends growing up suffered both from Dad being away a lot and then Dad trying to make up for it by being overly present and stifling when home. Even if the wife can cope with this little home time from their husband, the kids can find it to be rough. I had a boss who was always inventing business excuses to avoid family vacations. He got 5 weeks vacation a year and seldom used 5 days, including cancelling a trip to Germany to visit his son in the Army. He hit mandatory retirement age and immediately got another part-time job that he stretched into full-time, despite being quite wealthy. Just saying, this behaviour doesn’t necessarily reduce with age. Some guys just don’t seem satisfied with a lot of home time. Apart from that, my former boss was an extremely nice guy, super smart, kind, articulate, talked through problems. His family got used to his away time. Not all families can. If you cannot, MOA. He won’t change. I think it may be largely an intimacy issue.

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  • Jess

    Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com May 12, 2011, 12:26 pm

    I agree with Wendy and other commenters for this particular case. He’s not making the effort in places where he COULD make an effort. Even a terribly busy person can stay in touch with calls, notes, gift deliveries, etc! And a dedicated partner will THANK you for putting up with his schedule and will make an effort to make those rare get-togethers REALLY special.

    I think it’s worth mentioning though that in many relationships, sacrifices of time are inevitable and not usually permanent. I think men in particular try to push off love/commitment until they have all their other “business” completed. Grad school, career building, finances, etc. until they see themselves as stable and available to find someone. It’s that “taxi light” theory from SATC where men finally decide they are available and they run off with the next woman that shows up. That doesn’t give them enough credit, of course, but there is some truth to the linear way that many men see career, money, and love.

    It’s not uncommon for men and women to juggle too many things. And its not uncommon to feel frustrated by your partner’s availability. But two things are needed to make it ok. One (if you’re unhappy with his schedule), you need to know that it’s not forever (defined goals are in sight) and two, he needs to do a great job with the time that IS available.

    If this man isn’t able to do that, well, it doesn’t sound like there are enough crumbs for you to keep this relationship alive 🙁

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    • avatar

      spaceboy761 May 12, 2011, 1:04 pm

      The ‘taxi light’ theory isn’t entirely wrong. Most men want some confidence in their career and money situations before deciding to take on the responsibilities of a wife and family. Conversely, other men knock up chicks because yay sex.

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      • avatar

        WatersEdge May 12, 2011, 2:43 pm

        I believe in the taxi light theory. My cousin’s light just went on. Very funny to watch. All of a sudden he’s ready for marriage, kids, etc. Went from spending every night at the bar to asking to get set up with schoolteachers. I’ll be at his wedding within 18 months, I can feel it.

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      • avatar

        spaceboy761 May 12, 2011, 4:16 pm

        Sweet. If he wants the handbook on being married to a schoolteacher, I’m currently writing it.

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  • Budj

    Budjer May 12, 2011, 12:40 pm

    At face value I would say that any guy worth anything would MAKE the time to take you out or ask you to spend time together in some way shape or form – instead it sounds like he is taking you for granted.

    On the other hand (purely devils advocate)…he may be doing this because he thinks you don’t need more (doubtful). I read “trying to be sympathetic about things” as you may not be voicing your needs to him. IF you haven’t had a conversation about it try that first…if things don’t get any better or it’s already been brought out in the open then I would find someone who will give you the investment you deserve.

    It is not needy to want to see your s/o more than once a week and a half.

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    • avatar

      ReginaRey May 12, 2011, 1:18 pm

      I might agree with your second paragraph if they hadn’t already broken up over the same issue once before. I think she made it clear the first time around that she needed more, hence why he broke up with her.

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      • Budj

        Budjer May 12, 2011, 3:04 pm

        I 100% agree with you…but it might have been an uninitiated break up as well. It was never mentioned if they had ever had it out over this issue so I wanted to cover all the bases.

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  • avatar

    melikeycheesecake May 12, 2011, 12:42 pm

    Making time for everything and everyone but you. Not what I call a fabulous boyfriend. Does he ever invite you to these social gatherings with him?

    It’s time to make sure he knows you won’t put up with being the 1,485 priority in his life. It is unfortunately time to move on to someone else and that won’t be easy but in the long run you’ll be happier.

    Go get you a man that wants to see you.

    Best wishes LW! Looking forward to your update.

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  • avatar

    MissDre May 12, 2011, 12:43 pm

    This is also another case of “If a guy wants to be your boyfriend he’ll ACT like your boyfriend!”

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    • avatar

      WatersEdge May 12, 2011, 2:45 pm

      hey I said that! woot woot!

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  • avatar

    spaceboy761 May 12, 2011, 12:54 pm

    Coming from someone who has dated enough Ivy League chicks to know, it is best to not be standing directly between an overachiever and his/her goals because you’ll spend your entire life trying to inch up the priority treadmill while getting exactly nowhere. The truth is that he thinks you’re aces, but he’s not ready to settle down yet because his mental to-do list is still expanding. You can try to wait him out for as long as you want to, but there’s no guarantee on this guy no matter what he says. Let’s face it: You’re having a hard time beating out rec league softball for face time. That’s harsh.

    Wendy is right about Act II seeming a lot like act I of this relationship.

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    • avatar

      Quakergirl May 12, 2011, 1:11 pm

      Ouch! Not all of us are achievement robots with one eye on the prize and the other on the competition…just most of us. Actually, I’m pretty sure I’m in the former camp, but even I make time for Quakerboy (who’s definitely in the former camp) and my friends and family.

      It’s not that this guy’s an overachiever, he just doesn’t care enough about her to make time for her or respect her needs.

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    • avatar

      Quakergirl May 12, 2011, 1:13 pm

      Also, love the rec league softball point– if that’s not a telling symptom of trouble, I don’t know what is.

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    • avatar

      Desiree May 12, 2011, 1:35 pm

      The sad part is that people can be high-achievers AND have good relationships. I double-majored in college, did honors, worked multiple jobs, volunteered, applied to grad school, the whole enchilada. And I had fantastic friendships. Yet my boyfriend and I still spent lots of time together, and I cooked for him, etc. I think people who put personal relationships on the sidelines are really missing out.

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      • avatar

        spaceboy761 May 12, 2011, 1:46 pm

        Being a high achieiver doesn’t necessarily make you an overachiever. A true overachiever would have accomplished all of those things and still believed that whatever he/she was doing wasn’t enough and not spent the extra time on personal relationships. It’s like the 82-pound anorexic chick that looks in the mirror and still thinks she’s fat.

        I’m not saying that the LW’s boyfriend is exactly like that, but he’s showing those tendencies.

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        Quakergirl May 12, 2011, 2:19 pm

        Agreed. Maybe I’m biased because I went to the “social Ivy,” but I’ve always felt that learning to build relationships and be a compassionate person were just as important as other achievements. Being able to understand genuinely another person’s point of view or life experiences is a pretty difficult thing, but people who can are just so much more well-rounded. Sure, there were 72-hour periods where I never left the library or days in a row that I wouldn’t sleep or eat something that didn’t come out of a vending machine, but I did actually enjoy college and really value the learning-to-be-thoughtful part more than the learning-to-put-french-monarchs-in-chronological-order part. Although that does come in useful on trivia nights…

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    • avatar

      demoiselle May 12, 2011, 6:24 pm

      Mmm… it’s a matter of personal priority/basic personality, not an Ivy-League thing. I knew guys when I was back in college who were ambitious go-getters who nevertheless put a high priority on relationships with their girlfriends and family. They made time for both. My husband is that way, too.

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  • avatar

    Addie Pray May 12, 2011, 12:55 pm

    I agree with all the commenters. Here’s what I think you should do, LW: Don’t call him or invite him to things. See how long it takes for him to initiate a date. If weeks go by, then the answer will be even MORE OBVIOUS than it already seems.

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    • avatar

      Pam May 12, 2011, 1:14 pm

      I agree with Addie…
      What if YOU suddenly got too busy to put the effort into this relationship? Would he notice at all?
      A relationship takes TWO people (at least) to make it work… its great that he’s busy and bettering himself, but he’s not being terribly supportive to YOU by putting you last. If he can’t initiate calls, texts, emails, and DATES with you, what sort of relationship do you really have?
      If you feel asking for time is needy, and you don’t want to seem needy, then you have the choice of ending things with this man and finding someone who WILL build a relationship WITH you, backing off your requests and going along the way things are to see where you do fit into his schedule and life, or doing what you are currently doing and hoping that something will magically change. But if he hasn’t bothered to change his ways even after you gave him another chance, then its likely he doesn’t see a real reason to and you deserve to know that now.

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      • avatar

        WatersEdge May 12, 2011, 2:49 pm

        This is exactly why I don’t think that it would be game-playing to stop calling. I think she should stop calling him and see what happens! He deserves it because it’s how he’s been treating her. She should stop calling him and go get her own life, and see what he does.

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  • avatar

    napoleon1066 May 12, 2011, 12:56 pm

    When I met the woman who is now my wife, I was working two jobs, playing in a floor hockey league, training for a marathon, and running a one-night-a-week poker game. I still managed to see her 2-3 nights a week.

    This guy isn’t putting in enough effort. By which I mean, he’s putting in no effort.

    Lose ’em!

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  • avatar

    HolsteinHoney May 12, 2011, 12:59 pm

    Although a lot of people are making this an instant MOA, I think that since you guys have been together for 3 years it merits really taking a look at it. I am personally a human being who LOVES being busy. I can’t stand a lot of downtime because it makes me unproductive and I really get bored. As a consequence, I work 30 hours a week, go to school full time, volunteer, and all of that. If your boyfriend is someone like that, I could see how the situation would happen.

    I can think of 2 ways to go about this to see if he is a person who just likes to be busy, or if he really doesn’t want to spend time with you. Ask him if you guys can have scheduled blocks of time that you hang out. And he isn’t allowed to fill that time with another activity. Say, Tuesday nights, Thursday nights, Saturday-Sunday. Whatever time you feel would be comfortable. That way he can feel free to occupy the rest of the time and also know that he will get to see you. Often with a significant other I find myself wasting a lot of time because I leave open spaces that then aren’t spent together.

    Another thing to consider is taking up an activity or two together. If he likes being busy and stimulated with activities take a class together. My boyfriend and I have ballroom dancing lessons (yes cheesy) twice a week. It’s an opportunity to do something, but we do it together and often have time before/after the lesson to just hang out, eat dinner, get frisky, etc. etc.

    If your boyfriend is not willing to do both/either of those then I think you need to move one. Or if you want a person who is instantaneously available most of the time, and don’t want to schedule your relationship or do activities together, then you need to move on. Your life attitudes simply may not match well enough to make this work. And talk about how your lives would be different if you had kids. What each of you would be willing to give up. It might give you both a lot of insight!

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  • avatar

    kerrycontrary May 12, 2011, 1:05 pm

    I think Wendy had a really great an interesting take on this letter. I really do think that the LW gave her boyfriend a second chance and he did not prove himself. Time to move on.

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  • avatar

    cdobbs May 12, 2011, 1:05 pm

    It takes two people to be in a relationship (friendships too). It can’t just be one person putting in all the effort and the other person putting in no effort. Its not fair to you. Dump this guy and get someone who will show you that he actually cares about you and wants to spend time with you.

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  • avatar

    sarolabelle May 12, 2011, 12:14 pm

    You deserve better, LW! If he can make time for volunteer activities he can make time for you!

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  • avatar

    Julzie May 12, 2011, 1:18 pm

    I don’t understand all of these letters that start “My boyfriend is so attentive, sweet, etc…BUT…” and then go on to 2 paragraphs about how he actually isn’t any of those things. :/

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  • avatar

    Meg May 12, 2011, 1:25 pm

    My boyfriend and I are both incredibly busy people. We both work full-time (him a 9-5, me a job which is sometimes days, sometimes weekends, sometimes evenings, and sometimes tons of overtime), and have several commitments to outside activities, whether they’re sports, faith-based, volunteer, etc. On top of that, our friends are very important to each of us so we make a point not to miss out on seeing them as much as we can.

    Somehow, though, we still manage to see each other most days of the week. How? Mostly by including one another in our activities. We volunteer together now. I’ll meet up with him and his fraternity brothers once they finish playing golf. He’ll come out to dinner with me and my friend and her family. Also, if there is a few days where spending daylight time together isn’t working out, we’ll still make a point to have a sleepover- because just that hour to check-in and cuddle makes a big difference in feeling like important parts of each other’s lives.

    If he was really in this, no amount of busy-ness would push you so far out of his life. He would want to make you a part of his activities because you’re a part of him.

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    • avatar

      MsMisery May 12, 2011, 1:56 pm

      That’s a good point. What the hell is he doing with ALL his time that she can never come along, Fraternal Order of Moose meetings?

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      • avatar

        Painted_lady May 12, 2011, 4:03 pm

        Pleasepleaseplease let there be an organization like that.

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        Mischief May 12, 2011, 4:08 pm

        THERE IS. One of them has a lodge down the street from my parents place. There’s a big outline of a moose on the front of it… and my folks live in Maryland, where no moose has ever lived…

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  • avatar

    Desiree May 12, 2011, 1:40 pm

    I suppose this is not all-important to everyone, but I am wondering if this couple ever makes time for sex. Maybe they are abstaining. For me, this would be one of the many concerns of an absentee boyfriend. If I am going to be monogamous, I expect my partner to prioritize time for sex (I obviously make an exception a long distance relationship).

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  • avatar

    MsMisery May 12, 2011, 1:55 pm

    He may really actually love you LW, but is one of those go-go-go Type-A people that just expects his significant other to be a supportive background figure. Say you stick out the grad school, then he gets a 60hr/wk job, ends up on the board of some non-profit organization, and is on his firm’s softball league. Still no time for you, even though you’re married, incubating his fetus, and trying to redecorate y’all’s apartment. There’s no future here, even if there is love.

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    • avatar

      MsMisery May 12, 2011, 2:00 pm

      (Let me clarify that I do not think Type A people and “people who think their partners should remain in the background” are mutually exclusive… before any Type A personalities get upset… just this guy 🙂

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      • avatar

        spaceboy761 May 12, 2011, 2:11 pm

        Overcaffeinated type-A overachiever types actually mesh really well with overcaffeinated type-A overachiever types. This couple just seems like a mismatch. How they lasted for three years, I have no idea.

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  • caitie_didnt

    caitie_didn't May 12, 2011, 1:57 pm

    I spent my undergrad being on-and-off with a guy, who like SpaceBoy said, had this giant mental checklist of things he needed to achieve before he could think about being in a relationship. He was smart, driven etc etc etc and at that time I found it really attractive. I’m a pretty type-A person myself (hell, I want to be a doctor) so I thought it would be a great relationship. It wasn’t. And sometime after our third (yes, third) breakup, I had this epiphany: I would NEVER NEVER EVER be a priority in his life. Likely, he will never make any girl a priority, at least not for many years down the road. I was always the last person he wanted to see on the weekends, he’d cancel plans to study, we could never have any spontaneous dates or day trips, sometimes I wouldn’t hear from him for days on end….and we lived 5 minutes away from each other!!!. And I just wasn’t willing to constantly be the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th item on his list of priorities- that’s when I realized it was time to get up, get over, and find myself a guy who *was* willing and eager to spend time with me.

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  • avatar

    Elle Marie May 12, 2011, 2:04 pm

    Shortly after my boyfriend and I started dating and getting serious (around 4-5 months in), I started feeling the same way – he would find time for one weekend evening for me, and that’s it. We had some long conversations about how I felt like my needs weren’t being met, and he decided that making time for me was more important than making time for other things. We’re now at a point (almost a year later) where we can’t physically spend any more time together due to other responsibilities (namely, we both have cats and can’t properly care for them when we’re staying at the other’s place), so we’re moving in together in a few months once renovations on our condo are complete, and we’re planning to get married in a year and a half.

    What I’m trying to say is that it’s one thing if your significant other doesn’t realize your needs aren’t being met, but it’s another entirely if your needs are being ignored. If he isn’t willing to make more time for you, and hasn’t made motions to make your relationship progress toward the marriage, etc. that he’s promised you… Then it’s not going to work out. You deserve so, so much better and there is someone fantastic out there who will be happy to give it to you.

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  • avatar

    Bellz May 12, 2011, 2:05 pm

    Whoa… I did a double take on this letter because it seemed like I could have written it myself. I broke up with my bf of 2.5 years last night because of this very reason. LW, if your boyfriend is a decent person at all, he will be sad to lose you but understand completely your reason for breaking up. My bf is one of the overachievers that spaceboy described and I can see any relationship he’s in going this same path until he achieves the career goals that he works so hard for. He recognized that often times he would choose to work more hours instead of hang out with me. LW, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about you, but it does mean you’re not his priority. Move on. You’ll feel better, and I think he will feel better too about not having to constantly disappoint you.

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  • katie

    Katie May 12, 2011, 2:10 pm

    for me personally, I could never be with someone who I was not at least in the top 2 or 3 priorities of his life. I guess maybe I’m a bit selfish for needing a lot of attention, but its just how I am. I heard my boyfriend say once to his boss (we worked at the same place for a little bit) that he would never put his job over his family. That is the kind of guy who I want to be with. My perfect guy is more concerned about me, our relationship, getting married, having kids, going out and having fun, have a freaking life, then how far in his career he gets. that is me personally.

    I was listening to the radio yesterday and this dating coach was saying that one thing that is so so important is to have, and I think the exact words were, “understanding of each others careers”, which basically meant that you have to understand the needs or the goals of your partners careers. I thought it made a lot of sense. Like, a woman might really love to be married to a doctor, someone accomplished, who makes a good amount of money, helps people on a daily basis, bla bla bla, but if that same woman cant accept that a doctor also works an incredible amount of hours a week, and will be called into surgery or whatever at all hours of the day and night, then that man, the doctor, is not a good match for her.

    This guy is a career guy. He may really love you and want to marry you, but this is how his life is. His career is first, and he is willing to work very hard to be successful at it. The thing you need to figure out is if that is the kind of guy you are willing to be with, and will be happy with.

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    • avatar

      demoiselle May 12, 2011, 6:31 pm

      Yes, I was interested in a guy (who was interested in me) for a while. He had a very, very demanding and even high-profile job. He really liked me. He sort of strung me along, too — everyone knew we were interested in each other. But after a year, I gave up. He never made a move. And I realized he’d done me a favor. He was older, and he knew that even though he liked me, I wasn’t a priority. And never, ever would be. As annoyed as I was for his continued flirtation, I’m glad he never initiated a romance.

      It cleared my head, for sure. I had a chance to imagine what life would be like with a man like him. And I decided I wanted someone who was ambitious, but whose top priority was to his family. And when I met my now-husband, we talked about this very issue, explicitly.

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  • avatar

    BoomChakaLaka May 12, 2011, 2:12 pm

    This is totally an entire chapter out of Steve Harvey’s “Think Like A Man, Act Like A Lady.” He argues that men are wired to be successful first and then find relationships later. Unless they can define themselves as men, you are going to have someone on your hands that will not want this relationship to progress. Or maybe he might want to, but isn’t in a position to make that happen, so it doesn’t progress.

    In either case, I’ll just echo what everyone else has been saying: if he wants to spend time with you, trust me, he will.

    I’m not as busy as a lot of the commenters, but I do go to work from 8-5 and then head to school from 6-9, two days a week. The rest of the time, I’m working from 8-7. My bf has almost the same schedule as he is going to grad school with me. We still try to make weekends top priority for each other even though we might not get to see each other during the week. And when finals time hits, we both know that we prefer studying alone, so we barely see each other.

    But we do communicate. This means e-mails, texts, calls. Anything that shows the other person that they are thinking about you. Do you even have the communication aspect? Maybe that can support his busy lifestyle. But if not, I dunno, this might be a perfect case of MOA.

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    • avatar

      MissDre May 12, 2011, 3:38 pm

      I LOVED THAT BOOK! Definitely gave me a lot to think about and I STILL keep the things he wrote about in mind with my current bf.

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  • avatar

    TJ May 12, 2011, 2:40 pm

    “It’s a quarter after one/I’m all alone/And I need you now/Said I wouldn’t call/But I’ve lost all control/And I need you now”

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    • avatar

      Fidget_eep May 12, 2011, 10:54 pm

      lady A, Need you now

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    • avatar

      SpaceySteph May 13, 2011, 2:40 am

      Wow nobody liked that one, TJ.

      I like it though. I know its not what the song is about but I imagine wife at home with sick kid and crying baby, calling hubby who’s still at the office at 1am… she promised herself she wouldn’t bother him at work, but she can’t do it all alone.

      You could be her in 5 years, LW. Sounds like you’re not ok with that kind of life and there’s no shame in that. Time to move along.

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  • avatar

    SGMcG May 12, 2011, 2:40 pm

    My husband is not a planner himself – for most of 2011 so far, when we went out during our date night, I picked the restaurant and/or the activity. Yet I know for a fact that I am a priority for my husband. Not only has he related it me numerous times, but he also goes out of his way through his personal actions, like cooking me dinner after busy, full days in the office for both of us, taking over vaccuming duties when allergies developed and cancelling potential bonding time with his dad over a football/baseball game to take care of me when sick. I know that no matter what he does, he has the best for the both of us in mind.

    LW, how do you define being someone’s priority? I ask this because I wonder if your boyfriend feels he IS making you a priority by taking you out of his active schedule, giving you his downtime and letting his walls down when doing things you like or having dinner at home. He could be working hard with his active schedule with a direction to the future for the both of you – has he related this to you in any way? Perhaps he’s giving you the freedom to make decisions for what you do together because he trusts your judgment in helping him relax with ideas that you both like. If your definition of priority involves him taking the lead occasionally on time together, you need to relate this to him. Unless it is expressly stated, maybe he’s not making you the +1 during these networking events because he doesn’t feel it’s worth your time. Don’t only relate that you want the time with him, let him know explicitly how you’d like this time to be spent. You can give him movie schedules, arts/concert schedules, community calendars in advance with ideas highlighted and let him pick something from your options for the both of you to do.

    There’s nothing wrong with giving him a hit with the cluebat every once in awhile. Just make sure to know when to stop before you fully exert yourself hitting a brick wall. I don’t think you’re in MOA territory LW, but if your boyfriend refuses to communicate to you about your explicit desires, I definitely think you need to MOA.

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    • avatar

      plasticepoxy May 13, 2011, 10:18 am

      “hit with the cluebat” – hahahaha!

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  • avatar

    kdog May 12, 2011, 2:41 pm

    You’re obviously not happy. You deserve to be happy. And you deserve to have a boyfriend that, at the very least, calls you and asks you to dinner/the movies/hang out. You’ve already broken up over this and he already knows that he should be making more effort. I’m not saying he’s a bad guy, but he is taking advantage of the fact that you love him and, I think to some extent, your worry that you are needy. You say he is attentive…I think it might be good for you (although probably hard) to recognize for yourself that he isn’t and move on. It won’t be easy, but it will make you so much happier.

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  • avatar

    LTC039 May 12, 2011, 2:58 pm

    Why do all these letters start off with “My boyfriend is sweet, attentive, loving…” then it goes to “but he never wants to see me, declines my invites, doesn’t listen when I tell him I miss him.”
    It takes TWO people to make a relationship work, hun! If you’re putting in all the effort & your boyfriend isn’t putting in any, it’s time to MOA! It is not “needy” to want to spend time with your boyfriend, that is what you’re supposed to do!

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    • Budj

      Budjer May 12, 2011, 3:07 pm

      I find that very interesting too. Just because someone has a lot of redeeming qualities doesn’t mean they’ll be the right fit for a relationship with someone…and they certainly shouldn’t be used to overlook obvious relationship red flags.

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    • avatar

      Meg May 12, 2011, 3:24 pm

      That’s a very good point. It’s like somehow a lot of people in our generation have been taught that if someone has good points or is not a complete a-hole, he deserves to be in a relationship with us.

      Dating is about finding out if someone has all of the traits one is looking for in a partner. I think we all need to start out with an open mind, but default toward making them prove they are a good fit. Too many people default toward hoping someone is a good fit until proven otherwise (and then trying to force it anyway). It’s ok if someone isn’t right for you- MOST people aren’t right for one another. Dating is about finding one of the few who is, so you might as well do everything you can to learn what you’re looking for and to be ready when you do find him.

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      • avatar

        LTC039 May 12, 2011, 4:24 pm

        I think they say it because they’re trying to somewhat avoid the responses like “He’s a jerk, dump him!” If they state their respective partner is loving,caring, etc…they think they’ll get advice telling them to try to work things out, because they really can’t come to terms with the reality of what they need to do…

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        Quakergirl May 12, 2011, 4:28 pm

        Agreed. I feel like another catch-all for many DearWendy letters is “just because he’s a good guy doesn’t mean he’s a good guy for you.”

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        demoiselle May 12, 2011, 6:39 pm

        Women are under a lot of pressure to reward men for being minimally acceptable. I remember being out with peers at a bar. I was approached very politely by a man who chatted with me and asked for my number to take me on a date. I declined–very politely–because I found him unattractive and uninteresting and didn’t think it was fair to play games.

        You would not believe the amount of peer pressure I got from all my twenty-and-thirty something classmates that I *HAD* to give this man my number and go out with him, because he was nice and not a total barroom jerk.

        If I’d said yes under all that pressure, I might be writing to Wendy today: “I have this super-sweet, attentive, gentlemanly boyfriend who really loves me, but I just hate sex and I’m bored whenever he talks. What can I do? I feel so trapped, but I can’t hurt him by leaving, can I?”

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        Meg May 12, 2011, 8:19 pm

        Yeah, I didn’t realize until I was in my mid-twenties that I could end a relationship, flirtation, etc, just because I didn’t feel a spark. It is a really empowering realization, and it finally led to a relationship where I’m actually proud to introduce my boyfriend to my friends and family because I don’t feel like I’m going through the motions.

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    • sobriquet

      sobriquet May 12, 2011, 4:12 pm

      I think it’s probably to emphasize that everything else in the relationship is great so that Wendy/commenters only address the issue at hand. I took it as “he’s sweet, loving and attentive whenever we’re together.” That makes sense to me.

      It seems like every time a LW doesn’t mention the good qualities in their SO before writing about the Big Issue, Wendy has called them out on it.

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    • avatar

      demoiselle May 12, 2011, 6:34 pm

      If people didn’t see redeeming qualities, they wouldn’t be with their partners. Sometimes the redeeming qualities they see are little more than rationalizations, but the LWs must all be convinced on some level that they made a good choice … or else there wouldn’t be any conflict needing resolution, right?

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      • avatar

        LTC039 May 12, 2011, 8:27 pm

        I see your point, & that’s def. a possible reason. I just feel like the majority of the letters are like that & I’m like “If your guy/girl was so great why does he/she do (insert asshole actions here).”
        It’s def. understandable…Lord knows I’ve been in that same situation making up rationalizations for my asshole ex…That’s why I guess I always notice it.
        In most cases, it’s the partner that’s in the wrong, not the LW…I just hope after writing in & reading Wendy’s advice & the readers they’ll make a good decision that benefits their well being.

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  • avatar

    Leyahn May 12, 2011, 3:28 pm

    Volunteer groups, organized sports, and networking events can be career related – they build relationships outside of work and grad school – I bet most of the people involved in these activities share career goals, or will become business contacts when he graduates.

    With that being said, can you not attend some of these activities with him? If he is playing a sport go watch the game – or, better yet, join the team. Attend a networking event with him – may do your career good also.

    If none of this appeals to you, and you simply want your man to come home to you every night, and not have any interests outside of you, then you are with the wrong person.

    Stop asking him to do things with you, stop inviting him over for dinner – fill your life with friends and activities – things that will enrich you. Let him do the asking. If he doesn’t, then you have your answer.

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    • avatar

      callmehobo May 12, 2011, 3:39 pm

      I don’t think that the LW wants her boyfriend to “not have any interests outside” of her- I think she just wants him to show some interest in her!

      She sounds like a reasonable woman, she has her own interests and job and understands that he needs space, too. She also acknowledged that the activities he’s involved with could potentially lead to networking opportunities. However, the bf seems to not be engaging her at all. No calls, no invites to dates, no time for her period.

      I think you’re being a little unfair to the LW, Leyhan. She doesn’t seem to want to be his only priority, just included on his list.

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      • avatar

        HmC May 12, 2011, 7:44 pm

        I agree with you callmehobo… LW sounds reasonable to me. But in the interest of giving LW more pointed advice (and as an alternative to the simple MOA), I support the suggestion that maybe she should cool it on the invitations a bit. Not in the spirit of playing games, but, in the spirit of giving the boyfriend a chance to prove himself. If LW is always doing the inviting, maybe he’s gotten a bit lazy and is just too used to that. And she’s clearly not up to it anymore, because it’s making her insecure about his feelings. Maybe he really can’t behave as she feels a boyfriend should, and they aren’t a good match. But backing up a bit first, and seeing how he reacts, might give her a more clear picture of what she’s working with before dumping him flat out.

        If it were me here, I’d sit down and have a conversation about how often we both think a couple should try and be together. If they are on totally different pages, that is probably a fatal incompatibility, in my opinion.

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  • avatar

    jena May 12, 2011, 4:08 pm

    Like I said earlier today, from Mad Men: “People tell us who they are, and we ignore it. Because we want them to be what we want them to be.”

    This guy is telling you, through his actions, that everything in his life is more important than you are. “I can’t live without you” in this case seems like “I’d like to have regular sex” since he cancels even things like *dinner* plans. Get out of this, and find someone who will WANT to make time for you, even if his schedule is swamped.

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  • sobriquet

    sobriquet May 12, 2011, 4:28 pm

    It seems like all of us have been in similar relationships. I dated a guy once who seemed hesitant to simply spend the weekend with me. We “broke up” after 3 months and he texted me several hours later saying that he didn’t want it to end and he really liked me. We got back together. A few months later, I realized that I was always the one initiating plans. So, I stopped asking to spend time with him. He still called me, but never asked me to come over… never asked me on a date… nothing. After 2 weeks (!) without seeing each other, I broke up with him. A few days later he told me he really missed spending time with me. I told him he had plenty of time to figure that out before we broke up.

    I can’t imagine not sleeping in the same bed as my boyfriend 4+ times a week… especially after 3 years! You only live a few miles away from each other. After 3 years with someone, you shouldn’t feel “needy” for wanting to spend a regular amount of time with him.

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  • avatar

    HmC May 12, 2011, 6:30 pm

    “wise Dear Wendy commenter” = hey that was ME!

    I’m sorry, my ego forced me to do it. 🙂

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  • avatar

    Tirishman May 12, 2011, 8:18 pm

    Warning – a little long winded

    I’ll chime in from the opposite perspective. I am not saying that my experience is what is going on in the LW’s relationship, but my ex said many of things that LW has said, so this letter struck a chord with me. In my last relationship, I was the busy one. When we had started dating, I was a little over a year into starting my own business. I spent a lot of time at work and after awhile, it grated on my girlfriend. I think her phrase was “I’m not your girlfriend if I only hear from you on the weekend.” Fair statement, so we worked out a way to touch each others lives more. From Friday night to Monday morning, and generally one of the other nights during the week, we spent all our time together. Outside of an emergency, I wouldn’t touch work. Additionally, we would IM each other pretty much every day and in general, if we weren’t spending the night together, we’d talk on the phone. So that worked… for a while.

    But slowly she started peppering me with invites to events or offered to make me dinner on the other nights, which I almost always declined. She would plan our calendar weeks ahead, before I even had a chance to figure out something for us to do. Eventually, we got into another fight about me not making not making her a priority. What came out in the conversation was that she basically counted any time that we weren’t together as “My” time. She listed a string of individual events, where I hung out with my friends or took the night off along with the amount of time at work as evidence that she had fallen in my priority list. From my perspective, I had almost completely stopped hanging out with my friends by myself. Every now and again, I’d squeeze in a golf outing with my buddies. The only other time I saw them was when we saw them. And I never had time to myself. Her definition of my alone time consisted of nights she had something planned, which I generally used to catch up on work. After I explained where I was coming from, we were fine…for a while.

    We continued on our general schedule of weekends and one night a week together. I made sure every Sunday to have a conversation with her about the upcoming week, when she was busy and what my workload looked like. But her invites for dinner or hanging out on nights I was working continued and got more insistent. She started to want to know specifics about what exact work I had to do and then would follow up the next day to ask me if I got them done. She would complain that she was always initiating our dates and calls. The net effect was that I felt I had a mother/taskmaster, not a girlfriend. Unless I planned something months out, she had already beaten me to the punch. I felt like I had to justify every action that I took which can be an enormously taxing load.

    Ultimately, we broke up, and while it was not because of the schedule, the constant tension didn’t help. I loved her and I know she loved me and I know that neither of us where trying to be selfish. We just couldn’t provide the kind of life that the other needed. So, to the LW, before you decide to MOA, I suggest you try to slip into your boyfriends skin and see the relationship from his point of view, or better yet, ask him. Ultimately, the two of you may not be able to agree on a schedule that works and you might have to break it off. But at least then you’ll know it wasn’t because he didn’t “love you enough to make time for you.”

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    • avatar

      Desiree May 12, 2011, 9:00 pm

      The thing is, we don’t exactly know how much time they are spending together. Your girl got your weekends and one weeknight. “I pretty much never see him” were her words. She could have a skewed perception, but I doubt she is seeing him as much as your gf saw you based on what she said.

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      MissDre May 12, 2011, 11:03 pm

      If you were spending your whole weekend with her, one weeknight every week, texting her during the day and talking to her on the phone atnight, and she STILL thought you weren’t spending enough time with her…. well she sounds crazy. Sorry if that sounds harsh, I’m sure you wouldn’t have been with her if she wasn’t wonderful in a lot of ways…. but holy crap! Did she expect you to be hanging on to her 24/7? Didn’t she have a life of her own??

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      • avatar

        Tirishman May 13, 2011, 1:59 am

        Whereas I had just 2 priorities in my life, she had one big one, our relationship, and then everything else trailed far behind. She wasn’t co-dependent by any stretch, and her invites during my working days were for loving and selfless actions. But getting shot down 3 out of 4 days made the times we did spend together seem farther apart. Were there no other structural problems in our relationship, I think we could have worked through it. IMO, putting yourself in your partner’s shoes is the key before making any kind of decision on the relationship.

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      SpaceySteph May 13, 2011, 3:00 am

      I’m glad you mention this: “She would plan our calendar weeks ahead, before I even had a chance to figure out something for us to do.”

      This is something I was slightly guilty of as well. I would ask my boyfriend on Sunday if he could come over on Thursday because I had already assessed my schedule, decided what night I had time to grocery shop/cook dinner and decided to invite him over. Then I would get mad that I always had to ask him to come over and he never volunteered. Then I tried what some have suggested- not asking him to hang out, waiting for him to ask me. He didn’t, because he was so used to me planning ahead that he assumed if I wasn’t asking him to hang out that I already knew I was busy. It took me snapping to finally have the conversation about how he never asked me to hang out, and he told me that I always asked him before he even thought to look- not because he didn’t want to hang out, but because he never planned his “hang out” evenings 5 days ahead.

      He wouldn’t even look at Thursday’s schedule until Wednesday without my prompting, to know if he was available. At the end, I had to try not to plan so far in advance if I wanted him to have a chance to plan and he had to try to plan a little further in advance in order to beat me to it.

      It may not be your situation, LW, but its worth thinking about. Maybe you just ask too soon, and given the chance he actually would ask you to hang out. However I recommend discussing it outright “I feel like I am always asking you out, never you asking me out. It makes me feel like you don’t want to hang out with me and aren’t making me a priority” rather than jumping to playing the game of waiting for him to ask you. He might not, and it might not be because he doesn’t care.

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      • avatar

        Desiree May 13, 2011, 12:01 pm

        I relate to this. I am a BIG planner (I really have to be, to make sure everything that needs to happen does) and my boyfriend, though an ambitious person, is much more laid back. It ruffles his feathers to make too many plans so far in advance, and it drives me crazy not to. So we’ve been working on it. : )

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    Christina May 13, 2011, 12:07 am

    LW, you are going to love your next boyfriend so much. He’s going to be sweet, attentive, smart and funny and you are going to get to see him all the time. He’s going to send you funny texts and call to tell you he’s been thinking about you and he’s going to think of you first when time opens up for him. When he says he can’t live without you, wants to marry you and have children and everything else you want, he will be ASKING you to marry him. Even with busy schedules you will always come home to each other.
    I have never looked back and wished I had stayed longer with a guy. There are a few that I wished I had broken up with sooner.

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    spanishdoll May 13, 2011, 2:39 am

    If you are a top priority for your boyfriend, he will make time for you. Of course, sometimes he’s going to need a little kick in the pants as a reminder. Have you actually talked to him, and explained your needs? Does he know how many nights a week you need to see him to feel like you’re in a balanced relationship?

    I went through the same exact situation with my current boyfriend of 1.5 years. For the first 6-8 months, our relationship was an unscheduled mess. Sometimes we would hang out for 6 days straights, and some weeks I could only eke out some time on Friday night. There were so many ups and downs for me, when I doubted that I was even a middling priority on his to-do list.

    And then we finally TALKED about it. We actually had a serious, no-holds-barred negotiation of the minimum amount of dates a week that would make me happy, and the maximum dates that his schedule would allow. We scheduled definitive date nights–always Wednesdays, always Fridays, always Saturdays–and we promised to stick to them.

    Scheduling may sound unromantic but, you know what? Our relationship is 10 times better because of that talk! He has time to get his work done, I have the ability to pursue my own interests instead of waiting around for him to call *just in case he’s free.*

    If your boyfriend cannot agree to even 1 or 2 regular dates a week, then he’s obviously not ready or willing to put in the effort. But if you haven’t spoken up and requested that commitment, you can’t really hold it against him for not following through.

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      SpaceySteph May 13, 2011, 3:22 am

      Only disagree with one part: “If your boyfriend cannot agree to even 1 or 2 regular dates a week, then he’s obviously not ready or willing to put in the effort.”

      I work a varying schedule. Sometimes nights, sometimes weekends… Its 2am and I’m at work right now. If my boyfriend were to ask for a regular date night, I would be unable to commit to one that my schedule would always allow. If your boyfriend has a varying schedule, see if you can get him to commit to at least a certain number of dates per week or that he’ll text/call on days he can’t see you.
      Yesterday I got off of work at 7:30am, I stopped by and left a muffin on my boyfriend’s desk. He didn’t get it until he got to work an hour later, but at least he knew I was thinking of him. Some days, because of my schedule, that’s the best we can do and I work very hard to show my boyfriend I love him when I’m not physically available to him. A regular date night is impossible for some people– if it is for you and your bf, then its up to you to decide if you can live with that or not. But if he doesn’t at all try to show he cares in other ways, then maybe he doesn’t.

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        spanishdoll May 13, 2011, 5:41 am

        True, I think it’s fair to say that time spent together can’t always be scheduled out so perfectly (he and I are lucky to have fairly consistent schedules). But that’s up to the couple to work through that to get on the same page–to commit to a certain amount of face time per week that will satisfy both parties. Because, as crazy-busy as he may be, she shouldn’t make the sad mistake of letting the relationship run only on his terms.

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    SpaceySteph May 13, 2011, 3:44 am

    I come from world of schedule-challenged people. My father, an OB-GYN never came home for dinner before I was 14. I thought the only people who’s fathers came home for dinner regularly were on TV. He missed birthdays, dance recitals, softball games. When I was a kid if he did come to something we would always take 2 cars in case he needed to leave in the middle (which he often did… babies wait for nobody’s piano concert!). My mother was a stay at home mom and raised the 3 of us basically by herself for years while my father worked long office hours and crazy call schedules (I love both my parents and know they both worked hard to take care of us and stay together, I do not want to minimize my father’s role in giving me a great life, but I see now that it must have been extremely hard on both of them).
    Now I work a job that requires evenings, weekends, overnights, long stints at work without a weekend (you’re catching me on day 12 right here, and included in there I switched from normal 8a to 5p hours to my current 11p to 8a hours) and days off that don’t always coincide with the normal world’s weekend.
    I dated a guy before my boyfriend who would always complain when I would work a weird shift. He wasn’t happy going solo the 2 weeks/month + 1 weekend that I was working odd schedules.

    My current boyfriend is very understanding. Also we have discussed alot that this won’t be changing anytime soon and that if we do get married and have kids, he’s going to end up taking on a lot more child rearing than the average dad to compensate for my crazy schedule. Just tonight he said he wanted to wake up next to me every morning and I joked “or every night?” and he said yes.

    That guy I dated before wasn’t a bad guy, he just wasn’t for me. LW nobody will think less of you if you decide this isn’t a life you can be happy leading. Some people because of their personality or career or whatever are not available for frequent hanging out. This demanding job your boyfriend has isn’t going to let up anytime soon. Grad school isn’t going to go away tomorrow. It would be better to realize now that this isn’t a life for you and leave now than to marry him, have kids, and then realize you can’t be happy.

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      Desiree May 13, 2011, 12:04 pm

      I think maybe her bigger problem is that so many of the things replacing his time with her are completely optional. So, if he has so much “optional” time on his hands, why isn’t she getting a little of it?

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        missarissa May 13, 2011, 1:52 pm

        I think the fact that he is in Grad school makes these optional commitment less optional.

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        Maracuya May 13, 2011, 2:10 pm

        Volunteer groups, organized sports and networking are not optional? I don’t think he’s wrong for doing these things, but I know plenty of busy people that spent time with their SOs anyway.

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        SpaceySteph May 13, 2011, 3:33 pm

        Even those things might not be totally optional. Yes, he could choose not to do them, but at a huge hit to his professional life. Networking is essential for career development in many fields.

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    Jshizzle May 13, 2011, 5:48 pm

    I don’t think anyone should have to feel ignored for sports activities. Unless he a professional athlete he can forgo these and exercise as a date, OR ask her to watch the game. And he could invite her to volunteer with him if he must do that. Even with the networking there could be some way for his girlfriend to be involved.

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  • rubyroo

    RJKUSER May 14, 2011, 11:04 am

    I think it’s important to have a life outside your partner, but not to the point where you exclude your partner from everything that’s important to you.
    I believe a healthy relationship has a balance of together-time and apart-time.
    When I’m in a relationship with someone I really care about, I make a point of making time for them; especially when it comes to the important stuff. And I expect the same in return.
    I think a person should always feel like they are a priority in the life of their partner. As soon as you realize you don’t feel that way, then the relationship is probably not going to work out, and it’s time to move on.
    I agree with Wendy; this guy is probably still sticking around because he likes the security of having you as his girlfriend, but he is not acting like a caring partner that wants to build a life with you.
    I say it’s time to cut your losses and MOA!

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