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Your Turn: “My Boyfriend Never Makes Time for Me”

New readers, welcome to Dear Wendy, a relationship advice blog. If you don’t find the info you need in this column, please visit the Dear Wendy archives or the forums (you can even start your own thread), or submit a question for advice.

In a feature I call “Your Turn,” in which you, the readers, get to answer the question, I’m presenting the following letter without commentary from me:

I have been with my boyfriend “Allen” for over a year and a half now and were good friends for a few years before we began dating. We have a pretty content relationship except for the fact that I get jealous of the time he makes for other people. Allen has a job working at a church that requires him to work long hours and when we aren’t in school (we are in college) I see him maybe once a week. What makes me angry is that when we do have time off he simply won’t try to make time for us. I understand that his job is his passion, but when I attempt to make plans he is always busy or can’t commit 100%. Just this week he cancelled on our plans because he has a new church group.

The worst part is, I have my own life — I’m independent, and if I didn’t have a boyfriend I would be just fine. I always feel like I am an afterthought when we aren’t together. What I want is consistency in our relationship instead of these “highs” and “lows.” We recently went on a vacation and we had a great time, but once we got back he fell off the face of the earth. I love my boyfriend — he’s great to me, and I feel terrible for even bringing this up because he’s so good to me, but I just can’t handle his ups and downs anymore.

My question is: how do I breach this topic without sounding clingy or needy and in a way he will understand? I have tried to tell him how this makes me feel before, but I don’t think he understands how it feels to be continually let down. — Second to Church


Comments on this entry are closed.

avatar soandso August 29, 2011, 9:14 am

How is someone you see only once a week “good to you”? I don’t get it….to me, good to me would mean he is making time for me in his life because he wants to.

Honesty and good communication are needed for a healthy relationship. Don’t worry about sounding needy. You’ve been with him for over a year, if you were needy he would have figured that out long ago. Just be honest. Sit him down in person and tell him just what you told us. Tell him you need to be a priority in his life or you are going to leave and find someone who will make you a priority. And there are many guys out there that will!

avatar silver_dragon_girl August 29, 2011, 9:19 am

He’s great to you? Really? Because it honestly doesn’t sound like he’s great to you.

I think you should MOA. This guy isn’t making you happy and he’s not even *trying.*

However, I also think that, for your own peace of mind and closure, you should talk about it one more time. Why don’t you show him this letter, for starters? Sit him down and tell him you don’t feel like a priority in his life. Tell him you feel like an afterthought, like you’re one of the least important things in his life, and you’re tired of being left behind while he goes out and does other things. Then tell him that if he’s not willing to move you to a higher spot on his priority list, you want to see other people.

There are some people for whom a relationship like this one works well. There are also people who hate it, and that is ok. You shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting to come first with your boyfriend.

avatar Kate August 29, 2011, 9:23 am

The worst part is definitely NOT being independent, I think relationships work best when there’s some degree of independence, but to each their own.

The worst part is that someone you love makes you feel like an afterthought. I say talk about it one more time, maybe ask that he set aside either a certain amount of time or a night of the week to spend time just with you. It’s not needy or clingy to want someone you’ve dedicated yourself and your time to, to ask for the same consideration back.

Budj Budjer August 29, 2011, 9:29 am

Letter at face value response:

LW, your bf either doesn’t appreciate you or he really *really* likes this church group. You have a couple options…if religion is something you think you could invest in then why don’t you try and spend time participating in his church group that apparently takes up roughly 86% of his life? If that is something you wouldn’t be interested in…then you need to be really upfront about how your and his expectations on this relationship are not aligned. Seeing someone once a week after a year and a half of dating must feel like you are still in the casual dating phase…

Additional advice with some “reading between the lines” speculation:

However….if you really do have an independent life outside of the relationship (which is awesome btw…your relationship never would have lasted this long if that wasn’t the case) then maybe you both need to compromise a little on when you meet during the week? It could be completely possible that your boy friend is available when you AREN’T available and since neither of you is compromising plans for the other you mutually continue to minimize the time for your relationship. Set a date night / movie night or just a schedule on when you will be expected to hang out together – I know it sounds very planned and not spontaneous / romantic, but maybe beating your respective friends to the punch will help open up your schedules more and fulfill your relationship.

avatar SpaceySteph August 29, 2011, 9:46 am

“Set a date night / movie night or just a schedule on when you will be expected to hang out together – I know it sounds very planned and not spontaneous / romantic..”
My boyfriend and I do this. We are both very busy but we have set nights of the week we always hang out. It helps alot because then I know what nights I can plan something with my friends or take an exercise class, or wash my dishes, and what nights I’m going to spend with my bf.

If your boyfriend cannot commit to a regularly scheduled date night, then I think its time to reconsider whether he is really “good to you” or just too cowardly to break up with you.

Budj Budjer August 29, 2011, 9:59 am

Yea, that’s exactly where I was going with it. If they do that, and he still can’t commit that is a pretty big red flag.

avatar PFG-SCR August 29, 2011, 10:07 am

I dunno – how much free time could this guy even have if he’s in school and working a job that requires a lot of hours?

Budj Budjer August 29, 2011, 10:11 am

I’m hoping that creating their schedule sparks the discussion and reasoning of WHY he can’t be with her more while they decide when they can hang out. It would almost force a weekly discussion and ideally her bull shit detector would be working properly so she will know if he has good reason or not.

It could turn out that he very well DOES have good reasoning and she still isn’t ok with it…and that’s fine too…but hopefully this exercise helps them both figure out what they want and are content with for their relationship.

avatar demoiselle August 29, 2011, 10:19 am

Even extremely busy people are able to find time with their significant others . . . if their significant other is *actually* a high priority for them.

avatar PFG-SCR August 29, 2011, 10:25 am

I think it’s unfair to automatically say that he’s not making her a priority since there’s a lot that we don’t know. For example, how many hours a week is he in school and at work, how does his schedule compare to hers with school (and possibly her work), how far apart are they, how often do they communicate on the day that they don’t see one another, etc.?

But if she’s not happy, she’s not happy, and she needs to address this with him. But, I’m just trying to point out that it’s not so simple as to say, “Your boyfriend isn’t making you a priority since you only see him one day a week.”

avatar demoiselle August 29, 2011, 10:34 am

No, it isn’t that simple. And at their age, he might be *absolutely right* to put his education, his job, and his friends first. They might have a much more profound impact on his future than his current girlfriend. But that does say something about his current relationship.

Frankly, I think it is smart for a college-aged person to put their work and education first, especially if they are very ambitious. I actually did not date in college or the first year after graduating, because I was so absorbed in my education and finding work and getting myself established. I made that choice because I didn’t feel that I had the inner resources to be a good girlfriend, and I am not a person who finds casual dating easy or even very enjoyable.

But this boyfriend *is* dating someone, even though he doesn’t have much left over to offer her. If she were OK with it, that would be fine. But she’s obviously unhappy, and I think her feelings are valid. It doesn’t mean he’s wrong or bad, but it might mean that they are not very well suited at this time. And I’d never encourage a young man or woman to wait around, unhappy or unfulfilled, because they hope that their partner’s behavior will change in the future.

avatar PFG-SCR August 29, 2011, 10:56 am

I completely agree with this – it just seemed like a lot of the comments were vilifying the boyfriend, and I was trying to offer a different perspective.

Jess Jess of CityGirlsWorld.com August 29, 2011, 10:16 am

Agree here. This is exactly the advice I was about to give but Budjer said most of it.

If your BF is drifting because his emotional attachment to you is weak (or weakening), you need to find that out. Has he always been this way or has something changed? When you are together, is he attentive? Is he actively involved in making plans with you (ex: holidays, birthdays, special events, your last vacation)

If its really an issue of scheduling, your BF may just be a bad planner and/or scatterbrained because he’s over-committed in all aspects of his life. If this is the case, the fixed date night is a GREAT idea. I do this with my BF too because our work schedules often conflict. Wednesday night is our date night and we both are pretty strict about sticking to it.

Another practical suggestion is to merge your online calendars. Google calendars does it well. Again, its not so romantic and it may sound controlling but…….. it can be super helpful. For example, if you were able to see all the church activities on his calendar, you’d have a better idea of when you could plan a dinner party, or a movie night, etc. My BF and I do this and we can even plan dates by “inviting” each other to things. Wait til the holiday social season hits, this is a godsend!

If you’re worried about seeming controlling, try to introduce it in a neutral way like, “Hey, I was thinking about our scheduling problems and I realized that its probably hard on you to juggle everything with your church events. I was wondering if you keep all of that in a calendar and if there’s a way where we could share our calendars to make it easier to find time with each other? I hear Google has something for that.”

Approach him from a “problem solving” perspective and he may be receptive. If he’s committed to this relationship (as it sounds) then I bet he will be grateful for a way to make things easier and avoid you feeling hurt/disappointed.

avatar LA August 29, 2011, 8:39 pm

I agree, scheduling a date night is a great idea. I was doing long distance with my boyfriend for a few years and one year I got frustrated with the same thing, that it seemed like our schedules weren’t meshing and we never had time. However, once we scheduled one night every week to have dinner and an hour or two to talk, it was a lot better. Plus I wasn’t calling him at all hours of the night to cry about how we had no time together outside of our visits. So it benefitted us both. I’m not saying that scheduling is the problem, but if it is, this could help a lot. And you’re not crazy (which I always thought was nice to hear when my boyfriend was treating the situation like I was being ridiculous).

avatar Tristy August 29, 2011, 9:30 am

Being busy is not only a lame excuse, but it’s really NO excuse. And for him to cancel or not committ 100% to any type of plans is rude, disrespectful & downright selfish on his part. I agree with the posters above me – sit him down & explain to him how you feel. If that still doesn’t work, then MOA. There is no way that your guy is that busy where he can only spend one day out of the week with you. That’s just absurd.

avatar KAM August 29, 2011, 10:49 am

I have to disagree — it is possible to be that busy. My last year of college was spent either in class, at work or in the studio doing homework. Everything was scheduled, literally, back-to-back. I’m not sure what exactly the bf’s work situation is but when you’ve got a job outside school, relationships do tend to sit on the back-burner. Granted, my solution was to just not date anybody. It’s not happy news for the LW, but it sounds like her bf might just be too swamped for a full-time relationship right now.

It sucks, but it does happen. It’s not so much the nature of their relationship as it is the nature of his reality right now.

avatar Tristy August 29, 2011, 11:24 am

It may be possible to be that busy, but you’ll find the time if you really wanted to. If he can’t handle being in a relationship, then he needs to tell the LW – it’s just that simple.

avatar KAM August 29, 2011, 1:42 pm

I dunno – sometimes Life just takes the front seat. It sounds to me like the LW just needs to MOA and find someone who’s less busy.

avatar Tristy August 29, 2011, 1:52 pm

“It sounds to me like the LW just needs to MOA and find someone who’s less busy.” — Totally agree with you!

avatar justpeachy August 29, 2011, 3:28 pm

I have to disagree with you KAM. My last semester of graduate school, I was writing my thesis, taking a full course load, TAing, and planning a wedding and I STILL made time for my fiance. If you want to make it work, you just have to be creative in how you make it work. My fiance bought a bluetooth so we could chat during his commute. We would have romantic scheduled dinners of mac and cheese and bagel bites on my break before heading back to the lab.

For a short period of time, it’s not difficult at all to make conflicting schedules work, but this LW seems to be very afraid that this is a pattern and that even when things aren’t that seemingly busy, he won’t make time for her. And that is something that is incredibly hard to get to change.

avatar Kate August 29, 2011, 3:32 pm

I agree with you justpeachy, I have 2 friends doing this now. I did it, and plenty of other people did it, too. I say it all comes down to how much you REALLY want to be with someone.

avatar PFG-SCR August 29, 2011, 9:54 am

I’m actually confused – she says he never makes time for her even when he’s got time off, but from everything she describes, it seems to be all job-related. If he’s busy working, that’s one thing, but if he’s just not making an effort to spend time with you and instead, is constantly hanging out with friends/doing nothing by himself at home/etc., then I can understand how you feel. But, I don’t think the latter is the case.

If he’s in college and working a job that involves a lot of hours, he likely doesn’t have much free time anyway. At some point, he needs to study. Plus, he might just need down time given how he’s juggling so much right now.

Sometimes life just keeps us busy, and it’s not a slight on those we care about, but if you are unhappy, you owe it to him to talk about it with him. Let him know that you feel this way, and let him tell you how he feels. If you both care about one another and decide that the timing is right, you can work out a solution to this issue.

avatar PFG-SCR August 29, 2011, 9:59 am

I got the message, “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

Did that happen for everyone, or did I get myself in trouble here?!?!

avatar Zyggurat August 29, 2011, 10:12 am

Everyone’s comments are reviewed before they are posted.

avatar PFG-SCR August 29, 2011, 10:17 am

I’ve never gotten that message before – my comments always posted immediately.

JK JK August 29, 2011, 10:27 am

That only happened to me once, when I’d written a not so nice word (can’t remember which), I can’t see anything in your comment though!

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 29, 2011, 3:59 pm

That JUST happened to me now… I think it may be because I used the word Jesus in my post. Maybe there is a swear word filter? Although, I wasn’t taking the name in vain…

bittergaymark bittergaymark August 29, 2011, 3:59 pm

Actually, this post just went through without issue. So there goes that theory…

avatar TheOtherMe August 29, 2011, 10:30 am

I blame Miles :)

caitie_didnt caitie_didn't August 29, 2011, 10:03 am

First of all, good for you, LW, for maintaining your own hobbies and interests and having a life outside your relationship!

Secondly, I’ve been in this situation, and based on my experience I’d say your boyfriend is only staying with you because you make it convenient for him. You say you’d be “just fine” without a boyfriend, so MOA and show him that you are just fine without him in your life! What I learned from this situation is that he’s not making you a priority because he doesn’t want to. period.

If you do decide to stay with him, recognize that for as long as you’re with him you will *never* be his number one priority. You’ll always be number 4, 5 or 6 on the list, behind extra-curriculars and academics and working. And if you’re not okay with that, you shouldn’t try to convince yourself that you are.

avatar Lindsay August 29, 2011, 10:08 am

The idea that if someone wants to make the time for you, they will, is something that I believe in strongly. Maybe he doesn’t realize what a jerk he’s being, so you should talk to him. Don’t worry about being needy or clingy. Expecting your boyfriend to spend time with you is neither of those things, particularly if you’ve been dating that long. The fact that he not only doesn’t allot time for you, but cancels already-held plans for another social event is a big red flag. It’s not OK. I’d suggest looking for someone who is ecstatic to spend time with you.

avatar JennyTalia August 29, 2011, 10:16 am

Let’s get something straight – it is not “clingy or needy” to want to see your boyfriend more than once a week. You are taking the backseat to his other commitments and when he does “make time” for you, it’s half-assed and he cancels half the time. You are not a priority in his life, and you should be. He either needs to honestly make time for you, or you need to move on and find someone who will. Do you see a future with him? How can you marry someone who can’t give you the time of day more than once a week? The fact that he doesn’t even seem to care how little time you spend together is a red flag.

avatar kf August 29, 2011, 10:38 am

What she said was, “when we aren’t in school (we are in college) I see him maybe once a week.”

Today is August 29. If the dad from a few threads ago is expected to wait years for his wife to become a wife again, maybe this woman can hold out for another week or so.

avatar MKS13 August 29, 2011, 10:22 am

As someone who’s always been very independent I HATED every time I used to have this conversation with my ex-bf. Even though my best friend, roomate and others kept telling me I didn’t sound clingy, I would still feel like I was being clingy because I was just so unused to having to ask someone to make time for me.

Ultimately after months of frustration and disappointment when he would “reschedule” on me 2/3rds of the time (ALWAYS for very legitimate reasons; car trouble, work, some unexpected crisis) I had to accept that I was going to sound clingy to my own ears but it was better than secretly resenting him at that point in the relationship.

So I would advise the LW to talk to him ASAP about how you feel and agree on some guidelines for how often you would like to see him, etc. If he still continues to let you down then MOA because you’ll probably end up resenting him for it later.

avatar kf August 29, 2011, 10:22 am

I don’t think this guy is necessarily a jerk. They’re in college! He’s not supposed to be acting like a middle aged house husband.

That said, it sure doesn’t sound like they’re a good fit for each other. If being with him is making her feel like crap, she might as well move on.

avatar EB August 29, 2011, 12:25 pm

I think it totally depends on the school ;if the LW is at a school like I attended, then I would totally agree with you about the middle aged husband part.

I went to a school that prioritized tailgating, theme parties, and walks of shame over romance, date nights,and serious relationships (and I loved every second of it!). In addition, most students were from out state and lived on campus, so it was kind of like living in a college bubble(i.e. I would see my family and high school friends 2-3 times a year max).

However, I get the feeling that the LW’s collegiate culture might be a bit different (i.e. a tad more conservative and geared toward relationships).

avatar mf August 29, 2011, 12:59 pm

True, he’s probably not a jerk. But if he can’t be a good boyfriend, he should be straight with her. He should tell her, “I do care about you but I really can’t commit anymore time to our relationship.” Instead, he’s being a coward about it and continues to cancel their plans and disappoint her. That’s a crappy way to treat someone you care about.

avatar kf August 29, 2011, 2:02 pm

How is he being a coward? He’s probably perfectly happy with the relationship, and there’s nothing inherently awful about college-age couples seeing each other once a week.

Meanwhile, LW “feel terrible for even bringing this up”, and hasn’t even breached the topic. So who’s the coward?

avatar demoiselle August 29, 2011, 10:27 am

As I posted in a reply above: even extremely busy people manage to find time for their significant others if their significant others are actually a high priority for them.

Talking to your boyfriend is a good idea, as is setting up a date night, etc. But if he’s already canceling your plans in favor of other activities which exclude you, I’m not sure how long any alteration in his behavior will last.

He may love you or like you a lot or really want you to be his girlfriend and absolutely plan to make you #1 someday, when his education and career are set up perfectly and the stars align – – – but do you really want to be third, fourth, or fifth on his list for that long? And can you be sure that if you are not a top priority now, he’s suddenly going to change later?

There is nothing wrong with being single. There are also some couples which function well because neither of them need their partner to be around that much. But it sounds like you want more (and right now, you’re getting a pittance), and there is nothing wrong with that.

Know what you need. Ask for what you need. If he can’t provide it, it is OK to walk away. Although many basic differences in priorities can be negotiated, it isn’t always the best choice. If you find someone who shares your priorities, it will lead to a happier life than if your future is a constant battle for attention. Your feelings matter.

Budj Budjer August 29, 2011, 10:35 am

I do completely agree with you based on the timing. I am extremely busy with a few things in my life right now…with little to no extra time for a relationship…and I RECOGNIZE that…. I think a lot of relationship problems would be solved if people recognized how much they have to give and developed their relationships accordingly.

avatar demoiselle August 29, 2011, 10:42 am

That is what I did . . . I didn’t date until I was 23, because I was so (over)extended that I had nothing left over to give, and didn’t think I could be a good girlfriend. And after my first relationship ended, I entered a similar stage (graduate school). By the time I met my husband, I was able to really dedicate myself (and my choices, including where we could move) to making it work.

That said, life is a constant negotiation. I’m in a Ph.D. now, and it is hard to balance education, work, and family. I have read that out of those three, it is really only possible to be doing two well at any given time. I find it to be true, and it takes real effort to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. Fortunately, both my husband and I agree that family is #1, which means that negotiating reality is just a little bit easier.

Skyblossom Skyblossom August 29, 2011, 10:39 am

If his job at his church is his passion then this relationship will probably only work if you have the same amount of passion for his church. Probably everything else is secondary to his commitment to his church and if you can’t share that then sooner or later he’ll find someone with that same degree of commitment. I’d ask him if he can imagine a long term commitment to someone who doesn’t feel the same passion (if you don’t have it) to his church that he does.

Lyra L August 29, 2011, 11:24 am

As stated previously, busy people are perfectly capable of maintaining relationships and making time for their significant other. My guess is he simply doesn’t realize that his job has taken precedence over you.

I agree talking to him is a vital first step. Sometimes we women think we’re being obvious with what we want, but most times guys just want/need a clear explanation as to what you want them to know. I’ve encountered that same situation many MANY times where I thought I was being clear and my boyfriend had absolutely no idea what I had wanted him to know because I didn’t explain it, I just kind of expected him to catch my subtle cues.

At this point in your life when you both have college and he has a job (that I’m assuming he loves since he is so dedicated to it), your schedules may just not match up. Find some way to spend one night per week together, or maybe get together in the morning to make/eat breakfast and get caught up, or schedule a day every week for each other. You will have to get creative, but sometimes that makes it even more fun!

And finally, you say you are independent and if you have to live without him you would be just fine. Awesome! Glad you have a life outside of your relationship. But before you just up and leave, ask yourself if this relationship is something you are willing to make compromises for. Is his job something that will continue after college? Will both your loads lighten a bit after you are done with school? To me, his dedication to his job tells me that he is indeed a committed man who will dive in with all his heart to those things that his finds important in life. That’s something that is worth consideration.

avatar MiMi August 29, 2011, 11:33 am

I don’t care how busy your boyfriend’s busy life is, if you value someone you don’t pick them up and put them down according to the academic year schedule but prioritize them to a position high on your to-do list all the time. This guy is not that into you, LW, so value yourself more highly than he does and move along to something better.

avatar Kate August 29, 2011, 11:36 am

I’m with you. Everyone is busy! But let’s face it, when you REALLY like/love someone, you make it work. Even jr. associates at law firms and medical residents can make it work, often in a marriage with kids. ALL of my friends in grad school make time for people they really want to spend time with…either this guy is clueless, or he isn’t that into the LW.

avatar cheryl conti May 9, 2014, 1:26 pm

if I am reading this stuff there is a problem. he refuses to see it. Maybe it is me who is blind.

avatar Britannia August 29, 2011, 2:40 pm

We don’t know what his curriculum is or how much work he has to do to support himself. If he’s in a full time engineering program while working part time, that realistically means that he is putting in 60 hours of work per week, if not more. The problem is NOT that he doesn’t prioritize her, the problem is that she has different expectations of him than he does of her.

avatar Kate August 29, 2011, 2:47 pm

Well, like I said, I and plenty of other people I’ve worked with have put 60+ hours/week, in science and engineering graduate majors/med school/law school, all of which are more demanding than undergrad. LW states that it’s his job that is taking up his time, not his major. I stand by my comment.

And they’ve dated for a year and half and only see each once a week (and not a LDR)?

avatar Britannia August 29, 2011, 3:05 pm

Everyone handles workloads, and their related stress, differently. It could be that he’s constantly stressed and doesn’t want to be around anyone when he’s stressed. It doesn’t matter what he “should” be doing, what matters is that his definition of a relationship is different than hers. She needs to have a talk with him to make her needs clear so that he can either adjust his schedule, or let her find a boyfriend with more time to spend on her.

avatar Kate August 29, 2011, 3:33 pm

I agree they definitely need to talk. As far as a his definition of a relationship goes, it sounds to me like he is more interested in a relationship with his church, than a woman.

avatar Britannia August 29, 2011, 3:36 pm

And that’s his right. But it looks like she thought he would prioritize her higher once they got into a relationship — expecting him to change, which is always a bad idea. She really needs to talk to him to see if he does feel that church should be his highest priority, or if he is willing to change stuff around for her.

avatar Kate August 29, 2011, 3:40 pm

Well, often when people get into a relationship, things DO change, usually they end up making time for each other. While I would say it’s not prudent to expect people to change themselves, it’s reasonable to expect them to make time in their life for the relationship.

avatar jessielyn August 30, 2011, 4:48 pm

As someone who went to law school while in a relationship-you make the time. Everyone needs a study break. The fact of the matter is that there are thousands of things you can do to stay connected with each other-schedule a lunch together in the cafeteria one day, take a walk outside together and catch up on your week, go pick up a coffee on his way to church or the library. But you have to want to make time. And it isn’t about making more time for that person than you do for other things. Even taking 10 minutes out of the day to have a conversation with that person means the world, because it says “You matter. Yes, I have a million other things to do and I can’t spend all day with you, but I am trying to connect with you and show you that you are important too.”

avatar PondLily August 29, 2011, 11:56 am

I too had a “vacation boyfriend.” he was amazing when it was just the two of us away together for a weekend, but when we got home and back to reality, suddenly he didn’t have time for me anymore. There was always something else that was more important to him…his job, his friends, his alone time. I held onto to the relationship because of those times when we were together and he made me a priority. Everything was wonderful and he was sweet and attentive and loved me. It took a long time for me to understand that just because he was “perfect” when we were alone, that all those other parts of him–the parts that were flaky and noncommittal and had other better things to do were him too. And I could no longer date him for who he was with me, but really see him for who he was when he wasn’t with me. If you’re not a priority in someone’s life, they’ll let you know that. It’s your job to decide whether that is important to you, or if you’re willing to accept the crumbs of themselves that they can offer you after they’ve given to everything else.

avatar Marie August 29, 2011, 12:08 pm

He’s put you in a position where bringing up how your needs aren’t being meant makes you feel like a clingy/needy person. This is the biggest issues right there. You aren’t happy and you feel like you can’t even do anything about it without feeling crazy. BEEN THERE. I am passionate about my job too, but you know what? Being in a loving, caring relationship is important to me too (and my super busy boyfriend) so we make time for each other! I know that the times you are together are great but it sounds like the times when you aren’t together and he is making you feel unimportant far out way those times. Just envision yourself in a relationship where you don’t feel like this every day, when you are your SO spend time together and are fulfilled. All this can be yours but step 1 – get rid of this guy and do yourself a favor. Good luck!

avatar mf August 29, 2011, 12:54 pm

Yeah, it bothers me that he makes her feel clingy. Because she’s definitely being reasonable and doesn’t deserve to feel that way.

avatar Britannia August 29, 2011, 2:43 pm

Feeling a certain way is completely her responsibility, not his. Perspective of a situation and reaction to it are entirely self-relative and self-controlled.

Budj Budjer August 29, 2011, 3:57 pm

I don’t know why you have so many thumbs down for saying that. She did not say that he called her clingy – she is afraid as appearing as such if she voices her concerns. That IS her issue.

avatar Britannia August 29, 2011, 4:18 pm

I’ve experienced a downpour of purple thumbs before when I mentioned that a person’s emotions are their OWN responsibility and no one else can MAKE them feel a certain way. In the past, no one has responded when I asked why they would thumb such a wonderful, independence-giving truth down. My only extrapolation is that some people think that they are not in control of how they respond to stimuli, or don’t like having it pointed out that they are making excuses for themselves.

avatar Marie August 29, 2011, 7:24 pm

I completely agree that what you feel is your own responsibility. I also feel that opening yourself up enough to be in a meaningful relationship exposes you to feel vulnerable and having another person impact how you feel. If you didn’t care what your boyfriend did or did not do, then you probably also wouldn’t be in love with them. I was speaking from my own experience that when I tried to explain to my boyfriend that when he came home from work every single day past 12 AM and worked all on the weekends that I felt like we didn’t have enough time together to have a meaningful relationship and he would respond that I shouldn’t be negatively impacting the amount of time he was spending at work (Should note we were both grad students in the same program at the time). I have no idea how her boyfriend responds to her overtures and therefore was projecting to a certain extent, but I know having someone you love act a certain way towards you can make you feel bad or good (yes it is your responsibility but that doesn’t give them a free pass to act poorly towards you). What do you think Britannia/DW blogosphere?

avatar Seattle _lili August 30, 2011, 5:31 pm

I don’t think it has so much to do with ‘time available’ but not feeling like a priority in general. I think that most sensible people in relationships are VERY understanding of their partner’s time constraints, they just need to feel valued and a priority in their partners life, even if he can’t make much time right now . If you are constantly feeling like Priority numero last, then the resentment starts to build. I don’t think its just his work and school demands that the LW is upset about. She’s upset about him not prioritizing her and their relationship over things that she feels they should be above.

avatar Tanya May 18, 2013, 3:13 am

I currently am in the same situation as the girl who wrote this, yet older & not in school.
My boyfriend & I have been together a little over a year now, we were friends for a few years before we starting dating too. We became best friends, which was the best way to lead to true love. But recently he doesn’t make time for me. Says hes busy & needs to make money, which I understand since he’s a struggling artist. However, when he does have some free time he wants to party & drink beer like a frat boy with a bunch of 18, 19, 20 year olds. He invites me & wants me to join in, but I find it very boring & a waste of time. Even when I was in college I didn’t care for partying & drinking like that. Now even this I would be ok with because he’s harmless about it, but he does this when he tells me he has no time for me. So if he’s always busy working & then when he has free time chooses to drink with kids that feels like slap in the face. Wouldn’t he rather spend time with me? Watching kids get drunk is not my idea of spending time with my bf.. I want to spend time alone or something romantic. He says I’m demanding because I want to spend time with him & because I want to have sex. That’s another odd thing.. he’s more like the woman & I’m more like the man. I always want sex & he says “I’m not a sex slave.” I thought most guys would be happy that their gf wants to have sex! He’s older than me though, in his mid 40s but I would think that he would still have a libido ????

avatar Tanya May 18, 2013, 3:24 am

And one more thing. I notice how some people are writing its her fault, blah blah blah… well, it is partially, but also not. I’m a very independent woman. I like my time alone & all the things I do. But when you are in love with someone, and truly make yourself vulnerable to another, its not so easy to say leave him. I think some people who write these comments have been too scared in their lives to ever be completely vulnerable. When you give someone your heart & it goes from being cared for to being hurt, you don’t feel like you can just walk away. That person still has your heart & you will try to see if there is any work that can be done to help the relationship before you walk away. And yes, you can say he’s showing her who he is & she’s staying, so its her fault. Yes, its her fault for staying. But she loves him. Unconditional love is rare & when it happens you don’t just get up and leave because things aren’t going your way. If he was once sweet & had time for her but then things changed it can be very hard emotionally. Some people just can’t switch off their emotions like a like switch. I know I can’t and I’m a very strong, independent woman.

avatar Tiffany August 29, 2011, 12:22 pm

Sort of reminds me of something out of that book, He’s just not that into you. If he was into you he would call you and make plans with you first for the most part. I think try and stay friends, but you sound like you are both in different places and different ideas of what’s important. The fact that you seem fine with hanging out once a week, you don’t sound needy or clingy, but it sounds like you want more of a commitment if you makes plans that only occur once a week. Tell him honestly how you feel, write down points so in case you get flustered you can remember and not get too off point, because that happens when you get upset. If it seems like this issue is not a big deal to him, then you need to think about if it is a deal breaker for you. He sounds like a flaky or an overly busy friend that spreads themselves too thin.

avatar HmC August 29, 2011, 12:45 pm

I dunno. It seems so easy and cliche for people to drop the “he’s not that into you!” nowadays. But this LW and her boyfriend have been committed to each other for over a year and a half. There’s not being that into someone, and then there’s your run-of-the-mill having different expectations for what a relationship means. Many of these types of differences can be ironed out through compromise, if there is mutual love and mutual desire to make it work. My spidey sense tells me that for this LW, it will just be a matter of sucking it up, having a serious talk, and seeing how things go. As one commenter noted above, one major life lesson to learn about long-term relationships is that you can’t assume someone knows how you feel unless you tell them! I mean really, worst case scenario, you discover that someone is incapable of meeting your needs, and you move onward and upward. If a guy that’s been with you for this long thinks you’re needy for asking to be a priority, then you’re much better off without him.

avatar eelizg23 August 29, 2011, 12:40 pm

Bottom line, no matter how good you say he is to you, he’s not meeting your needs. If you talk with him about this and things don’t change, you should move on. He might be great, but if he’s not meeting your needs, find someone who does.

avatar Britannia August 29, 2011, 2:44 pm

Yes, THIS x999999!

avatar Leslie August 29, 2011, 4:13 pm

Exactly! Not everyone’s life revolves around their relationships. My boyfriend is like this too, and while it bothered me at first, I decided that he is great in other ways and that I’m willing to put up with that one annoyance. I started filling my own needs by doing more things of interest to me. Eventually, I learned to love my space :)

If you can’t do the same that doesn’t make him a bad guy, just a guy who has different needs and priorities. Then you should MOA.

avatar Kate August 29, 2011, 4:56 pm

I don’t know…I think MOST people’s lives revolve around relationships. It’s just this guy has a relationship (whatever it is) that trumps the LW.

avatar mf August 29, 2011, 12:52 pm

There’s some good advice above (schedule a date night, spend more time with him at church, etc.), but honestly, I think this is a bad sign for your relationship.

I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum: I’ve dated guys who never made time for me and guys who really made an effort to see me. In my experience, a guy who’s really in love with his girl will make time to see her if at all possible. If you’re important to him, he’ll make you a priority. As my father always said, “Don’t judge a man by what he says. Judge him by what he does.” This guy may say he loves you but his actions don’t add up.

I would have a serious talk with him. Tell how much you care for him and how you miss him when you don’t see him. Maybe recommend some reasonable solutions (date night, visiting him at church). Obviously you won’t be able to see him everyday, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable for you to ask to see him two or three times a week. Then wait and see what he does. If he makes an effort, if he makes you a priority, then you’ll know that this is a guy who will treat you the way you deserve. If he doesn’t… then you’ll have your answer.