Building a healthy relationship with yourself and with others

Dating a busy partner

Earlier today, I was having a conversation with a friend about the challenges of dating someone who is very busy – not busy in the sense of he/she chooses to not have time for you, so they say they are busy, but busy as it relates to the nature of the work they do and their lifestyle. I’m a busy person and I, ironically, tend to date guys who are very busy (it’s not intentional – just seems to happen). Although my schedule can be hectic at times, I do make sure I add balance to the equation (women tend to be better at this than men. Sorry fellas J). Plus, for me, it’s very important to make sure the person I am dating doesn’t feel neglected. Nourishing the relationship is essential to the survivability of the relationship.

So if you are like me and you tend to date busy people, I want to offer you a few suggestions. Wait, before my suggestions, let me say this. We all feel like if someone wants to be with you, he/she will always make time for you; however, sometimes you are at a stage they haven’t reached yet. What do I mean by that? Everyone moves at his/her own pace. Just because you have arrived at a place where you’ve made them a priority in your life, it doesn’t mean they have arrived at that place yet. Keep in mind – no one’s life started the day you met them. If the relationship is new, you two may both genuinely like one another, but you may not be on the same page (yet) when it comes to giving a certain level of effort. Until you walk in that person’s shoes, you don’t have an understanding of his/her schedule. Sometimes they barely have time for themselves, and integrating you into their schedule is a process, and definitely requires understanding and patience.

So here are some tips if you are dating a busy man/woman:

  • Show support. Whether he/she’s working a 9 to 5 or pursuing his/her entrepreneurial endeavors. The one thing he/she wants is support. It’s important that you let your partner know that you support him/her.
  • Listen to his/her needs. His/her career may take a lot of time, or perhaps it’s family or other activities that require his/her attention. I am in NO way saying everything should come before you. Honestly, I would not do well at all with everything coming before me. If I am low on your priority list, you aren’t the person I’m supposed to be with. But what I am saying is that you can’t expect a person to give up his/her life/individuality. Hopefully, eventually, they will make an effort to share that with you.
  • Be flexible. Although you can’t be at his/her “beck and call” all the time, you can accept a spontaneous invitation to lunch or a late dinner when he/she is available as long as you don’t simply become a “booty-call.” And yes, ladies make booty-calls too.
  • Keep it short and sweet. Encourage him/her to touch base with you when he/she’s busy by sending him/her a very short “thinking of you” text when he/she is away. By doing this, you stay on his/her mind and make him/her smile without creating drama.
  • Be honest with your needs. Dating a busy person doesn’t work for everyone, so be honest with yourself and with him/her about how much attention you need. Let him/her know you appreciate the little calls and thoughtful things he/she does. If it’s clear that he/she doesn’t want to make time for you, then it’s time to end the relationship.
  • Detach from control. The only thing you can control in life are the choices you make. We can’t always control the outcome, but we can certainly control our own choices. If you’ve ever found yourself being mildly controlling, learn to let go so you can grow. Asking where he/she is, who he/she’s with, what time he/she’ll be back, etc. are all clear signs of a super needy and mildly controlling person. Remember: being in a relationship is about sharing a life, not making the other person your entire life.
  • Find common ground. There should always be a designated time for the two of you to come back and share what’s been going on in each other’s lives. This is key to having a successful relationship. For example, find a day that the two of you have off and focus on spending that time with each other. Go to the movies, hang out at the park, walk the dog, grab dinner, grab a couples’ massage together, etc. Creating a ritual that only the two of you do will solidify your bond and you’ll cherish the moment you do spend together even more.

Mind, you, I know this isn’t easy. I haven’t mastered all of the suggestions I gave. We all want to feel special, and nothing shows special more than a person’s actions. But if you just happen to be one of those people with a busy partner, he/she is not going to always be readily available as someone who works an 8-hour day and doesn’t have much else going on. You have to decide what’s best for you. If you require more, a busy mate might not be a good fit for you. Oh, and please understand the difference between a person who is truly busy and a person who is just too busy for you. If he/she is just too busy for you, but makes time for other things and other people, sorry to tell you, but that’s not the person for you.

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