There is no “one size fits all” answer that applies to every relationship. You need to listen to the still small voice inside of you, and decide where to focus your time and energy. There is no right answer.
What do you want out of your life, your relationship, your boyfriend? That’s where you must start.
1. Figure out what you want out of your relationship
Your boyfriend is clear on what he wants and how much time he’s willing to invest in your relationship. He’s making choices and he’s sticking to them – regardless of how it makes you feel. He’s setting his boundaries and limits.
You need to do the same thing! You must clarify what type of love relationship (and, eventually, marriage) you want. You really do have the power to control your future. It’s up to you to take the reins, rise above your wishes, and stop saying “but I want and wish….” You need to stop letting your emotions (“I want to be married, I want my boyfriend to love me and spend time with me, I want to start a family”) control you. Instead, start thinking like a smart, savvy, strong woman.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Does my boyfriend show me he loves me in concrete ways?
- How well does my boyfriend’s actions match his words? Does he say he loves me, but then he doesn’t spend time with me or prioritize me in his life?
- If my boyfriend never changes, can I be happy in this relationship?
- Is this the man I want to marry?
- Will my boyfriend be there for me and our kids, if we do get married?
- Is he financially, emotionally, and professionally stable?
Be honest with yourself. If you think you want a long-term relationship with your boyfriend – or even to marry him – make sure you ask the right questions. Talk to him about his vision of your relationship, and really listen carefully to your boyfriend’s answers. It’ll help you figure out if he’s the right man for you.
And be painfully honest with yourself. If you know your boyfriend doesn’t have time for you now, how can you be sure he’ll make time for you in the future? His current choices and actions show his priorities. If you are important to him, he will find a way to see you. If you’re not, then he’ll find excuses.
2. Decide if you can accept your boyfriend as he is, right now
Don’t hope and expect your boyfriend to change, because he won’t. Yes, people can and do change…but only if they’re motivated. Only if they want to change, if they have a reason that’s important to them.
If your boyfriend is immersed in his work, friends, hobbies, or goals right now, then he may prioritize them first for the rest of his life. Can you live with this? If you want this relationship to work, you need to accept that your boyfriend doesn’t have time for you now, and he likely won’t have time for you after you get married, settle into a house, and have kids together. Don’t keep going deeper into the relationship with the expectation or hope that he will change. Your boyfriend may change and can change, but you can’t force or even expect him to change.
3. Tell your boyfriend how you feel about him and your relationship – once
Be honest. Tell him how it makes you feel when he spends all his time working, hanging out with friends, playing video games, or detailing his car. Say something like, “I feel _(sad?)_ and _(lonely?__ when you don’t spend time with me. My ideal relationship would involve us spending X amount of time on weeknights or weekends together.”
Ask your boyfriend how much time he can reasonably commit to your relationship. One date a week? Two hours a month? Get specific. Give him space to talk, to be honest with you. Don’t guilt or shame him because he’s not the boyfriend you want. He is choosing not to spend time with you for a reason. He might not be able to share that exact reason because he may not even be aware of it! Many of us have no idea why we do what we do. Personal insight and self-awareness is really hard to gain.
After you and your boyfriend have a talk about your relationship, let it go. Don’t initiate the same conversation more than once. It doesn’t help to keep telling your boyfriend you are lonely, confused, sad and frustrated because he doesn’t have time for you. He heard you the first time. If he wanted to change, he would.
4. Remember that all relationships go through ups and downs
Back to my reader, D. She says: “The work project my boyfriend spent all his money failed, and he banked on another. That failed, too.”
She added that it’s been five months since her boyfriend’s work failure. “My once beautiful relationship is now a shadow of itself. My boyfriend doesn’t give me time or attention anymore, and does not let me visit, although he pays me surprise visits at intervals. He said he wants to be left alone, as he is working tirelessly to get back on his feet.”
Many men see their value and self-worth in their work and finances. Some guys don’t want to embark on a committed love relationship until their professional life is stable and even prosperous. Others can’t focus on both work and love. They simply need to focus on one aspect of life at a time.
If your boyfriend doesn’t have enough time for you because of his work commitments, you might give him time to deal with his career. It’s hard to know if your boyfriend isn’t spending time with you because of a short-term crisis that is commanding his attention (which you should respect and allow space for), or if he’ll always choose his other priorities over you. Is this simply a stage in your relationship or is this part of your boyfriend’s personality? If he’s a workaholic, he’ll never ease up on his job.
5. Create a life outside your boyfriend and your relationship
This is the most important – and the most fun – thing to do when your boyfriend doesn’t spend enough time with you: create your own interesting, fulfilling, exciting life!
The healthiest way to respond to a boyfriend who doesn’t have time for you is to build a life you love. Do not make him the center of your existence. Find what inspires and energizes you. What makes you happy? Your boyfriend is part of your life – he is not your whole life. The happier and healthier you are, the more attractive you’ll be to him.
Questions to help you figure out who you are:
- Where is your life going?
- Who do you want to be?
- What are your passions, hobbies, interests, loves?
- When are you happiest?
- Why did God create you? What is your purpose on this earth?
The best way to handle a boyfriend who doesn’t have time for you is to COME ALIVE! Find life, be yourself, choose authenticity, take risks…be who you were created to be. Get emotionally and spiritually healthy.
Learn how to love yourself.
6. Do not let your relationship consume your self-identity
For your sake and for your relationship’s sake – and for your kids if you have them – you need to create your own life and identity outside of your relationship. You can’t let your identity get wrapped up in you boyfriend or his life, or you’ll lose yourself.