No time for each other
November 10, 2009 6:51 PM   Subscribe

I'm in a relationship of a few months old with a wonderful girl. We have great times together, but there's the catch. We're hardly together. How can we change that, or work around it?

We met when we were both doing part time work whilst looking for full time work. So we got to spend a lot of time together and it was awesome. Since then however, we've both found jobs that really don't mix time-wise. She works 4 days a week 9-5, but then almost every evening she does volunteer coaching at a local gym. She's done this for years and its her passion, so I won't ask her to give it up.
I now work a full week, including on her day off. Weekends are more sporadic; we both have commitments elsewhere but occasionally some free time will coincide.

Our work lives are pretty hectic, and we both get tired easily, so even though we live really quite close to each other, we're often too tired to do anything together, or if we are together, but tired, we're cranky and get on each other's nerves.

So, from seeing each other almost every couple of days for some quality time together, its gone down to an evening or two a fortnight. We still talk, text each other often, but I miss her when she's not around!

The crux is: We want to be able to see each other as much as is possible. But is this possible?
Is this normal? Do other couples have a similar situation, and what do they do to work around it?
What can we do in the short time we have available, apart from the obvious?
Is there anything we can do to make up free time?

And any other suggestions or advice would be much appreciated.

Throwaway email just in case it's needed:
And I'm a guy fwiw. Both mid 20s. UK.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Don't wait for free time to come up- schedule in time together, and when something else comes up, you can say "oh, I'm sorry, I've already got something scheduled in."
posted by titanium_geek at 7:37 PM on November 10, 2009

Join her in her volunteer coaching or see if she'd be willing to give up one night a week to make more time for you. Better yet, do both. Your plans reflect your priorities, so if it's important to spend time together, plan for it.
posted by notashroom at 7:46 PM on November 10, 2009

Booty calls. Sleep is for the weak!
posted by milinar at 8:06 PM on November 10, 2009

If her passion is to do those gym sessions after her regular job, I'd think you might have to start planning on that being a regular part of your lives. I agree with notashroom, you may need to ask her if she can bend a little on that without totally giving it up in order to meet your needs.
posted by newper at 8:16 PM on November 10, 2009

My boyfriend and I spent 4 years dating over a distance of 45 miles. It wasn't much, but with our schedules we got 1 day together a week. Since we couldn't be together otherwise we talked on the phone and texted a lot. The other thing we did - and this sounds funny - was to play an online game together. It gave us a way to kind of spend some time together, while talking on skype. We've been living together a year now and still play it occasionally.
posted by chana meira at 8:21 PM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Look, everyone's busy. If your relationship is a priority to you, you will both find a way to make the time. If it's not, you won't. It's really that simple. If her coaching at the gym takes up all her free time, she's not prepared to shift it and you can't nurture your relationship with the little free time you both have left then than would indicate to me that it's not that important. Something willl have to give if you're getting frustrated at not seeing each other - let's face it, it's not going to happen magically.

After all, it's hard to have a relationship when you don't see each other and assuming you live in the same city, it's unfair to think that someone will just hang around waiting if you're not prepared to see them more than occassionally. I just think you two need to sit down and talk about it. She may not know that you're missing her. If she's not prepared to give up any time to make it happen or you're not either, as it seems you are busy too, there's your answer.
posted by Jubey at 8:46 PM on November 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

Relationships really do take sacrifice and commitment. They generally don't work if the sole purpose of the relationship is to fill down time in your life when you have absolutely nothing else going on. What most people in your situation do is get less sleep, abandon some activities, and see friends less. It isn't ideal, but you have a limited amount of free time and you have to prioritize.
posted by whoaali at 8:49 PM on November 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Here's another perspective: a good test of whether your relationship has depth is if you actively make time despite the obstacles. If you can go months without seeing each other, and then when you're together it is as though you were only together yesterday, you know there is something more substantial there. Don't worry, do your best but think about the quality as well as quantity!
posted by KMH at 2:35 AM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

Seconding the "make time" comments. In my last round of grad school I was dating another student, and we both worked nearly full time. So there was no time. Solution? Saturdays from early afternoon to Sundays around 11am were "our time." Nothing else got scheduled during that time -- no work, no class work (OK, occasionally studying, but rarely) -- we'd see a movie, rent a DVD, make dinner, eat out, usually do grocery shopping and run errands, but together without other people. Occasionally we would do stuff during the week or one of us would bring the other dinner during a late-night work shift, but our relationship would have died of neglect if it weren't for that iron-clad "couple time."
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:01 AM on November 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

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