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Different senses of what constitutes quality time in a relationship. How to balance


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My BF (36M) and I currently live apart due to work and family commitments. Thus, we see each other on weekends and during the week for dinner. He repeatedly says that this is not enough time for him to spend with me but I'm note sure what else I can do right now. I value the time itself because it is entirely focused on each other but he would like more of it. I have tried to discuss this with him three times not but he won't have it.  I run my own business, am a carer for my ageing mother and also have two dogs. My work means I work from 9am to anywhere between 8-10pm some nights. I have made concessions and stopped working on both Tuesday and Saturday afternoons and evenings so I can spend time with my BF. Between this, I also have to make time to prepare work for my job, care for my mother and dogs and make time for my friends. I have set very clear boundaries that, right now, this is what I can give but I know he's not happy. We briefly split up over this in Dec/Jan and I've tried hard to remedy this the best I can but I feel like I'm burning out and disappointing him. We have been together just over two years. Has anyone else been through this and if so, how did you find a better balance?

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He knows your limitations but asks for more? Are you aware of what exactly he's asking you or what he's asking himself? Is it the expectation to give up your business or find a nurse or extra care for your mother? 

By not enough time with you, what is he asking for exactly? Does he want you to move in with him?

There's something or some issues you both are not agreeing on. The symptom is not enough time to him but what are the actual issues?

Edited by Rose Mosse
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I'm not so sure about this "quality time" notion -you're trying to schedule a significant other into "quality time" - but very often real relationships grow when you're just together, hanging out - I never lived with anyone before marriage but we'd be at each other's places getting work done, maybe watching a movie, going for a walk - and yes we had typical dates too -dinners, theater, game nights with friends -but wow I'd see it as way too pressured to be serious with someone and scheduled in for "quality time".  

I understand you have a lot going on.  Can you outsource caring for your dogs? Get a dog walker, etc? Can he hang with you and your mom?

Your whole approach with the "clear boundaries" and "quality time" sounds a bit business like for a serious boyfriend. I bet he's sensing how he's being scheduled in.  I had a very intense more than full time career for 15 years before I got married and became a mom.  And I made time for dating and serious relationships.  My husband also had the same crazy schedule and we spent many days and evenings in the same apartment doing our own thing (meaning work) - but we took breaks, chatted, etc. Like we are doing right this very moment.  You need both "quality time" and unstructured time.

On the dog thing - I am not a dog person and I respect that many treat dogs like family.  Is your boyfriend a dog person? I had two friends -neither close but getting there -where we had to sit outside for lunch even when I'd have preferred not to (too cold) because they couldn't leave their dogs alone for the 2 hours or so we were going to be out. Or we had to eat at her place.  The dogs were cute and all but I wasn't so into having to accommodate to that extent (oh and yes there were a number of times I could only meet my friends if I could bring my baby/toddler - and ..... yes I see it as different -leaving a dog alone vs. a baby!) .

Good luck!

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5 minutes ago, Cyclinggirl27 said:

I run my own business, am a carer for my ageing mother and also have two dogs. We briefly split up over this in Dec/Jan . I'm burning out and disappointing him. 

How old is he?

He seems rather clingy and controlling if weekends and during the week is not enough for him. Especially if he repeatedly end things because he has to have his way.

On/off means incompatibility. Just as "burning out" means he's simply stressing you out with his demands.

 

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9 minutes ago, Batya33 said:

I'm not so sure about this "quality time" notion -you're trying to schedule a significant other into "quality time" - but very often real relationships grow when you're just together, hanging out - I never lived with anyone before marriage but we'd be at each other's places getting work done, maybe watching a movie, going for a walk - and yes we had typical dates too -dinners, theater, game nights with friends -but wow I'd see it as way too pressured to be serious with someone and scheduled in for "quality time".  

I understand you have a lot going on.  Can you outsource caring for your dogs? Get a dog walker, etc? Can he hang with you and your mom?

Your whole approach with the "clear boundaries" and "quality time" sounds a bit business like for a serious boyfriend. I bet he's sensing how he's being scheduled in.  I had a very intense more than full time career for 15 years before I got married and became a mom.  And I made time for dating and serious relationships.  My husband also had the same crazy schedule and we spent many days and evenings in the same apartment doing our own thing (meaning work) - but we took breaks, chatted, etc. Like we are doing right this very moment.  You need both "quality time" and unstructured time.

On the dog thing - I am not a dog person and I respect that many treat dogs like family.  Is your boyfriend a dog person? I had two friends -neither close but getting there -where we had to sit outside for lunch even when I'd have preferred not to (too cold) because they couldn't leave their dogs alone for the 2 hours or so we were going to be out. Or we had to eat at her place.  The dogs were cute and all but I wasn't so into having to accommodate to that extent (oh and yes there were a number of times I could only meet my friends if I could bring my baby/toddler - and ..... yes I see it as different -leaving a dog alone vs. a baby!) .

Good luck!

Thank you for your help: of course he's welcome to spend time with me and my mom and I often invite him to do so but he complains we don't get enough time alone. We have Friday, Friday night and most of saturday and saturday night plus Tuesday/Tuesday night so, to me, that's a fair chunk of time. My BF is very much a dog person so no problem there and I feel I have made a concession in that they're banned from upstairs when he's over. It does have to be slightly scheduled as we live an hour apart from each other, we can't just drop in.  I hear you though, so thank you ❤️ 

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13 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:

How old is he?

He seems rather clingy and controlling if weekends and during the week is not enough for him. Especially if he repeatedly end things because he has to have his way.

On/off means incompatibility. Just as "burning out" means he's simply stressing you out with his demands.

 

Thank you for your answer: I'm 34, he's 36. I actually ended it in December because I felt exhausted and overwhelmed. I'm really giving it another go and want to try an navigate this but it's not easy. ^_^ 

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1 minute ago, Cyclinggirl27 said:

Thank you for your help: of course he's welcome to spend time with me and my mom and I often invite him to do so but he complains we don't get enough time alone. We have Friday, Friday night and most of saturday and saturday night plus Tuesday/Tuesday night so, to me, that's a fair chunk of time. My BF is very much a dog person so no problem there and I feel I have made a concession in that they're banned from upstairs when he's over. It does have to be slightly scheduled as we live an hour apart from each other, we can't just drop in.  I hear you though, so thank you ❤️ 

Why can't they come upstairs? I think that's fine -I don't want to be around a dog that might jump on me for example - but I'm sure he makes concessions for you as well when you are at his place.  Yes I hear you on time "alone" - does he mean to be sexual? Certainly alone time is important but that's not fair of him to count only the time alone as time together.  Life isn't like that. I think if you are inviting him to be with you in addition to alone time you are doing your part.  I still wouldn't think of it as "quality time" for the reasons you explained.  

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The only solution is for him to relocate or move in, commute to his job or find another one that is closer. 

or you can take a time management course and find solutions there to free up more time. 

Edited by smackie9
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I don't know what you tell you. It sounds like you are giving him plenty of time and alone time at that. I kind of have to echo the first poster in whether this time argument is really about much more than that. Either you are not compatible, he is bored and so fixated on you entertaining him more, or he wants something else that he is not articulating, etc.

My advice is try to explore more on what it is that he needs specifically. What's his dissatisfaction and can he articulate it better than "I want more of your time". Does he not have friends and a life outside of you? What's driving this need? At some point, you might need to consider that you and him just aren't that compatible if he simply has to fixate on you  and take up every shred of your time or else be upset and leave you feeling guilty and exhausted. 

What I've personally learned early on is that I can only date men who are just as driven and busy as I am. That way, yes, we value quality time and can enjoy that, rather than quantity time. Neither one of us has quantity time and so neither person feels slighted and upset that their partner can't give more time. In fact, I've never had these types of issues that you are experiencing. Instead, we understood each other and were able to flex as needed and find time as needed to mutual satisfaction.

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Sounds like you're jumping through a lot of hoops to make him happy.  What is he doing? Other than complaining it's not enough?

Does he have his own friends? interests? hobbies? 

Not knowing all the details, I can't say for sure.  but sounds like this guy needs to work on himself to self soothe and occupy his free time.  Why is it on you to entertain him?

As adults we all have other commitments and he should understand that. I would really think about how much you've already given, how much he is giving and what the future with this needy & seemingly unwilling to understand man will be like.

You may not be compatible. If he just wants a woman that focuses all her time on him.  It's rather an unattractive quality, if you ask me. 

You must set boundaries and realistic expectations. Your health is very important and is unfair that you are getting burned out. He should be more supportive.

Like I said, lots to consider here. 

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