LoveAndLifeToolbox.com

Ask Lisa: My boyfriend is spending less time with me

My boyfriend and I have been together since we were 17 and now we are 28, off and on at first but steady and living with each other for the past 6 years. We’ve had a great relationship and are very close but recently things have changed. My boyfriend changed his career about 2 years ago and we are now on completely different schedules, I work the normal 8am-5pm and he works noon – 10pm. At first this was a hard adjustment but soon I got use to the arrangement and enjoyed having “me” time.

Unfortunately within the past 6 months he gradually started going out a few nights here and there after work with his co-workers and now it’s becoming every other night where sometimes he doesn’t come home until 3:30am! It seems like his priorities have changed completely and I am not one of them, our time together is already limited and it seems like he rather party with his friends that he already spends all his time with. I feel like he has changed so much in the past 6 months and every time I talk to him about it he either says I am being dramatic or he says he will be around more but nothing ever changes. I feel like he is taking me for granted and is being really selfish. Just the other weekend he left work early to go hang out with his friends but if I ever ask him to get off early so we can go on a date he says he can’t, what’s up with that?

He knows that I want to get married soon and eventually start a family in the near future but I feel like he is on a completely different page. I love him so much and want to stay with him but I feel like he doesn’t even make an effort. I even tried being understanding and told him I don’t mind if he goes out once or twice a week but every other night and until 3:30am, I just feel like he is totally taking advantage of the situation. How much time apart is too much time in a relationship? Am I being dramatic? I don’t like feeling lonely and disconnected to him and it’s starting to hurt my feelings to think I am in a relationship with someone who doesn’t want to be around me.

How should I handle this conflict?

Lisa’s thoughts…

Your lives are changing with shifts in responsibilities which can happen.  These things require adjustments by both and can be worked through by keeping lines of communication open.  But you are also noticing other changes leading to even less time together.  At this point, it’s important to address your loneliness with him.  If he cares about you and the relationship, he will be open to hearing your feeling about what’s been happening.  For you, there is a big shift in time spent with friends and other social activities and it doesn’t appear as though your relationship is being tended to in the way it used to be.  I don’t believe him saying you’re being “dramatic” is useful.  Your feelings are valid and you have a right to express your concerns.

You have been together a long time which means something!  But it seems as though he is not really hearing you or just doesn’t get it.  Try telling him you miss him and the time you used to spend together.  Be clear that you’re not trying to keep him from having a social life separate from you but rather to reconsider the balance in your relationship.  You have a right to say that the way things are now isn’t working, especially if you choose your words thoughtfully and with compassion.  Come from an “I feel” position rather one of blame.

If he continues to devalue your feelings by referring to them as “dramatic” and things remain the same, it’s up to you whether this is something want long term.  A healthy relationship is reciprocal and where love is, effort is shown.

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Need advice?  Consider a Relationship Consultation for guidance.

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT is the creator of LoveAndLifeToolbox.com with emotional and relationship health articles, guides, courses and other tools for individuals and couples. She is a frequent consultant for the media having appeared in CNN.com, HuffingtonPost.com, MensHealth.com and others. Lisa has a private practice in Marin County, CA and offers Emotional Health and Relationship Consultations via email, phone or video conference.