What to Do When Your Partner’s Busy Life Interferes with Love

Do you have a busy partner? She’s always working, out with friends or focused on personal hobbies. Or he cancels dates for another meeting and works late into the evenings. It can be challenging—even detrimental—for some couples. But for most, it works well when both individuals communicate clearly about their needs. You can survive and even thrive in a relationship with an ambitious and active partner. Start with these five tips.

1. Address Your Priorities

The first step to any healthy relationship is understanding where each other’s priorities lie. Your priorities stem from your values, which should closely align with your partner’s values. And while your values may closely align, how you prioritize activities relating to those values may differ. That’s where conflict could arise. But if you can have an open, honest and clear discussion about where each of your priorities lie, then you’ll be well on your way to greater understanding and compassion within your relationship.

Perhaps you’re fully aware of your priorities and values as an individual and as a couple. Sometimes humans forget things. So it’s always good to circle back around and remind yourself what those are. So when push comes to shove you can remember that you both said that career was important for you. That little reminder may be all you need to get you through a busy season in either of your lives.

If at any point you find that your priorities and values don’t align with your partner’s, and you can’t tolerate life with their particular set of priorities, then it’s time to reflect on whether it’s the right relationship for both of you.

Getting clear on priorities is a first and must. It helps you to understand each other’s motivations. You may have an aha moment and feel more relaxed knowing that working late or spending time socializing after work is an indicator of your partner’s alignment.

2. Examine expectations

Expectations can be killer. Keep your wits about yourself and examine what expectations you might have about your partner and your relationship. Don’t assume that everything is good just because you like the current balance in the relationship. Your partner might resent the fact that you’re never home for dinner. Or vice versa, don’t stew in bitterness and expect the other person to read your mind.

When you don’t like how certain situations are working out, i.e. your partner not arriving home on time for dinner, then discuss with him or her about your desire and expectation. He or she may not have the same desire. And your partner might not even want to have the same expectation. Clear the air and lay it all out on the table. If your partner can’t commit to following through with your expectation, then it’s time to adjust your expectations to meet reality.

Maybe you require more quality time than the other person. Don’t sit around waiting for the other person to give it to you. You’ll only be disappointed. Address your needs and set your expectations accordingly. Communicate openly with your partner.

3. Establish routines

“Routine” is a forbidden word in many relationships. People equate it with staleness, boredom and lacklusterness. But routines serve a far greater purpose than watering down your sexual desire. Quite the contrary. Routines serve as the framework for a stable and healthy relationship from which spontaneous and exciting activities can occur.

If you aren’t getting your regular dose of open communication, then you can’t maintain clear channels in your relationship. Similarly, if you aren’t regularly spending quality time together (if that’s your need), then one or the other person is bound to feel neglected and not cared for.

Routines are agreements you set for your relationship to keep it humming along smoothly. If one person’s schedule gets overbearing, then routines offer the appropriate boundary. If you agree to evening conversations 30 minutes before bed and you notice your partner missing those conversations, then that’s grounds to chat about how work is bleeding over into personal time.

Figure out what your needs our in your relationship. Communicate those with your partner. And establish routines to meet those needs rather than relying on spontaneity. Your partner may not have the same needs. So you could be waiting around forever to get your needs met. It won’t occur to someone to give to another something they themselves don’t need.

4. Focus on self-love

Once you’ve established your priorities, aired out your expectations and set routines, then you’ve probably made peace with the fact that your partner will be occupied regularly—without you. And that’s the perfect opportunity to focus on yourself. Begin to cultivate self-love. Instead of relying solely on your partner to give you what you need, fill your bucket yourself.

Take yourself out on dates. Start a new hobby. Or spend time with your own friends or family. If you have a career, then dive deeper with what you’re doing. It’s healthy to have your own interests and projects. It’s healthy to be your own person. Two whole individuals make for an awesome relationship. But when one person becomes dependent on the other, you end up riding a bicycle with one flat tire. It doesn’t work.

5. Practice compassion and understanding.

Finally, after all the open and honest communication, you should reach a point of compassion and understanding. If you can’t understand where your partner’s coming from, then perhaps the relationship is not meant to be. Clear communication along with the alignment of values and priorities should square you nicely with a place of understanding. Or it could align you with the exit door as you realize that you both have different trajectories in life. And that’s okay. It’s better to know up front where each other is headed and make sure you pick a partner who has a similar path as you.

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50 comments

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KimJ ManyIssues2 months ago

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Sophie M
Sophie L2 months ago

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Ramesh B
Ramesh B3 months ago

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Jan S
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