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Should You Keep Dating Someone Who's Too Busy?

Veronica is an online writer from New York who enjoys sharing relationship advice.

Is your partner always too busy?

Is your partner always too busy?

Is a Busy Schedule a Deal-Breaker in Your Relationship?

Let's say you and your ex split because of their busy schedule and your inability to deal with it. Six months later, you still love each other. Should you try dating again?

We'll assume that their "busy schedule" does not mean their spouse—perhaps it's work, hobbies, kids, charity work, religious commitments, season tickets, or friends.

Here's what you have to consider. When it comes to relationships, there are two types of people: those who get into a serious relationship when the time is right, and those who get into a serious relationship when the person is right.

People Who Get Serious When the Time Is Right

If it is the right time for them, they'll make it work. They'll fight to fit you into their busy schedule. They'll rearranged their priorities. If someone wants the relationship to work, the "too busy" excuse will be non-existent. Otherwise, it's clear that this is not the right time for this person to get into a relationship.

Maybe your inability to deal with their busy schedule was a factor. This leads us to the other type of person in the dating world.

People Who Get Serious When the Person Is Right

If this is the right person, being busy wouldn't be a deal-breaker for you. Imagine—could you really think that you'd found the One—someone who feels exactly the same way about you—but since they have a hectic life, it's not worth it for you to be with them? Would you rather be alone all the time than with the person you really love some of the time?

So, how do you know when you've met the One? It's when you stop thinking about yourself first. And I don't mean the little things—I don't mean going to their favorite restaurant instead of yours, or sitting through Scarface for the 10th time, or cleaning the bathroom, or going out of your way to stop and get Mallomars for them.

I mean the big things. The things that make a difference: real compromise, real sacrifice. Real moments where you think about what's best for them, and what they would want. And you must be willing to actually put their real needs before yours (at least half of the time): Living in the city where they work instead of in the countryside where you'd prefer to be. Not having any more cats because they're allergic. Not spending Christmas with your family for the first time in your life because it's their turn that you both spend Christmas with their family. Spending Saturday nights on your own because of their poker night/season tickets/job/karate class.

Don't get me wrong. Each of those compromises has a counterpart, like getting the condo that overlooks the park you like, instead of the studio in Soho they'd prefer. Getting a cockapoo, even though they don't really want one. Them staying alone on Friday night because of your poker night/martini club/kickboxing class. Taking a vacation in Paris with you instead of in Cooperstown with their siblings. Letting you use their Bed-in-a-Bag as drop-cloths while you repaint the kitchen.

There is a balance, a sense of give-and-take. But I can assure you, you shouldn't sacrifice the right person because of their schedule. If they're the right person for you, their busy schedule will never be factor. I guarantee it.

What's the Root of the Problem?

It's possible that it's the other way around: maybe you're the one who isn't ready. Maybe they were, and they tried to compromise, you just weren't ready to make the kind of commitment it takes to have a real, long-lasting, adult relationship.

There is nothing wrong with not being ready. Putting yourself, your growth, and your needs first is an honorable stage in all of our lives.

I remember my first apartment without roommates. I had three railroad rooms in Jersey, about 30 minutes from Manhattan by car, shorter by train. I called it my "Mary Tyler Moore" apartment. I was independent and on my own. I was focused on my writing, my career, and my friends. Even my hobbies and interests were primary focal points. I dated often. But I knew I wasn't ready for a relationship. I was nowhere near the point in my life to compromise. I was not a willing partner. I was not a team player. I was just me back then. And it was a vital and important time in my development. I learned a lot about myself. I became who I am.

I'm the first to tell anyone, you can't skate in doubles until you can skate on your own. I think it's important to become you, the person. I don't see how you can become you, the partner until you have mastered being you on your own.

Think About What Kind of Relationship You Want

Consider this: If they're busy, that means that they have the ability to fill their life with things that aren't you. Your inability to do the same may be a turn-off. They may think that you're demanding to spend more time together than they are willing to spend. They might see you as needy and dependent. Apparently, they don't want that.

Some relationships are super co-dependent. Maybe that's the kind of thing you're looking for. However, that may not be the situation they're attracted to. They'd be better suited with someone who has their own life, strong and independent. You'd be better suited with someone who is less independent.

My grandparents did everything together—from taking out the garbage to grocery shopping. It's sweet and romantic, and maybe you're like that. I can see the wonder in that.

Personally, however, I'd have to say—yuck! I'd be suffocating and screaming. "Get a life and get off of me!" I don't mean that as a dis. Everyone has their preferences. If you would rather not to be with someone because they are too busy, you may do better looking to a different kind of partner.