Ask Lynn-Finding time to see each other

Her boyfriend says he’s too tired to see her. But is there another reason he’s pulling away?

By Lynn Harris

ear Lynn,
I met the man I’m dating four months ago on an online dating site. We hit it off and we talk every day. We meet for lunch once a week and alternate meeting at each other’s houses on the weekends, since he has his kids the weekends that I don’t have mine and vice versa. Since I have my kids the rest of the time, he also occasionally comes over during the week after the kids are asleep.

This has recently stopped. He says it’s because he is too tired to come over. Between kids, jobs, and his NEED for exercise four nights a week, our
Our relationship is the same as it was when we started dating.
relationship is the same — one lunch, one weekend night — as it was when we started dating.

I would like to be able to see him more. He said that for him to stay healthy, he won’t give up his exercise; also, he refuses to stay over, even when my kids aren’t home. More than once he hasn’t returned my calls or texts until it’s too late, then saying he’s tired or even that he’d lost his phone.

Am I holding on to something that is doomed? I feel that if he can’t MAKE time for me, then it’s not worth it for me, either.
– Frustrated!

Dear Frustrated,
I’m going to bottom-line this for you, though you probably won’t be happy about my answer. Truthfully, no one is “too busy” for a relationship that he or she really wants. The relationship is supposed to be the thing that — for the giddy honeymoon
Your relationship should be growing, not stalling.
period, at least — makes you ditch the gym, know what I’m saying?

I certainly don’t mean to sound flippant or cold when it comes to the scheduling challenges of two working single parents; you guys are heroes to be in this at all, even over lunch. And I respect his commitment to fitness.

But, after four months, you’re right: Your relationship should be growing, not stalling. Someone should be returning calls (or calling you first!), saying, “The hell with it, I’ll run around your block 100 times at 5 a.m. for exercise. I need to sneak over and see you NOW” — not making excuses about being “tired.” Timing things right may be hard. But what worthwhile commitment comes without healthy, reasoned compromise, not to mention a little creativity?

There are signs to be read in some relationships, and then there is stating the obvious. This is the cold, hard reality: You are begging someone to spend time with you. It should not come to this. This is not fun. This is not the point of romance. I know you guys hit it off, and I’m sure it’s hard to meet people; I’m not discounting that, and I don’t blame you for trying to wring from this what you can. But you need a guy — and I KNOW he is out there — who will make the time to see you and make you feel like more than an afterthought.

Lynn Harris ( is co-creator, with Chris Kalb (, of the award-winning website — you can visit BG's blog to discuss this letter! A longtime journalist, Lynn has written about dating, gender, and culture high and low for Glamour, Marie Claire, The New York Times,,, and many others. She is currently the communications strategist for Breakthrough, a transnational organization that creates pop culture to promote human rights. Submit your own dating questions for Ask Lynn via Your question may be answered in a future column.
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