My boyfriend has worked the last 2 weeks in a row and it is not over. He is working 65+ hours a week for weeks on end. I am busy with work and obligations after work. Sex is dwindling and I am feeling neglected. Tonight he has decided to go for drinks after work with friends and he won’t get home until the middle of the night. So I started a fight and I am pissed because he spends all of his time at work, and now he wants to hang out with them after work.
All I want is a little bit of his time. I actually have asked for a day off work so we can spend time together….
Now I feel like I over reacted (we argued on the phone), he hung up on me. So now everything is brewing until tonight when he gets home. I feel stupid for getting mad but at the same time I feel like it is understandable…help!
Your reaction is perfectly justified; however, the timing is wrong to attack him.
True! You need to spend time with him to keep the relationship alive. He does not give it to you. You get angry and fight.
When there is tension rising, you need space to talk about things like that. Right now, you don’t have that space. This is why tension builds up and it’s enough to have an extra drop or pressure to make it explode.
The goal is simple: deal with it in another way. I know you two have very busy lives but it’s your relationship which is at stake. It’s either you do something about it (make it priority) or resentment will build up and more tension will come.
You want to gain new skills. This requires serious action. Dealing with it when it happens is simply not enough. You want a real strategy which works.
The goal is to create time to talk about these things? How much do you need? 30 minutes a week. That’s all you’ll need to bring harmony in your relationship.
You don’t know what a good balance would be. Neither do I and neither does your partner, but what matters is that you start talking about what is happening.
You need extra skills to do this. You won’t establish it overnight. It takes about 1 month to feel comfortable with it but I guarantee you that the moment you sit down and talk about it, you relationship’s base will radically shift.
Why is that? Because you create complicity. You decide to work together on a common ground which is the success of your relationship.
Where to start? For now, drop it.
Go to him one evening soon. When you two have at least 5 minutes and tell him you want to sit down and talk about things which are happening to the two of you.
Say something like: “Look, there are a couple of things which worry me. I am afraid that if we let it go, we are going to grow apart. I don’t want that. I believe what we share is truly worth. I love you and I like what we have, but it is time to sit down and work on it together. Let’s make a moment, Thursday evening 8 am (yes!! make an appointment!) and let’s take just half an hour for us to find out what is going on…”
If he does not want it, insist until he goes with it. The survival of your relationship depends on that.
Get him to commit in being there.
On that appointed evening, open a bottle of red wine (or something else), unplug the phones and make sure you won’t be disturbed. Make it cozy.
Then, say something like:
“Look, lately I have been feeling really neglected. I don’t feel good at all with what is happening. We are both under pressure and this is not about adding pressure to our lives.
I want us to find a strategy to deal with this. I miss what we share. The only thing I need is a couple of hours in the week just for the two of us. I want our couple to win. What we have is worth a lot and I believe if we deal with this challenge together, we’ll come out of it stronger. What do you suggest we do?…”
You are here to design a strategy to deal with these tensions. Simple, you want to win!
Talk about it for 30 min and drop it!!! No matter what you achieved. No matter what you found, drop it after 30 min.
Take notes; write down what he says and what you say. The following week, same place, same time, do it again.
Now, you have to trust! I know this can sound very formal, but doing this with your partner is the most empowering step you can take right now. It can clear tensions within a week to a month by simply giving you a space to express your frustration.
You establish dialogue because you have a common ground. This is a diplomatic solution which will make you realize how much you care for each other. Do not hesitate. Go ahead and do it. It will shift your relationship’s emotional base.