Relationship Column

Relationship Column

Lindsay Montgomery

Question:

My boyfriend has graduated already, and I am still a student. When he comes home from work, he gets to relax and sit around. When I come home, I still have homework, studying to do, work, etc. He is always wanting to go out, fool around or do things that I just don’t have time for. I feel bad saying no to going out, sex and other fun things, and I understand his needs are important, but what about mine? How do I let him know that I can’t give him all the attention he is looking for without hurting him? Help!

– Confused student/girlfriend

Lindsay’s response:

Dear Confused,

Good for you — not everyone realizes the importance of balancing priorities when in a relationship.

It sounds like your schedule is packed. Try setting aside one day or night a week for just you and your boyfriend — whenever things are usually less hectic. If your schedule is more haphazard, pick which day works best each week.

You don’t want him to feel like you’re penciling him in, but maybe you have to. If you present it to him by saying something along the lines of, “I know it seems like I never have time for you, and I hate that. I think we should set time aside at least one day a week just for each other,” he’ll understand you’re doing it because you care.

Guaranteeing that time will give him something to look forward to, and you a way to show your commitment. He’ll have you all to himself without making you feel guilty for shirking responsibilities.

Some weeks, maybe you won’t even be able to promise him that. If you don’t have time, make time — set your alarm early and wake him up with morning sex. I bet he’ll be all too willing to sacrifice some shuteye.

Remember, while time is an important part of any relationship, it’s not only about being around each other. He wants to know you care. Surprise him with his favorite take-out meal, send texts to remind him why he means so much — and how you intend to prove it to him. Use your imagination. I’m sure you can find ways to remind him why you’re worth the wait.

Taylor’s response:

Dear Confused,

Your issue is quite common — my girlfriend and I recently went through this and came to a solution. I was the guy who wanted to relax or party, and she had things to do.

It doesn’t seem like your boyfriend remembers what it was like to be a busy student. It sounds like your boyfriend could use a distraction or two — something to take the pressure off of you.

You could help your boyfriend find a hobby, for starters. But you don’t want or have the time to, you can always arrange a man-date between him and his best bro.

Time apart from each other can greatly strengthen a relationship. As cheesy as it sounds, it makes the time you get to spend together all the more special.

If his desire to spend time with you seems too dependent, you may have to let him know that it’s OK for him to do things without you.

Together time could include you studying while your boyfriend does things you’re not interested in. Being in the same room can constitute spending time together, as well — you don’t have to be the center of each other’s attention.

I love to play video games, but my girlfriend hates them. She sews, and I won’t have anything to do with that. We can do those separate things while still spending time together.

Remember, don’t let yourself feel guilty for having to study or work — those are major priorities.

Taylor Goranson