Dear Dr. Romance:
My boyfriend spends more time with his friends than me by a long shot. My boyfriend and I have been together for 9 months now and he all of a sudden started spending way more time with them than me. I've tried talking to him about it and he said "i need two days per week when i don't have to speak to or hang out with you". it's really frustrating because our schedules only work where we have a few days together and i feel like he's taking that time away from me. I know he cares about me, but i forget sometimes. It's hard to remind myself that he loves me when he's ditched me for them. I feel so unimportant and neglected and he just doesn't seem to care. What should i do?
What you DON'T want to do is whine or nag, because that just pushes him away. It's important for you to have other options than your boyfriend. In fact, if you want to get him to want more time with you, start going out on your own with friends, or to find new friends. Take a class, get involved in an activity. If you're not available at times when he wants to see you, you'll find that he begins to make more time for you. You've made it way too easy for him, and he doesn't value you as much as his friends. Also, read "Asking for What You Want" to get more ideas about how to communicate effectively.
Dr. Romance's 3 ways to ruin your relationship:
1. Pick the wrong partner for the wrong reasons: No matter how charming your partner is, if he or she's a player, an out-of-control spender, a con artist, an alcoholic/addict or violent, no amount of love on your part will fix him or her one bit. Don't try. The minute you find out there's a Fatal Flaw, end it. Find a less charming, but more upstanding, healthy person to love.
2. Nag/scold/bitch/whine/yell when things don't meet your expectations. You have to take care of yourself, and find a way to solve problems and motivate your partner to work with you. Partnership is the name of the game, not "I want you to take care of me, and I'll throw a temper tantrum if you don't." You'll get a lot more of what you want if you ask directly and simply, and motivate with affection, humor and fun.
3. Do it all yourself. Lots of people try to fill in all the gaps by doing whatever their partner isn't doing -- all alone. If he can't keep a job, getting successful on your own could be a good thing for you, but it won't save the relationship. If he won't help around the house, or with the kids, doing it all yourself (plus your job) won't save the relationship either. If she won't be responsible about money or discipline, doing it all yourself will work for a while, but you'll wind up being seen as the bad guy. Very early in the relationship, give your partner the room to do his share. If nothing is forthcoming, ask directly (don't just whine or hint) for what you want. If your mate doesn't step up, and won't discuss what would help, then you're probably the only one in the relationship, and it's not going to work.
For more help, read The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again.
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