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Do you hardly ever see your boyfriend?

Is he always busy when you ask to meet up?

Does it feel like he just doesn’t want to spend time with you?

And, all the while, does he claim to love you?

This situation is not healthy. It may spell the end of your relationship… but it doesn’t have to.

Before you make any decisions about the future of your relationship, it’s worth asking some of these questions and then following the tips that come after.

annoyed woman talking on the phone to absent boyfriend who doesn't have time for her

13 Questions To Ask To Figure Out Why He Doesn’t Have Time For You

Whilst the following questions aren’t meant to excuse your boyfriend in any way, they might help you to figure out why he isn’t more committed to spending time with you.

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1. How long have you been together?

How often you see your boyfriend will depend on when the relationship started.

If you are still in the early throes of a new relationship, he may just want to take things slowly.

A relationship is a big change to both of your lives, and whilst you may be ready to move forward quickly, he may take more time to get used to it.

On the other hand, if your relationship is well established, he may have become complacent in it.

He may no longer feel the need to make the same effort he did when you were first dating because he feels so secure.

2. Do you enjoy doing the same things?

In order to spend quality time together, it’s important that you have at least some common interests.

If you don’t, it’s perhaps not that surprising that he spends his time with other people doing other things.

This can even come down to what you each like to watch on TV because this is something a lot of couples do together in the evenings.

3. Is he simply prioritizing others over you?

Perhaps there are things you could enjoy doing together, but he chooses to do them with someone else.

If so, ask yourself why this may be.

Has he always done a certain thing with a certain person? Perhaps he has a particular friend or group of friends he goes to concerts with and he just likes it that way.

Is that something you can live with? In certain cases, this is perfectly acceptable, but if he is trying to keep his entire existing life separate from you, it’s a bit of a red flag.

Similarly, if he puts time spent with others ahead of time spent with you on a regular basis, you have to wonder how much value he places on you and your relationship.

Extra reading: 30 Signs Your Partner Sees You As An Option, Not A Priority

4. Is he stressed or overloaded in other areas of his life?

Life can be overwhelming at times. Work, college, and family troubles are among the things that can consume our every waking thought.

It’s not ideal, but it happens more than you might think.

If your boyfriend doesn’t have any time for you, is he just struggling to keep his head above water in other parts of his life?

Perhaps he doesn’t want to admit how much he is struggling or ask for help, and so he just withdraws and makes less of an effort to see you.

5. What does he want from the relationship?

Have you sat down with your boyfriend and had ‘the chat’ about where you both see the relationship going? If not, you should.

He might not realize how serious your commitment really is. He may think that you are happy just seeing how things develop without rushing into anything big like living together, marriage, or children. If so, he might not see the need to commit as much time as you’d like to the relationship.

Right now he may see your relationship as a nice thing to have, but not something to dedicate too much time and energy to. He may not make you feel like the priority you would like to be in his life.

Extra reading: 7 Tips For Having The “Where Is This Going?” Relationship Talk With A Guy

6. Is distance a big problem?

How far apart do you and your boyfriend live? How quick and easy is it for him to come see you, or vice versa?

Of course, a person makes time for those things that are most important to him, but if you are expecting him to make the journey to see you each time – perhaps because he drives and you don’t – he may feel a little resentful.

7. Is the connection and intimacy there when you are together?

When you do manage to see him, does your boyfriend treat you well? Is he affectionate, open, and engaged with you and what you are doing?

Or, is he there in a physical sense, but emotionally unavailable to you and your needs?

If it’s the former, the relationship certainly still has something going for it; something worth fighting for.

If it’s the latter, you’ll need to do a lot more hard work to get things back to a place where you can be happy.

Extra reading: What To Do About A Relationship That Lacks Intimacy And Connection

8. Is the relationship purely physical?

When you spend time together, is sex the first thing on his mind?

Sure, it is nice to feel desired in a physical sense, but if that’s the only thing he appreciates you for, it’s not really enough.

If he just comes by for a hookup and doesn’t want to spend any great length of time with you, it’s worth asking whether he is using you.

9. Does he flake on plans?

Does your boyfriend agree to see you, but regularly bail on those plans at the last minute?

This might be a sign that considers you his last resort in terms of how he spends his time, and that if he gets a better offer, he won’t hesitate to take it.

It might also indicate that he takes you for granted because he knows that you won’t kick up a fuss when he flakes.

10. Are you too available?

When your boyfriend wants to see you, do you say yes straight away to whatever plans he wants to make?

Whilst this may be a natural reaction for someone who already feels like they don’t spend enough quality time with their partner, it can send a very clear message. It says to your boyfriend that you will always be ready and waiting for him should he want to see you. There’s never any need to plan in advance because you’ll drop whatever you’re doing to make space for him in your diary.

The problem is, if he knows that you’ll always be an option, he won’t feel the need to make you a priority. If you’ll work around his life, he doesn’t have to make specific time for you in his schedule.

11. Is he an independent introvert?

If your boyfriend seems to spend more time alone than with you or his friends, you are probably dealing with quite an introverted guy.

Introverts get drained quickly when spending time with other people. This can even apply to partners.

He may simply not feel able to spend loads of time with you because it tires him out.

This can change over time as he gets more comfortable around you. If he can be himself and not feel the need to fill every moment together with conversation or an activity, he will be able to spend more time with you without running out of batteries.

12. What’s his relationship history like?

If you’ve talked about exes, do you know why his past relationships ended? Did he break things off or did the other person?

Some people like the idea of being in a relationship, but don’t want to put in the hard work required to keep them going.

If your boyfriend has had several short-ish relationships and most were ended by the other person, you have to ask yourself why.

Perhaps he just doesn’t value your relationship – or any relationship – enough to make the effort.

He might just see it as a nice thing to have, but not so important that he wants to change his whole life for it.

13. How much time would you like to spend together?

What do you want out of your relationship in terms of spending time with your boyfriend?

And how will this change as your relationship goes on – will you want to spend increasing amounts of time as a couple?

Whatever your answers are, do you think this is a realistic expectation given the current situation?

This is where your answers to the previous questions will help.

If there are things that you think you can both work on to improve the situation, you might remain optimistic about your long term relationship prospects.

If you can’t see ways past some of the issues raised, or you’re just not willing to wait around for the necessary changes to happen, you might wish to ask whether this relationship is worth staying in.

If you don’t think you’ll feel satisfied in the medium to long term, it’s probably time to call it a day and find someone who wishes to spend more time with you.

6 Things You Can Do If Your Boyfriend Doesn’t Want To Spend Time With You

Now that you have spent a little time thinking about the current situation in your relationship, here are some tips for both spending more time with your boyfriend, and feeling less aggrieved by how things are now.

1. Find hobbies to do together.

This can help address the second question from the list above. If you don’t really share hobbies or passions, could you find some common ground?

It might require you both to go beyond your comfort zones, or simply try new things together to see if you enjoy them.

There are plenty of potential hobbies for couples, so there should be no reason for him to say no to everything.

If you do find something you both enjoy, it’ll give him more reason to prioritize spending time with you over spending time with others or by himself.

2. Communicate your concerns using “I” statements.

It’s important to remember that you are worthy of at least some of your boyfriend’s time and attention.

If you don’t think you get enough of it, you should feel able to raise this issue with him.

But how you talk about it will influence how he reacts and how successful it is in creating change.

Always use “I” statements when discussing the issue. This way, you avoid attributing blame to him, which would likely make him defensive.

Say something such as:

“I really wish I could spend more time with you because I care about you and enjoy your company.”


“I’ve been feeling a bit lonely lately and would really appreciate it if you could spend a little bit more time with me.”

Avoid saying things like:

“You never want to spend time with me or make the effort to arrange things. You’re neglecting me and this relationship.”

Opening a dialogue may help to uncover the underlying reasons why he avoids spending time with you.

3. Put the emphasis on him to make plans.

If you are currently the one to keep in touch with him and make all the moves in terms of seeing each other, let him take responsibility for a change.

This is a litmus test for how much he values your relationship.

He may quickly realize how little he initiates contact and try to up his game. Or he may simply disappear and not contact you because doing so hasn’t crossed his mind.

If he does get in touch and asks you why you haven’t text or called, simply apologize, saying something like, “Sorry, I’ve been meaning to, but I’m here now. How are you?”

It’s important to keep the subsequent communication the same as always. He may think you are in a mood with him, so you have to show him that you’re not (even if you are).

That way he won’t associate you not texting with you being upset. This is important if he is to initiate communication naturally again and again.

As for seeing each other, ask him what he would like to do. Then, if he doesn’t offer, politely ask him to make the arrangements.

So if he suggests a day out at the weekend, agree enthusiastically, but then ask him precisely what he’d like to do.

Remember, you are not his mother or carer – he must learn to do things himself.

Extra reading: How To Ignore Him To Get His Attention: 5 Methods And Their Pros And Cons

4. Find other ways to spend time together.

Sometimes life will make it difficult to see each other physically, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spend time together in some way.

Propose a video call or phone call in the evenings (though not necessarily every evening) where you can’t meet up for whatever reason, but you know he’s available.

Just having this communication on a regular basis will help you feel more loved and him feel more willing to dedicate time to you.

5. Maintain an active life outside of the relationship.

Even if you do manage to get your boyfriend to spend more time with you, it’s unlikely to be a sudden and massive change.

If you only see him once a week, he’s not suddenly going to be at your side every evening and all weekend.

Change is a slow process, especially where habits are involved. And he may only be able to change so much; you may always have to deal with the fact that he spends quite a lot of time on things outside of your relationship.

A good way to cope is for you to do the same.

If you can fill your time with things that you enjoy – both in and out of the home, and with or without others – you won’t be so bothered by the precise amount of time you spend with your boyfriend.

If you can recruit friends into a regular meet up, or join a local club of some sorts, that’s a good start.

Having a home life and routine that you feel content with is also important.

All of this will help you become less emotionally dependent on your boyfriend for your happiness.

6. Reassess your expectations of a relationship, or find a better match.

This point echoes point #11 from the previous section, but it’s so important that it’s worth mentioning again, just in case you missed it.

If you find yourself getting upset because your boyfriend doesn’t have time for you, it might be worth a quick look inward to see what your expectations of a relationship are.

Do you believe that couples should spend the vast majority of their time together?

This view might not match those held by some other people.

This leaves you with two options:

1. Reassess what you expect from a boyfriend in terms of time spent together.

2. Find a man who shares your view and wants to spend lots of time together.

If you honestly think you could adapt to your boyfriend’s ways and you care for him enough to make that change, option one could be right for you… at least until you’ve given it a good go.

If you don’t think you’ll ever be able to accept a relationship where you only see your boyfriend every so often, you have to give some serious thought as to whether this is the right relationship for you.

Still not sure how to get your boyfriend to spend more time with you? This is a tricky situation, and one that can easily be made worse with the wrong approach. But Relationship Hero can guide the way and help you achieve the best outcome. Through regular sessions with a dedicated relationship expert (by yourself and/or as a couple), you’ll learn precisely how to create a healthier and more fulfilling relationship—one that can last a lifetime. Learn more about Relationship Hero and get the kind of tactical relationship advice and ongoing support you need.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is he busy or just not interested?

You can’t monitor your boyfriend 24/7, so you won’t know precisely how much free time he has. But if he says he is busy, you should begin from a place of trust and believe him.

But being busy does not excuse a lack of effort. Unless his job forbids the use of phones, he can be busy and still find the time respond to your messages within a few hours at most. That is not too much to ask in most circumstances.

People can, however, have different expectations for a relationship. He might believe that he is dedicating enough of what little free time he has to you and your relationship, whilst you may not see things the same way because you have more free time in general.

A lot of people say that if someone cares enough about you, they make the time to see you. And whilst there is an element of truth in that, not everyone is able to for one reason or another.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s not interested, however. He might be keen on you and on making your relationship into a lifelong partnership. Just remember that it’s not your job to give him feelings for you – they will develop in their own time if they are going to.

Of course, you might reach a point where you don’t believe he can be busy whenever he says he is. What excuses does he make? Are they reasonable or do they seem a bit far-fetched? Does he make the same excuse again and again? You might eventually have to consider that he is sending you certain messages about his feelings with each excuse he gives – and you can’t ignore those messages forever.

How can I cope when my boyfriend works/studies long hours?

If there’s no doubt that he’s busy because you know he works and/or studies long hours every week, the challenge then becomes one of finding ways to accept and deal with this.

It’s not reasonable to ask him to give up his work or studies, and nor is it always realistic for him to scale back the amount of time he spends on these things.

In this case, a lot of understanding and patience is required. The two of you can have a long and happy relationship, of that there’s no doubt, but there’s no guarantee of that.

If you value quality time together and have always made it a big part of your past relationships, to suddenly not get that can be a major adjustment. The question becomes whether or not you are mentally prepared and emotionally able to tolerate the major work or academic commitments he has in his life.

The key is to not make your life revolve around your relationship. For the time being, at least, you won’t be able to spend as much time with your boyfriend as you’d like. So what else can you do with that time? How else might you spend it? Who else might you spend it with?

If you can create an element of regular quality time with a best friend or members of your family, you might be able to get the emotional connection you need from them in times when you can’t get it from your boyfriend.

And how long can you keep that going? Will there come a point where you need to see your boyfriend more frequently? If that point is likely to come before his work or study situation changes, is this relationship right for you?

How can I make the time we do spend together special?

If your boyfriend doesn’t have a lot of free time to spend with you, it’s important that you make good use of the time you do have together.

This doesn’t mean you have to maximize every single second by filling it with activities. You shouldn’t try to force a special feeling upon every little thing you do. You need to have those moments of normality too. You need to veg out in front of the TV sometimes; you need to cook dinner and clean up afterwards; you need to chill in the park.

But you should ensure that you do enough of the more date-type activities too. Go to restaurants, book a city break one weekend, catch some theatre… do whatever it is you both enjoy doing.

And don’t forget that some of those special moments should include your friends and family. When your time together is limited, it can be tempting to spend it all just the two of you. But this can put a lot of pressure on those events. If you do more of the regular things that couples do that involve other people, the relationship will begin to feel a bit more normal too.

Another thing to consider is how lovey-dovey you try to be in the time that you do spend together. You may wan to kiss and cuddle lots, but this can become a bit overbearing if you’re not careful. Remember, it’s important to find a balance and to make the relationship feel normal. If it feels forced or inauthentic, it might be the reason why your boyfriend doesn’t want to spend time with you.

How do I get my boyfriend to support me when I need him?

Enjoying quality time is very different to feeling supported. Even if your boyfriend enjoys spending lots of time with his friends or on his hobbies, when you need him, he should show up for you.

You’re not simply asking him to spend some time with you; you are asking him to be present and to be supportive of you when you are going through a difficult time. It’s not unreasonable to expect your boyfriend to cancel other plans he may have to help you in a time of crisis.

If you genuinely need your boyfriend’s practical or emotional support, you should ask him for it and be clear that this is not just a preference, it is a need. Unless he has a very good reason not to come to your assistance, you should be forthright with your requests.

Tell him exactly what has happened and why you need him. Make it clear that whatever has happened has really upset you. Use firm language; don’t say, “I’d like it if you could come over,” say, “I need you to come over as soon as you can.” That way, you don’t give him the option of saying no. You are telling him to come over as soon as he is realistically able to.

These are telling moments in your relationship. If he makes excuses or tries to fob you off with a quick phone call when he’s out with his friends, you’ll know the value he places on your feelings and on the relationship itself.

How can I get him to focus on me when we actually are together?

If you feel invisible when you do manage to spend time as a couple, it can be an even harder pill to swallow than him not finding the time in the first place.

If he spends his time staring at his phone, messaging other people, planning future events that don’t include you, or just avoiding any form of conversation or closeness, you have to wonder what he wants from you.

As highlighted above, you should address this issue using “I” statements. Tell him how you feel about the time you do spend together. Tell him how you’d like an evening or day together to be like. Or ask him how he’d like to spend time together – perhaps what you’re doing now doesn’t engage him enough.

Try to find activities where he can’t be so absent and distracted. Cook something challenging together where you’ll have to follow a recipe and prep ingredients. Play a board game. Go to a quiz night and form a team just the two of you. Go for a walk and suggest leaving your phones at home. Doing something together doesn’t have to mean sitting at home having a deep conversation. Make it fun; engage his mind and he’ll engage with you too.

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About The Author

Steve Phillips-Waller is the founder and editor of A Conscious Rethink. He has written extensively on the topics of life, relationships, and mental health for more than 8 years.