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Boyfriend spending more time with his friends? 12 things you can do about it

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Does your boyfriend spend more time with his friends than he does with you? If so, how should you go about approaching this situation?

It’s hard to get the balance right in a relationship. Life is busy and there’s always so much to do, and even more that you want to do. It can be hard to make sure you’re still prioritizing quality time with your partner.

Work and social lives can limit the amount of one-on-one time you spend together, and sometimes one partner can have more trouble dividing their time than the other.

So, what do you do if your boyfriend is one of those people and it seems he’d rather be with his friends than with you? How do you get the message across that you are feeling neglected and need more from your relationship?

You may be worried that, if it keeps going the way it is, it will drive you apart. So how do you stop it from reaching that point?

Here are some tips on what to do when you feel like your boyfriend hangs out with his friends more than he does with you.

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1. Talk to him about how you feel.

If you’re upset because you feel you spend less time together as a couple than he does with his friends, then you need to talk to your boyfriend about how you’re feeling.

It doesn’t need to be an accusation or an argument. Your boyfriend might not realize how you’ve been feeling. The amount of time they spend away from you may not be intentional, and a conversation can help bring into perspective just how much time you spend apart.

He can’t try to fix things if he doesn’t know what the problem is. Even if the issue is obvious to you, your boyfriend might not feel the same way. Having an honest conversation about how you’re feeling and talking about actionable ways you can both start making a difference could be what you need to bring you closer together again.

2. Use the time for yourself.

While your boyfriend is off seeing his friends, why don’t you take the time to see yours or do something else you enjoy?

Spending time away from your boyfriend doesn’t have to be a negative thing. It’s good for couples to have their own time and space in a relationship to remind themselves of their needs as individuals and not just a pair.

Instead of counting the clock until your boyfriend returns, try making a conscious effort to use this alone time for what makes you happy. Watch that movie you never get to watch when he’s around, read a book, or get some exercise. Taking a relaxing bath or enjoying a hobby that you never find time to do can be all it takes to feel as if you’ve indulged in some self-care.

You can also use this time away from each other to see your own friends. If he’s seeing his, why not see yours? Being apart doesn’t have to be a bad situation, see it as a chance to tap into what makes you happy as an individual, without having to think about someone else. If your boyfriend can do it, why can’t you?

3. Integrate into his friendship group.

If your boyfriend is always with his friends, and you don’t know them well, maybe it’s time for you to get to know them.

If you want to spend more time with your boyfriend, but he also wants to spend time with his friends, the most obvious tactic to try is to become one of the friendship group in your own right.

The reason you’re not invited along when your boyfriend goes out might simply be because his friends don’t know you.

Make an effort next time you see them to try and build a connection. Ask your boyfriend if you can come along when they’re all together because you’d like to get to know his friends better.

It’s a win-win situation, increasing your own friendship group and getting to spend more time with your boyfriend, so why not try it?

4. Suggest he spend some time with your friends.

If you want to encourage your boyfriend to not just spend time with his friends, then why not suggest he spend time with yours too?

He might be used to spending a lot of his spare time in the same way as he did when he was single, and he needs a reminder that now that you’re a couple, there are more people to consider.

Encouraging him to hang out with your friends or family will expand his friendship group and allow you to spend more time with him and those you love. He’ll see that integrating your partner and your friends can be a good thing, while also becoming less reliant on one set of friends as his social circle increases.

You’ll be leading by example and showing him that mixing friends and partners isn’t such a bad idea after all.

5. Be interested in his interests.

If it feels like your boyfriend is putting his friends before you, one reason could be that he’s looking for people who enjoy the same things as he does. It could be watching sport, playing sport, or just a common interest that he shares with his friends that you don’t understand or care about.

To help get over this, try taking more of an interest in his hobbies. It could be that you go along to support him at a match or even ask him to teach you how to do something he enjoys. You’re not always going to like the same things, but it doesn’t mean you can’t support each other in your individual interests.

Take the time to learn about what he likes or at least let him know that you want to be included. Show him that he doesn’t have to just go to his friends for support and you care about his interests because you care about him. Then see if it has a positive impact on how much time you get to spend together.

6. Make time for quality time.

Spending time together is important, and you can’t be in a relationship where you feel as though you’re always coming second to his friends. You need to have quality time with your boyfriend to keep the spark alive and to remind you both why you’re in a relationship in the first place.

If he doesn’t listen when you ask him to spend less time with his friends and more time with you, then start planning specific date nights together. If you agree on a date and time, you will both be accountable for showing up.

He doesn’t have the option to say he forgot or that he’s already arranged to see his friends when it’s a pre-planned date in the diary that you’ve both agreed to. It might feel a little manufactured and that you shouldn’t have to put time aside to spend together, but if that’s the only way he can take it seriously, then it’s better than spending no time together at all.

If you’ve arranged an activity together and one of his friends asks him to come out, he’ll know that he can’t. Or, if he drops you for them, it will force him to face up to the fact that he often puts his friends before you.

It might not work out all the time, and it may feel slightly forced at first as you learn how to date each other as an established couple. But with busy lives and friendships to manage, a little bit of pre-planning could be what you need to get your relationship back on track.

7. Communicate so you know where you stand.

Is the most annoying part about your boyfriend spending time with his friends the fact that he never lets you know his plans ahead of time?

You think you have a chance for a date night or cozy evening in, you even get excited at the idea of finally spending some time together, and then you find out your boyfriend’s already out with his friends.

Half the time, not knowing or being surprised by his plans can make the situation feel much worse than it is. If you’d known he was going to be out, you could have planned to do something else, or at least not started to look forward to spending time together.

At the start of each week, you could take some time to compare schedules. Communicate your plans, not so you can check up on the other one, but so you can find a compromise and work around each other’s schedules.

Communicating and planning ahead doesn’t just mean you know when your boyfriend’s busy, you’ll know when he’s free too. Now you can start planning some of those much-needed one-on-one dates.

8. Learn how to compromise.

Relationships are about compromise. There are going to be times when you don’t see eye to eye, and you may feel like you are doing more to prioritize your relationship.

When it seems as though your boyfriend doesn’t have time for you because he is spending it with his friends, see if you can meet each other halfway. When he tells you he’s got a night out with his friends planned, don’t get angry, just get him to commit to a night in with you to balance it out.

For every night out with his friends, see if you can plan a night for the both of you to show each other the commitment you expect. You could even see if he’d be willing to come home slightly earlier than usual when he goes for a night out or agree to have dinner with you before he leaves.

Find whatever compromise works for the both of you and see if, rather than getting upset or wanting each other to change completely, you can find a middle ground where both of you can be happy.

9. Is he still willing to put you first?

Even though your boyfriend spends a lot of time with his friends, do you still feel like you come first for him?

If you don’t feel as though you’re a priority in your partner’s life, then this is part of a much larger conversation. Sometimes, it can be a struggle to balance social lives and a relationship. It can be an adjustment for someone who has gotten used to spending a lot of time with their friends to start saying no in favor of spending time with their girlfriend.

But if you genuinely feel he likes his friends more than he likes you, or that he prefers spending time with them rather than you, then you have to think about whether this is a quality you want in a partner.

Do you want to have to compete for your boyfriend’s attention, or do you want to feel as if you are his number one priority despite his other commitments? It’s something you know by your gut instinct, and if you don’t think there is hope that he will change his ways and naturally prioritize you, then you should be with someone who does.

10. Respect his space.

What are your expectations of your relationship? How much time do you think your boyfriend should be spending with you?

It’s not a bad thing that he wants to spend time with his friends and for you to have some space from each other. You need to fulfill your individual needs just as much as you need time as a couple.

Being together all day and all night can mean you become over-reliant on your partner and stop appreciating the moments you share together. Spending some time apart can remind you of your identity outside of the relationship. Seeing friends allows you to be yourself without having to think about someone else for a change.

If your boyfriend wants to spend more time with his friends, maybe he just needs some space to relax in a different way to how he does with you. You can’t be everything for each other—we all need our own individual support system as well as our partner to have a healthy balance in our lives.

Having time apart gives you a chance to miss each other and cherish the quality time you do share. Make sure you respect his need for personal space. And try to think of his behavior as a positive influence on your relationship—it brings him enjoyment which should hopefully lead to him being more happy and content when he’s with you.

11. Don’t react negatively.

When your boyfriend comes home from spending time with his friends, do you always react in a negative way? Does this habit usually spark an argument between you?

If your boyfriend always expects an argument when he tells you he’s out with friends, the consistent negativity is just going to stop him from being honest with you. If he sees the choice between spending time with an angry girlfriend or with his friends, then he’s likely to choose the option where he at least gets to have fun.

It’s hard to fully get your point across when you’re angry or upset, which is why your boyfriend might be misunderstanding how you feel and what you need from him.

Instead, talk to him calmly about how you feel when he leaves you to go out, how you’d like more quality time together, and that you don’t feel as though he’s willing to put you first—this might put the situation into perspective for him. This is a much better option than getting upset or giving him the silent treatment.

You want him to know how important the matter is to you and not be distracted by an argument. You also don’t want him to start hiding his plans from you and encouraging secrecy in your relationship.

Open and honest communication is the backbone of any relationship, so try to be honest with him about how you feel and how you’d like him to try to make some changes. Then leave it at that. It’s up to him to show you he wants to make a change going forward.

12. Make it exciting to be with you.

Your boyfriend isn’t going to value the time you spend together if neither of you ever makes an effort with each other. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in a relationship, you still need to prioritize date nights.

The chemistry between you isn’t going to stay strong if you never do anything other than watch TV or sit in your PJs. Keep the excitement in your relationship by dressing up once in a while, participating in a new activity together, and maintaining a healthy and interesting sex life.

Your boyfriend is out spending time with his friends because it’s fun, so make sure spending time with you is fun too. Once the honeymoon phase passes, it takes more effort to keep your relationship exciting. Make time for new experiences that you can look forward to.

Even dinner and a movie at home can be exciting if you both commit to giving each other your full attention. Prioritize making the most of your time together and not taking it for granted. You might soon find that spending time with you becomes your boyfriend’s first choice of activity.

Getting your message across is the most important thing if you want him to start making a change. You don’t want him to feel as though he must choose between his friends and you; you just need him to start being better at prioritizing his time.

Try showing him that you’re supportive of his social life, but give him tangible ways that you could be spending more time together. The pressure shouldn’t just be on your boyfriend to change. This is an issue that you need to work on together as a couple to find the best compromise that works for you.

If you want to make your relationship work, then it’s going to take time and effort as you get used to the way you have to share your time. There will always be distractions in life that pull you in different directions, but you should want to come back to each other.

If he can’t appreciate the amazing catch he has in you, and would rather spend all his time with his friends, then find a relationship where you feel and know your worth. Don’t put up with anything less.

Still not sure how to approach your boyfriend about the way he spends his time? 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.

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