Dating a Busy Man: How to Set Boundaries

young busy man thinking about dating

Dating a busy man can be a challenge — especially for someone who delights in the emotional side of a relationship. 

Everyone’s schedule is different. But if your partner has little wiggle-room for you in his diary, it’s natural to sometimes feel insecure about his priorities. Or more importantly, where you rank in them.

Work is important. But your relationship should have importance too. For it to be successful, you need to find a balance between personal independence and emotional connection. And achieving that means working out boundaries. 

Here’s our advice on how to set boundaries in a relationship…

How to Set Boundaries When You’re Dating a Busy Man

What exactly do you want from the relationship?

If you’re someone who loves spending most of their time with their partner, this may not be the match for you. And that’s perfectly acceptable. 

We all have different priorities. If yours don’t align, then it’s better to discover this sooner rather than later. 

You need to be honest with who you are and what you want. Because dating a busy man can be tricky, but it can be even harder when you’re prone to feeling lonely. 

So take a step back and assess your expectations on your own first, before you speak to him. Are your expectations healthy? What do you need from your partner? What could you two do to change these patterns?

Thinking this through alone first will give you a good idea of what you want to say to your partner. It’ll also give you the time to come up with the best way to say it. 

If you’re nervous about talking this through with him, practicing it should instill you with an extra boost of confidence.

Be honest and plan your romance in advance

Dating a busy man means he’s probably working a lot. And from time to time, that’s completely fine. 

Having a strong work ethic can be important, attractive even! And when you’re ambitious, balancing work and life can be challenging. But if he’s dating you, then it’s only fair he puts in the effort.

Avoid openly criticizing his work ethic. If his professional success is a real priority to him, then it’s likely he won’t respond well to being put under pressure to readjust. 

Independence is important for everyone. And maybe this is just how he exercises his!

Instead, calmly explain how you’re feeling to him. That you’d like to create space for you two to reconnect more. Go over your weeks together in advance and be sure to pencil in some time together. This way, you’re guaranteed some quality one-on-one time. Even if it’s just a midweek date night or watching Netflix. 

By communicating with him on this, you’re coming to this decision together. You’re both creating time for your relationship. And you’ve proactively communicated instead of argued. This will leave you knowing that you’ve stood your ground as opposed to feeling needy or disheartened. And that’s far more sustainable, right?

Make sure you never feel like you have to compete 

There is a thing called overworking. Sometimes, people don’t realize they’re in the midst of an unhealthy cycle. 

If you’ve already laid out your needs and expectations and he’s ignored you? Then that’s not a good sign that he’ll change his workaholic ways.

Stand your ground. Tell him you need more from him. Remember, aim to be understanding but also firm. If he’s apologizing to you for missing calls more than he’s calling, it could be time to reassess if this is the right man for you.

Or are you just getting to know this guy? If so, then his busy schedule may be some kind of excuse. Before actually setting boundaries, make sure you’re both on the same page. 

Sit down with him and have an honest conversation about where your connection is going. We get it, being vulnerable early on can be daunting. But creating good communication practices is key to starting a relationship off on the right foot.

Figure out a long-term gameplan 

Dating a busy man is easier when you know what they’re working towards. 

Are they putting in extra hours in hopes of getting a life-changing promotion shortly? Or maybe they’re staying extra late because their office is understaffed? 

When trying to set boundaries with a busy guy, communicate with him about his end goal. This workload may be only temporary until he’s in a position where he can better support you and start a future with you. 

Understanding his unavailability and knowing that it has a set purpose could soothe your concerns. 

Prove to yourself that you’re a priority 

If you’re new to relationships, you may assume that this type of behavior is normal. But remember, your feelings always matter. No matter who you’re dating.

If he’s pushing you away and saying that “all guys are this busy” then maybe it’s time to find someone who has more time to spend with you. Someone who sees you as a real priority. 

Your feelings are valid. While this relationship shouldn’t be your source of self-worth, expecting to feel appreciated in a relationship doesn’t mean your standards are too high. It means you respect yourself. 

If you’re not happy for a long time, and there’s no change in sight, then it could be time to focus on other connections that bring you joy. 

It’s tough when you’re dating someone who always has a packed schedule. You want to assert your place in the relationship without coming across as critical or controlling. 

But the truth is, telling him how you feel doesn’t make you desperate, it makes you strong. Without doing so, feeling like equals in your partnership will become more and more challenging.  

So take a deep breath and talk it out. With a little bit of communication and determination, the two of you can still have a fulfilling relationship and there’s a good chance he might be the one!

About the author: Karen Belz

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