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"My boyfriend's been neglecting me"

My boyfriend of 4 months has been neglecting me lately but itís not his fault. His job has been enslaving him. While I do not blame him for this I canít help but feel ignored. Also he went out this week with the boys and called me maybe twice in three days.

When we are together we are perfect but we go days without talking or seeing each other. My problem is when he says he is going to call, he doesnít but he expects me to do the things that I say Iím going to do. I always give in to being available to him because I havenít seen him and I canít just say ďIím busyĒ when Iím not.

How do I get him to call more and when he says he is going to see me how can I make sure we do? Iím going crazy and I miss actually having a boyfriend!

20 Mar 2006
Name: Toni
Age: 19

Dear Toni,

It is one thing if your boyfriendís job is keeping him busy and making it difficult for him to make plans with you, but quite honestly, that doesnít sound like the problem here. Unfortunately, the real reason youíre upset (and have every right to be) is because your boyfriend is disrespectful of your time.

Donít get me wrong Ė Iím not implying heís a bad guy or terrible boyfriend. Iím sure he cares about you a great deal, and, because when youíre one-on-one things are so great, it seems he likes spending time with you, too. But bottom line, if he has time to make plans with his friends and go out with them, then he has time to call you when he says he will and get together with you, too.

Your being understanding of his busy work schedule is wonderful Ė youíre a very supportive girlfriend Ė but in the process of being so sympathetic, do not accept maltreatment or allow yourself to be taken for granted. Just as he deserves to be treated well, so do you!

Whatís happening here is that, since you readily make time for your boyfriend whenever he decides it fits into his schedule, heís been trained to believe that your time is unimportant (whereas his is the essential schedule that must be worked around); your boyfriend takes you for granted. If he knows youíll be there when he calls and youíll come running when he asks, why would he ever change his pattern of behavior?

You need to stand up for yourself and your schedule. Make your own plans (that donít revolve around your boyfriend) and stick to them. And if your boyfriend calls and asks you to change them so he can see you, as difficult as it might be, you say ďNo.Ē

Both of you need to learn that your time is valuable and that heís not the central focus of your life.And truly make plans. Fill your schedule. Right now, your relationship dynamic consists of your boyfriendís busy schedule, and you waiting around for openings in his agenda where he can fit you in. Why canít your schedule be filled, too?

When you have things going on in your life, too, youíll even the playing field. Emotionally, youíll feel better about the situation (right now you feel vulnerable and powerless in your relationship), and your boyfriend will realize that if he wants to see and spend time with you, heís actually going to Ė gasp Ė have to make an effort!

And lastly, just because heís so busy and you want to see him, donít ďyesĒ him every time he asks for plans, because you need to show him that a relationship that exists on his terms, and his terms only, is simply not okay. Explain this to him, too. Tell him that from now on, if he wants to see you, heís going to have to call in advance to make plans (the way he does with his friends) because your schedule is on the brink of getting a whole lot busier.

Good luck!


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