3 Rules for Dating Busy Men

dating busy menYou can spend a lot of time with a guy who still lives in his mother’s basement.

But a guy with a lot of energy and talent makes a better catch. Unfortunately, that kind of man is usually fairly busy.

Lot’s of people (and companies) are competing for his time.

If you want to make things work with a guy who is pressed for time, consider these three strategies. There are dozens more ideas in my mini course on this topic. But I’m leaking these three ideas for those of you who take the time to read my emails.

Rule Number One for Dating Busy Men: Reduce Distractions When Together.

Busy men can be easily distracted. If you want to capture his heart, you need his full attention. You want to reduce distractions from:

1.Other people.

2.Electronic devices like TVs in a sports bar, and…

3.The mental pressure of competing time demands.

How do you do that? There’s no perfect way, but micro-traditions can help. I’m talking about very simple traditions you invite him to participate in right from the start of your interactions.

For example, you can limit competing time demands by agreeing to see each other just one night a week (say… Thursday nights at 6 PM for dinner) during an introductory phase of your new relationship. You’d be surprised how many busy men will love this idea.

Once he has figured out a time that would consistently work, he doesn’t have to think about it again. It’s like you’ve set up a system that will allow him to gradually get to know you better without the typical feelings of guilt he is used to facing when he realizes he’s gone three weeks without calling a girl he really likes.

Busy guys respond well to repeated but brief interactions. So tell him upfront you don’t expect to go to a movie afterward or talk in a coffee shop till midnight. He’ll appreciate it and his respect for you will rise along with that appreciation.

Rule Number Two for Dating Busy Men: Don’t Bid for His Time, Own His Time.

Again, it’s micro-traditions to the rescue. The faster you can set up a recurring plan for interaction (a micro-tradition), the less you have to compete with other demands on his time. A micro-tradition also means you “own” a timeslot in his week, so to speak. That means your micro-tradition time slot is off-limits to other women who might be competing for his attention.

Rule Number Three for Dating Busy Men: Consult, Don’t Sell:

You may be wondering how TO introduce the idea of a micro-tradition. After all, you don’t want to sound like you’re trying to sell him something. And that’s where rule number three comes to the rescue.

There’s this concept I learned about during a terrible seminar I wish I never attended. They let this business consultant guru have the platform for way too long, and he had nothing useful to say. That is, he had nothing useful other than this one particularly fantastic idea.

He called it “consultative selling.” He said every business owner should train their staff how to do “consultative selling” over the phone. It just means you ask your customers helpful questions kind of like a consultant would.

Instead of starting with an introduction of the product or service you want to sell, you start with the problems the customer has been facing. That leads to a natural conversation where you can point out that you have the perfect product or service to solve the particular problems the customer brought up.

dating busy menThe customer is pleased with you, because they felt like you genuinely listened and tried to help. They walk away with the sensation that they “discovered” a solution. They never felt like you were trying to sell them on anything!

And that’s exactly the system I want you to use. Don’t try to sell him on the idea of forming a micro-tradition together. Instead, use “consultative selling.” Ask him what it’s like trying to find time to date women when he’s such a busy man with so much on his plate.

Once he’s confiding in you, you can suggest a solution to reduce the stress involved in getting to know someone. Heck, you can even volunteer to let him practice on you!

Always on your side,


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71 thoughts on “3 Rules for Dating Busy Men

  1. James, simple ideas yet they seem as if they’d be very effective – I DO tend to fall for & date men who are very busy so I’ll give these a try! Thanks again, Suz in San Diego

    • Nickel said:

      James, great advice. This is the first article I have read that addresses the reality that a man can be interested and genuinely not have time. It is clear the guy I have been seeing for two months likes me and is truly busy. It is nice to read something useful and not a gimmick, a game, or a way to trick him. This is great and builds a supportive honest foundation for a relationship. Thanks!!

    • Carol said:

      Hey James,

      Thanks for the tips on building a great, logical foundation first!


  2. Alicia said:

    So I know a guy who moved into the lower level of a house a friend was renting. A year later they were in a relationship. Talk about convenience for the busy professional…

  3. Rysing Wolf said:

    What if you are now dating exclusive. Its been a year and a half.How can I push it a bit forward .I said I loved him. He said .he wasn’t sure about love yet. He did take a break and said he would not hurt me.he came back and we are dating again.?,obviously he has feelings.

    • James Bauer said:

      Maybe it would be helpful to think about what it would look like if things moved forward. When you ask how you can “push it a bit forward,” is there something in particular you can envision? If so, I wonder if he shares that vision as a possibility for your future together. Getting clear on what you want helps to reveal actions that may take you in that direction.


  4. Suebee50 said:

    I find this to be very true in dating my busy man. Cementing a time slot was the toughest obstacle, but once we nailed it down, we both made the effort to be sure that we kept that slot open. I also must comment here that my time is valuable as well and I dont bend over backward to adjust to his schedule. He needs to bring something to the table as well. All too often we women really over extend ourselves and cancel plans to be more accessible. Don’t do it. If he wants to see you, he will work on it on his end too.

  5. cc said:

    following on what suebee50 said,

    i’d be reluctant about rule 3 unless he and i kept running into a situation in which our schedules didn’t naturally mesh, which would lead to us BOTH making inviolate time for the other. and i would want to see some initiative from the guy first that i’m important enough to him that he wants to ensure he gets to see me, i want him to show me it’s a priority for him. otherwise, i’d end up feeling like i’m chasing him, and i will not chase a man. and i certainly am not going to give him a method for working other dates into his schedule and let him practice on me. you know what you might get for that? a “thanks!” and a “see ya!”

  6. k2002 said:

    So true Suebee. I agree with you.

  7. Par said:

    I especially like the tip of setting a micro tradition. Even I am busy so the time you know you can spend with them is all set and ready!

  8. My current timeslot with him is mostly Saturday from late morning until Sunday right after breakfast when he leaves for church choir. He spends the rest of Sunday with elderly mom, and plays cards with her and an aunt on Friday nights. We are retired, but he is in more clubs than I. One is square dance and we are now taking lessons for a couple of hours every Tuesday. He still has not called me his girlfriend after 6 months, but I guess I am getting the best possible right now. I am currently selling this house (at a good profit) and buying nearer to him (where I can join said clubs) for less. I will be able to customize with the price difference.

  9. Hi, James! Thank you for all of your nuggets! I’ve been studying your information with the intent of mastering it. Do you have tips on how to date a Military man? Yes he’s busy, and ambitious-one of the things that attracts me most, to my own detriment. We’ve been seeing each other just over a month-he travels just over 2 hours round trip to see me each weekend, sometimes spending the full weekend. Because of the distance, the relationship has been moving slowly, which is fine if you have the time. I thought we’d have more time, but unfortunately he has received orders and will be leaving in 3 weeks. He was surprised that I still wanted to spend time with him considering he’ll be leaving soon. We have plans to see each other this weekend. I am open to the idea of a long distance relationship, but how do I broach the subject when we’ve barely taken our relationship to the next level? I’m wild about this man and don’t want to lose him. I don’t want to use the word love as its rather early in the relationship, but my life is so much richer with him in it. How can I approach the subject without sending him running for the hills before he actually ships out? Lol

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Lisa. My impression is that you really don’t have much to lose. If you do not maintain some kind of contact, the relationship will slowly drift into nothing. So you might as well bring up the possibility of maintaining some kind of contact with a plan to reunite if you are both open to that when he returns from his deployment. Just my two cents.


  10. Mona said:

    i agree with you. I’ve done it too but I’m starting to change my ways.

  11. Sherr said:

    I need dating advice about a busy social guy. I met this guy at a party a week ago. He seemed extremely interested, and made it a point to spend the evening with me, dancing and talking. He tried to kiss me that night, but it was way too soon for me. I was not sure how I felt because I didn’t know him. We had a lunch date a few days later, and it was fun. We also finally kissed, and it was great. We also had a great connection of friendship. Usually I wait for the guy to ask me out again, but I have a friend who is a well-known singer in town whom he likes to see perform. She was supposed to be doing a gig near him, and I was planning to go. I let him know very casually in case he wanted to drop by. He said he would definitely try to stop by after his soccer game, especially so he could have a slow dance with me. But then I found out I had the wrong date, and the gig was next weekend, so I let him know. He said he was disappointed that we won’t get to slow dance. I said “me too”. Then I haven’t heard from him. I know this guy is busy, goes to a lot of social events, and meets women easily. He also told me, “There’s something about you….” on our date. Is there anything I could or should do to get this guy’s attention? Or should I just move on and let it go? I have already been out to a few social events and on another date. But I kind of like this guy. I feel like I need a dating coach to navigate these early stages of dating with men. Help!

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Sherri. There are a lot of things you can do to deepen the quality of a dating relationship with a man who is particularly busy, but the relationship is just starting with the guy you described in your question. It’s too early for techniques designed to enhance a relationship, because at this point the two of you only share a mutual interest.

      I think you are already on the right path. Date lots of men and keep your options open right now. If he felt the same spark you did, he will pursue you again. He doesn’t lack skills for pursuing women, so it’s just a matter of what vibe he got about you and whether he senses you want the same things as him.

      There was something about your description of this guy that makes me wonder if he is really looking for a woman who will move fast (physically) rather than build a real relationship slowly. I’m not saying that’s necessarily true. I’m just saying you might consider that as a possible reason he has not pursued you as vigorously as you would like. Keeping your boundaries (as you rightly did) helps guys to self select or self de-select early in the dating process. That clears the way for someone who is better suited for you.

      • Sherri said:

        Thank you so much, James! You were right. I ending up having a few dates with this guy. I kept my boundaries intact, and though we really hit it off and were very attracted to each other on many levels, it became clear to me that he wasn’t ready to stop playing the field. So I am just moving on. Great advice from you as always.

        • Nina said:

          Good for you keep those boundaries strong that way you don’t waste time and weed out people much quicker and the right person will show up.

  12. Sherri said:

    Oops, my name is Sherri and not Sherr. lol

  13. Rachel said:

    Thank you for your posts, they’ve helped me so much. I have a question, my friend (& co-worker) is a busy computer nerd, so he has a hard time connecting socially, that along with busyness makes me feel farther away from him. Yet he interacts by chat almost daily, unless he’s very busy, then it’s every few days.
    My friends tell me I need to be the one to make the first move, but I’m afraid to lose the relationship if I make him feel emasculated. Waiting is excruciating because I know he enjoys interacting with me, I know he cares. But he just doesn’t have to the social skills (or maybe time) to take it to the next level. I’ll try asking the question you suggested. But how can I confirm he’s interested in going to the next level with me? If I knew that, I would feel safer reaching out to him more. Any advice?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Rachel. Try asking him for a favor that will require a little bit of his time. For example, ask him for some sort of computer advice (could just be something you’ve been wondering about, a new product you were thinking about buying, or figuring out a simpler way to do something you do routinely).

      How he responds will be interesting. It may reveal something about how much time he has (or is willing to give to you). It is also something that will draw him closer and make it easier for him to take a step toward asking a favor of you (like accepting a date invitation for example). This method allows you to avoid emasculating him because he is placed in the role of the hero when he helps you out.

  14. Tina Kurrels said:

    HI James,
    This idea came at a very opportune time for me. I had just tried to have a conversation, that I considered very benign, about our schedules and generally about brainstorming how to have a good flow to our two busy lives. I thought that I was being very open and easy. So it pretty much surprised me when he responded negatively, and like I was perhaps trying to change him, and who knows what else. I was perplexed. At any rate, I gave it a few days, and your article was something I read in the meantime, and it just resonated….He is a busy business owner, and often comes home and wants to space out with TV or the computer. After some contemplation, I decided to simply schedule things differently myself , and to let him know about the changes. I did remove myself from the equation a few nights a week to work on my own projects, and to give him his space out time, but I also scheduled in “our time”, and a personal massage for him, and some other practical items. And guess what…..he received this completely differently than when I was asking him to brainstorm these same subjects. It was easy, direct, and he seemed to appreciate that I would premeditate these situations. Who would have known?? I think I THOUGHT…that including him on the process showed respect and or democratic thinking. What I found out, is that he is indeed busy and preoccupied, and he more or less appreciated my ability to streamline our schedule. He was not the least bit offended that I would take this into my own hands…..A very important lesson for me, and thank you! Tina

    • James Bauer said:

      Excellent case example, Tina. Thanks for sharing your success for others to learn from.


  15. zeta said:

    Nice advice. Feeling good. Thank u

  16. Jane said:

    Hi James,
    This is great advice. I’ve been dating a guy for several months who travels alot for work in a high stress job. Between travel and spending time with his kids (he’s in the process of getting a divorce) there isn’t much time to date. For the most part we’ve been able to see each other once per week but he has a heavy schedule coming up for the next three months and I’m afraid that seeing him less than the one time per week is going to impair our otherwise great relationship.

    I don’t want to add to his stress by trying to schedule weekly time together but by the same token I don’t want us to drift away which I could see happening if we don’t do something. We text a bit while he’s gone but I don’t want to overdo it on the texting and calling as he frequently has client dinners while he travels so his nights are late. I don’t want to look clingy and insecure while he’s away but it’s hard when I don’t know when I’m going to see him again. Sometimes I think he would find it easier to just not date at all.

    How do I talk to him about starting a micro-tradition without stressing him out more and possibly pushing him away? Part of me wonders if I’m better off finding someone with more time but I think today it would be hard to find someone with a successful career that isn’t stressed out and working alot of hours. If I didn’t see so much of myself in him and have such a good time with him when we do get together, I probably would look to date someone else.



    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Jane. Those are good questions. One way to look at it is like this. If things continue as they are now, is the relationship something you want? If not, then you have nothing to lose by asking for a tiny step in the right direction (a micro tradition of some sort). If it proves to be too much for him to manage, then you have your answer about whether this relationship is worth pursuing.

      If he says it’s too much now but he’s certain things will change in the future, that would be better (but still a little risky when you’re talking about a man who has not even formally divorced his wife yet).

      In your case a micro tradition could be as simple as a night of the week when he calls you while traveling. If he can’t put a high enough priority on his personal life to actually schedule something and protect that just as he would some other appointment (for work) then the relationship is unlikely to be a high enough priority to survive.

      • Jane said:

        Hi James,
        Thanks for your suggestions. I’m going to try this and will do my best to present it in a positive light. It’s scary to put yourself out there knowing that you could get an answer you don’t want but I think it’s best to know as the uncertainty I feel isn’t going to go away and will just make things worse over time.

  17. Darlene said:

    Hi James, I was about to give up until I read your article. I have met a very busy man- both coffee dates and only 1 date each week. I don’t hear from him for days and I thought “he’s just not that into you”. I felt that he should at least text me more often and move up to dinner instead of coffee. Are you saying it’s “normal” for a very busy man to not communicate for a week or more and really only have time for coffee? He said the project he’s working on could take off in a week or a few years, he didn’t know, but then would have more time. He said his lack of time was a problem in past relationships and for me to let him know if I had a problem with it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Darlene. I’d say this depends a lot on how much patience you have at this point in your life. He sounds like a man who is unlikely to suddenly change and have a lot more time. Generally, a man who says he will have more time after he completes a project will really just start a new project and be just as busy. He is in the building phase of his life, thinking he needs to accomplish something significant before he feels ready to give more of himself to a relationship. As a result, he is going to be very hesitant about committing to anything.

      Fortunately, this person has enough insight to recognize that his limited time for relationships is not normal. Given the circumstances, I suggest you ask him to paint a picture for you regarding what kind of time he might feel like putting toward a relationship with you in six months from now if the project has not been completed and the relationship with you continues to go well. Since he seems to be an honest person unwilling to promise something he is unable to give, I think you are likely to get an honest answer. With that information, perhaps you will decide it’s not worth it, or you might be pleasantly surprised by what he has to say. Since you like him, it’s worth a shot.

  18. Josephine Amolato said:

    Hi James…
    Thank you for your column..I find it very educational , it helps us to decide on things which we are uncertain about it..specially those who are new on this site like me…
    As far as I am concern, I am with a busy man too…we see each other once a week only and for just 20 minutes or less than that…but he also sees to it that he will leave a short sweet message for me and so do I…making it sure that we communicate each other well…
    My question is..is it proper for me to ask about the status of our relationship? He’s been calling me sweet things..and he promised to come and visit me in my country soon.
    Should I wait for him to say I love you to me first… or isn’t it improper if I will be the first one to say it to him… I have known him for more than a year and just this year he shows up again and become more aggressive towards our relationships…and I really appreciate it…
    Hope to hear from you soon..
    Thank you so much..
    God bless!!

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Josephine. It would be better if you asked him what he wants his future to look like (in a general sense). If he is thinking seriously about his relationship with you, he will mention relationship aspects of what he hopes his future to look like.


  19. Joyceline said:

    Learning a lot from your articles and the comments as well, thanks James.
    Please how do I get back the attention of a guy who suddenly seems to be holding back after getting me interested in him.?

  20. Kristy said:

    I am in a long-distance relationship with a man that I truly love, and he says he loves me and that I am the one for him. We talk daily and text several times a day and get together at least once a month to spend time together. The problem I have is that he drinks quite heavily, and it scares me. He seems in control, and I enjoy a drink myself, but it is getting to the point where I believe it is affecting his health. During a 4-day get-together he will usually have one day where he drinks to the point where he can’t remember things the next day.

    He is very successful and runs a business, as do I, and we’ve talked about me relocating near him so we can see where this relationship goes. He has children that live near him, and I have no family and would enjoy becoming involved with his. Since I also have a business in the state I live in, I would obviously have to cut back & semi retire (which I could do financially). I am just concerned about making such a sacrifice without knowing if he could possibly be an alcoholic. My first husband turned out to be an alcoholic, and I’ve dated a man before that I also believe was an alcoholic, so I’m thinking I probably have some codependency issues.

    What is the best way to bring it up without accusing or nagging?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Christie. I suggest you start by finding out whether or not he thinks of his drinking pattern as being a bit excessive. Knowing that information will be critical to your next step. If he does not believe it’s a problem, you should slow things down and be honest with him about the fact that you are seriously considering making him a bigger part of your life but that you have reservations because of the fear that alcohol might be harming his health and ability to be emotionally present with those closest to him.

      The key is to present it as your own fears (and lifestyle preferences) rather than as a problem he has. This will bring up the hero in him that wants to protect you from things that bother you. If you phrase it as a certainty that he has a problem (when he does not believe it’s a problem) he will become defensive and argue against needing to change.

      • Kristy said:

        That’s such a great answer, James. Can you help me phrase it in a way that it is presented as my own fears (and lifestyle preferences) rather than as a problem he has? I think that’s where I stumble a bit.

  21. vic said:

    Hi James,
    I met a guy who is super busy. We worked very little together but had fun and realized some common things. A mutual friend and I asked him to join us one day after work. I never heard from him again. I won’t chase a guy so I guess he was too busy or didn’t care. We never cross paths since he works out of town a lot so I let him go. I feel confused about right and wrong technique. By letting it go, have I lost any chance with him?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Victoria. Think about the times you have been open for a relationship and the times you were to focused on other things. Our readiness to pursue someone changes over time. Our desire to seek out companionship comes in waves across our lifetime. So no, you have not lost all chance of connecting with this man. Showing up in his life from time to time increases the odds that he will develop feelings for you or find himself wanting to pursue something with you.

  22. LPR said:

    Hello James,

    I stumbled upon your article while googling ways to break up with my “Busy Man”. I’ve known him (and members of his family) for over 30 years. We’ve tried to form a romantic relationship two other times since 2012. The first two relationship trials ended because I couldnt believe that being busy caused him or anyone to make and/or miss so many dates. I felt that he was inconsiderate because he never cancelled…he just didnt show up. Apparently he had fires (at his place of business) that only “he” could put out. After being “stood-up” three times in the course of 6 months, I went no contact. In October of 2014 we decided to try again. We had two lunches and 1 dinner and in December of 2014, I started working for him part time, evenings (to lessen his work load). Since then, we’ve had 1 movie night to date (between 12/2014 and 04/2015). Since working for him, I am completely aware that he is BUSY. He is at his place of business EVERYDAY except Sunday (but he is known to stop by after church). He does have an ailing mother in hospice (since January), but his inattention and inactivity spans years. It seems to me that he is completely satisfied with seeing me in the evenings (when I come to work) and kissing me goodnight when he leaves. That (to me) does not make a relationship. I have only seen him outside of work Once this year. I agreed to work for him for six months (because I do have a 9 to 5 and a side business). It is nearing the end of my service (which will be May or June) and I’m not sure if I should go “no contact” again or try to muster up some empathy/sympathy for his situation. I’m not interested in being friends only, so “no contact” will work for me. I will not compromise my happiness and/or sanity by waiting for someone that may never arrive (been there, done that).

    I am not okay with this “pseudo-relationship”, no matter the circumstances. I have an ailing mother that I care for (financially) in my home as well and a job elsewhere, so while I understand his dilemma, I still need his participation in this relationship (or his departure from it). Incidentally, He does acknowledge his lack of participation, but does not believe “parting ways” is the answer.

    So, do I wait until I resign and let it fizzle all the way out or should I say something. Do you think he really believes we’re in a relationship and is using our “work-time” as “couple-time”? In the past, I’ve asked him for what I needed/wanted relationship-wise (and was willing to make concessions) but he cant or wont deliver. Despite my time barriers, I’m really interested in enjoying my life with someone who can balance their business/personal life. Can you please give me some insight?

    Thanks in advance.


    • James Bauer said:

      Hi LPR. It sounds like you have done most of the stretching and the work to make this relationship better. I would not blame you if you decided to call it quits, but in case you don’t, here’s what I would suggest you do next.

      Find out what his primary desire is. Does he really wish he could work less and spend more time with you? If he does, you can use your new knowledge of that motivation to design a “story” of your potential future together that is inspiring to him, something he wants to commit to on an emotional level.

      On the other hand, if you determine his primary desire is actually to work the long hours and never to let up, then I suggest you move on because he will not yield to your wishes if they are in conflict with his true desires. He may make surface level compromises and promises but he will not change for good.

      Talk with him about what he sees in his future. Look for the hidden desires written between the lines of what he says.

  23. LPR said:

    Thanks, James. That is sound advice and I’m going to take it. “I” planned a date for this upcoming Tuesday (4/14/15) and since we’ll finally be alone (for the first time in over a month), I will have a kind (but serious) conversation with him on the way to the event.


  24. Aei said:

    Hi James!

    The suggestion looks easy and sounds very helpful. But on my case, the man I am in a relationship with is a thousand miles away from me (LDR). He is a very busy man but he often sends a message assuring me of his love. Technology has it, but we barely meet because of the difference in time zone. He sleeps-I wake up and vice versa. I’ve been your article subscriber for more than a year now as well as my long distance relationship. Sometimes his being too busy it gets into me. I wanted to purchase the books you suggested in regards to my case but I am a single mom and I try to make both ends meet. any other suggestion for me?

    Thanks very much,


    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Aei. When contemplating a problem like this one, it helps to be very specific about what exactly “the problem” is.

      Without knowing a lot about your relationship situation, it sounds to me like your relationship is not the problem. It sounds like willingness to travel is not the problem. It sounds like spending the time to reach out to each other is not the problem. The problem is the sheer magnitude of the distance.

      While there are ways to cope with that I go over in my special report
      on this topic, those methods are all focused on moving the relationship forward faster toward a point where one or both of you are ready to relocate. Otherwise the LDR isn’t going anywhere other than where it is right now.

      So perhaps the best way to think about your situation is, “How ready are we to commit to a plan for closing the distance between us?” and “If we’re not ready, what needs to happen for us to make that decision?”

  25. hi james..
    i need your help..I’m from Cambodia. I’ve been dating a man from USA since a week. that time was his vacation from work..we’ve been talking much about each other on Facebook chat. And now he has back to work…very busy in full day..he’s a sell car at his dad’s dealership …he said he will text me as much as he can..and he’s not a talkative man…but he seems silent to me since Monday..i knew he’s very busy..i want him to know that i will patient and understand him ..i really love and miss him…But i don’t how to tell him..because i’m not good at writing english…can you help me describe my feeling toward him…i don’t to put pressure on him..
    thanks james 🙂

    • James Bauer said:

      In the long run, you will need to work on the language barrier if your relationship is to survive. That will also provide you the necessary pace to see what is real and lasting in a relationship that was sparked to life during the unusual circumstance of a week-long vacation.

  26. Lola said:

    hi James,

    interesting article. i was googling “dating a busy man” to see if this is a common thing. and got to your article. i even read all the comments and your responses and I felt i need to reach out to you.

    so i met a guy a while ago, and he is very busy with work and sports activities. he has a passion for sports and fills his schedule with different activities.

    we are dating and he even proposed. good news ha 🙂 i even said yes. the issue now is that when we were dating before he proposed he always had extra time for me and would at times miss a training or two for me. after the proposal, things changed dramatically and he says he is now back to his normal pace of life. and is not willing to waste more time not exercising as he used to. i barely see him, and he admited i am not his priority.but he does love me.

    i personally know i need more attention in a relationship. the kind he had shown in the begining in this relationship. and totally confused if i am over needy here.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Lola. That’s painful and confusing. What kind of man asks you to marry him and then says you are not his top priority?

      I’ll be totally honest with you. And I hope you will not hate me and ignore me for suggesting this.

      I bet if I asked him why he acted this way, he would deny it. He would say you took his comments out of context, that he didn’t mean it that way, or something like that.

      This guess is based on a couple of things. One of them is that you’re still with this guy, so I can’t imagine he could really be a total psychopath without feeling or empathy. The other part is years of experience. I’ve learned that what one member of the couple perceives is often quite different than what the other person perceives.

      So here’s my challenge for you. Review the story of your relationship with him. Ask him if that’s what he believes has happened between the two of you.

      If nothing else, it will serve as a wake-up call for him. He will realize how terrible it sounds. Maybe he will look for solutions himself. Then you will be a team again. And you won’t have to try to fix his bad behavior all on your own.


  27. agness said:

    Wow,, am loving this, am equally in love with this busy guy, our relationship is mostly on phone for a month now, until one day I swallowed my pride and visited him, it was so lovely That he wanted me to sleep over of which I refused, we still talk and chats though I feel we need more than the Chats and calls, one of his friend told me his engaged but when I asked he refused, what’s your general advice on this one, I love this guy and I feel he does love me,

    • James Bauer said:

      I recommend you get to know some of his friends. Spend some time together in a group setting. You need to learn who he really is. Then you’ll have a better sense about whether he’s a viable partner. I say this because a friend telling you he is engaged indicates he may not have been completely forthcoming about his relationship status.

  28. Penny said:

    Hi James

    So I’ve known this guy for two years now. When we first met, he got my number and immediately asked me out on a date. We got intimate after 2-3 months, but never all the way. We never ‘determined the relationship’.

    He was 30 when we met, I was 23. He’s a workaholic, has a hectic schedule and travels a lot, so I accommodated him although he could never seem to block out time more than a day in advance to see me. He is possibly the busiest man I have dated, and I didn’t know how to handle that so I made him an exception. I would meet him once a week when he was back, and he usually is back for not more than three weeks. He’s successful and famous in his industry and he meets lots of people.

    Six months down, I heard he was hitting on girls at clubs. I decided to be patient until my birthday but he didn’t do anything – no birthday dinner, no present, nothing. That was the last straw and I told him I could no longer hang out with him like we used to with all the steamy making out and I wanted to be just friends and remove the physical intimacy. We finally talked about ‘us’ and he said he wasn’t ready for commitment as he had just gotten out of a seven year relationship. He says he was never physically intimate with anyone else, nor did he follow up with girls he met while partying, but he is very friendly and flirty, which probably sparked the rumor of him ‘hitting on girls in clubs’.

    After that, we still met up, but there was no more physical intimacy, although he would hug me and try to kiss me sometimes. A few months later, I told him I had met someone who was serious about me and wanted commitment. We talked again, and this time, he wanted to commit. However, I decided to give the new guy a chance because actions speak louder than words and the new guy had really put in a lot of effort – you could see he really liked me and I felt secure. Although I could see quite a bit of improvement in him for his standards, but it took him a whole year to commit. But then again, the two guys had complete opposite takes on dating – go with the flow vs conservative, and they probably loved and showed love differently.

    We remained friends, kept in touch and even met once up just as friends when I was with my boyfriend. However, my relationship with my boyfriend was shortlived (5 months) – we weren’t compatible, could not see eye to eye and he was extremely insecure.

    When he found out I had broken up, he made a move and we got intimate again. I told him that I would be traveling with my now ex at the end of the week although we had broken up as the trip was already booked. When I came back from my trip, he went off on his holiday for two weeks and he didn’t text me until he got back and acted as though nothing happened.

    I was hurt and felt foolish for being intimate with him (but again no sex). He would still text me once in a few weeks to see what I was up to, and I would still reply him just as friends. We even met up after that and there was no physical contact and we never spoke about how we left things off the last time.

    Last month, we met up and he wanted to get intimate with me again! I asked him what he wanted from me, he said nothing! He knows that I can’t be intimate without commitment but he said he can’t commit right now because he was torn.. So turns out, after I left for the trip with my ex, he started seeing someone exclusively for 2 months, although during that period he would also text me from time to time. His relationship didn’t work out cause it was a LDR. He said he was actually ready to commit to me after I broke up with my ex, but because I went on the trip with my ex, he wasn’t sure what was happening between me and my ex. He said he needed time because he was figuring things out with the other girl again, after two months of breaking up.

    He says our timing sucks big time, but we are very compatible (which I can’t deny) and that it’s like a roller coaster ride with me as there’s so much tension between us, which he has never had with any other girl. However, I told him I didn’t wanna be in any part of that, and he should just remove me from the equation, which should make his life easier.

    I really like him, but I am getting tired of this – two years!! I don’t know what he’s trying to do with me. No guy has ever treated me this way. A part of me hopes to for once actually try things out with him seriously, but a part of me tells me I should move on. I feel like I can’t penalize him entirely for being torn as I was in that same position a year ago and I didn’t even choose him, or am I giving myself excuses?

    It’s been a month since I found out all of that, and he has been flirting with me on and off and always asks for pictures of me (not nude photos though). I don’t text him unless he texts me. What should I do? Should I even reply his texts? Should I even hope for anything from him? Does he not like me enough such that it seems like I’m his back up girl or is he really that busy that he doesn’t have time to go through all this drama and emotions with me? I feel like whenever he texts me, he just doesn’t think about it and just texts me cause he feels like texting me, like a typical guy who doesn’t put much thought into his actions and does as he pleases. He always asks what I’m up to, but doesn’t make plans or makes them there and then, last minute. Please help, this has gone on for too long! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not closing off my options just for him and he’s not even that cute, but maybe I just haven’t met anyone else who has captivated me the way he has. Part of the reason why I like him is his determination and drive unfortunately.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Penny. For detailed personal questions like this we request that you use our private coaching platform. You can find it here.

  29. Lauren said:

    My new bf and I are both busy and we literally only have one day a week that works for both of us. So if we haven’t put together an agenda, we do so friday morning. Works great, plus since its friday, it is and has been easy to incorporate each other in plans with friends and family members.

  30. Rina said:

    Love this idea. Won’t quite work in my situation as the guy I’m seeing has a rotating work schedule so every week is different but its an opton we may be able to follow on certain weeks.

  31. kiki said:

    Good read, great comments… And I never knew it’s real to have a man love you yet you are not his priority….
    I am with a guy a month now.. We have met twice… Though we speak on phone regularly.. The first meeting was when he proposed and the second was at a business workshop which had sleep overs… One of the nights we had sex.. Ever since we have never met physically, just been text and calls.. He assures me of his love daily…

    My greatest problem is I don’t know his house and I have asked him severally but he’s adamant… His excuse is he’s busy and needs to clear some work hurdles to make time for me.. He said he won’t change his schedules to please me..

    I’m a little confused because I really want us to meet even if it’s once in a week.. I want to know his home… He says he’s got no friends and in due time will introduce me to his family..

    Is he genuine? How can one be really in love and not have a dot of time for the other? Is one month too early even though we’ve had sex?

    What should I do?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Kiki. I believe in this situation you are better off making as few assumptions as possible. Don’t assume he wants to build a real relationship with you. Don’t assume he will ever start investing more time in the relationship. Don’t assume he is being truthful about why he doesn’t want you to meet friends or discover his address.

      On the other hand, don’t be pessimistic, paranoid, or suspicious. Expect the best is still possible, but recognize that assuming the best puts you in a potentially bad situation.

      If I were you, I would tell him you appreciate his interest and displays of affection, but his actions are speaking louder than his words. And because of that you’re going to approach the relationship with him cautiously. End with a statement to the effect that you hope he will have time to invest in the relationship because you like him and you see a lot of potential.

  32. Darla said:

    Hello James,
    Good column. Good advice. I have been in a relationship with a man for 1 1/2 years. He was divorced by his previous wife after she extorted hundred of thousands of dollars from his successful business; stealing from clients, guting hs credit raing and daming him pesonally. She has a narcissistic personality diorder. Now, his various holdngs have been repossessed, credit is gone, professional license has been revoked and he owes millions and millons ans milions of dollras. He dev. Insomnia and then panic attcks. Is on psych meds for those. I hav nursed him back to health, cook for him daily where he comes and stays for hours, watching sports, befor going home to bed. Little communication beyond that. Says he loves me ane we will be tog. Psych meds have made him very irritable, quick to anger and more confused. Do you really see us going forwd? He was a nice guy before th psych meds and thats what i am hoping will return. Beyond that I do not receive any gifts, cards, etc. Natta. We re both nearly 75.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hey Natta. Is he actively working toward something? Has he decided to make the best of life and to embrace loving you as a new purpose in life? If so, I think there’s hope. But if he’s inwardly focused and living life as a testament to what he has lost, then I would leave him to do that on his own.


      • Darla said:

        Hi James,
        I see this was addressed to “Natta”. Was your response meant for someone else, and they in turn received mine??
        Thank you for checking! Darla

        • James Bauer said:

          Oh, sorry, Darla. For some reason you wrote Natta at the end of your question and I thought it was your name. Must have just been a typo. I was replying to you.

  33. Darla said:

    Hi James,
    I re-read my send and see why you addressed me as “Natta”. Yes, he is actively working to sell remaining holdings in order to repay people that were harmed by his ex-wife’s actions. His actions toward me have me wondering if he has indeed “embraced loving me as a new purpose in his life;” ie, no compliments, gifts, cards, etc. Just a warm body that comes by daily, eats, watches sports and goes home. A kiss and a hug at hello and goodbye. He does stave off lonliness.

    • Lena said:

      Darla, I am not an expert, but could it be that his current financial situation makes him feel he has nothing to offer you?
      Also is there a good chance he can be weaned off the medicines and become his own self again?
      Aside from that, you can try to encourage him be rewarding him when he does something you like, even if it is just a tiny tiny thing, by telling him how it make you feel. For instance, if compliments your cooking, tell him that it makes you feel appreciated to hear him say that. If he doesn’t compliment even if he seem to like a dish extra well you can try to ask him how he liked it and if he then responds positively, you can thank him for the compliment and tell him how it makes you feel when he says that.
      Or during the hug, hold him just a second longer, look him in the eyes and tell him that it makes you feel cherished when he hugs you.
      If there is a spark there, he should pick up on this and think of ways he can please you or let you know that you please him.

  34. Lauren said:

    Hi Everyone,

    I really would love some advice on my situation. I have been seeing a guy I met online for about 3 months. He is 25 and in the work field and I am 22 in school. He is a great guy and something I really enjoy about him is when we do see each other, we put away our phones and really talk and enjoy each other’s company. He is someone I would consider a work-a-holic so when he puts his phone away for a couple hours to spend with me, I really appreciate that. I’m having a couple thoughts about this relationship though. 1. We talk everyday and he does initiate conversation, but he does not initiate seeing each other. Nonetheless, when I ask him what his schedule is looking like, he quickly and gladly suggests a night and/or day that is open to see each other. Also, if something from work or something does come up (happened twice), he asks to reschedule to the next night or sometime very soon. 2. Early on, a causal conversation about relationships came up and we talked about exclusivity and both admitted that we are not seeing anyone else and that we can both trust that. However, since that time, I think we are still pretty new but to the internet, a 3 month relationship of seeing someone is a deal breaker if the guy doesn’t make a move….and being that we have not defined out relationship as boyfriend and girlfriend after 3 months, i’m very pulled as to what I should do. I know he cares about me but I really can’t tell if it is too soon to bring up the conversation about where we are headed. I love the idea of setting up a specific time/date every week to see each other but I’m nervous to actually bring it up because I do think him making some initiative is important!
    3. He has been single for 3 years so I wonder if this could be a reason he is moving slower? Could it be that he is used to/comfortable being a lone and just slowly bringing me into his life. I’m genuinely happy with him, but my mom/society/friends/internet are really messing with my head!!
    Any thoughts appreciated!

    • James Bauer said:

      Hey Lauren. If you are happy, three months is not a problem. If you were miserable and he was seeing other people I might ask you to think about it carefully. But honestly, this situation sounds very healthy. There’s no reason relationships should have to fit well into the preconceptions society has for them.

      Wishing you happiness,


  35. Kat said:

    So I have been dating a man…that is extremely busy. I have been seeing him for about 6 months. I know that sounds like a long time, but he’s so busy, it’s moving slow. We did spend Thanksgiving and Christmas together. New Years we didn’t have a chance to see each other, because he was having a meeting with his team, and I know he really wanted to get the year off to a great start, and never like to interfere when he’s in that “make magic” mode. If that makes sense to you. But lately he’s gotten even busier…running a new restaurant and also starting up a new company. I know he has days where he barely even sleeps, and so many people depend on his leadership and mentorship. But it seems that I am the one always initiating everything. I’m also a flight attendant, so I’m back and forth myself. He’s always like call me when you get you back or text me… but I’m starting to feel like I’m the one doing all the work. But then I feel guilty, because I know how busy he is. Is this the part that a woman has to play when she is dating a man that literally is super busy? I do think he cares about me. But sometimes I just feel like I’m the one driving the relationship. Is it fair that I should be the one initiating everything? I even thought about tryin the “no contact” rule, to get him to make more of an initiative. But now I feel that staying away, is only going to put a wedge between us. I’m so confused. Help??

    • James Bauer said:

      Hey Kat. I’d love to see you join our private online forum where our coaches respond to questions like these in more depth than we can get into via blog comments. You can join the private forum through this link.

  36. marenvrinda said:

    Let him practice what on you?

  37. Macy said:

    Hi James,
    I recently found out about your site when I Googled, How to date a busy man. I understand that you are based in America but your expertise cuts through all race and continent. I am From Nigeria (Africa). To my question ; I have been dating a guy for almost a month now, in 5 days we will be. We met through a mutual friend who wanted both of us to date because she felt we will be compactable and we are. The first time he called I liked the way he sounded on phone and how easy it was to chat with him though we haven’t met yet, we would talk about stuffs for a long time, sometimes 20 minutes other times less and this sparked off an interest in him. Days after the first calls and all we eventually met,he drove down to my apartment at night,I was away from my cityand didn’t come in late that evening, yet he insisted he would come meet me even if it was brief. Meeting him that day was awesome, I felt we had been friends from ages and it was so easy to talk with him as he feels same too.
    Few days after our first we met we had our first date and of cause it was amazing and I ended up spending a night at his place and we eventually had Sex the next morning but he opened up a lot about his past, family and work. He is a workaholic and is currently building three businesses aside other projects he has. We spoke about how this will affect us and what we should do to make US work. Weeks later he leaves town and goes completely mute, I got irritated and felt maybe he just wasn’t into me. During those weeks I initiated the communication but he would barely answer nor return my calls or text so I got upset and deleted his number, the last thing I want to become is a needy and lonely woman.
    So I cut of communication from my end and I think he got the message, he called to apologise and explain how crazy busy things were at the project site and plan returning to our city for just a day for a meeting with his business partner and sister who was leaving the country at that time. On the day of his arrival,he called from the airport, constantly updating me on his move and telling me how he can’t wait to see me. We met though briefly,because he had other engagements but he apologised about his bad communication habit and is trying to fix it because he wants US to work.That same day we had Sex and of cause it was magical.
    Fast forward to the next morning, I called him to check if he had left because he promised to checking in with me, he didn’t answer nor return my calls till days later. Just as before I got irritated and never called or texted him back, funny this seems to have worked a bit because afterwards he started making more efforts, he calls more now and if he misses my calls he immediately sends a text to inform me he is in a meeting and he returns the calls afterwards.
    Now James these are my fears,
    So far we’ve had just one super date and I have slept over at his place twice. I feel like I am a booty call. Secondly, I am yet to meet his close friends because he is always so busy and juggles between different cities and projects. Although he shows me pictures of his family and friends I am yet to meet any. Thirdly, he just ended a 1 year relationship with his ex fiance who jilted on him and he was badly hurt afterwards which resulted to him staying away from relationship for months till we met.
    Lastly, I am way younger than him,he is 34 and I am 27, I am also just kicking off my career as a brand manager and in the coming months I will be super busy. Please James, how do I deal with my busy man? Do I stay patient and be a booty call or do I talk to him and employ the consultative selling mechanism you talked about in your article.
    I know for sure I don’t want to be a needy or nagging girlfriend and yes we’ve established our exclusivity.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Marcy. As I read what you’ve written here, it strikes me that you already know what you need to do. Because you simply are not satisfied with the relationship as it is. If that is true, you really are not risking much by inviting him to become the man you could really invest in and see yourself with long term.

      Yes, consultative selling is a great way to approach this type of relationship scenario. Is there a risk he will reject your interest in building something more together? Yes. But you owe it to him and yourself to see if this romance can be stronger than the careers that are trying to push you apart.


      • Macy said:

        Thanks James, I find your answer quite helpful. May I also ask when it comes to communication, who should put in more work in a relationship and should there be a communication pattern?

  38. Bontle said:

    Hi James

    I have a boyfriend who lives far away from my place and always too busy to communicate with me.He always tells me about his work.When I call him he never answers his phone,the following day he would tell me that his phone was on silent or he was sleeping.what can I do to catch his attention?

    • James Bauer said:

      That’s a good question, but a tough situation. Here are some things that you might consider.

      Creating routines can help with a man who is really busy. So for example, have an open dialogue with your boyfriend about choosing two times during the week when he will schedule you into his calendar for a live phone call. He should treat his relationship as a priority that is at least as high as other priorities in his life. So reserving just two slots on his calendar (and treating them with as much importance as he would any other kind of meeting) can make the effort of staying in contact easier when you live at a distance from each other. It’s easier because once you have a set tradition for a day of the week and time when you routinely talk, it takes much less mental effort to reach out to each other.

      You might also consider whether this man is likely to provide what you’re really looking for in a relationship. You could ask him to reach out to you more often, but do you want to be with someone who does not feel a natural desire to connect with you on a frequent basis? To answer that question I guess you’ll need to consider what phase your relationship is in and whether or not his busy life situation is something temporary or permanent.

      For more help on this topic, consider taking a look at a special report I wrote about dating men who seem too busy.

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