Dear V: Boyfriend feeling neglected

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Dear V,

Lately, my boyfriend has been accusing me of not spending enough time with him.

I’m not doing it intentionally, really, but I’m super busy with school and work. I try to balance time spent with family, friends and my guy, but sometimes he gets the short end of the stick because we live together.

I tried to explain to him that I’m prioritizing quality time with people who are more difficult for me to see because there’s always time to unwind on the couch with him and watch Netflix at the end of the day.

My boyfriend doesn’t seem to get this, though. He becomes overprotective and jealous when I spend time with friends. He went so far as to ask why I was “bored” with him a few days ago.

I don’t know what to do. I could start spending more time with my boyfriend, but then my friends will accuse me of ditching them for a guy. I could nix my family, but then I’d get the guilt-trip of a lifetime.

No matter what I do, somebody’s going to feel like they’re not getting enough time with me.

What should I do?

Sincerely,

Busy Betty

Dear Busy Betty,

Ah, the classic conundrum. Bros before hoes, or “ovaries before brovaries?”

Yes, Leslie Knope’s line in Parks and Rec has proven its lasting power since it first aired in 2009. This is a common dilemma that everybody faces at some point.

There’s only so much time in the day. Once you factor in sleep, eating, class, work, commuting and all the other little things that make up your schedule, it’s difficult to save time to spend with loved ones, let alone personal time for yourself.

However, that doesn’t mean you’ve got an excuse to ditch your beau. It’s not fair to leave him dangling on a string, and it’s obvious from his clingy and needy behavior that he feels neglected.

In situations like this, a little bit of effort goes a long way. Your boyfriend isn’t dumb – he obviously understands you’re busy – but that doesn’t mean he won’t get upset when you’re not putting in the same amount of effort he is.

Send a quick text during your lunch break and ask how his day is going. Leave a note on the fridge saying you hope that big meeting goes well. Come home with a fresh bottle of wine the night after he interviews for that job he’s been vying for.

While you might not be able to be around your boyfriend 24/7, if he can be confident you’ve still got your eyes on him, he’ll understand.

Why not try these tips with friends and family, too?

Birthday messages, surprise phone calls and even cards through snail mail go a long way.

Put effort into the little things, and people will be more likely to understand your busy schedule.

-V

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