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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Savvy Singles > Lack of Time

Savvy Singles
by dating expert Tonja Evetts Weimer

Do You Need More Time with Your Lover?

Do you feel pressed for time? Do you and your lover need more time for romance? Most of us have heard that term “quality time.” It was coined in the 70s, originally describing the time that working parents spent with their children. It has now found its way into relationships of all kinds--particularly dating, cohabiting, or marriage relationships.

I never really liked that term. It seemed a little manipulative. It felt like the person I was seeing who was supposed to be paying attention to me wasn’t there because he had too many other priorities and responsibilities. And so I fell into the “quality time” category—which meant no time at all. “Quality time” seemed like an excuse for not being an important priority.


Research substantiates this need. It has shown that couples need a quantity of communication, face-to-face, in order to develop or repair their relationship. People rely on nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions, posture, and other physical gestures for building intimacy. Research also supports the idea that communication does not occur in a vacuum. Specifically, we interact while doing things together and doing things together builds a bond.

Have you ever heard someone say, “Oh, when we see each other, we’ll have some QUALITY TIME together”? That “quality time” probably felt like it was:

» Too short to begin and complete an emotional cycle of interaction and discussion. It’s not even enough time to complain that you don’t have enough time together.

» Superficial and unrealistic since there was never time to discover and then work through relationship issues. When you hear the term “quality time” you probably bristle because you feel your lover is not taking the issue of not being together seriously enough.

» Clouded with underlying resentment since the time together had no quality at all, yet you were supposed to believe that myth. If you have a lover who expects you to be happy that you get an hour together once a week, you may be seething inside while you force a smile on your face. Keep this up and you may become a crackling inferno.

» Laced with guilt because you couldn’t really get into what you were doing since you knew it was going to end too soon, yet you were supposed to be happy and in the moment.

» Basically, unimportant to the other person. If he cared more about you, he would find a way to spend more time with you, building the bond and the commitment.

Do you want to continue your relationship with someone, but they have very little time? Or are you the one with the lack of time problem? Do you work more than one job, live some distance from your significant other, have family members to attend to, or just find yourself in a time crunch for one reason or another?

Here are some suggestions to bridge the gap between “quality time” and “quantity time”:

1. Sit down with your love interest and discuss your schedules.
Take out your calendars and look to see when you can spend some uninterrupted time together. Knowing that you have a planned special time together can keep your spirits up and helps you stay focused on the positive. You may have to work two jobs, work and go to school, or take care of a child or a parent, and you may have to do these things for quite a stretch. But the way you can offset resentment is to bring the other person into your plans, thoughts, feelings, and goals. If they feel you are considerate of their needs, you will have less relationship problems.

2. Evaluate what is causing you to not have enough time together.
Is it possible to put a time limit on how long you are going to be overbooked? Are you trying to do more than is humanly possible because of a lack of money? Is there a way you can cut down your living expenses, quit working such long hours, and have more time? Can you ask other family members for more time or support while you are in this tight scheduling jam? Sit down and go over your list of questions together.

3. Gifts and cards matter.
If your loved one feels neglected, create a system where you buy a bunch of romantic cards or small gifts, and send them out every few days. It isn’t how much you feel your loved one matters as much as how much he or she FEELS they matter to you. And if you are the one who is being neglected, tell your partner what you need in order to feel closer to him or her. Be realistic about what they can afford or do, but also let the person know that you need at least a phone call, text message, or email. More than one a day is also helpful. Staying in touch means a lot.

It is not a good idea to just complain about a lack of time. You need a plan to turn things around. You can do it taking one step at a time. If NOTHING can be done about it, then do everything you can to be supportive and attentive in all the little ways that you can. If you have a great partner and he or she is doing everything possible to be with you, move from thinking about the lack of “quality time” to appreciating the quality of caring in your relationship.

Tonja Evetts Weimer, M.A., is an award-winning author and Master Certified Single’s Coach and Personal Life Coach. Her Savvy Singles column appears every Friday in Online Dating Magazine. You can email Tonja at, visit her website a or, or call 864-294-9494.

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