October 19 2017

By Arti Patel

Every relationship has phases when one person can become distant from the other, but if your partner is suddenly too busy for you, experts say it could be part of a much bigger problem.

Registered psychologist and relationship expert Nicole McCance of Toronto, says of course, sometimes being busy can just mean being busy.

Your partner could be swamped at work, working on a deadline or taking part in another priority that is taking up their time, she says. But other times, it could be a sign it’s something else.

“It’s a sneaky way of withdrawing from the relationship,” she tells Global News, adding it could be an excuse for something deeper that’s going on with the relationship.

She adds if your partner is spending longer hours at the gym, going out with their friends more or spending time with his family, and not including you, he or she may want to distance themselves from you.

Enneagram and relationship consultant Eileen Head of Calgary, says when people get busy, they feel a sense of belonging with whatever they are busy with.

“When people get busy, especially in their own work, it’s because they feel valued there. The other partner may not be aware of that and they personalize it,” she tells Global News.

Below, McCance and Head offer advice on how to manage a relationship when one partner slowly becomes too busy.

You must communicate

Talk to your partner directly and ask them exactly what is keeping them busy and how the both of you can make time for each other, Head says. Communicate to your partner you want to be a part of his or her world, despite how busy they are.

Don’t bring out the blame

“This will lead to defensiveness,” McCance says. Instead, tell your partner you feel alone or you miss them — they will be more receptive to your feelings and it won’t lead to an argument.

Stay connected

“Relationships are about staying connected and you can allow [the other person] to be busy.” Instead of focusing on only meeting in-person, stay connected through texts or phone calls during the day, Head adds, especially if don’t see your partner that often.

Be the romantic

This can be hard, because as the other person in the relationship, you may be feeling undesired or alone. Instead, turn the tables around and plan a romantic dinner for the both of you — this is also a good opportunity to communicate some of the problems in the relationship, McCance says.

Script it

Head says sometimes, people just have a hard time communicating exactly what type of support they need from their partners. And if one partner is busy, the other partner can start feeling disconnected. “Write things down and say how you need it and what you need,” she says. “This takes confidence.” When you practice exactly what you want to say, you will feel a lot more comfortable saying it.

Keep yourself busy

“And I don’t mean busy to get back at them,” McCance says. “Make sure the motive is about finding your own happiness and sense of self.” This will ensure you won’t feel negative when your busy partner comes home. Go to the gym, take up a hobby and use the time to connect to things you may not make time for anymore.

Enjoy your space

Take advantage of having the house to yourself, McCance says. “If you have difficulty being alone, you might want to talk to a therapist or practice being alone.”