How To Handle Conflicting Schedules With A New SO

Bearflag has been blessed with a new SO this week. We have been dating for 3 months or so, but I seemed to know early on that I would like her enough to get this far.

Here’s the deal.

I am an attorney. For the most part, I work a typical work-a-day schedule. My freinds are usually harassing me by Wednesday to do stuff with them on Thursday, Friday, and/or the weekend. I also have things I want and need to do for myself, such as work out, etc.

She is a nurse who has classes. She works about 4 nights per week on 12-hour shifts. She also has plenty of other stuff on her plate as well that she needs and wants for herself. This is great! I am happy that she wants to do these things for herself.

The bottom line is that we’re both busy and have conflicting and sometimes unpredictable schedules.

When I’m busy, I plan stuff out to make sure I get everything done. I ask her to spend time with me, but often, she can’t give me anything more than, “I’ll have to check my schedule and get back to you in a few days.” I’m learning not to take offense at this.

  1. I want to make time and spend time with her, but I don’t want to harass her about setting up dates when she can’t predict her schedule. " When can I see you next? How 'bout now? How 'bout now?" This will drive her nuts.

  2. I don’t want to throw out an open invitation and fail to make plans for myself waiting for her to get back to me.

  3. I don’t want to make plans for myself just to have her call me up to go out after I already have plans for myself. We may never see each other.

I am used to dating other work-a-days, like me. How do I handle this? It makes us both uncomfortable for me to keep asking her when she has some time. We addressed this isue, and she gave me her work and class schedule, which will be helpful. How have other Dopers dealt with this in their relationships?

Does she have a computer? Does she email? I have found email is a great way to coordinate weird schedules. If she dosen’t have a computer/email, buy an old computer for $50 and set it up.

One thing that is nice about email is htat when someone uses email to ask about your avalibility, it dosen’t feel like they are checkiung up on you pr pressuring you the way phone calls can. Also, sending little notes is a good way to show that you are thinking of each other, even when yur schedules don’t even allow for a phone call.

Second, I’d ask her if she can commit to one night a week–or one weekend day-- as “couple time”–knowing for sure that you are going to see each other eventually will keep you from feeling like other nights are urgent. This is good, as urgency can sound like desperation, which is unattractive and stressful.

Third, take advantage of small meetings. You don’t have to have a block of hours and hours to make getting together worth your time. Meeting her for an hour on her lunch break/after you get off work in the hospital cafeteria can be a great way to keep current with each other. Meeting at IHOP for your lunch/her breakfast can accomplish the same thing.

Last, this has to be a two way street, and you are only entitled to as much of each other’s time as you are willing to give. So no nagging. If it starts to feel like you are constantly after her to spend time with you and nothing is ever a good time for her and she dosen’t come up with alternitives (i.e., says “No, not friday.”, not “no, not friday, how about saturday?”), then that is a sign that she really isn’t as committed to this relationship as you. My husband and I have never had anything like hte same schedule. YOu can work it out, but it takes commitment on both parties.

Bumpworthy new descriptive thread title added…

If you’re going to be a couple both of you are going to have to give up some of the things you do individually, or better yet, do them together.

If you’re really nuts about each other, you’ll make time to be together. This happens pretty automatically. If one party’s not willing to make time…

You’re both obviously very busy so maybe you or her just want to chill, so just grab a flick and go to her place (or invite her over) and order out or something.

You might also try to figure out which of your plans she might join in an impromptu way, if her schedule works out. If you plan to go to a party, let her know the details and that she can join you if she’s free, not too tired, etc. That way, if she comes, great, and if she doesn’t, you’re not sitting home alone.

This only works, of course, if you really are equally happy about going to the party or whatever event either alone, or together. It doesn’t work if you’re secretly miserable if she declines to join you, or secretly hoping that she doesn’t take you up on the offer because you want to spend time with your college buddies.

I would want her to come with me, but I would understand if she couldn’t. I would be happy going alone.

I would never be secretly miserable if she actually showed up. If I felt that way, I wouldn’t be with her in the first place.