Do you and your lover need more time for romance? Do you often talk about spending “quality time” together? Most of us have heard or used that term often enough. It was coined in the 70s, originally describing the time that working parents spent with their children. However, it has now found its way into relationships of all kinds—particularly cohabiting or marital relationships.
But some people feel like “quality time” means no time at all. And the fact is, relationships need time. Research substantiates that couples need a quantity of communication and face-to-face time together 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.
Couples who don’t get enough time together often feel like “quality time” is:
• 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 she cared more about you, she would find a way to spend more time with you, building the bond and the commitment.
Do you want to continue your relationship with her, but she has very little time? Or are you the one with the no-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 her 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 her into your plans, thoughts, feelings, and goals. If she feels you are considerate of her 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? Are there ways you can cut down your living expenses, quit working such long hours, and have more time? Can you ask other family members to pitch in with some help while you are in this tight scheduling jam? Sit down and go over your list of questions and options with her.
3. Gifts and cards matter.
If she feels neglected, create a system where you buy a bunch of romantic cards or small gifts, and send them out every few days. What matters here… is that she feels SHE matters to you. And if you are the one who is being neglected, tell her what you need in order to feel closer to her. Be realistic about what she can afford or do, but also let her know that you need at least a phone call, text message, or email a day. More than one a day is also helpful. Staying in touch means everything.
It is not a good idea to just complain about a lack of time. You need a plan to turn things around. 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 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.
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