I Am Breaking Up a Good Relationship Because My Girlfriend Won’t Change Her Priorities

I Am Breaking Up a Good Relationship Because My Girlfriend Won't Change Priorities

I’m not looking for advice, but I just wanted to say that (as a man) you give solid advice to women. A good female friend of mine found her fiancé as a result of reading your advice. Your advice regarding women with unusual or difficult schedules is spot-on. Sadly, I’m going to have to end a fairly good relationship tomorrow with a smart, cute, funny woman. Why? Her priorities.

She’s been either in school or a high-powered job her entire life. As an achiever, those have been her focuses. She’s never made a man her focus. I’m OK with not being her #1, but between her many (and growing) friends, hobbies, and endeavors, I find it increasingly difficult to spend an acceptable amount of time with her.

If you have a boyfriend who only has one night a week for you, I would encourage you to dump him.

The last straw was when she decided to work at a year-long weekend festival both Saturday and Sunday mornings. She had been working Saturday when we met and I was okay with that. It’s not a money thing but more of a do-gooder thing to her. In any case, she took my understanding a little for-granted and added the second day before mentioning it to me. She would be far too “independent” to go back to one day a weekend, because she doesn’t “do things just for guys.”

It’s not unusual for her to tell me that “I have dinner with a friend Monday, an event on Tuesday, a soccer game on Thursday, a meeting on Friday, and the festival Saturday (and now) again on Sunday. Do you have Wednesday or sometime during the day on the weekends open?” Since, I’m also somewhat busy, the answer is often no. She’s exhausted most of the time when we do hang out.

The thing is she genuinely loves me and I know she will be hurt when she gets the news that this is just too hard for me. I’m a flexible, secure, giving man but I have my limits. Like I said, Evan, I never asked to be her #1, but being her #10 isn’t going to work. I don’t take it personally — this is how her past relationships have gone.

The sad part is that she really doesn’t perceive that her life is inaccessible for a man. I’m a tough guy but being made to feel like I’m the leftover backup plan, however unintentionally, is just not what I want in a partner.

It will be tough telling her that I’m out. I grew up with a mother who was so “involved” in the community and career that my Dad and me were just filler time. I feel the same dynamic with this lady and I don’t want that for me or my eventual kids. This woman has a severe fear of ending up old and alone, and yet it’s not enough to make her change her behavior. I have communicated my position and her enthusiastic promises to “chill out a bit” and “open up my calendar” haven’t been kept. Add in kids and I just don’t know whether I’d have an absentee mother on my hands.

Relationship needs are relationship needs and people who refuse to compromise – regardless of gender – can’t be too surprised when they find themselves alone.

Life is about choices and I feel like an increasing number of women are lying to themselves about that reality. When two things truly conflict you have to pick one, you just can’t have it all at the same time. Healthy things like “compromise” are now frowned upon by women’s advice-givers. The college lifestyle of being busy all the time is taken further and further into adulthood. It’s all just enough to push a good, progressive guy like me towards a more traditional woman, even if she’s not as degreed or professionally successful.

What I feel really bad about is that I won’t be single for more than a week or two, but she could be entering another year-long bout of men who never call after the first date.

Feel free to print this if you think your readers would find it helpful.



Thank you, Austin. It’s rare when I print anything that I didn’t write myself, but this is a valuable anecdote that is more powerful than anything I could have made up myself.

And for any woman who gets her hackles up that another woman is being told to compromise because she can’t “have it all”, let’s just say that nothing would change if the genders were reversed. If you have a boyfriend who only has one night a week for you, I would encourage you to dump him as well, no matter how much you loved him. Relationship needs are relationship needs and people who refuse to compromise – regardless of gender – can’t be too surprised when they find themselves alone.

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  1. 1

    I have one core problem with this anecdote. Did Austin ever talk to her about this? He writes “She would be far too “independent” to go back to one day a weekend, because she doesn’t “do things just for guys.”” This sounds to me like he assumed he knew what she would say to him before asking her. Plenty of women who wouldn’t “do things just for guys” would do something specific for a relationship they really care about. I’m not sure he’s giving her the chance to make things work. If she doesn’t know that he’s feeling frustrating with her not prioritizing him, then how can she fix it? Sure, maybe he wants someone who wants to be with him more and it does not seem that she does, but maybe she just struggles with fitting in everything she wants and hasn’t stopped to think about it. I think its fine to say that if you want a relationship you need to prioritize having a relationship, but you also have to be able to communicate what your needs are if you want a relationship. It doesn’t sound like Austin is doing that. So, while he might not “be single for more than a week,”(by the way the sheer arrogance of that statement is enough to make me want to vomit) he may never have a successful relationship either.  

    1. 1.1

      Cassie, He does say he addressed it:
      I have communicated my position and her enthusiastic promises to “chill out a bit” and “open up my calendar” haven’t been kept.

    2. 1.2

      “I have communicated my position and her enthusiastic promises to “chill out a bit” and “open up my calendar” haven’t been kept.”
      That quote from Austin’s message makes me think that he has tried to tell her how he feels and she thinks she’s listening but she continues to take him for granted.  The thing is, I used to BE that girl through a large part of my 20s.  I eventually calmed down around 27 or 28.  The cooldown started a bit before I met my current husband and continued through our courtship and subsequent wedding.  I wish I could say that this  happened because I had some sort of epiphany or because I planned it but I can’t.  It just…happened.  I guess I was lucky.  Once I was in a relationship with my now-husband, I sometimes consciously passed up opportunities because they would mean a lot of time away from him but my adjustment was not huge because I had already started to move away from that 20s lifestyle.
      We’ve been married since 2012 and I find myself ramping back up again, two years into marriage.  I can afford to do this now because 1) we live together and see each other all the time and 2) we have figured out what the other will tolerate in terms of absenteeism.
      Austin’s letter is fabulously written.  I didn’t feel any arrogance behind his words…he’s just telling the sad truth.  This woman HAS a man who cares about  her but she isn’t compromising even a bit to keep him.

      1. 1.2.1

        Hmm..been there, done that (as a girl). She simply does not love him and most probably is not sexually attracted to him anymore. When someone really likes you, loves you, is attracted to you, they can’t get enough of you. She’s most probably looking for ways to avoid spending time with him. I can’t imagine someone loving their partner, being attracted to them and preferring to spend their Saturday and Sunday mornings being anywhere else then in bed with their partner. This guys needs to wake up and dump her. As said, she neither loves him, not is particularly sexually attracted to him.


        To be blunt: in the first years of a relationships at least, you should want to spend as much time with your partner as possible , especially sexy time; if you feel you are “compromising” (by not doing other things that you like more), then … you need to leave.

    3. 1.3

      Cassie, you need to actually read what Austin said.  He ALREADY talked about her reaction to him talking about it with her.  HE SAID she gives empty promises to change.  In spite of promising to change, she dies not do so.

    4. 1.4

      Maybe he should drop(subtle,but not so subtle) hints about what he wants??
      It’s ironical that how women start blaming the man for not communicating his problem clearly, but when they have a problem, men are supposed to read their mind like a magician or become sherlock and keep looking for clues…but if she has to do the same then it’s the man’s fault…
      1) Man having problem-so he is not communicating– man is creating the problem. 
      2)Woman having problem – he is not being pyschic or sherlock and not picking up on the hints – again man is creating the problem.

      1. 1.4.1

        Totally agree!! women hated the double standard of yesteryear and created Womens’ lib, maybe it’s time for men to ban together because women these days are selfish self centered and blame EVERYTHING on men.

        1. Sarah

          Oh boo boo. Here’s a tissue for your issues.

      2. 1.4.2

        I love this reply!!

        Truthful humor 😀

    5. 1.5

      I read the whole story and it sure seems lichee has tried to get his point across in varied ways, he has just as much right to want what he needs from a relationship as the next person

  2. 2

    I don’t comment on here often – but I felt I needed to comment on Austin’s letter simply to say, he’s right.   And your perspective on how we as women would feel if the roles in the letter were reversed was also right.   I have many friends in their early to mid-thirties who are successful, talented, independent and searching for a partner, but who have no time for a partner.  Finding time for their friends in itself is a chore at times.  It’s great to be busy, independent, and successful, but don’t be too ‘busy’ and become your own downfall for finding a great guy.

  3. 3

    I agree with Austin, you need to actually be a part of someone’s life to have a relationship with them. Though I think he is greatly underestimating how long it will take him to find his next relationship.

    1. 3.1

      Why do you think he’s greatly underestimating how long it will take him to find his next relationship? And who are you and what credentials you have to determine that? Could it be based on the good old woman’s vanity!

      1. 3.1.1

        Haha so true. Some people are good at dating and find companionship easily. Others take 4-5 dates to loosen up and make a connection. In modern dating, if you’re in the 4-5 bracket, a lot of people won’t give you time.

        It depends what Austin means by ‘single’. Genuine relationships take weeks to build.

    2. 3.2
      Old Gregg

      More so, I believe He is underestimating how unhealthy and idiotic it is to go from one relationship to the next so instantaneously. Especially if you have such strong feelings for someone that you would feel the need to publicly display your dissatisfaction with their behavior to feel righteous in decision. Not to mention He stated He was “Not looking for advice” even though He seems distraught with confusion and a lack of direction. Was there even any mention of how long the relationship had been going on?

  4. 4

    Austin, your points are well-taken but you have some blind spots and could use some advice yourself.  First, your statement “It’s all just enough to push a good, progressive guy like me towards a more traditional woman, even if she’s not as degreed or professionally successful” is a little shortsighted.  Just because a woman is more “traditional” and not a high degreed professional does not mean that she will have more time for you or be a better mom or wife.  It certainly doesn’t mean she will love you more or be there for you in the long run.  I have many professional women colleagues who are great moms and wives and show their kids that you can have a healthy work-balance.  They are the true high powered woman, not your soon to be ex who in truth is playing at it to appear busy but in reality does not have the foggiest idea of what prioritizing means and who has very poor insight into her life (per what you wrote).  In contrast, I know of “traditional” women who are going out having affairs while their man is working bringing home the bacon.  And then there are women who have had a good job or degree who chose to then stay home.  Where would you put them?  You should rate the character of the woman and the quality of the relationship, not judge her based on her job or degree and make assumptions.
    Secondly, have you considered that because of your mommy abandonment issues, you are in a roundabout way attracted to women just like your mom?  Women who use their careers as a buffer for something akin to the female version of being emotionally unavailable?  Because I can tell you that is not the norm for a professional woman.  Being from a family of high powered women and having a demanding job myself, I can tell you that ignoring hubby and kids is not the way it usually works if you actually have your act together.  I wish you luck in your one week of bachelorhood before you are summarily snapped up by a line of women because you are so awesome.  That, however, doesn’t guarantee you happiness unless you are actually able to find your soulmate.

    1. 4.1
      Dina Strange

      Agree. He just insulted traditional girls who i personally adore. He wants his cake and eat it too..and that doesn’t work.

      1. 4.1.1
        remains unknown

        I agree

    2. 4.2
      To Be Frank

      Although it is never safe to assume,  I’m pretty sure he meant the “traditional” housewife. I’m sure you thought that as well. A “traditional” woman tends to have more time to commit to her man and you know that. Did you intentionally nitpick just to nitpick or are you that oblivious to what this gentleman’s issue is here?

      1. 4.2.1

        I agree that Austin would be doing himself a disserve by limiting his dating efforts to women who seem to be more “traditional.”  I am an active professional woman and attorney who volunteers in the community, and am involved in sports and hobbies.  In a relationship with the right person, I have prioritized my partner and given up commitments and hobbies in order to spend time with him.  

      2. 4.2.2

        AGREED these women on here are quick to jump at a man speaking his mind and shining a negative light on career women who are the reason this society is the way it is. Womens Lib has ruined the “Traditional Family” and by traditional I mean single income male provider where women are caring for the household. Not dumb women just women that don’t need to compete with a man.

        1. Mrs Happy

          Paul @ 4.2.2:

          the “traditional” single income male provider lifestyle was, across the whole of human history, only the norm for a very short period (around 100 years) for most social classes. It hasn’t been tradition forever – it was the tradition just briefly, starting during the late 1800’s and revving up during the 1900’s.

          The industrial revolution ushered in the single income male provider model for the middle then working classes.

          For most of the rest of human existence, both partners worked to survive (usually on the land), bar the very wealthy/top of a society. Only with the advent of machinery and flux to the cities, could a family afford to have only 1 adult working.

          It may be misplaced to yearn for a short-lived way of life that couldn’t successfully continue.

    3. 4.3

      Agreed.  I’m a trial lawyer not traditional in his sense but I will make time for a man and I do.   Maybe this girl is just not ready yet to give this up and get serious or he’s just not the right guy for her to do that.    If she was really into him she likely would change. Maybe it’s her subtle way or even subconscious way of not allowing the relationship to grow.   And the writer does seem a bit needy.

      1. 4.3.1

        And how the hell is that needy tell me

  5. 5

    If you love someone why would you schedule so little time with them? Makes me wonder if she actually loves Austin or if she just likes saying she has a boyfriend.
    Doesn’t sound like Austin loves her either given his confidence in getting a new girlfriend in week.

    (His confidence in himself is no reflection on whether he loves her. – EMK)

    1. 5.1

      He dose love her he’s just showing a dominant behavior

  6. 6

    His confidence in himself is no reflection on whether he loves her. – EMK)
     Fair enough.  I dunno, I just got a vibe off the letter that he wasn’t all that distressed about breaking up with her. He mentions she loves him, he never mentioned he loved her.

    1. 6.1
      Karmic Equation

      Men are troubleshooters. They like to fix things. His love for her and her love for him aren’t what’s broken, so it’s not really surprising that he doesn’t mention his lover for her, that’s not where he feels the problem lies.
      Assume men are honest. Then assume they’re telling you the truth. Don’t overthink or over-analyze what they don’t say. Don’t give them that much credit.
      He wants to be with her and he isn’t being made a priority. That’s the problem. He tried to fix it. She “yes’d” him but failed to follow through. He’s perfectly within his rights to walk.
      Just a women can have sex anytime she wants, a man can get a relationship anytime he wants. He’s not being arrogant. He’s just stating a fact.
      Will he be happier in a new relationship? That’s another question 🙂

      1. 6.1.1

        Some people need more time with their SO’s than others.  I see it as a compatibility issue.  Ofcourse he’s perfectly within his right to walk- what he sees of her lifestyle is incompatible to want he wants for his with a lover. No dispute from me on that.
        As articulate as this letter is…some things about it just strike me as justifications, rationalizations, and really…a vent more than anything.  Shrug.

      2. 6.1.2

        so why is it you think a man can have a relationship any time he wants? This is the second time I see you making this statement, and I am curious where this comes from.  This is a site for women looking for love/to have a relationship so it gives the impression that women are the sufferers, but in reality,  I am under the impression that men are equally struggling with love, relationships, marriage, divorce, just the same.  They might not be willing to put it on a blog, or tell it to you, but this is what they are discussing amonth themselves (the lucky ones who have male friends).
        Also, I think both men and women can have sex anytime they want, if they are willing to pay the price which might be monetary or a different form of reciprocation. I think both genders would prefer, in an ideal world, to have sex in the context of love, but could live with just sex, or sex + nice company,  if  real love is not available at the moment.
        But your thoughts on this would be very interesting, as always.

        1. Julia

          Yeah, this is a real head scratcher. To think a man wants a relationship and POOF it appears is sort of naive. Look at our dear dating coach: Evan went on 300 first dates before meeting his wife and admitted to only having a few relationships during that decade or so. He was a man who truly wanted a relationship but you have to find someone that you are a good fit with. To suggest that men simply settle on the the next cute nice girl is selling them very short.

        2. Chance

          Kiki, my guess for why Karmic believes that a man can have a relationship any time he wants is because she’s seen many men do just that (however, I’ll let her answer that).  That also may be the reason the OP feels this way – because that’s what he has been able to do in the past.
          I see a lot of women here who have taken exception to the OP’s assertion that he could rebound very quickly even though this has nothing to do with the main point of the post, and I’m guessing this is because it brings out women’s insecurities that are rooted in the fact that they generally hate the search for a partner, while a lot of eligible men enjoy the search.  They seem to hate that this guy is just so confident, yet our culture doesn’t reward men who think any differently, like it or not.  A man who loves himself is going to have the most success with women.  Always.  I’m sorry if that offends anyone.
          Another reason that we are so confident that we can get into a relationship at any time is because a lot of men have mastered the art of settling.  Men just don’t pick a woman out of the crowd who has everything he’s looking for, and decide that she’s going to be the one.  We ask women out until we get a “yes”.  Take any couple that you see or know, it’s highly likely that she wasn’t his first choice, but rather is 6th or 7th choice, and if she can tolerate him enough to marry him, that’s who becomes his wife. 
          Sparkling Emerald is right – it doesn’t really take much for us to want to date a woman.  We just enjoy the company and the sex.  We look for sex, and we find love along the way at some point.  That’s all I looked for when I was dating, and I never cared when a relationship ended because I could just move on to the next one.  I just chalked it up to experience, and was glad I got good company and sex.  I look back fondly on all of my relationships.  I really started to enjoy the search when I realized that my options were getting more plentiful as I got older and more established!
          If your male friends are struggling to find a relationship, it’s likely because they aren’t confident enough, are shooting too high, or are looking for something so specific that they’ve almost mathematically eliminated their odds of finding love.

      3. 6.1.3

        Omg omg omg Karamic this is 100% my exact problem and yes i have my eyes on another person not because i don’t love my partner whom i’m deciding it is quits, but because in 2016 everything i say or do productive and maturely to fix this relationship ends in ok we should do this as a team actually ends in (me having to repeat myself and being told like i’m making no sense) she’s a lovely girl, she loves me but i am not willing to be shoved to one side until she’s finished her work and plans but when it comes to her feelings i must bow down and if i even dare make a suggestion as to how she’d like to make things work as in 50/50 decision making be run down like i have done something terrible. No i am sorry bf or gf u make your bed you chose them you lvoe someone make time or don’t be a sissy and pile all the responsibility onto your gf or bf because things are tough. That is love that’s being a pussy and quitting when tryings invovled.

    2. 6.2

      I took his last statement as he is ready for a relationship and will find one easily, while she is busy and will continue to not make it a priority. It will take her much longer to find someone who tolerates a partner who is absent much of the time, but there are a lot of people who appreciate a relationship-minded person.

      1. 6.2.1

        I read this thinking she is likely absent cause she’s not that into him.  Love is shown not said.

        1. Andrew Ioannou

          I feel for Austin, because I am pretty much in the same position as he is. Lisa, I am afraid you are wrong. How do I know? Because I have walked away for the same reason. And she came back and promised to “try and give you what you want”. What I want is a normal adult relationship where two people make time for each other and actually sleep in the same bed. I am about to walk away for the final time and it is causing me terrible stress and heartache because I love her with all my heart. I know she loves me too but she is unable to change. In my eyes she is like a hamster on a wheel and unable to stop because she’s terrified of getting off that wheel. It’s not about “not being into him” – its about being caught in a way of living you are afraid to change. We have been dating for two years and we are not children. I am 56 and she is 51. In two years, we have spent precisely two nights together at my home. However, we have been away on several trips out of our country where we have spent the nights together. Part of the reason she won’t spend the night which I have tried to deal with is that her 26 year old daughter lives with her and refuses to acknowledge my existence. God forbid that her mother should find happiness and spend time with someone other than her. But the other reason is more frustrating – her cat, which is old and supposedly cannot be left alone! When we go away she makes sure her daughter, or her ex husband(!?!?!) is there to stay with the cat….Anyway, aside from this, she spends every Sunday with her parents and we mostly spend only one weekday, Fridays and Saturdays together and even then she comes over late in the evening (because she is sooo busy, because her daughter needed to go shopping, because she needs time to do her housework etc etc) and leaves around 2am. Watching her get up and leave after we have made love brings up all sorts of negative feelings in me; abandonment, frustration, sadness and so on. Sometimes it feels like I’m in love with a married woman. She makes dates to go out with her friends without mentioning it to me. She claims to be ultra busy all the time because of her job, which is all she talks about some nights. I don’t call her in case she is with her daughter as it “upsets her”. To put things into perspective I own my own company, I have three offices in three countries and employ 25 people, and I travel a lot. Yet I make the time to be with her and cook for her and do things for her. I am building a house and she says that when her daughter moves out things will be different, and she wants to move in with me. But when I try to discuss my frustrations with her, she accuses me of pressuring her and suffocating her and to give it time as its “a process”. However, I am finding it increasingly difficult to live with and even if we were to move in together, I think it might even be worse for me. As I mentioned, I walked away before because the way things were wasn’t enough for me. Three months later she came back and then ran away because her life was too “complicated and busy for our relationship”. So I deleted her from my life and tried to move on again and a month later she was back promising it would be different. Now five months later, I am faced with the prospect of having walk away again and its breaking my heart. Why is it that only women ever seem to be the injured party and when men are injured, they are “being needy”? Austin is right in saying it would be easy to walk into another relationship. It is easy especially when you are financially secure – but that doesn’t mean you will find someone you love as much as the person you are about to leave and that’s what makes it even more painful.

    3. 6.3

      Well a guy who would stick around for such a long time as such with no doubts must of loved her.  But to love someone isn’t ever enough. You have to show them.


      Its like having a president who says he’ll end  crime vs a president who doesn’t say he’ll end crime but actually does.


      Actions speak louder than words.

      I am going through the same situation with my gf/x. She doesn’t value me the way I should be valued. And it seems I value her way to much than what her real value is.

  7. 7

    He’s totally right, and it’s not gendered– but wow, isn’t he impressed with what a catch he is!  Might want to expand his criteria to include “high tolerance for tools” in addition to “more available”

    1. 7.1

      So, Allison, if a woman has no tolerance for an uninterested emotionally unavailable man because she knows what she’s worth, and she knows that she can do better, does that mean she has to expand her criteria to include “high tolerance for bitches”?  Sounds like that’s what you ‘re saying.

      1. 7.1.1

        Oh, I definitely think he should break up with her– as should any woman who’s dating a man like this.  I just didn’t like his tone– the assumption that he’ll find another partner so quickly while she won’t, the way it’s women’s fault if he becomes less progressive, etc.  I wouldn’t like it if a woman spoke that way either (“it’s men’s fault for making me jealous!” for example).  Again, it’s not gendered.    

        1. SparklingEmerald

          OK, I’ll admit, I found his tone with the “I’ll find another relationship in a week” (or something like that) a bit arrogant, but most likely TRUE.  It is VERY EASY for emotionally AVAILABLE men to get into relationships.  I have seen me who seem to glide from one relationship to another (serial monogamists) and the  things they seem to have in common is that they REALLY want to be in a relationship, and they are attracted to a fairly wide range of women.  They don’t play games either way, if they don’t like a girl, they don’t string her along, they end it when they know it’s not working (so they can find a woman they WANT to be with ) and when they DO find a woman they want to be with, they don’t play games either, they ask what are you doing tomorrow ?  What are you doing the next day ?  What are your plans for the week end ?  If the answer is “I’m busy” 90% of the time, then they are GONE ! 
          Good lesson for any “Rules” girls out there.  “The Rules” work if you want an emotionally unavailable man who likes the game of cat and mouse.  If you want an emotionally available man, you have to be available yourself.   Women who are ready for a relationship greatly out number men who want relationships.  So a man can say that he will find another relationship in a week, while a woman (even a very attractive woman) might take a year.  It might sound arrogant, but it is actually THE TRUTH !  Maybe that’s why it stings to hear.

        2. Goldie

          @ SE
          So a man can say that he will find another relationship in a week, while a woman (even a very attractive woman) might take a year.  It might sound arrogant, but it is actually THE TRUTH ! 
          Um, not in my experience. I went dating last year after my last relationship ended, met the first guy who was interested in getting serious literally the next day after I signed up. Met another two weeks after I signed up. And a third one about a month later. All three were very interested in a relationship, but after getting to know them better, I turned all three of them down, and took a break from dating altogether. My ex OTOH, met someone right away, got serious a month later, and got off the site with her another month later. So, as far as I can tell, both a woman and a man can in fact find A relationship within a week or two – Austin is technically right. It’s finding a healthy relationship that both sides are happy with, and that brings out the best in both sides, that is tricky to find. I assume that was what my ex found, and I’m happy for him, because it’s like winning the lottery the first time you buy a ticket. I might be looking for the rest of my life, and that is fine with me – but if I wanted a relationship, any relationship, that’s pretty easy to come by.

        3. SparklingEmerald

          Goldie at 7.whatever
          You kind of made my point for me,  it took you longer to get into a relationship, because you had so much more criteria. You turned down 3 guys, then gave up on dating.  Your ex was coupled up a month later.
          Women who want relationships vastly outnumber men who do.   So a man who truly wants a relationship can easily find one.   A man who just wants a booty call can find that too, because too many women will play “I’m cool with that HOPING he’ll change his mind”
          One of my exes told me that men are very simple.  If a man want to be in a relationship and he finds a girl who is cute and is into him, then voila, he has found himself a girlfriend. 

        4. Michael

          Don’t be angry because he has swagger.  Like all the other women who have taken issue with this part of the article which has no link to the rest WHATSOEVER, it is intolerable for you to see a man display self assurance.  So what if his turn around time isn’t actually a week.  That isn’t your business.  You and the rest who commented on this did so for no other reason than to shoot him down, as your comments can serve no other purpose.  Funny, women are quick to shoot down perceived cockiness, but so eager to seek confidence in a partner that they are willing to have their heart destroyed by an asshole.  Thank goodness I found someone with more sense.

        5. Mark

          I think what a lot of the people that don’t like his comment about finding another relationship easily, are missing is that he really wanted to make it work with this woman. He has been with her for a while. He knows her history her insecurities and that it took her a lot of no call backs after first dates to find a boyfriend. Maybe he’s annoyed because he’s got his shit together and knows he a catch but has to let this one go. Lets face it any confident, emotional healthy guy over the age of 35 will easily get a girlfriend. After 35 women are losing the attributes that attract men. Men are gaining the attributes that attract women. Such as confidence and emotional centreness. 

    2. 7.2

      @Chance 6.123    Thanks for that excellent and concise explanation.  I’d never looked at men’s dating patterns in that way before but what you wrote makes a lot of sense.

      1. 7.2.1

        I agree that it definitely seems easier fo relationship-ready, emotionally-available men to jump into new relationships, simply because it is a numbers game.  Especially if the man is in the younger demographic (as Austin seems to be since he mentions wanting to have kids).  There are fewer relationship-ready, desirable men, and a glut of women who want relationships.  This letter is a good reminder for everyone.  Actions speak louder than word, and prioritizing someone in your schedule speaks to your commitment level.  

        1. Lisa

          I think in stating this we should consider that men also have an easier time moving on with new people.  Whereas women when they break up with or get broken up with by a man that they cared about it takes some time and they don’t usually jump right into relationships which I think is the more healthy way to handle it.  Personally I wait at least a few months to jump in and my exes are in a new relationship by then.  Sure I could be in a new relationship a week later if I wanted but my heart needs to heal.

  8. 8

    Along the lines of what Selena wrote @5, I’m not sure about how much she loves her boyfriend. Sure, she probably appreciates his qualities, but as mature people know, love is about action, and her actions do not show much interest in her boyfriend.
    Now it’s possible that Austin’s love language is Quality Time or Physical Touch, which require people to be together, while hers might be Words of Affirmation or Gifts, which do not require people to be in the same room. However no matter how you slice it, a relationship requires people to interact with one another, and to be willing to hear one another’s needs and take heart in fulfilling them. She is not hearing him at all.
    I agree that it’s not a gender thing. Austin’s letter is a good example of people who are not suitable life partners, regardless on how much they want to be in a relationship. Good luck to Austin to find someone who will be able to offer a better work/life/relationship balance and show him how precious he is in their life.

  9. 9

    While I understand Austin’s desire to see his girlfriend more, there are a few things that bother me about his point of view. One is that he seems to be under the assumption that just because his girlfriend’s life is hectic now, it will always be that way. Maybe she is planning to pull back a bit on her busy schedule once she gets married and has kids. It seems to me that he’d do best to sit her down and tell her his concerns about their future if he hasn’t already. Also, not for nothing but if the shoe were on the other foot (as it often is), it would be considered totally fine for him to be busy. Many wives with husbands who work in high-powered careers have had to just sit by and endure it while their husbands work 80 hours a week and then go golfing, boating, etc. No one ever questions that, but the minute it’s a woman doing these things, it’s like, Whoa, hold the phone! She should be concentrating on making her man happy, and making her relationship work! Not on her own interests, responsibilities and activities. Not for nothing, but it sounds like he knew this about her right from the start. And now that they’ve been dating for a while (how long, he didn’t say), he just expects her to forget that she had a life before him? I understand that in relationships there does have to be a certain amount of compromising, but it doesn’t sound to me like he’s considered any compromises he could make. Did he ever think about joining her at her weekend festival gig? And suppose she did listen to him and cut back on her schedule so that they could see each other more and then he gets bored, because now she’s too available? I think he needs to do some serious soul searching and figure out the best way to be in this relationship. If it’s still in the initial stages (less than 3 months), maybe he should just give it more time. Maybe she will make him more of a priority when it becomes clear that he’s not going to just desert her. He does seem quite ready to do just that: “I won’t be single for more than a week or two, but she could be entering another year-long bout of men who never call after the first date”. Really, you’re sure about that are you, Austin? Jeez, could you sound any more arrogant?

    1. 9.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Sounds like someone had her buttons pushed. Sounds like you’re just trying to find any reason to make Austin “wrong”, regardless of whether he was. You have no idea if Austin’s girlfriends busy-ness was temporary…but you’re trying to justify why it was. You have no idea what Austin knew at the beginning…but you’re suggesting that he should have known. You have no idea how he communicates with her…but you’re suggesting he didn’t do it right. You have no reason to suggest that he told her to “forget she had a life” because of him…and yet that’s what you suggest. Finally, it doesn’t matter if wives put up with husbands who work 80 hours.

      All that matters is this: Austin is dissatisfied with an unreasonable status quo and he is moving on. This is the exact same advice I’d give to a woman who is dating a man who doesn’t make her a priority. Why you have to turn it into a gender thing is beyond me.

      1. 9.1.1

        Evan, I apologize if my post came off as unseemly. Austin isn’t wrong for wanting to spend more time with his girlfriend but his letter doesn’t say what he himself has done to try to reach a compromise. He just says he’s talked to her about it,  but he’s done with her because she “won’t change”. I’m just wondering if he has really tried to make it work on his own end. I’m sure there are things in her schedule that the two of them could do together – like the festival, for instance. Couldn’t he join her in volunteering for it? Sometimes in order to get what you want, you have to make changes. If he wants to spend more time with her, why not try to fit himself into activities where he can? My father did. He and my mom have been married for 40 years. When my mother began to spend more time at church and made her religion a daily priority, my father began to feel the same way that Austin does. They fought about it for a long time before my father decided to convert to be able to spend more time with her. Now they go to church together every weekend and they are much happier. I know that their situation is different because they had much more invested than just a few months (or years?). My point is that when he saw how important it was to her to be an active participant in the church, my dad decided to join her rather than keep fighting and never see her.
        I guess there are just too many details that were left out of the letter. For instance – how long were they dating before they became exclusive? That’s an important detail because if they had been dating for a while before becoming exclusive, and she was always as busy as he makes her out to be, then he doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on if he’s suddenly unhappy with the status quo. There are a lot of “ifs” in this scenario and it’s hard to take it objectively without knowing all the details. It’s a heterosexual relationship – there’s no way it can’t be a gender thing. Males in our culture have historically always been given a pass for not being more present in their relationships, because it was their responsibility to bring home the bacon, even if it meant neglecting their wives (though I admit the current culture is shifting). Women have always been the ones who are expected to just go with the flow. He wants to work 80 hours a week? Okay. Oh, you won’t be home for the dinner I just spent three hours slaving over because you’re playing racquetball with a new client? Sure, no problem! We have to uproot the family and move 3,000 miles to a new city because you just got a big promotion? Bring on the airplane peanuts! I’m simply pointing out that in this relationship, the dynamic seems to be reversed and he’s having trouble coping as a result. I wasn’t saying that he told her she had to forget about her life, I meant that that seems to be the attitude he’s putting out. I think it’s perfectly reasonable that she make more time for him, but is he always asking her out at the last minute or is he attempting to schedule dates a few days in advance? We don’t know that, and I think that’s another important detail we’re missing, because it would make a difference whether he is constantly asking her on Friday morning for a date, or is he calling her on Monday for the weekend and she’s still saying no? He’s not wrong for feeling neglected but if he’s not giving her enough notice, that could be why she isn’t available. Again, we just don’t know. I think it’s a good lesson on priorities though – just how full do you need your life to be before you’re satisfied? I think she does need to make him more of a priority but I also think that he could take more of a vested interest in joining in on her activities.

        1. Greg Figueroa

          You’re saying the same things from your previous post. He shouldn’t have to volunteer (which means work) just to be around her presence. The issue isn’t always the time, but it seems like she does everything else so easily (adding another day to the festival, meeting up with friends) and doesn’t purposely make time for him like she does with everything else . . . that stings (he has to fit himself into her schedule, but she fits everything else just fine in hers. He wants to be a part of her schedule that she has to get done and not an afterthought).
          Think about that for moment he has to give her notice, he has to actively find a way to pencil himself in. Sometimes you want someone to actively want to see you and slice up a dedicated block of time.
          Men were the breadwinners before. If he didn’t work, the whole family wouldn’t eat. A lot of people don’t want to slave for 80 hours and die earlier from all the stress. Also there is a culture shift like you mentioned. A lot of woman ate it before because they had no choice or it was less easier to support yourself then it is nowadays.

        2. Malcolm

          You’re repeating yourself.

        3. Shari

          I agree with Jen. There are a lot of unknowns. Plus, if a man did those things…. work 80 hours a week, spend all his time with his buddies…the woman would be expected to cope with it much of the time. At least, historically that’s exactly what happened.

          If the woman likes to keep busy, (and hates being idle) it’s also possible that she needs to plan things far in advance, but if she doesn’t know what her boyfriend is up to or they can’t plan things in advance and he wants to spring plans on her or ask her about doing things the day before, she may have problems because she already committed to something. So it could be as simple as planning something together a week or two or more in advance. Just…sitting down and planning something.

          I think, though, that it’s important to date someone who shares many interests with you so that you don’t have to give up the things you care about, because you end up wanting to do the things together anyway. If I had to give up half of my (many hobbies) just for a partner…. I’m going to start to resent him or her for making me give things up like that. I’d rather find someone who I can do things with from day one, or not date anybody at all. (Being single is nice too, and in many ways I prefer it.)

        4. Luke

          I don’t understand why men are so easily attacked for being “condescending” or “arrogant” when woman I’ve met have been just as bad as most men – if not worse. Are men not allowed to get so emotional when breaking up with someone he has feelings for? Shouldn’t Austin be allowed to feel frustrated to the point where he likes the idea of being single again or getting with someone better??

          I hope Austin gets out of this horribly one-sided relationship. I’ve met plenty of women who seem to prioritize everything, including their smart phones more than they do my company. And it hurts. It feels like a hollow experience. It’s almost like some of these women don’t know how to be in a relationship anymore.

          It goes back to the other subject discussed here and that’s fear and distrust of others. If you’re so fearful of strange men, how can a man ever feel like he can trust you enough to be there for him in a relationship? How can he build any trust with you? If you’re going to prioritize everything and everyone else but him, it feels like he’s an untrustworthy expenditure. It feels like you’re more willing to trust them than trust you, a person whose very nature it is to sacrifice everything for his mate. That’s an ugly feeling to have in what is supposed to be an adult relationship.

    2. 9.2

      She took on an EXTRA day of volunteer work while she was already in a relationship.  She BLOCKED her weekends.  Sounds like a passive aggressive way of breaking up to me.  Also known as distancing behavior.  Good for Austin to dump her sorry little patooty.  And EMK made it clear that his advice would be EXACTLY the same regardless of gender, and if you’ve been a reader of his blog very long, he usually quite consistent in this regards.

      1. 9.2.1

        Does anyone who isn’t married have to ask permission to do things like that? I wouldn’t think so. It’s easy to take sides when you’re only hearing part of the story. Since she isn’t here to defend herself, it’s hard to say what’s really going on but it’s clear that the guy’s not happy. I just think that if he hasn’t already done so, he should tell her he’s thinking about breaking up with her. And I have been reading this blog for a year. I have nothing bad to say about Evan’s advice. Most of it is spot on and I appreciate that. I know he isn’t taking any sides.

        1. SparklingEmerald

          It’s not a matter of “asking permission” or even feeling obligated.  A big missing piece  of the puzzle for me here, is how long have they been a couple.  At any rate,  I would never agree to be in a relationship with someone who only wanted to give me tiny little crumbs of their time.  And if after we’ve established a relationship, if they started pulling away by throwing themselves into MORE volunteer work,  then depending on many factors, I might either just say “My needs aren’t getting met, good bye” or I might say, tell them I need more together time, and give them a chance to change.  (sounds like the letter writer did that) I don’t want to be with someone who feels obligated to spend time with me.  I don’t want someone seeking my permission to get away from me 6 days a week.  I want someone who WANTS to be with me, and I think that’s the what the letter writer wants, and he is certainly entitled to dump this EU woman and seek someone who WANTS to be with him.  It’s a HUGE red flag, when after entering into a relationship, someone starts scheduling MORE outside activities (such as volunteer work)  What people in love typically do, is cut back on outside hobbies or MERGE their hobbies.  Many of the hobbies and outings that I do as a single person, are things that I hope to eventually be doing with a partner.  Not because we don’t “give each other permission” to do outside activities, but because we actively seek ways to BE TOGETHER most of the time.

      2. 9.2.2

        SE is right–you can’t become a couple if you can’t be a couple.  The only way to be a couple is to be together, just the two of you.  Volunteering with the same org doesn’t count.  Maybe Jenn is satisfied if her man only has a little time for her randomly during the week, but I’d guess most women wouldn’t be, unless the guy was hung like a horse or had a fat wallet.

        1. SparklingEmerald

          Joe @ 9.2.2 – LOL.   As for me, there’s no wallet fat enough, and no **** big enough that would make this type of relationship acceptable for me. 

        2. Bazian

          Jenn keeps saying “we are only hearing one side” yet she seems to support the female even though most of the evidence is to the contrary.  Why?  Evan hit the nail on the head: the message came too close to home.  
          I can relate 100% to the writer.  I’ve been in a very similar situation not too long ago.  I as TOTALLY in love with a girl whos was awesome to be with.  There was only ONE problem, there was so little time to be with her.  Eventually her work scheduled her to travel all over the world… and she “had to cancel” almost every trip we had planned.  I even bought tickets to take her to Ibiza with me after she promised me that she could go.  Two years later, she has had a child with her boss… the guy who was making it SO hard for us to be together!!!  I’m cool with it, but it was very very painful.
          Maybe it is my upbrining: having two parents still in love and married, but I think it was best said by you Joe: “You can’t become a couple if you can’t be together”(paraphrase).  Maybe the girl I dated didn’t really like me and I just wasn’t IT for her (could be).  Maybe she really did and was testing me to see how much I would put up with???  I can tell you this though, I take people for HOW THEY ARE, not for what they MIGHT be.  If you are too busy, you are too busy.  Only a fool would expect that to change.

      3. 9.2.3

        If she is being passive aggressive and that’s the reason why she is filling up all her time, then she probably wants to dump him but lacks the courage to come out and say it or do it. Unfortunately, this happened to me once: I wanted to dump someone but was afraid of doing so, so I tried to force myself not to break up and just deal with what was making me unhappy. I ended up being passive aggressive about it because deep down, I wanted to break up anyway. So it was (sadly) a relief when my partner dumped me because she did what I couldn’t do.

  10. 10

    This guy just articulated why I didn’t make dates with so many women on match (“Ooohh, the next four weeks are ugly…” “Things are just so crazy right now….”) and why 2 relationships with work-a-holics didn’t work.

    1. 10.1

      Well part of that too is that we have so many online dates that we have a hard time fitting you in with all those dates and our regular life.  When I did it I could have a date seven days a week sometimes two a day if I wanted.  Women specifically very attractive women on online dating have lots of choices.  I don’t think you should perceive this as a girl that’s not willing to make time to date.  More than likely it’s a girl that has 10 or more guys in front of you and is too nice to tell you that.  I’ve been that girl trust me.

      1. 10.1.1

        And how is that busyness working out?

        And, when will women grow up, and tell the truth to guys? It is a mere excuse to say a woman is “too nice” to tell a guy she is not really interested in him. That sounds pretty lame. These same women are clamoring to be “strong and independent”, but are too cowardly to address a relationship issue like adults. Or could it be that the benefits they derived from the relationship are too good to pass up, though they don’t care a hoot about the source of those benefits?

  11. 11

    I completely agree with Austin and understand that he will be breaking up with her.
    Having said that, I am not unlike Austin’s soon-to-be-ex girlfriend (although she still seems to be a lot busier than me) and it is a reminder how difficult it would be for me to maintain a relationship with my current lifestyle. Love has never been a priority for me and if I am completely honest (and I know this might sound crazy), it still isn’t. Asked to choose between love and my busy lifestyle, love probably wouldn’t stand a chance. Maybe one reason is that love takes courage, compromising and making sacrificing for love take courage (at least in my eyes) … and I am a bit of a coward. Maybe Austin’s girlfriend is as well.

    1. 11.1

      Clear enough — which is good.

    2. 11.2

      Hey JustWondering, you might also be “aromantic”. An aromantic person does not feel romantic attraction to people, and in general aromantic people are not interested in dating or relationships at all. Aromantics are part of the asexual spectrum. I consider myself a gray asexual and gray aromantic, meaning I am semi or halfway aromantic and semi or halfway asexual. I go for loooong periods without dating anyone and am completely content with this. I am also starting to consider not dating at all, because I am just so happy being single.

      Like Austin’s ex, I have little interest giving up my hobbies for a relationship. However, I am still not convinced I have to, if I can find someone who shares my interests. (Though if I cannot find anyone who shares my interests, then again, I am very happy staying single. I don’t understand why everyone is in a rush to be in a relationship. I can go five plus years without a relationship and be completely content, whereas other people freak out if they go a few months or a year without a relationship. Quite perplexing to me….)

      Maybe deep down, Austin’s ex is an aromantic too, but she doesn’t want to admit it to herself. Maybe she is just interested in the idea of a relationship, and is not actually interested in being in a relationship in reality.

    3. 11.3

      There are also lots of women and I’m sure people that have given up their “busy schedules ” for a man that totally screwed them over and so are less likely in the future to give that life up until they are sure.  Love became less of a priority to me as well after being hurt so much.

  12. 12
    Karl R

    Austin said: (#1)
    It’s all just enough to push a good, progressive guy like me towards a more traditional woman, even if she’s not as degreed or professionally successful.
    This is about priorities, time management and work/life balance. It has very little to do with being progressive or traditional.
    I dated someone who had a similar work/life imbalance. She was one of the more traditional women I dated, but she invested so much time in her work and other activities that I felt like an afterthought. My wife is significantly more progressive, but she made time for us from the start.
    Selena said: (#5)
    “Doesn’t sound like Austin loves her either given his confidence in getting a new girlfriend in week.”
    He might not. He never stated that he loved her. Even if he did, he probably created some emotional distance as he decided that he was going to break up with her.
    It’s fairly normal behavior. In the past, I’ve sensed women creating some emotional distance right before they broke up with me.
    Cassie said: (#1)
    “he might not ‘be single for more than a week,'(by the way the sheer arrogance of that statement is enough to make me want to vomit)”
    Is that arrogance, or confidence?
    Once I’d become an experienced dater, it only took me two to three weeks to find a new girlfriend. That was true for the last couple years that I dated (before ending up in a permanent relationship).
    I’ll assume that you want a man who is reasonably attractive, reasonably successful and self-confident. Any skilled/experienced dater who has those traits will know that he can find a woman to date in a few weeks (or less). If you find that to be disgustingly arrogant, you’ll need to date men who are less attractive, less successful and/or insecure.

  13. 13

    I have mixed feelings about this letter. While it is true that our relationship cannot take a back seat to all other actitivies we get ourselves involved in, I wonder what Austin would say if his girlfriend spent most of her free time, not on work and volunteering, but on taking care of her children and her house. Because that was one of the reasons my relationship ended last year. I was expected to give my SO more quality time and energy than I was physically able to give at that moment, as I had a job change and a loss in the immediate family added on top of my usual responsibilities as a divorced parent of two and a homeowner. I nodded in agreement when I read the part of Austin’s letter that says she’s exhausted anytime they are together – that was me – I was falling asleep everywhere, including at the wheel on my way home from my partner’s. I guess to my SO, it did look just the same as if I was volunteering at festivals and pulling extra hours at work – the end result was the same (me being tired and not able to give him the 110%), after all, those were not his children or his house. (His children are out of the house, and his landlord takes care of all repairs and maintenance.)
    I also wonder if Austin has ever offered to volunteer at the festival with her, as a fun activity for the two of them to do together. Might have been fun for him to develop an interest in something she’s interested in, too. Though I guess it’s too late for that, since his letter says he’s breaking up “tomorrow”, and I’m sure it was written earlier than today.
    I agree with those that were turned off by Austin’s last sentence. Actually, entering a new relationship a week or two after ending the previous one is super unhealthy, and I cannot imagine a balanced, adjusted woman who would agree to being this much of a rebound. Also, his concern for his girlfriend sounds just a little PA, like he wants her to run into the string of men who never call back. Yeah, that’ll teach her to work and volunteer.

    1. 13.1

      Also, his concern for his girlfriend sounds just a little PA, like he wants her to run into the string of men who never call back. Yeah, that’ll teach her to work and volunteer.
      Also I think it’s interesting he seems to believe his girlfriend will be surprised he’s breaking up with her. I get it that he’s tired of the empty promises, but if you really cared for someone wouldn’t you be forthright and say something like: “I don’t want to go on like this. We need to dedicate time to be together, or we need to go our separate ways.”  And sit down and work out together tradeoffs and time management?  If he did that she would realize how important this really is to him.
      Instead, the letter comes across as he’s decided she’s just like his mom, he’s done, and he’s almost proud(?) that he will be blindsiding her with the breakup.  That’s what gives me the impression that he wasn’t all that invested in this relationship himself.

      1. 13.1.1

        and he’s almost proud(?) that he will be blindsiding her with the breakup
        Yes! I agree. All around, I don’t see much love in this relationship. On both sides. She is unable to carve out more than 1-2 hours here and there for him, he sounds almost happy planning a surprise breakup, neither is willing to compromise, neither is willing to have a talk about their relationship, and neither one appears to want to see the other one happy. Maybe these two really should not be together. Maybe they’re just a bad fit.

    2. 13.2

      Absolutely. Work etc put a lot of demands on people’s time these days — and must be prioritised. Work cannot be sidelined for a relationship that might evaporate at any time — and they can and do! And if you don’t work, you starve.
      I’m not sure this guy understands any of this. I also feel as some have said that one factor missing is how long they’ve been together. It would be a mistake for her to drop everything for him if this is essentially a relatively new relationship (ie less than at least a couple of years on…)

  14. 14

    I totally identify with Austin’s (ex) girlfriend. My life consists of a career, graduate school, volunteering, working out, friends, family, etc. I’ve been single for over three years and this is just how my life evolved without a partner. It’s difficult to de-prioritize any of these things that contribute to my personal/professional growth and wellbeing. Additionally, one of my biggest fears is losing myself in a relationship which  is exactly what happened when I was engaged to a narcissistic alcoholic. Perhaps she had a similar experience in her past?
    I would advise Austin to sit down and talk again. Provide assurance that your committment is real and you are not going anywhere. Help her prioritize her schedule and work out a compromise. Tell her you will be patient. She needs to trust that you will not abandon her (too late for that, I guess). Austin, she seems like a great girl. Why not fight for her?

  15. 15
    Ken Besig

    I understand how Austin feels.  I was willing to make a little less money so that I could be a better husband and father even though we did have some financial problems with four kids.  But my wife and I have been married for over thirty years and I believe that we are happier and more in love with each other, and with out kids, than we ever have been before because we invested in our relationship more than in our material or social situation.

  16. 16

    I feel his pain. I was married to a man like that. A good man who just couldn’t stop. I asked multiple times for quality time and the answer was always the same, “I can’t.”  Sometimes you cut your losses and move on, just as if you had made a financial investment. You are worth something too.

    1. 16.1

      I can totally relate. It was one of the major straws that “broke the camels back” in my last relationship. I put in 110% and got back about 10% and it was this “do good er” type of mentality. At first when I met him, it was such a great quality  and he seemed to have a big giant heart and then it became narcissistic where the other people “needed” him or he “promised” to help them. I was actually pushed out of the Saturday night “slot” for community work. There are too many nice guys who are wiling to share their time 🙂 On another note, I have totally reevaluated what I am looking for in a man.  What an eye-opener!

      1. 16.1.1

        It is very typical of narcissists to have plenty of time and money for charity events where they are appreciated by the community but they have very little time and money for their family. The community is often quite surprised when a narcissist is revealed to be abusive to his or her family.

  17. 17

    Wow – I am loving this post Evan!  I just went through an early “rough patch” (1 1/2 months into dating) with my guy – specifically on this topic.  He said I was too “overscheduled” and found it frustrating that I wasn’t making him/ the relationship a priorty.  I’m 41 – and I really heard him – however, I wanted to explain to him – just so that he understands – this is what I’ve done my entire life as a single woman – made sure I had enough “going on” with travel, friends, concerts, comedy shows, volunteering, what-have-you –  so that I never had to be alone!  I really listened to what he said and told him that I would work on it. In fact,  I just scheduled a business trip to NYC – leaving on Thursday – and normally, I would stay the weekend, meet up with a friend or two in the city – or visit my folks back in New England, but I consciously chose to come back on Saturday AM so that I could spend the rest of the weekend with my guy.  Funny thing – I don’t feel like I’m compromising!  I feel like I’m trying to give myself a shot at love – this guy seems pretty good right now – and I’ve spent my life running to and fro “making plans” and now I want to try the other shoe on for size.
    Anyway, I may not really have a point, but this is definitely an issue that a lot of single women have.  And, I truly understand that we all may be scared to do what we perceive as “giving up” our fun, busy lifestyle for “unsecure risk” in the realm of love.  But, in order to jump into the water with both feet – something’s gotta give.  If it doesn’t work out – then trust me, your friends aren’t going anywhere – they’re not going to “forget about you” – you’ll still have them to go back to if it all goes up in smoke.  
    I guess I would just strongly encourage all the single ladies out there to be mindful of your schedule – your potential partner’s availability – and try to create a good, healthy balance between the two.  Could be the best thing you ever did for love!

    1. 17.1

      Hey, this is a great start. But, instead of giving up the life you had, your friends, concerts, comedy shows etc, why not scale down on all that and share some of it with your guy? Like, you know what my ex and I used to do when he had a business trip to someplace fun like New York? I’d fly out there to meet with him at the end of his trip and we’d spend a few days exploring the city together. Much more fun than if he’d flown back as soon as the trip was over to sit around my house or his apartment with me. You sound like you have an interesting, full life. Not only will you eventually resent your man if you feel you have to give it all up for him, but he’d probably enjoy sharing some of it with you as well! Oh and word of advice from someone who did it and regrets it, don’t give up all of your time with your friends for your relationship. It is very hard to get your friends’ trust back after the relationship ends; and even if you live happily ever after, hey, those are your friends. I am still trying to win mine back six months after it all went up in smoke. I cannot blame them, since I’d been blowing them off for two years.

      1. 17.1.1

        Thanks Goldie – I appreciate hearing your story and advice.  Words from the wise!  Will definitely take it to heart 🙂

        1. Malcolm

          I think you were better off without Goldie’s advice . . .

  18. 18

    I am a very busy woman and this is an issue for me, too. I have a young kid, two jobs and do volunteer work. I am also on Match. I did date one very nice gentleman for about five months. He did complain I was too busy, but I was always at his place, he was rarely at mine, and as a result I found myself more exhausted than I am when I am single. We rarely never did anything fun and I prefer to play hard after working hard. I called it off because he was newly separated and having a lot of issues with the divorce. He also only contacted me via text and never called, which was annoying. He did say at the end I was too busy. This is a tough one because while I would love to meet someone, I am not at a stage where I can give up my jobs (and therefore income) or time with my child to really devote to a man. This is the reason I almost only date men with kids since they “get it,” if I date at all!  Sure my kid will grow up and yes, I won’t have a second job forever, but I’ve not yet met a man that I thought was worth giving up time with any of  those other priorities.  I think at this point money in the bank and my personal security is more important.  If I give up time with my kid, I might miss out on things with her for the sake of a man I barely know. If I give up the second job, I lose money over a man who may disappear after a few months. I think this is a choice a lot of women make. And I realize no man may “get” that.

    1. 18.1

      No.  Men get it.  They just don’t want it.
      That means you’re making a choice . . . to not be wanted by Men.

      1. 18.1.1

        I think it’s telling that SHE was the one always going to her ex’s house, and HE never went to hers.

        Malcolm, that’s very selfish. If she has two jobs and a child, those are things that you just can’t give up for a selfish guy who might disappear after the sex stops being good. Those aren’t hobbies and volunteering, which are optional. She can’t give up the jobs because she needs the money, and she can’t give up time with her kid.

        If a guy really is interested in her and he makes enough, then after a period of time when she trusts the guy enough so that she knows he will stay around and not split, THEN she might be able to give up one of the jobs if it’s financially possible between them. Otherwise, the man is expecting too much and it isn’t right.

  19. 19

    I feel bad for Austin. No one wants to come second and it is really her loss. He seems like a really descent guy. As for his girlfriend, I am curious if she has chosen this super-busy life to impress others or to feed her own ego? You cannot find love if you do not make time for it in your life. I am not saying “sit home and wait,” I mean have a flexible enough life where you can rearrange when the opportunity to date comes along. 

    1. 19.1

      This super independence may be a shield against getting too close to someone (seems to be working).  The fear of ending up alone can actually work against a relationship  Fear makes people self-protective, not braver.
      Of course he has a right to break up with someone he seems only once a week. I’d say the same if it was the other way round.   At some point a person has to ask themselves if the potential they see (they do both sound like decent people) is actually going to be realised . 

  20. 20

    There are a few unfair things women can’t change
    perishable eggs
    the inability to propose for marriage
    with that in mind the onus is on her to make a great guy want to propose

    1. 20.1

      Very pithy and insightful comment.

  21. 21

    Something about this “cautionary tale” just seems “off” to me. I don’t know why, but maybe I’m just surprised that a man would even bother to write this. After all, he isn’t really looking for advice, although maybe he just needs to vent…
    I do have to wonder if his girlfriend really does love him, since she seems reluctant to spend much time with him, but we also don’t know how long they’ve been dating, and length of the relationship would definitely be a factor.  Have they been dating for 3 months? A year? That would make a difference. It’s hard for me to believe that a woman who truly has “a severe fear of ending up old and alone” would be that ambivalent about her relationship, especially a long-term one.
    I do have to agree with others who disliked his comment, “What I feel really bad about is that I won’t be single for more than a week or two, but she could be entering another year-long bout of men who never call after the first date.” It just sounds so mean-spirited. The only men I’ve known who’ve moved into an actual “relationship” only a week or two after a breakup already had a woman friend lined up (which many guys do). Perhaps Austin does too. Otherwise, that statement sounds arrogant to me also.

    1. 21.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Always fascinating to me when readers try to find fault with what seems like a very normal man who has every right to break up with his girlfriend. In other words, this email is a PSA, not an advice column. The advice speaks for itself. DON’T BE UNAVAILABLE. THE GREATEST GIFT YOU CAN GIVE A MAN IS YOUR TIME AND ACCEPTANCE. Yet all you take from it is that this guy is arrogant and mean-spirited? Really, I don’t get it. But then, I didn’t get all the people who got upset at the benign Coke ad that celebrated our multicultural country. I suppose people can twist anything to suit their own pre-existing narrative about how life works: in this case, that there must be something wrong with the man.

      1. 21.1.1

        I didn’t see anyone in this thread who disagreed that a partner (man or woman) should not make themselves completely unavailable, and make their partner feel like he or she is an afterthought. It’s just that Austin added a few details to his letter that he may have been better off keeping to himself, because they put his whole letter in a different light.
        I’d say that if anyone, in any relationship, sounds less interested in their partner’s life than they are in their needs being met, there’s probably something wrong with that person. And that is how Austin’s letter is making him come across. He doesn’t even say what kind of festival it is; maybe he doesn’t even know; all he does is complain that his girlfriend isn’t taking care of him as much as she should, for reasons that are, to Austin, less important than Austin. He doesn’t try to join her in her activities or show any interest in them, judging from his letter. He might be the greatest guy in reality, but his letter isn’t doing him any favors, sorry.

        1. Nathan

          While I agree that the tone of Austin’s letter doesn’t paint him in a highly positive light, what he writes about is a serious and common issue for both women and men. I’ve dated a few women like Austin’s girlfriend. Always busy. Unable to find much time to be together, and then they were exhausted when we were together. It gets old, no matter how you slice it.
          The two things that stand out in the letter for me are the point he makes about not needing to be #1, and also the suggestion that he relationship history is littered with these kinds of relationships. It strikes me that perhaps he recognized the pattern early on, distanced himself emotionally (thus the rather clinical tone of parts of the letter), and then hoped that she would change. I did exactly this in both of the relationships I had with hyper busy women. It made it easier to cope, provided the dream of change, and made it easier to break up at the end. Yes, it was dysfunctional. Something I wouldn’t repeat now. However, given the situation: understandable.
          One problem with the suggestion about Austin joining his girlfriend on her various activities is that the relationship can easily become one-sided. In other words, it becomes all or mostly about what she’s doing in the world. The partner, in this case Austin, becomes little more than a sidekick. That might work for some people, but a lot of folks will rightly become resentful in a relationship that’s dominated by the ideas and desired activities of one person.
          I do wonder how long they have been together, and how much actual evidence he has about her past relationships. If this overbooked life is something she’s built more recently, then it’s reasonable to give her a chance to shift some things around. On the other hand, if this is how she’s operated for years, I wouldn’t wait around hoping for change.

        2. Chance

          I’d say that if anyone, in any relationship, sounds less interested in their partner’s life than they are in their needs being met, there’s probably something wrong with that person. And that is how Austin’s letter is making him come across. “
          Actually, Goldie, that sounds a lot like his girlfriend and her attitude towards him.  Also, I agree with Karl R, you are inconsistent with your advice.  

        3. Goldie

          Thank you Nathan.
          “One problem with the suggestion about Austin joining his girlfriend on her various activities is that the relationship can easily become one-sided. In other words, it becomes all or mostly about what she’s doing in the world. The partner, in this case Austin, becomes little more than a sidekick. That might work for some people, but a lot of folks will rightly become resentful in a relationship that’s dominated by the ideas and desired activities of one person.”
          I was thinking more along the lines of doing something together that they both enjoy. If they both enjoy it, then who cares whose idea it was originally? And, if there is nothing that they both enjoy doing together, then why are those two still a couple?
          Doing things together as a couple, that we both liked, was the one functional part of my, fairly dysfunctional, last relationship. And we were damn good at it, if I say so myself. Most of the time it was something he would suggest; but, if we both had fun, who cares? It’s not a contest. I went to his work events and enjoyed that. I went to see the bands that he liked and enjoyed that too. And vice versa, I hope. If two people know each other well enough and are a good enough match, then most of the time, one will suggest something that the other one likes, anyway.
          This is the one thing I did not see in Austin’s letter. It’s either her doing her stuff alone, or him doing his stuff alone, or the two of them getting together for a date that’s unrelated to either his stuff or her stuff. Where’s the interest in each other, where’s the wanting to be part of each other’s life? where did any of them offer to include the other one in his or her life? Don’t get me wrong, I am not taking her side against Austin’s. I think they both are to blame in this situation. She, for overscheduling and not offering him to join in; and he, for not being remotely interested in joining in (the term “do-gooder festival” doesn’t indicate a whole lot of interest on his end), and not offering any activity that might interest her enough to clear her schedule to make room for it.

      2. 21.1.2

        No One can judge or have right to judge anything from the outside. And all of US are on the outside of this relationship.
        Is not about who is wrong or who is right. they Both are and right and wrong. Or may be they are simply not compatible in the way how they see life and future as a whole.
        Things /relationships/ from Outside are NOT the  same as what the both people experience from the inside.Never.
        Like example – I been 5 y with a older than me man who was perceived from Everyone else like very nice,calm and quite guy, like sweet and giving. Me from the other side – i was told I am real bitch with him,because after some time I could not talk calmly with him at all – I was screaming with frustration. What kept me with him was loyalty and business – not feelings of love and chemistry etc…
        My point was – NO ONE knew what he is inside our house and relationship, no one but me. No one ever seen how passive abusive, stubborn destructive he is, how stupid ideas he has if has any. No one knew he is not able to make Any conversation about anything and was covering his stupidity with shy laughs and “o,yea” frazes who suspended in the air…
        This man was total nightmare from my inside experience,but was total sweet hearth for everyone outside and I was the bitch… And of course when I was sharing all that   was in the inside with friends or anyone – I was Not understood.
        So,there, No generalizations could be made on the behivior of those two people,because None of us can know what IS truly in the inside between them.
        Any sort of a sighting with one or another,judging the “behavior ” of the absent person – is Fully Unacceptable, from Everyone.

      3. 21.1.3

        Evan: Some have missed it, and totally taken it off in another direction – aside line to this letter. You are correct in your comment, but couldn’t be tweeted a little to have read:  DON’T BE UNAVAILABLE, THE GREATEST GIFT YOU CAN GIVE SOMEONE YOU CARE ABOUT IS YOUR TIME AND ACCEPTANCE.  That is a non-gender any type of releationship or friendship statement. Repect and invest in a releationship with another person or choose not to have one. That’s the point here with Austin and I think it should be celebrated, shouted from the roof tops, printed on billboards, plastered in Times Square.  Just saying…. 

    2. 21.2
      Remains Unknown

      Ruby I 100% agree with you on that one. What he said is evil and says out of revenge or    Hate trying sound all innocent.

  22. 22

    How long have they been dating?  Is she under the impression that he’s serious about the relationship?  Maybe she thinks he’s not serious about the relationship, and so she’s not either.  Maybe he should issue an ultimatum about leaving a couple of days a week open for him and the relationship so that they could decide if they want to be married, and if she doesn’t do it within a month, then walk away.

  23. 23

    I think this is the most important paragraph of Austin’s letter:
    Life is about choices and I feel like an increasing number of women are lying to themselves about that reality. When two things truly conflict you have to pick one, you just can’t have it all at the same time. Healthy things like “compromise” are now frowned upon by women’s advice-givers.”
    I say this because life is about choices and sometimes we have to make choices that will open doors for some things, but close doors for others.  Choosing one path in life may in fact mean sacrificing other paths.  This is what I see missing from many peoples lives, men and women alike.  They are missing this sense of compromise, this sense of acceptance that ‘to have it all’ is a false illusion.  It’s like they are afraid to make a choice because the don’t want to give up the dream of having a high powered career AND travel the world AND volunteer to save the world AND find a spouse AND have children AND raise a family.  Can it be done?  Sure, but it’s rare indeed that a person can do it AND be happy.

  24. 24
    Karl R

    Goldie said: (#21.1.1)
    “He doesn’t even say what kind of festival it is; maybe he doesn’t even know;”
    Austin said his girlfriend works at the festival. He said, “It’s not a money thing” to her (implying that she gets paid for working there), but she sees her work as a “do-gooder” kind of thing.
    Jenn said: (#9)
    “Did he ever think about joining her at her weekend festival gig?”
    Goldie said: (#13)
    “I also wonder if Austin has ever offered to volunteer at the festival with her, as a fun activity for the two of them to do together.”
    Have either of you ever taken a second job, just so you could spend some time working with a boyfriend? Does it sound like a “fun activity” for the two of them to do together?
    My wife and I have dropped by each other’s workplaces for short periods of time (when necessary), but neither of us considers it to be fun. Neither of us even considers it to be time spent together. One of us is focused on their work. The other person hopefully has something to keep them occupied while they wait.
    LC said: (#22)
    “Maybe he should issue an ultimatum about leaving a couple of days a week open for him and the relationship so that they could decide if they want to be married,”
    You can’t threaten somebody into changing who they are. You can’t persuade them to change. You can’t bully them into changing. They have to want to change.
    Does the girlfriend sound like someone who wants to change her lifestyle?
    Goldie said: (#21.1.1)
    “I’d say that if anyone, in any relationship, sounds less interested in their partner’s life than they are in their needs being met, there’s probably something wrong with that person.”
    Worst. Advice. Ever.
    You ought to be interested in making sure that your own needs are met. You are the only person on this planet (with the possible exception of your parents) who has a vested interest in making sure your needs are met. You are the person most aware of your own needs.
    If your needs are not being met (in a relationship, in a job, anyplace else), then it is your responsibility to walk away.
    How many times have women written to Evan complaining about men who string them along. These women are very interested in their partner’s lives. These women are more interested in the men than they are in making sure that their own needs are being met.
    What is Evans advice to those women? What is my advice to those women? What is your advice to those women?
    At least Evan and I are consistent. We offer the same advice to women and men.

    1. 24.1

      We can’t assume that she gets paid for “working” at this festival. Volunteering is considered unpaid work. If it’s a festival like a street fair, those can be fun to hang out at with someone (I’ve done so myself) while manning a booth for an organization. There’s music, performers, people-watching, food, arts and crafts, etc. It’s nothing like hanging out with someone at their office cubicle.
      I don’t fault Austin for leaving if he wants to. I wouldn’t advise anyone to date a workaholic, male or female. OTOH, I’m just not sure his girlfriend is as into him as he thinks she is.

      1. 24.1.1

        Yes, what Ruby said. I have worked at festivals. It was fun, exactly in the way that she describes. It was also work. It was also unpaid work. So, no, it’s not a job in the usual sense of that word.

      2. 24.1.2

        Whether or not you get paid, being someone’s sidekick at a gig EVERY WEEKEND just because you want to spend time with them and that’s the only time they have available isn’t particularly healthy, IMO.

    2. 24.2

      @ Karl R:
      Goldie said: (#21.1.1)
      “I’d say that if anyone, in any relationship, sounds less interested in their partner’s life than they are in their needs being met, there’s probably something wrong with that person.”
      Worst. Advice. Ever.
      You ought to be interested in making sure that your own needs are met. You are the only person on this planet (with the possible exception of your parents) who has a vested interest in making sure your needs are met. You are the person most aware of your own needs.
      Karl, you of all people… I am surprised. Where in my comment did I say that you should not be interested in your needs being met? Of course you should. I said you should not be interested in that to the exclusion of everything else, including your partner’s wellbeing.
      If my partner has the needs that I physically cannot meet, would not adjust them for our situation, and gets mad at me for not being able to meet them exactly as they are… If my partner insists that his needs be met come hell or high water, consistently, no matter what is happening in my life at the moment…. If he insists on his needs being met, but doesn’t care about mine… Then it’s the time for me to walk away. Did you read my comment #13 above? I could’ve literally gotten myself killed trying to meet my partner’s needs. And he was still upset with me, because no matter how I tried, it still was not enough. It was a temporary situation in my life, things are getting easier for me now that my both kids have cars and are driving, and will get easier still when both of my kids leave home relatively soon. But he didn’t want to wait for that – he wanted his needs fully taken care of right at that moment – and when I couldn’t, he walked away.
      I offer the same advice to women, men, and children and teenagers for that matter. A little give and take with those closest to you will go a long way. You can search the comments on this blog for my name and “give and take”. You’ll find quite a few.
      Granted, Austin’s girlfriend probably wasn’t terribly giving in this relationship. But, judging from his letter, neither was he. Sounds a lot like each of them thought, only about himself or herself, and not about the other person. In that sense, he was right to leave. Why bother staying in a relationship like that?

      1. 24.2.1

        You are correct Goldie, there has to be a balance.  The reason good, healthy relationships are difficult to find is because it’s our way or the high way.  I’m sure some would call me selfish for not wanting to make a guy a priority at this point in my life, never once stopping to think that I am pouring into my kids lives to mold them into people of character; focusing on my career so I can provide well for them.  I am up front and honest about it it.  But I digress.  You nailed it.

  25. 25

    There are different types of so-called high powered women.  For example, 1) women who are not emotionally available and use work/activities as an excuse to not commit but don’t want to be alone either (men do this too); 2) women who are emotionally available but are at a life stage/career stage where they have very little control over their lives and have to work, work, work; or 3) women who are very ambitious and active but are at a good stage in their life that they can re-prioritize for the right person.  On the surface, these women might look all the same but they are not.  The emotionally unavailable woman has not worked through all her issues (fear of commitment, abandoment, rejection, whatever) and very little outside convincing will get her to change no matter how much of a catch you are.  The woman in the wrong life stage — very much like the man in the “prince” stage  per Alison Armstrong — will be compelled to work, no matter what.  If Brad Pitt had shown up at my doorstep wanting to date me while I was in residency I would have turned him down because I was in my tunnel and was not surfacing anytime soon.  Strangely, this woman may actually think she has the time to date (kind of like being in a mirage in the desert) but she really doesn’t.  Your choice is to either wait her out if there is a defined ending (e.g. end of residency) or move on.  The third woman, she will re-prioritize you as #1 but ONLY if she thinks you are worth it (read: the future husband and father of her children).  She will not do it if you are the placeholder.  She may not even know it consciously but in her heart of hearts she knows you are not the one.  If she doesn’t prioritize you, she’s not that into you because her career is stable enough that she COULD do it if she really wanted to.  I was this woman and it wasn’t until I met my husband that I wanted to sacrifice anything in my career (and he sacrificed too).  And this is not unique to women but universal to men and women.  It is just less recognized for women because it’s much easier to give leeway to busy high-powered men because we as a society are used to that.  In Austin’s case, since some of what he is describing sounds voluntary, she either must be emotionally unavailable or just not that into him as a life partner.  So if I were still single, the lesson I would take away is, assess yourself where you are in terms of your life stage and emotional availability.   Don’t date beyond your means but don’t also let anyone push you in promising or giving more than you are currently capable (some women stay out of guilt for the guy when they really are at stage 1 or 2).  But if you are in a good stage and you want to find a life partner, then you have to throw away excuses and commit 100% to the dating experience or you will never find your husband/partner.  You know you can find the time — it’s just about sacrifices and overcoming fears.  If the trade-off is still too high for you then you have either not met the right person or you don’t want it enough.

    1. 25.1

      Another person on the Alison Armstrong wave length.  Good for you . . .

  26. 26

    For every person who is upset that their SO is too busy, there is another who is upset that their SO smothers them and depends on them to have a life.  

    1. 26.1

      For every person who is upset that their SO is too busy, there is another who is upset that their SO smothers them and depends on them to have a life. 
      This is a good point. 
      Here we have a letter from a man who is breaking up with his girlfriend because she’s overscheduled.  Several weeks back EMK printed a letter from a woman who broke up with her boyfriend because he worked 60 hrs a week.  Both Austin and the woman letter writer need partners who will give more of their time. The overscheduled ex and the 60 hr work ex might make a good match because neither need as much togetherness.
      I see this as lifestyle compatibility. If one knows they need a lot of time with an SO shouldn’t they be evaluating a potential partner’s lifestyle as criteria and select accordingly? Likewise with the super-busy souls; wouldn’t they be better off selecting potential partner’s with equal busy lives who would be less likely to feel neglected?
      If someone feels they are not a priority in their SO’s life, perhaps they need to look at why they chose a person with a particular lifestyle in the first place.

  27. 27

    She is just not into him.
    People spend their time doing whatever activity brings them most pleasure/benefits.  If you have to repeatedly persuade your partner to choose you over something else, you are at a bad place in the relationship.  So, Austin is doing the right thing by giving them both the space to find someone who will naturally prioritize them.
    As to his comment that he will not be single long while she will – we have no way of knowing whether this is true or not, but then again he would not have the courage to break up with her if he did not think so. We are sometimes wrong about ours and others capacity to attract dates.  I dated a guy once about whom I was so sure that I was way above his league that  he would never afford to let me go. Turns up, he had no difficulty at all.

    1. 27.1

      I think you hit the nail on the head, Kiki — the first thing I thought was “she’s breaking up with him without breaking up with him” — doing the thing where you don’t end it, you wait until the other person can’t take it anymore and ends it. Whether the guiding thought in this case is well-meaning but misguided (“s/he’s so nice, I feel bad breaking up!”) or selfish (“if I don’t do the breaking then I’m the victim and I get the pity for being dumped!”) is unknowable from this letter. 

      1. 27.1.1

        Or maybe she’s a people pleaser who cannot say no? What if she couldn’t say no to the festival folks when they asked her to take on another night (because seriously, I cannot imagine that it was originally her idea to schedule herself to work, albeit at a fun festival, for the next 52 Saturday AND Sunday nights – who does this to a full year of their weekends, especially if they already have a high-powered job?? my guess is someone must’ve pushed her into it and she couldn’t say no), for the same reason that she couldn’t say good-bye to Austin – because she can’t. In that case, it’s a serious issue and she does need some kind of therapy. I say this as someone who has a hard time saying no to people as well.

        1. Selena

          From the letter it’s Saturday and Sunday mornings. Also Austin wrote she suggested getting together on weekends after the festival, so presumably she hadn’t blocked off the entire weekend.
          I’m not sure why he was so irritated she added a Sunday morning activity. Generally not a time people set aside to date.

        2. Goldie

          Oops, my bad, it is mornings. Then I don’t understand what the big deal is. Was he worried that she wouldn’t be able to come over and stay the night? Why not? She can run out to the festival and let him sleep in, then come back just in time for him to be ready with the brunch. Sounds like a perfect romantic Sunday afternoon to me.

        3. Evan Marc Katz

          Really scrambling to defend this woman, Goldie and Ruby. Will you similarly scramble to defend the man who only offers limited access to his frustrated and lonely girlfriend?

        4. Goldie

          Um, Evan, calling someone a people pleaser is not defending that person AT ALL. It is damn near impossible to be in a relationship with one, since he or she will be at anyone’s beck and call, which will in turn mean that the people pleaser will abandoning his or her family on the regular, since there are only 24 hours in a day and they have to say no to someone – and that someone usually ends up being the ones closest to them. My ex-husband was big on people pleasing. I hated that. It made me feel like the kids and I always came last.
          Besides, I already said several times in this thread that, in my opinion, there are no right or wrong sides in this story. She is barely available; his email is full of PA digs at her, do-gooders, traditional women and who knows what else. Do we have to put all the blame on her in this relationship or can we agree that none of them is perfect?

        5. SparklingEmerald

          Goldie & Selena – You gals are making me embarassed for my gender.  Look, I know none of us know the “other side” because EMK doesn’t call his readers SO and ask for their side, but some of the stuff you 2 are saying based on what we DO know is ridiculous.
          For example:  Selena said: “I’m not sure why he was so irritated she added a Sunday morning activity. Generally not a time people set aside to date. ”  
          Really, people do not set aside time to “date” on Sundays ?????? Well people in RELATIONSHIPS often times go away for weekend trips.  Not possible when someone has scheduled themselves for every Sat and Sun for a year.  And dating couples usually schedule dates for SATURDAY NIGHT,  and usually enjoy staying out late.  How late is she willing to stay out on Saturday night, when she worked Saturday morning and has scheduled herself to work again the following morning ?  He’s irritated because they spend very little time together, she’s not working because she needs the money, and she added this extra work day AFTER she was in a relationship with him.
          And the Goldie came up with this grand-daddy of a whopper
          Was he worried that she wouldn’t be able to come over and stay the night? Why not? She can run out to the festival and let him sleep in, then come back just in time for him to be ready with the brunch. Sounds like a perfect romantic Sunday afternoon to me.”
          If ANY man on this blog suggested that woman just grin and bear it while her man scheduled himself out of her life, and just be ready, waiting and smiling for him WITH A MEAL whenever he could fit her in, THEY WOULD BE CALLING FOR HIS HEAD ON A PLATTER !!!!!!!!
          And several people have claimed that Austin has “insulted” tradition women.  I don’t see the insult here.  If a woman wrote in with the EXACT same complaint and said, maybe she would start looking for a Beta male, would you claim that she was INSULTING Beta males ?
          And as for everyone saying that everyone would be OK with this if a MAN did this, pure hogwash.  Anyone who has been reading EMK’s blog for awhile KNOWS that he’s always telling us women to dump men who don’t meet our needs.  You gals are excusing HER behavior because she’s a woman. 
          One thing I think Austin is wrong about is that he says she loves him.  She sure has a funny way of showing it.  I think this is her passive agressive way of getting him to break up with her.
          Between being fed up with men, and now embarassed for my gender, I’m ready to go adopt cats.  There is so much selfishness in the world of male/female relationships.  Maybe the reason I can’t even find just ONE man to give all my love to, is because the ones I meet already gave all of their love to a woman who didn’t return it.  A woman like the one Austin writes about.

      2. 27.1.2

        Goldie, why do we have to put blame on anyone here? Aren’t we completely missing the point of the story as long as we concentrate on who could have done this or that differently, what their reasons might be or might not be and who has a better understanding of compromise etc.?

        1. Goldie

          How is talking about compromise, missing the point? If any of them could compromise, they’d still be together. I thought compromise was the most important thing in a relationship, but hey, I could be wrong.
          To SE above – my comment about brunch was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I’ve got to love the outrage. Is it because cooking isn’t a man’s job? If that’s the case, she can bring takeout from the festival. I still think there’s a lot of unhealthy dynamics between those two. Yes, she overscheduled. But why on earth does he find it easier to write to a blog than to talk to her about it? why does it feel better to him to plan a surprise breakup and brag about it I a blog than to talk to her about it? If I sound like I am taking her side, it’s because I’ve been on the receiving end of this stuff and did not like it at all.

        2. SparklingEmerald

          Goldie @ 27.1.2.whatever
             OK, I had no idea that your brunch comment was tongue in cheek (hard to tell with internet)  So you love the outrage and assume it’s a gender thing.  NOTHING in my post suggests that.  My “outrage” is because I believe the women are taking HER side for the only reason that she is female.   I would be “outraged” if a man suggested that women take whatever crumbs a man offered her, and used those crumbs to bake him a fresh cinnamon coffee cake and serve it to him in her heels and a lace teddy. 
          According to this letter, he asked her to clear her calendar a bit, she said she would, then she scheduled herself for EVERY single Saturday AND Sunday for a year.  You can’t compromise with someone who promises one thing, and then turns around and DOES the EXACT opposite of what they promised.  (she promised to “clear” her calendar, and instead, she filled her calendar with more activities, making it IMPOSSIBLE to ever go away for a week end trip for a YEAR)
          And why you assume that I have a sexist reason for this ?  Can you link to any posts where I have stated that cooking is a “woman’s job” ?    My reasons are because when PEOPLE like each other, they generally try to spend time with each other.  When a PERSON breaks their promise to someone, expecting to get BRUNCH out of it is RIDICULOUS no matter what genders are involved.  But then again your Brunch comment was tongue in cheek.  Was your suggestion that my only reason for being “outraged” was sexism on my part tongue in cheek as well ?
          It’s easier to “brag” about it, than to compromise with someone who won’t budge, and who passively agressively promises one thing and does the exact opposite.  She doesn’t “love” him, and he isn’t breaking up a “good” relationship. 
          She “won’t do things for a guy”.  He’s a guy.  He’s right to dump her sorry patooty, and I would be saying the EXACT same thing if the genders were reversed.  In fact, I did pretty much say the same thing in another blog post from a guy whining because his girlfriend wanted him to call her more, and he said he felt like he was checking in with his mother. 

  28. 28
    Karl R

    Ruby said: (#24.1)
    “We can’t assume that she gets paid for ‘working’ at this festival.”
    Can we assume that Austin uses language in the way normal people do?
    Austin said: (original letter)
    “It’s not a money thing but more of a do-gooder thing to her.”
    Note the use of the words “to her.” If this was unpaid volunteer work, the work not not be a money thing. It would be more of a do-gooder thing to everybody.
    Also, this is a year-round festival. I tried to find a year-round festival which uses volunteers. I couldn’t find one. I found a lot of markets that are open every Saturday and Sunday morning (including one in Aruba that is described as a food and wine festival), but I couldn’t find any that used volunteers. The workers show up week after week because there’s money in it.
    It’s a big world. Maybe you can find a weekly festival that uses volunteers.
    Ruby said: (#24.1)
    “Volunteering is considered unpaid work.”
    If she is volunteering, why didn’t Austin use that term? It’s easily understood. It’s not ambiguous. Austin has a very good grasp of the English language.
    There is one obvious reason why he would choose not to use that obvious description: it’s not accurate.
    Ruby said: (#24.1)
    “If it’s a festival like a street fair, those can be fun to hang out at with someone (I’ve done so myself) while manning a booth for an organization.”
    We can’t assume that the girlfriend is getting paid, but we can assume that Austin would find this kind of work fun. We can assume that this is the type of environment she’s working in.
    If this was a street festival with music, performers, people-watching, food, arts and crafts, etc. -and- if the girlfriend is manning a booth in this kind of environment -and- if Austin finds this kind of work in this kind of environment fun …
    … then I guess we also have to assume that this solution never occurred to Austin and/or his girlfriend?
    Ruby said: (#24.1)
    “OTOH, I’m just not sure his girlfriend is as into him as he thinks she is.”
    I think you’re probably correct about that. And it may be Austin’s ego that leads him to believe she is seriously into him.
    People do what they want. If the girlfriend really wanted to spend time with Austin, that’s what she would do.
    That’s why I don’t see any point in him trying to talk to her again, make ultimatums, work at the same festival, or jump through any other hoops.
    Kiki said: (#27)
    “We are sometimes wrong about ours and others capacity to attract dates.  I dated a guy once about whom I was so sure that I was way above his league that  he would never afford to let me go. Turns up, he had no difficulty at all.”
    His statement might not be about her ability to attract men.
    Six years ago I was dating a woman. She broke up with me because we had incompatible goals (which was a sensible reason). She also felt that dating me was preventing her from making the effort to find someone else (which was also a sensible reason).
    After the breakup, she put no effort into trying to find another relationship. She also has some habits which make her challenging to date (never checking her email/voice-mail). It’s not surprising that she still isn’t in a serious relationship, even though she wants to get married and start a family.
    Austin’s girlfriend sounds like she’s able to attract men. But that won’t help much if the men all leave for the same reason Austin’s leaving.
    Jenn said: (#9)
    “Many wives with husbands who work in high-powered careers have had to just sit by and endure it while their husbands work 80 hours a week and then go golfing, boating, etc. No one ever questions that,”
    I question that decision all the time.
    These women are making an obvious trade-off. They’re getting a lot of financial security. They’re getting the lifestyle which accompanies a high-powered career. They may feel they’re getting some form of status or prestige. They’re getting something they can’t provide for themselves.
    On the other hand, they’re not getting much time with their husband. Their husbands aren’t spending much time their children.
    If a woman with a high-powered, 80-hour-per week career wants a husband, she needs to find the men who will find this trade-off to be similarly acceptable. She needs to find the men who can’t obtain the benefits her career provides: lots of security, the lifestyle, any status/prestige from that lifestyle…
    I’m not that kind of man. Evan isn’t. Austin isn’t. Nathan isn’t. Why not? We can provide the security/lifestyle/status we want already.
    Which men do the high-powered career women pursue? The men who are even more successful than them. Do you think those men are able provide the security/lifestyle/status they want without their wives’ assistance?
    Why would they make the trade-off, when they don’t need the benefit?

    1. 28.1

      It’s not a money thing but more of a do-gooder thing to her.”

      Unlike you, Karl R, I found some of Austin’s points ambiguous. The above comment could certainly – to me – imply volunteering, as in it’s not about making money, but “doing good” as a volunteer (which makes her feel good). But I was trying to show that the festival could be a fun thing, rather than office drudgery.

      However, I think Austin is upset by the fact that, on weekend mornings, rather than being available to snuggle in bed with him or do couple-things, she’s out the door.
      Most festivals that I’m familiar with are outdoors and don’t run 52 weeks a year, so I agree, I’m baffled by this “festival”. Maybe they live in Aruba though?
      I’m sure there are some women who have a “to-do” list for their lives, without really analyzing what it is that they actually want. Maybe she’s not that into Austin, maybe “boyfriend” in general is just another item on her to-do list?

  29. 29

    Just like an ostensibly good guy who is “emotionally unavailable” isn’t a bad guy, neither is the lady in question here a bad person.   The OP is not a bad person for wanting more time and attention.  They have incompatible goals/priorities.   I tend to believe that once we find the person we WANT to rearrange those priorities for, we do.  For the man who is labeled an EUM by the women he would not commit to, he will do a 180 when he’s met the woman he WANTS to commit to.   In my relatively limited dating experience, if a guy wanted to date me, who’s kids were already grown up on and on their own, and he wanted to come and go as he pleased, I didn’t even start up with him.  I told him that simply was not where I was at in life.    I also accept that I may very well never have a partner again because I am just not sure that I will ever want to make a man a priority.  Doesn’t make me a bad person.  Just means I want different things out of life.

  30. 30

    I agree with  EMK on this.  I’m sure the woman is a good person.  She’ll just have to find someone that is ok with her busy schedule.  Or change her busy schedule.
    This article and the comments also reminded me of something I noticed last year when I was dating.  For those single women that keep busy all the time or are workaholics.  A lot of guys like myself still like approaching women and striking up a conversation.(Meeting women this way beats online any day.)  But it seems people now are so busy or addicted to their smartphones that they are constantly glued to them.  It didn’t matter if I was waiting in line to purchase something, sitting at a coffee shop, at the dog park or grocery shopping.  It seemed liked all the women had their eyes/ears glued to their smartphones.
    Now it could have just been an anomaly I happened to have noticed for those few weeks.  But it did strike and stick with me.  So if you are a single woman that wouldn’t mind being approached more.  If you’re guilty of always being on your smartphone.  Try putting it down.  Enjoy and take in what’s going on around you.

    1. 30.1

      Um, Morris, my guess would be that women who look like they don’t want to be approached by strangers in public places, look like that, not because they’re addicted to smartphones, but because they really do not want to be approached by strangers in public places. I’ve had a few nice conversation with other women at dog parks. I’ve never seen anybody try to pick someone else up at a dog park though. I’ve heard of this, but never seen it. Don’t know what I’d do if it happened to me. People normally go to a coffee shop to read or work, and to a grocery store to, well, buy groceries. All they want is to wait their turn in line, pay, and go home to their families who need those groceries. I’d say if you see a woman on her phone in a public place, maybe just assume she isn’t interested in actively dating at the moment. Maybe she’s married. Either way, she didn’t accidentally forget that she can talk to you, she doesn’t want to talk.

      1. 30.1.1

        I think he actually makes a really good point and I disagree with what you’re saying. I’m single and go on my phone often when I’m out and about (in line at the grocery store, at a café, etc.) but I’m not doing it because I don’t want to talk to people, it’s just because I’m bored of waiting or distracted by a text or whatever. I think he’s right about putting it down every once in a while and enjoying the moment. You also said, “if you see a woman on her phone in a public place, maybe just assume she isn’t interested in actively dating at the moment” but I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what he’s doing and why he wrote the post in the first place to tell people (like me) to stop staring at my phone all the time and maybe someone cool will strike up a convo!
        I just got the feeling that you were making this guy out to be a total creep for talking to women in public places when really.. in my opinion it can be a WAY better way to meet people than in front of the computer screen!!

      2. 30.1.2

        As a woman who gets approached by men I don’t know a couple times a day (when I am out and about) I agree with Goldie. The reality is that I am out and about living my life, that doesn’t mean I am constantly open to meeting new men. Frankly, I’ve never met a man who approached me on the street and started a conversation. Its off putting and frankly, if I am out and doing something, that takes precedent. Maybe it means I am walking home from a long day at the office and all I want to do is change and eat some dinner or maybe I am busy meeting someone and trying to be on time. Currently, I am partnered so I especially don’t want to meet anyone.
        Take women’s body language as a cue, not everyone is open to meeting you.

        1. Morris

          Please read my reply to Godlie.  And if you read my original post you would have read
          “So if you are a single woman that wouldn’t mind being approached more.  If you’re guilty of always being on your smartphone…”
          I’m being pretty specific.  Clearly you don’t fit the bill.  On top of that you don’t think public places are for meeting people.  I find that strange but that’s ok.  My advice doesn’t apply to you.

        2. AllHeart

          So everytime you go out in public you get approached a couple times a day? How often are we talking here?
           You appear to take for granted something I long for. I hardly ever get approached by men while I’m out and about. I would love it if men made more of an effort to engage me in conversation or to reach out and be kind to me while I was out and about my daily life. While I realize that the internet is a good tool for meeting person, I prefer good old fashioned meeting people face to face. But I don’t appear to have the “it” factor to capture a regular train of men approaching me while I go out in public like you apparently do.
           I guess it’s all a matter of perspective. I would accept the sometimes inconvenience to my regular day in favor of knowing that there were at least some men out there who wanted to talk to me.  I’ve heard other women comment similiarly to you. And I think if you didn’t have men approach you, you would feel quite different and you wouldn’t take it for granted. I also think you would learn tobe more gracious about it entirely instead of thinking about, ‘me, me, me.” 

      3. 30.1.3

        It’s not like I started talking to women yesterday.  It’s something I noticed and I thought it was increasing in frequency.  At least in my circle.  And not just limited to what I described.  Last week I was having dinner with some friends.  I noticed many tables with people busy on their phones and not talking to each other.  At a concert last year.  Again, people busy trying to video/updated twitter/facebook etc.  Made me wonder if they actually enjoyed the show.
        And I don’t go ‘pickup’ women randomly.  And I don’t talk to people that seem closed off or are talking/using their phones.  You make being friendly sound creepy.  I talk to people.  I start conversations.  I met my previous gf at a dog park.  And a few past gfs at coffee shops.  If I’m having a conversation with someone I might be interested in getting to know better, and if they are sending the right signals, I might see if they want to continue the conversation over lunch or drinks.
        If you are the type of person that doesn’t think men should approach women in public places that’s fine.  Chances are you are giving off that vibe and I wouldn’t talk to you.  And if I did accidentally start a friendly conversation feel free to tell me you don’t want to talk.  I’m not going to stop talking to women because some think like you.  Just like I’m not going to stop opening doors for women because a few tell me they can open the door themselves.

        1. Henriette

          Morris.  I understand what Goldie is saying but I wanted to give the other side of the coin.  I used to live in cities where men would often approach and strike up conversations.  Even if I were busy or not interest in a particular fellow, I found it easy to politely and kindly extricate myself and almost always appreciated the effort.
          Now I live in a city where No One EVER talks to strangers.  I  occasionally turn to whoever is next to me in line ~ man, woman or child ~ and try to make pleasantries; the response is almost always suspicion, sneering and/or impolite dismissal.  I miss the days of easy chit chat and wish that were still part of my daily life.  Not even because it might lead to love but just because it makes a cold world feel a bit more humane.
          I support Goldie’s wish to be left in peace just as I’m sure she supports yours and my wish for friendly small-talk.  The planet’s big enough for all of us.

      4. 30.1.4

        I look this way because I don’t want to be approached.  I’ve had some pretty scary experiences with men being creepy or taking me just being nice the wrong way.  It’s not right or fair an dim sure I have turned off a lot of great guys but it’s a protective mechanism an d the more a the more attractive the female is the worse it is.  I always tell my guy friends if you could walk around as me for a week you would fully understand why I act the way I do.  I think many men have no idea how creepy a lot of dudes are and it ruins it for the good guys too.  At least online I can block them!

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