I’m Too Busy To Date. How Do I Meet Quality People If I Have No Free Time?

father and daughter quality time

I’m a 33 year old, single father with primary care of a 14 month old daughter. Her mother has a weekends-only job and never has her overnights or even in the evening. My question is: How do I even go about looking, when the only time I spend away from work involves my daughter? It’s me, I’m sure, but I don’t seem to even try when I’m out with my daughter, doing all the things it takes to keep my house, my daughter, and myself in order.

In the last three months, I’ve “went out” once. I have no problems meeting people in the regular bar scene….but I don’t seem to make the time. And when I do, the results aren’t the type I’m looking for anyway.

Mike B.

Dear Mike,

Great question. Important question. Simple answer.

Before I give it to you, I want other readers to ask yourselves if you can sympathize with Mike’s predicament. You don’t have to be the primary caregiver to a 14 month old; you just have to be too busy to find love.

Being busy is the greatest and most believable excuse for being single that you can find.

So…do you work a lot? Have lots of responsibilities? Hobbies? Friends? Obligations?

If you said yes to any of the above, this article is gonna be one great kick in the ass for you.

Make no mistake about it: being busy is the greatest and most believable excuse for being single that you can find. Which is why you’re not going to hear me suggest to Mike that he ditch his job, ditch his daughter and spend 24 hours a day finding love.

What I will suggest, however, is a re-evaluation of three things in Mike’s life

  • 1) His time
  • 2) His priorities
  • 3) His methods

Time is a precious commodity. Our lives our finite. Days end after 24 hours. And, as an adult, you have responsibilities that don’t simply abate because you wish them away. You still have to work to pay the bills. You still have to make sure your children get fed each night. That’s life, and it’s way more difficult to create opportunities in love when you’re pulled in so many directions.

But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

Consider these questions:

How many hours do you work each week? If you’re like most people, you’re home by 7pm. That means you potentially have 4 hours every night to devote to the pursuit of a relationship.

How late does your daughter stay up every night? Granted, you have to feed her, play with her, read to her, and put her to bed. But once she’s asleep, you should be left with a few hours to yourself.

Is it possible to create a more even custody arrangement? Hire a baby sitter? Ask your parents or the mother’s parents for a little relief? – Despite my probing questions, I want to acknowledge that if you have sole custody during the week and your wife works on the weekends, you have virtually NO breathing room. And instead of trying to create something out of nothing, you need to get your life into better balance before you worry about dating.

The greatest invention in the world for busy people who are looking for love is online dating.

Which is why I suggested a shuffling of your priorities. This is not to say that you should be any less devoted a father. But you owe it to yourself, your daughter, and your sanity to lead a life that does not eat up all of your free time.

I see this frequently with my hardworking clients, who put in 12 hours a day at the office, maybe fit in a workout and a meal after work, and start all over again the next day. Who could blame them for not having a love life? Yet it’s virtually impossible to break the cycle. Despite the fact that love is more important than anything, we maintain the mindset that work comes first.

One smart, successful client of mine always stressed about how busy she was and how this made her search for love particularly taxing. She had little free time and certainly didn’t want to spend it going out with strangers she’d probably never see again. She just wanted to cut to the chase and find a guy. One day, she informed me that she met an impressive man online, who claimed to be too busy to make a date with her. This pissed her off to no end. Yet she was unable to see that in 99% of the circumstances, SHE was the one who was too busy for the men who were courting her. It was fine when she was too busy for others, but when men were too busy they become “workaholics” or “aloof” or “emotionally unavailable.” It didn’t occur to her that she was all of the above as well.

If you’re a busy person, this should be hitting pretty close to home right now.

So ask yourself, if you were on your deathbed, would you whisper to your closest friend, “Now that I look back on my life, I wish I worked more 12-hour-days.” If so, keep doing what you’re doing. If not, it’s time to get a career that doesn’t require such slavish devotion. You may have a job, you may have money, but you don’t have a LIFE.

The last recommendation I have is for you to broaden your methods. The greatest invention in the world for busy people who are looking for love is online dating. Yet the most common complaint I get is that “it takes too much time and effort”.

Well, I’ve got 3 words for you: Suck. It. Up.

Anything worth having takes effort. You had to fight hard for your education, your job, your promotion, your pay raise. It wasn’t bestowed upon you merely because you’re worthy.

Yet somehow, in the dating field, everyone seems to think that love should just happen organically. No searching online. No back and forth emails. No screening phone calls. No awkward first dates. No disappearing third dates. In the mind of a busy person, Mr. or Ms. Right should materialize from thin air and come pre-ordered for chemistry, compatibility, values, goals, and humor.



Online dating gives you far more power and control over your own destiny – but only if you do it right.

Finding a life partner takes a LOT of trial and error. I went out with over 300 people over 15 years before getting married. I’m positive you could do it in less time. But to think that you’re going to find a relationship when you go on two dates a year? Yep, that’s crazy. Maybe you’ll get lucky and fall in love on your twentieth date. But at 2 dates a year, my friend, that won’t happen until 2018.

Understand, to find love, you have to create room and opportunity. The genuine desire to find love is useless if you never go on first dates. And online dating is useless unless you have time to get away from your job or your 14-month-old baby for a few hours.

I am very sympathetic to anyone who feels trapped. Work is consuming. Fatherhood is consuming. But nothing will change unless you make a decision that it’s a priority to change. Your excuses for not dating, Michael, are unassailable. You are in an impossible position as it currently stands. Which is why you have to make a fundamental shift that creates more life balance. Unless you do, nothing will change, and you’ll be in the same exact position next year and the year after.

I can’t tell you how many people call me for dating coaching, decide to save their money and do things their way, and call me again two years later. Now they’re two years older, two years more frustrated, and two years less marketable. Why? Because they wanted results, but they weren’t willing to work hard to achieve them.

If you are busy and you want to have a love life, online dating is the best way to go. Matchmakers are fine, but guess what? You’re paying $5000+ to get set up with 10 people that you might not want to go out with. Online dating gives you far more power and control over your own destiny – but only if you do it right.

I’ve staked my entire livelihood on the premise that ANYONE can have success online, thereby avoiding matchmakers, blind date set-ups, and weird singles events.

Click here to create an instant love life from anywhere in the world, no matter what your age.

Just know that change happens when you want it to happen.

Until then, you can tell yourself you’re too busy. But you and I both know better.

You’re probably not dating because you don’t want it bad enough.

Your friend,


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  1. 21

    Not “bitter” just better and a lot smarter,older,and wiser …lol
    I’m lucky,I’m 48 now so MOST of the women I meet are past the “I need a baby sitter for my 5 & 7 yr old bullshit” Thank god I rarely if ever have to deal with it. Let the younger guys have at it.

  2. 22

    JB this one is for you. I may be wrong in my thinking but here goes. I believe it is ALWAYS a privilige to spend quality time with a date. We all have busy lives to lead, between work, family, interests and other commitments. I am more apt to take things nice and slow with anyone I meet (especially from online), and seeing them once a week for the beginning of a relationship seems healthy to me. It allows me to still have a life, and reflect on the time I spent with them. Hopefully the dates last longer than 3 hours, as time goes on. Hopefully by date three or four we are spending the whole day together. Many quality women out there have young children. If you know that you will not entertain a woman with young kids than is helpful to be upfront about it from the get go. It’s not for everyone. Some men are truly excited about a woman with kids because their kids are grown and they miss it- or they have never had any and want to experience it a little. P.S. Most of the men I date are in your age range.

  3. 23

    I had to post this- kind of a no-brainer article, but still a good one for the date-deprived.

  4. 24

    Just to play devil’s advocate, having read many of Evan’s other posts, such as the infamous “men are not interested just being in the moment post”, there is little motivation for me to actively seek out a relationship. I do carve out time for a personal life, but I do so with friends and family with whom I don’t have to jump through hoops, look a certain way, etc. Sure it does get a little lonely at times, but so far, that doesn’t outweigh all the stuff one goes through to date. I’m sure that finding the right person is probably an incredible thing, but I can also accept it may never happen for me. But I am open-minded; feel free to talk me out of my mindset.

  5. 25


    Some women are happy to get free drinks and expensive meals from a guy in whom they have no interest. Some women use sex as a hostage, forcing men to do whatever they want in order to get it. Some women will cheat on their significant other simply because they are bored. Some women are only interested in men who make a significant amount of money. Some women have their whole weddings planned out (including the date) and are just looking for a man to insert as the groom. Some women become controlling little wenches forcing a guy to cater to their every whim. And many women will ignore a guy’s best attempt at an e-mail initiating contact with them. So why should a guy have to face all these dangers, jump through these hoops, etc. Why does he always have to ask the woman out and pay for everything? Why shouldn’t he just lay back and relax with his friends and family instead of looking for a significant other?

    In case it isn’t obvious, neither side is perfect, both have their issues, they’re just different issues. Though there are women that fit the various descriptions above, I think you’d probably agree that it’s not the majority of them. Just as there are guys out there who might lead you on when they’re really more interested in a fling. I suspect you’d tell guys not to give up on women. And that’s what I’m telling you: don’t give up on men.

  6. 26


    Maybe that was just the women’s polite way of saying they weren’t interested anymore- and the time factor had nothing to do with it. The same way men say they’ll call (when they have no intent to) just to be ‘polite.’

  7. 27

    I wonder if there is anything he can do to work out a relationship with the mother of his child.   His life may be a lot less complicated that way.   He didn’t share many details about his situation with the mother, but I am glad he is so involved with his child.

    I don’t know what his situation is with her, but I think too often people look to start over with a new   imperfect person when they would be better off fixing what is broken with the imperfect person they have a child with.

    I love you, Evan, but I think casual sex is a terrible thing. I’m so glad you settled down and got yourself a family.

  8. 28
    shawn disney

    For Kenley ,who wanted an alternative to online dating   (and others): An excellent one:   it is the Classic, and largely unknown, authentic American Folk Dance: the “Contra” Dance “.( Not “Country”, not “Line”)   It’s a lot like Speed Dating, except that talking is possible, but not required.   In form, it is like Square Dancing, except done in lines , which makes it remarkably better.   The music is a lot like Riverdance. You don’t need a date; it’s not cliquish;   you change partners for every dance.You don’t need to  memorize patterns; it’s not choreographed, but “Called”.   It cycles through “groups of four” , so that in 15 or 20 minutes, you’ve danced briefing with as many people   as the hall will hold.   Anywhere from 12 to hundreds.  People who do this tend not to be drinkers, or druggies, so it may not be for everyone, but there is a great variety of people there , all ages and types, but it’s physical enough to tire you out.   Of course, you can sit one   out. If you can walk, you can do it.   Check the Net.

  9. 29

    What you wrote hit the nail on the head. I have one comment here…if a person basically has little, if any time to date, how in the world would they have “time” for a relationship, to develop it, and sustain it? Even a friendship requires time, effort and attention. Anything worthwhile requires some effort and attention. Just like your career, your child, your health, etc. People who are married to their jobs are just that “emotionally unavailable”, and incapable of being in healthy relationships. You need to step out of your comfort zone, and sacrifice your time a little to gain something in return. If what you want is a relationship–you need to take certain steps to attain it. Make it work for you.
    No excuses.

  10. 30

    Guys, you may be right, but I gave up. Between the age of 36 and 46 I lived in New York City, and met women in all places, including online: all game players, no one excluded. I leave the field to you. All yours!

  11. 31

    This is such bullshit. I literally have NO TIME to go out during to the day to meet women. (Plus it’s now considered “creepy” to talk to anyone in public, obviously I would have to do it anyways.) Online dating is not working out for me. I have no problem building attraction and getting dates/sex when I actually meet someone in real life. BUT I HAVE NO TIME. The commute is too long when I’m done with work and I have lots of shit to do. But I’m still supposed to magically be able to do all of this and snag the women of my dreams. How about women stop making it so damn hard for everyone, themselves included, and give more guys a realistic chance. What can I possibly do? There is nowhere for me to go and meet people my age.

  12. 32

    I agree that it does take effort and time. Most guys comment to that I sound too busy to date. My response is that I am not too busy to date but I respectfully ask a couple days notice. I make it clear in my profile that my schedule is such that I cannot do last minute. I am a full time student pursuing my dream of getting into veterinary school. I have to study most nights. But with a couple days notice I can work most anything in.

    Now my experience online is that guys want to meet right away. How can you do this when you have just spent a day or two exchanging short polite responses? Seriously a phone call or two please. Evan you have the 2-2-2 rule. 2 messages online, 2 thru personal email, and 2 phone calls. I want to enjoy my time out. A phone call or two lets me know whether we can keep a conversation going. Going to be a long and unpleasant date if we are not able to carry on a conversation. And I would think a guy would want a phone call or two for the same reason. May I sound like a Munchkin from the Wizatd of Oz,   maybe I have a voice or laugh that would annoy you after an hour. None of that comes out in email. As Evan says guys are playing the numbers game …meet as soon as you can..well gee now I feel like a piece of meat at the local butcher. At least show me you are interested in knowing me than my physical appearance. I am by no means ugly..I figure skate several times a week…. but am tired of men contacting me who have only looked at my picture, not read my profile, and get honked off when I “seem” too busy. Welllll take a few minutes and read my profile.

    Yes I am burned out on online dating…tired of not meeting quality men. I am 49 and have been contacted by men in their 70’s, 80’s, and yes a 90 year old. Seriously? What could we possibly share in common. As Evan stated men date younger…and I am fine dating an older guy but no more than 7-8 years. Why? Because we will be at different places in life. And the younger guys …that is another story. I have no interest in dating someone more than10 years younger. I am not going to fulfill some young guy’s fantasy of being with an older woman..but will never get serious with that same lady. I have more productive things to do with my dating time.

    1. 32.1

      Yes yes yes! I am 38 but I am so tired of the lack of advance planning.   I don’t wait around to see if a guy is going to ask me out I make plans.   I would meet guys online who would routinely text me on Friday to hang out Friday night or Saturday and I would say no but I’m free Monday Tuesday etc,   nothing then the following week same thing day of texts to hang out!   It was maddening then I wood get oh you are too busy to date really?

  13. 33
    Evelyn Neal

    Mike B,

    It wont hurt to delay dating a bit when your daughter is so young.   If she is 14 months old, you were in a relationship fairly recently (unless she is the result of a one night stand or an arrangement for the purposes of conceiving a child).   I can promise you that on your deathbed, you will not wish you had started dating someone sooner, but you may well wish you had spent more time with her.   Try to make more free time in your life, if possible.   It will serve you both well.   If you truly don’t have time to look for someone, you don’t have time to be with someone.   That being said, do what feels right for you, not what we or any of your friends or family say.   Is it your goal to find a stepmom for her or someone you truly want in your life.   

  14. 34

    I work two jobs & go to school. I need a huge hug.

  15. 35

    i agree with you Evan about people that work too much or over extend their lives with friends or social lives so much so that they don’t have time to date and I see this a lot!   You meet someone online and hit it off but you spend weeks trying to plan a date.    And no on my death bed I would never ever say I wish I spent more time working but I may say I wish I spent more time with my family.   I think many parents would also say I wish I spent more time with my kids when they were young I was never around to enjoy that time.    Of course this man enjoys a dating life of his own but I don’t think it’s really fair of you to compare busy single people working to this man spending time with his still very young daughter.   While you suggest rearranging thus custody agreement I tend to think with a custody agreement giving one parent primary custody and so much more time with the child particularly a father (yes this is sexist but I’m just going on statistically who tends to get primary custody) that there is a reason this man has primary custody.   Either the mother does not want primary custody or more visitation or she is incapable of it.   Sure a babysitter one night a week presuming he can afford it or maybe family if he lives close.   The problem he is facing is that in his age range this is going to be a huge no go for most women.   He needs to date older women over 35 and parents.   It’s not just the time thing.   The woman is going to be basically a full time parent to a very young child if things get serious.   Women in his age range are still looking to go out and have dinner etc.   He needs to be open to the fact that whomever he meets will likely be introduced to his daughter quite early on and okay with that and have the woman be okay with that and include the child in activities.   Most single parents have some time free evenings and weekends.   Working people make a choice to work late he does not have a choice.

  16. 36

    Honestly, he should concentrate on his daughter first. Many women (I am one of them)are turned off by men with kids because they have so much responsibility not to mention we question why he’s still not with the ex and if he’s broke. I have a very strong anti dad stance and so do many childless women I know so I would tell him to seek a single mom.

  17. 37

    Online dating is absolute garbage for average men. Whatever I say here will be turned around in some hamfisted attempt to say how men are superficial so it’s ok for women to be superficial. Men who use online dating do so because they lack a resource women are looking for. Women use online dating because they’ve either spent too much time on things other than relationships and think men care now, have done nothing to maintain themselves in any way, or their relationship has ended and it’s time to act like they’re 20 again.

    Yeah, I get that there are men looking for 20-year-olds, one night stands, blah blah blah, but the majority are just looking for someone with something in common. That commonality is NEVER going to be endless yoga, unlimited travel on his dime, and being a Greek God with a sensitive personality that can protect her when she mouths off while simultaneously building her a dream home to show off with.

    These successful online dating statistics you people keep touting needs to come with some demographic info like height to income ratios, weight to success ratios, income to success ratios, and you guessed it ethnicity.

    A man’s personality is inconsequential to dating past 25 just like a women’s achievements are inconsequential.

    The fact is that online dating only works for the successful and the young. So how about some real advice for people who are looking for people and not property.

  18. 38

    Interesting perspective.   I’m doing exactly what the article says NOT to do:   waiting for the universe to provide some spark.   Why?   Because i’m truly busy, just surviving.   I’m now responsible for continuing / finishing a situation begun with fear.   Six kids, no child support, no family.   I’m “it”.   If i’m not working, i’m with the kids.   The kids are thankful for the new situation, so no complaints.   And while we’re “strong” in some ways, i could certainly use a smile now and again….. I’m not looking for some one to take over part of the burden, just smile and laugh in an intimate way…… Thus, while i appreciate the idea that one has to be practical about dating – the online venue isn’t practical for all circumstances.   The universe has to pick up where practical circumstances leave off……

  19. 39
    Brenton Uelmen

    I’m impressed, I must say. Actually not often do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me inform you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your thought is excellent; the problem is something that not enough persons are talking intelligently about. I’m very glad that I stumbled across this in my search for something regarding this.

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