What’s The Right Amount of Time to Be Available in The First Month of Meeting?

I read your blog all the time and I know you previously addressed how some single women have lives that are too busy and need to make room for a guy but also that we should maintain full lives of our own. I’m struggling with that balance. Here is the pattern. I meet a guy and he is good, follows up but immediately wants to see me every weekend, every Saturday night and gets seemingly perturbed that I am not free. I am okay with one day on the weekend if I am in town and during the week but we just met! Many also want to see me far too much. I think part of it is the DC area because there are lots of transient people new to the area with no roots and lots of free time. What is the right amount of time, say, in the first month?

Thanks,
Lisa

Imagine a man wrote a very similar letter.

Don’t forget, the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.

Dear Evan,

I’m dating this new woman. She seems cool. Really interested in me. We’ve only been together for a month, but she is already suggesting that she’s not satisfied with how much we get together. I am okay with seeing her for one day over the weekend if I’m in town, but really, why are women so clingy? Am I wrong here?

Larry

My reply:

Yes, Larry, you’re wrong here. There is a normal escalation process for most folks when it comes to dating. If you like a woman, you prioritize her. Maybe not after the first date, but if you’re seeing a few women and you have a connection with one of them, it’s in your best interests to make her feel special. That would mean taking the time to call her after your work day, making plans at least a few days in advance, and leaving her at least one weekday date and weekend night (with a sleepover and breakfast the next day). This is how people date. They like each other. They get closer. They make more of an effort for each other.

You’re not obliged to do this for someone you don’t like, but believe me, if a woman has any common sense, if you’re not making more of an effort after a month, she’s going to leave you for another guy who does. And rightfully so. You may not be a bad guy for being this busy, but you will likely end up losing out on quality women who want a man who values them more.

Don’t forget, the greatest gift you can give someone is your time. Only people with low self-esteem are going to stick around for a man who thinks so little of them as to find one night a week acceptable.

If a guy is into you and is making an effort for you, it’s in your best interests to show some reciprocal interest.

I know your question specifically was how much time you should allot to seeing a man in the first month, Lisa. There’s not one “right” answer. All I can say is that if a guy is into you and is making an effort for you, it’s in your best interests to show some reciprocal interest. If you don’t – if you think that keeping things slow and casual because you’re so busy is a great idea – that’s okay, but that will leave you with only one type of man: the kind who likes casual once-a-week relationships.

If I were you, and I wanted a boyfriend, I’d make myself a little more available to interested men, lest they start to lose interest after a few weeks of trying to chase you down.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    boothang

    Yep yep yep. I often stop seeing men if I’m not interested in. If I’m interested, HAIL MOTHER OF GOD, I will find time =) cause when I want a man, I want him lol.

    OP must not be that into him =)

  2. 2
    Jennifer

    If a guy is over the moon about a woman, he will not object to taking things slowly. Personally, I think once a week for the first month is normal, even healthy. It weeds out the not-that-interested guys and gets the desperados who want an instant relationship to allow time for real compatibility to be assessed.

    1. 2.1
      Emily, the original

      Jennifer,

      Personally, I think once a week for the first month is normal, even healthy. It weeds out the not-that-interested guys and gets the desperados who want an instant relationship to allow time for real compatibility to be assessed.

      I agree with you. Maybe by week 3 or 4 things start to pick up and you see each other a bit more, but I think it’s strange to see someone two or more times a week and talk on the phone and/or text daily in the first two weeks. Like you said, it feels like an someone trying to create an instant relationship.

  3. 3
    Stacy2

    Having a guy wanting to see you “too frequently” is truly a “first world problem of dating”. The letter writer is clearly not into these guys she’s been out with. Either that or they’re trying to make last minute plans (as in on Friday for Saturday night) which frustrates her social schedule. This problem should be easily cured by “jeez, I’d love to but I already made plans a couple of days ago” – he’ll get a clue to ask her out earlier…

  4. 4
    kathy

    I agree with Emily’s take on a timing.  I get turned off when a guy acts like we are already in a relationship after one or two dates.   Also people ARE very busy with life, then couple that along with logistics and mismatched schedules, once a week is sometimes a miracle.

    Unless you live within an hour from each other, have the same work schedule and same amounts of family responsibilty,   same energy levels,  frequent get togethers with a dating partner is difficult.  We do have homes, not always apartments.  Gotta cut the grass, go out of town to niece’s wedding, etc etc.

    1. 4.1
      Kate

      If your priority is lawns and washing then it’s hard to imagine much spontaneity or passion there.  Better the person moves onto someone who is never too busy to See people who matter.  Poor guy.

    2. 4.2
      Stacy2

      I think our priorities tell us all we need to know about our feelings.

    3. 4.3
      Chaka

      I agree with Kate and Stacy —

       

      And, to me, it is simple biology.  When humans are truly into each other, they are not intentionally making sure “x” number of days pass before seeing each other again.

       

      When two people have a spark or a connection and they are both truly available — especially emotionally — they’ll both be excited to see each other again, not annoyed.

       

  5. 5
    Heather

    I think the original poster just isn’t “into” the guy. When I meet a guy I’m really attracted to, then making time to see him twice per week is easy. I look forward to it! But, if I’m not sure if I’m really that into him, then a once per week date is enough until I’ve made up my mind. If the guy wants to see me more than that after I’ve just met him and if he texts or calls too much, then I feel turned off.

  6. 6
    JB

    The OP doesn’t mention how old she is but as a man I can assure you once you get into “divorced w/kids” range (35 and up) all of this changes severely. A large percentage of women have custody and very little time to date, so “twice a week” for them would truly be a miracle. There’s millions of women dating online as we speak that don’t really have time for a serious relationship as Evan would define I’m sure as seeing someone 3-4 times a week. Yet in almost every profile that’s what they’re “looking for” but don’t in all reality and probability have time for. All I’m saying is the “right amount of time” and what’s acceptable/realistic differs greatly in different age ranges.

  7. 7
    Nissa

    I think perhaps the number of dates in a week is not relevant. Evan’s point was that if the man feels there is a connection, for him to make her feel special. It’s understandable that many men would translate ‘make her feel special’ into ‘ask her out more often’. There’s no wrong action there. Many times a man is attempting to communicate via action as opposed to the more feminine style of  verbalizing ‘you spark my interest’.  In light of that, better communication on both sides would resolve this issue.

    For myself, sometimes men seem more interested in ‘filling the postion’ than in me personally. When men have made it clear to me (by whatever means) that his interest is in me as a specific  individual vs the flavor of the week, it increases my interest in him dramatically. He obviously has great taste!

  8. 8
    SMC

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t see the OP as writing about any guy in particular, she’s just trying to get an idea of what’s “normal” as far as being available goes, and I think we’re being a little hard on her.  She doesn’t seem to be dating anyone in particular and just asked a simple question – how much is enough?  Well, how much IS enough?

    JB, you’re absolutely right – different stages of life equal different degrees of availability.  I myself fall into the “divorced w/grown-and-gone kids” so I have loads of free time, or at least time that I can make free if necessary.  I stay pretty busy with friends and activities, but I can certainly make time to see someone numerous times a week (and do).  There’s really no set formula.  I also like Stacy2’s comeback for last-minute scheduling, and I do the same thing: “I would love to <insert date/activity>, but I already have plans for that day/night.  May I take a raincheck?”  The raincheck comment snagged me a fantastic boyfriend-turned-husband many years ago.  He told me soon after we committed to each other that it was that particular line that hooked him, otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten asked again because he so disliked rejection.  (Gee, asking for a same-day date almost guarantees rejection, right?)  Asking for a raincheck conveys clear interest and I’ve used it many times since.

    OP, when you meet a guy that really trips your trigger, you will MAKE time for him.  Then you’ll know just how much is enough.

  9. 9
    Ryan

    It’s interesting that Evan answered from the opposite perspective. It’s great advice, but I do think this applies much more towards busy women today than to busy men.

    As a busy man if I’m interested or just curious to know more about a woman I’m going to ask you out again and unfortunately there’s so many women out there that are so busy they just don’t seem to know how to handle another request of their time. It feels like they treat a date request with the same feelings of a business meeting or extra night of volleyball at the bar. I almost feel like I should apologize for taking a few hours of one of her valuable nights. Where’s the fun/balance? I’ve learned how to move on fast and not waste my time. If the man or woman is interested it will show rather quickly. If the other party isn’t as interested to spend time or talk with you then delete their phone number immediately and rejoice in saving yourself some time.

    There’s a huge lack of relationship prioritization going on out there.

  10. 10
    Poppy

    People sure do like to make things overly complicated in these parts.

    “My good paying job, social life, and bank account that allows me freedom to pursue my hobbies are making it hard to find time to date.”

    “I really like this guy, but what if he wants to see me Saturday and I’m only free Friday?!?!? Oh what shall I do?!?!?”

    #FirstWorldProblems

  11. 11
    john

    Once a week in the first month works for me. I usually have a full schedule and seeing a new woman once a week allows for me to stick to my commitments without over committing to a woman I just met.

  12. 12
    Lisa

    Exactly.  I am the originally letter writer, thanks Evan.  Oh and I am in a great relationship thanks in very large part to Evan’s advice and blog.  But when I wrote this I was running into exactly what John describes my schedule was full and I had other commitments.  They ranged from volunteering every Sunday to events with girlfriends and out of town travel with friends and family.  My weekends were booked solid well in advance.  I had plenty of time during the week for dinners but my unavailability on weekends was met with ire.  Sometimes it as last minute planning but others it could be Wednesday for Saturday but I was just jammed packed.  I don’t have kids and I’m 38 but I was not going to leave weekends open waiting for men to come along so I filled my life up.  Interestingly many men were just always free every weekend which after I thought about it concerned me.  Some even said what do you mean you volunteer EVERY Sunday which offended me because my volunteer work is very  important to me.  I found the answer to my question was I needed to find a man that was more on my schedule and it was less about the amount of time but when.  I was giving all the men enough time just not when they wanted it and they were being pushy.  It made me think at first maybe I needed to scale back my schedule when in reality they were just the wrong men for me.   Eventually things progressed naturally.  I would say to men or women looking to date someone who is long single recognize they have a full life and want to see you but don’t push let it come naturally and meet up on mutually agreeable times.  Don’t be stuck on Saturday night.  Thanks again!

    1. 12.1
      SMC

      Congratulations, Lisa, on being in a relationship that suits your mutual schedules, and amen to the “don’t be stuck on Saturday night” comment.  I met a gal years ago (new hire where I worked) with whom I became very close.  We were both single and had a lot of common interests.  I well remember the first time she suggested we go dancing on a Wednesday night.  I said “But it’s during the work week,” and she said “Why put fun off until the weekend?  There are five other perfectly good nights to have it as well.”  Indeed.  I’ve used weeknights for fun ever since.  Monday nights are “chore” nights, but the rest is up for grabs.  🙂

    2. 12.2
      Snookie

      For the desperados, when there’s a slight chance they might get laid, their schedule is always free. You made the right call, waiting for the right guy and weeding out the ones giving you the side eye about having a life because a) they’re in a hurry to get horizontal as quickly as possible, b) they’re the type to get jealous over anything or anyone that takes your attention away from them, or c) they’re just straight up boring.

    3. 12.3
      Emily, the original

      Lisa,

      Interestingly many men were just always free every weekend which after I thought about it concerned me.

      That would concern me, too. One guy asked me out on a Wednesday. He wanted to go out that upcoming weekend, which was fine but I had plans and said I was free the following Saturday. He texted me two days later to let me know where he would be just in case my plans changed. A week later, when we went out on a Saturday afternoon, he wanted to know what I was doing that night. It was way, way too much so early in the game. It seemed like he didn’t have anything to do.

    4. 12.4
      Olga

      Voluteering every Sunday might be a dealbreaker for some people, though. I mean, there’re only two free days a week, and if your significant other is never free any Sunday, that’s, well, pretty serious. Maybe some couples could find a solution – spend time together on Saturday and week nights, do their own thing, learn to volunteer together. Others probably can’t. I know I’d struggle with it if a guy I wanted to get serious with wasn’t available on Sundays, ever. So it’s best both people know about this incompatibility early, right?

  13. 13
    Josie

    If two people are truly into each other, they will manage to see one another a minimum of 3 times week, in my experience (barring  situations like long distance, lots of business travel or 7-on-7 off traveling work schedules).

    Of course, that adjusts for couples in which one or both have children from prior relationships.

    My personal dating history suggests that if he is really into you, within a month he will escalate the relationship and want to see you at least two – three times a week.  It should feel fun,  and natural, with enough time in between dates to “miss each other”.  After a month, three times a week or more would be expected.  After two months, it’s likely you’re seeing each other at least 4 times per week.  It should seem like a natural progression, and if you still don’t feel like seeing him that often after this time period has elapsed, you are probably not meant to be.

    My experience also suggests that independent men actually like a woman who has her own life, but prioritizes time for him.   I’m late 30s, have a 40 hour work week with occasional night responsibilities, and I am an amateur athlete too.  My sport takes up 2 nights per week , sometimes three, and some time on the weekend, but other than that I  prioritize time with my boyfriend.

    It’s definitely healthy to have time apart, and guys that have been stage 5 clingers and possessive of my time have never fared well with me.  Quality time over quantity is key.

     

     

    1. 13.1
      Emily, the original

      Josie,

      I’m late 30s, have a 40 hour work week with occasional night responsibilities, and I am an amateur athlete too.  My sport takes up 2 nights per week , sometimes three, and some time on the weekend, but other than that I  prioritize time with my boyfriend.

      So with doing all of that, you manage to see your boyfriend 4 times a week? Are these long dates or are you meeting for dinner on a weeknight and then leaving from his place for work the next morning?

  14. 14
    Nissa

    Maybe the reason everyone’s answers are so different is not that there is disagreement on gradual escalation of time spent together, but different ideas about the end goal. If one’s end goal is to spend 2-8 hours together every day, that person moves at a different speed than someone for whom spending 1-2 hours together, 2-3 times a week is the ideal. And it makes a difference if you have a dealbreaker activity you want to share as an important part of your relationship, whether it’s volunteering or raising kids.

    When I was married, I saw my husband everyday, but there were a lot of days when I only saw him get up for work and come to bed. On weekends, we both did house chores most of the day and spent 1-2 hours together on both days of the weekend, maybe once a month shared an activity that took 4-8 hours.  I absolutely adored my husband and loved his presence, but we were mostly homebodies. Now, I didn’t have a good marriage, so it’s harder to extrapolate, but you get the idea. My lack of interest in doing outside activities was in no way related to my husband; it was related to having a great deal to do in a small amount of time.

    I have married friends that do activities together about 4 days a week (mostly outside the house) and I’m exhausted just listening to them.  I have other friends that live & work together, going everywhere together. Even if I had great interest in a man, because I would not see that behavior as being the ideal once a relationship was established. So one way to check compatibility is to ask the person you are dating, what an ideal relationship looks like to them. That information will establish where they think you are headed and informs your timeline.

  15. 15
    Maddie

    In all fairness to Evan, sometimes people do have busy schedules that make it difficult to see someone every week, especially at the beginning, no matter how much someone likes someone.  I work 80 hours a week, and every second weekend I’m working.  No matter how much I like a guy, it’s impossible sometimes to see him every week, forget twice a week.  I’m in to work at 5am.  Some nights I’m not home until 8.  And with that I’m balancing sleep, life, chores, errands, friends, and dating.  Simply saying to someone like me “don’t date if you can’t make time” will leave me single for the rest of my life, which is not an option.   But to equate “I won’t see you every week” to “I don’t like you/I’m not interested” is not true for everyone.

    I agree with what Lisa said in the comments, about finding someone that fits your schedule.  I’m not going to be dating a guy who is pestering me every night to hang out at the beginning.   But then again, I’ve dated equally busy people and it’s worked.  And I’ve dated less busy people who understand my schedule, and we’ve made it work without them feeling offended because I could only see the once during a 2 week period sometimes.  I’m not going to cancel my plans and sit around during my time off waiting, hoping I have a date scheduled.  And I don’t think “make yourself less busy” is the only answer to the OP’s question.

    1. 15.1
      ryan

      Maddie,

      I think limiting yourself to finding someone who fits your schedule is a bad plan. When has Evan ever said that’s a good idea?? Never. Cause it’s not. And a guy who doesn’t mind not seeing you because you’re busy might not be a great idea either, hint hint. And also your quote, “is not true for everyone,” you know Evan never posts in absolutes. So don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll be the exception.

      If you’ve made your choice to work 80 hour weeks then you’ve simply made the choice to have that affect the other parts of your life. Even having a pet. The modern saying of “having it all” (largely directed toward women) is really just there to make you feel good. It’s a lie directed at the majority to control you. Life is actually harder in general and sacrifices and compromises are generally made. Again, Evan has said he’s given up making more money to spend more time with his family.

       

    2. 15.2
      Karmic Equation

      Hi Maddie,

      “One date every two weeks” will never become a relationship.

      If all you want is to “date”, then keep on keeping on.

      If you want a relationship, something’s got to give.

      No man who is relationship-oriented will want to be on that kind of schedule.

      Now players and other people who want to be free to date other people, this would work for them.

      If you’re ok with being one the many he dates, then all is good.

      It’s kind of a paradox. When you proactively fill your life with activities to ward off the kind of loneliness that comes with being single, you inadvertently ensure that you remain single because you have no time to build anything with anyone else worth having.

      Because, make no mistake, a man who is willing to see you once a week or once every two weeks, is a man who either has no options or is actively exercising all his options, of which you are one.

      It’s ok to spend time with yourself, relaxing and doing nothing, you know. Build that into your daily schedule. And then, each week, switch out two of those relaxing-with-yourself times going out on dates instead.

  16. 16
    Rebecca

    I don’t really believe in a “right” answer to this – I think Nissa was right that different people have different togetherness needs and losing people who don’t fit with the time commitment you want to give to a relationship may just mean losing the “wrong” people and more quickly getting to the right ones.

    I’m in a long-distance relationship with a man, E, who has joint custody of young children.  And the man I dated (repeatedly) before him, M, was also a bit of a drive from my home with joint custody of young children.  I was totally into M but when lots of time passed between when he asked to see me, I took as a hint that he wasn’t that in to me.  E has the same scheduling issues, which meant at the beginning we only saw each other every other weekend when he didn’t have the kids, and I quickly took to staying over so it wasn’t just one evening, which meant I was monopolizing all of his free time.  When a friend’s going away party fell on the weekend I could be with him, he took me along and introduced me; and when he needed to go shopping for plumbing fixtures, I joined him for that, too; and we have more traditional dates when that works for both our schedules.  If the relationship is good for both of you, you find ways to make the timing work.

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