Don’t Accept the ‘Too Busy’ Excuse: 4 Reasons to Speak Up

Does your partner always tell you they are ‘too busy?’ Are you feeling like you are not a priority? If your partner consistently uses the “too busy” excuse, it may be a sign of deeper issues in your relationship. While it’s normal for work and other commitments to sometimes take precedence, being perpetually “too busy” for quality time together can erode the connection and leave you feeling undervalued.

A study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that couples who reported being too busy for sex were actually less satisfied with their relationship overall. This suggests that the “too busy” excuse may be a cover for underlying problems or a lack of investment in the partnership.

At what point is this a sign that it is an excuse and not just a one-off situation? As relationship expert Greg Behrendt notes in his book He’s Just Not That Into You, “If he’s not calling you, it’s because you are not on his mind. If he creates expectations for you and then doesn’t follow through on little things, he will do the same for big things. Be aware of this and realize he’s okay with disappointing you.”

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in the “disease of being busy,” as columnist Omid Safi calls it. We’re constantly multi-tasking and trying to cram more into every minute of the day. However, even with demanding work schedules and countless distractions, making time for the people we love is essential for nurturing strong, healthy relationships.

If your partner’s busy lifestyle has left your relationship on the back burner, it’s time to assess whether this is a temporary situation or a recurring pattern. Ask yourself:

  • When was the last time you did something enjoyable together?
  • Did date nights become bland living room sessions?
  • When your partner is busy doing something outside their normal routine, do they find other ways to make you a priority?

Don’t let a busy schedule destroy your relationship—not just with your significant other but also with your connection with yourself.

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Here are four key reasons why you shouldn’t accept the “too busy” excuse from your partner:

1. Even the busiest people make time for their priorities

While some professions are more demanding than others, even people with the most stressful and time-consuming jobs find ways to nurture their relationships. Entrepreneurs, doctors, and retail workers are among those with notoriously packed schedules, yet many still manage to prioritize family time and cultivate hobbies.

The truth is, no matter how busy someone is, they will make time for the people and things that truly matter to them. As business owner Nicole Smartt points out, even the most active entrepreneurs need to spend quality time with loved ones to avoid burnout and feelings of isolation.

If your partner consistently fails to carve out time for you, even in small ways like a quick phone call or thoughtful text message, it may be a sign that you’re not a top priority. In a healthy relationship, both partners make an effort to stay connected and show their appreciation, no matter how hectic life gets.

2. Modern technology makes constant communication easier than ever

With countless apps and devices at our fingertips, staying in touch with loved ones has never been more convenient. Unless your partner is in a remote location without access to technology, there’s really no excuse for going days without contact.

From text messages and social media to video chats and email, couples have a multitude of options for checking in throughout the day. Even a simple “thinking of you” message can make a world of difference in helping you feel valued and connected.

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If your partner consistently fails to take advantage of these tools to stay in touch, it may be a sign that you’re not a priority in their busy life. A caring partner will make an effort to bridge the gap, even when faced with a packed schedule or challenging circumstances.

3. Healthy relationships require open, honest communication

One of the cornerstones of a strong partnership is the ability to openly discuss your needs, expectations, and challenges. If your significant other is consistently “too busy” for quality time together, it’s crucial to have an honest conversation about how their actions are impacting you.

In some cases, a partner’s busy schedule may be a temporary situation tied to a specific goal, such as completing a degree or launching a business. If this is the case, it’s important to communicate openly about your expectations and find ways to support each other through the challenging period.

However, if your partner is unwilling to have this discussion or fails to follow through on commitments to make more time for the relationship, it may be a sign of a deeper lack of investment. A loving partner will work with you to find a balance that meets both of your needs, even if it requires some sacrifices or creative problem-solving.

4. You deserve to be with someone who values your time and prioritizes the relationship

Ultimately, you should be with a partner who recognizes the importance of quality time together and is willing to make you a priority, even in the face of a busy schedule. As Greg Behrendt wisely notes, “Don’t be with someone who doesn’t do what they say they’re going to do. If he’s choosing not to make a simple effort that would put you at ease and bring harmony to a recurring fight, then he doesn’t respect your feelings and needs.”

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If your partner consistently puts other commitments ahead of your relationship and fails to follow through on promises to make more time for you, it may be a sign that they’re not truly invested in your happiness together. You deserve to be with someone who values your time and is willing to put in the effort required to maintain a strong, healthy bond.

While it’s normal for outside commitments to sometimes interfere with couple time, a loving partner will do their best to minimize these disruptions and find ways to stay connected despite the challenges. If you find yourself constantly playing second fiddle to your significant other’s packed schedule, it may be time to reevaluate your priorities and consider moving on to someone who values you and your time together.

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  1. Pat

    October 20, 2023 at 9:19 PM

    We’re all busy. Everyone is busy. The thing is, if I have time for you, it’s because I WANT to have time for you. I can’t stand when people use the “im busy” excuse. To me that’s a sing they’re withdrawing. If you’re married to a person who does this, it takes a serious talk.

  2. ImBusyToo

    December 27, 2020 at 9:28 PM

    @Juliana I stopped at “I’m an entrepreneur”. We already all know the tired spiel. Since you’re oh-so busy, allow yourself the extra time you need and very much deserve by allowing other people the opportunity to find those who will be willing to reciprocate their effort, instead of gaslighting them into believing that they’re wrong and unreasonable for expecting you to put the bare minimum in your relationships with them.

    But then, what I’ve noticed about people like you is a rather narcissistic penchant, where they know they’re unable to be in a relationship, but won’t have the decency (AND VERY MUCH EMPATHY) to leave others the f. alone. They (people like you) tend to see others as cards to stack on their list of already long (and very much vapid) accomplishments and to-do’s.

    Guess what? Most people in relationships have jobs and are “busy” too, but as the saying goes, “we make time for those that matter”

  3. Julianna

    October 26, 2019 at 9:19 PM

    I find articles like this frustrating. I am a female entrepreneur and I really am busy. What makes me angry is when you tell people you are busy once and then they continue to bombard you with photos stupid messages memes and other unimportant crap when you are in the middle of conducting business for example focusing on contracts learning new skills or systems or researching technology and you get brainless imbeciles sending you completely mindless crap and expecting a reaction. The more people continue to contact me when I have specifically said I am busy – I need peace at this time – I’m not in the mood the more I get angrier to the point where I cannot talk to the person in question anymore. When I communicate that I am busy I should be left alone until I’m ready to talk because by the time I am no longer busy the thought of talking to someone who has not respected my boundaries is repulsive to me. Typically this is a female thing whereby females just want constant attention and I struggle to make lasting female friendships because I lack the patience to deal. These people rarely ask how I am or what I am doing they just want to communicate and unload their issues on me. I would say this is fairly common. So regarding this article there is two sides to every story. Maybe people who are not “communicating” are actually fantastic at communication but the people who are chasing the communication are just annoying selfish and brainless AF. Thoughts ?

    • Cassie

      October 28, 2019 at 9:36 PM

      Thank you, this is a really good explanation of someone honestly busy in their work and it can be as simple as this. You are not being ignored, they are running a buiness. This has helped me see my long distance friendship in another way without making excuses for him. I totally get it. Don’t pester people at work. On the flip side, for me, the person I hardly hear from now has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, so busy is usually an excuse or he’s “busy” with someone else, bored with keeping in touch or keeping me in a holding pattern until he needs something from me. You will either get bombarded and loved up or get scraps. Lately I have been staying in my space waiting for him to make contact, showing maturity and patience, but I think it’s a game. I wait until the evening around 7pm when he’s home and I will get one short message “just got home, busy day” and nothing more all evening – not even a SMS goodnight. Wow! So I wait for an explanation the next day and it’s just “fell asleep or got a busy day today, you have a great day”. What? Where were you, what were you doing last night. Then you sound like a psycho co-dependent freak. That is not fair or normal in my books. I’ve known this person for 40 years, so I know how to handle some of it. He seems to make contact during his busiest time instead of the quiet time where he works part time. Go figure. Maybe this is a message for me to listen up to. Am I a pest? These are the sort of people this article is mainly focused at I think – the game players who make it very clear they will fit you in when they feel like it – offer you scraps like a starving dog. It works in their favour. You pine to hear from them, you put your life on hold and before you know it, you stop living your life and sit waiting for them. Just how they want it! There is a psychological exercise I read about where a rat was given a constant supply of food if it pressed a lever, then it was withheld and the lever didn’t work. That rat started to crave any little morsel that came it’s way. Kind of like that. And I remember a saying a long time ago “why do you want to be with someone who doesn’t value you or want to be with you?” Go find someone who wants to communicate as normally as you think is normal and without suspicion. I also have a friend who constantly says he’s busy, busy this and busy that to everyone. He works three days a week and I know the business and I know what he does – I have worked with him. He ain’t busy! He is raking it in doing nothing much and always in the coffee lounge. He does have time for everyone and is a lovely person who would be totally there for you if you need him, but his comeback line is “been busy” like he needs to sound important. I ask what he’s been up to and get real nosey, but he stays super private.

    • Mitch

      January 25, 2020 at 10:03 AM

      Julianna, your frustration brings a couple thoughts to mind. First the author isn’t saying you should drop what you are doing every time someone contacts you and make time available right then to the people who are annoying you to the point of anger. She is basically saying there is no valid excuse for ignoring the friends and love interests who are really important to you for days at a time. That doesn’t mean you have to interrupt your work for pointless memes, pictures, and other crap. I suggest that you go beyond telling people you are busy and communicate specific boundaries to the people you mention get on your nerves by telling them that while you appreciate their friendship you aren’t able to respond to calls or texts during work hours and they should not contact you unless it is a legitimate emergency. You could even explain that your clients are paying for your undivided attention during work hours and giving them anything less would be unethical and not something you are willing to do. If they still won’t respect your boundaries after you explain it to them then they really aren’t true friends at all and you should just kick them to the curb and ignore them.

  4. Jonathan

    April 30, 2019 at 1:20 AM

    My partner ghosted me when I was going through a hard time. For 3 Sundays in a row I offered to commute to my partner and my partner said she too tired, clearly that’s a big deal breaker for me. You can’t be that lazy to have any energy, plus she called me to play with her hair and then send me home. People are stupid these days. I helped her a lot and I guess when people don’t compromise in relationships it doesn’t work out! If it’s all about you and you won’t make an effort what is the point!!! Don’t date lazy people, physically active people is the people you should date!!! I find lazy people a chore to work with!!

  5. Thandie

    April 10, 2019 at 6:49 PM

    Too busy” is the excuse I always get from my partner even on my birthday.. he never remembers it for five years in a row! Now I know what to do! Thanks for this

  6. Lala

    April 2, 2019 at 12:31 PM

    I had a toxic relationship …my ex used to ask me for space all the time even though we had a long distance relationship he never even call on my birthday .Amazing article thanks …eye opener

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