My boyfriend lives an hour away. He just got a new job that requires him to work 10 hours or more a day. We use to text for a few hours a day although the convo was quite boring with a lot of “so’s” and what are u “doings.” Now I’m lucky to get a text every 2 days. Whenever I try to tell him how I feel he always says all he does is work and sleep and that he doesn’t have time to talk. Then he gets mad at me. He makes me feel like I’m asking for too much. what should I do?
You know, I’ve always found that it’s easier to address major conflicts in relationships than it is to address things that seem small, like texting frequency. When it’s something that is objectively a big deal, like an argument over whether or not kids are in your future, you can usually feel like you’re in the right, or at the very least arguing over something important. When it comes to things like texting, it’s sometimes harder to bring up because it sort of feels inconsequential. Well, I think it’s time to rethink how we look at texting.
When you get down to it texting is about communication, so what you’re really saying is that you don’t feel like your boyfriend is communicating with you in a substantive way. When you frame the situation like that, it’s a lot easier to take it seriously. We tend to think of texting as less serious than a phone call because reasons I guess? I mean sure, hearing someone’s voice has more weight than getting texts, but ultimately the function is the same, to communicate. I’m sure back in the day that phone calls were considered impersonal and you weren’t really connecting unless you sent a personalized letter, and now we’ve moved to this same dichotomy with calls versus texting. With that said, and no disrespect to you “people never call people on the phone anymore” folks but personally I think any form of communication is valid. So when you say that you’re not hearing from your boyfriend as much as you’d like, it doesn’t matter if it’s phone calls, video calls, texts, emails, etc., your problem is the frequency and quality of your communication. Period.
So, what do you do? Have you considered having an open discussion about it? Okay, obviously you have, but have you talked about why the lack of texting bothers you. It sounds like your boyfriend is pretty dismissive of your asking to texts because he’s busy with work and sleep and, well, that’s bullshit. Seriously, the math doesn’t add up. Let’s say your boyfriend is like most Americans and his commute is somewhere between 1-3 hours each day, roundtrip. He works ten-hour days, and let’s assume he sleeps 8 hours a night. What’s 10, plus 3, plus 8? That’s 21 right? So…he’s got, at minimum, 3 hours a day to send a perfunctory “Ugh, crap day at work but I miss you. How was your day? I’m about to head to bed” text. It really isn’t that hard and I’m being generous with his commute time so it’s probably closer to about 4-5 hours a day to reach out between work, commute, and sleeping. Putting aside the math, his major problem is his dismissiveness. Even if you can make a strong case that it takes less than a minute to compose a text to your girlfriend who you don’t get to see very often because she lives 1 hour away, if he’s immediately dismissive of what you have to say about how you feel, you’ll never be able to solve this problem. If your desire to communicate with him is that upsetting to him, he either doesn’t understand why communication is important, or just doesn’t want to communicate with you. Either way, it’s a bigger issue than just the texting infrequency.
If he is receptive, you can try to come to some sort of middle ground that satisfies you both. Yes it’s exhausting to work long hours and, and if he’s just not a texting person, maybe you could do a 15 minute call every once in a while. Maybe you can video chat to wish each other good night, or some other small gesture that’s not very time-consuming but shows that he’s putting in some effort. There’s plenty of ways to stay in communication over limited amounts of time after all. You can start the conversation by asking for a compromise and see what amount of communication is viable with his schedule, or you come with a list of wants and see what he can meet. Be sure to explain why communication is important to you, and make it less about texting and more about wanting to be in contact.
If he isn’t receptive, is dismissive of your desire to communicate, and generally seems inflexible about texting, calling, or any other form of communication, you need to decide for yourself if this is the sort of relationship you can be in. Personally, I wouldn’t be in a serious, committed relationship with someone who was actively dismissive of my desire to communicate with them, but maybe you’re not as harsh as me when it comes to relationships. Either way, you either need to try to address the issue, learn to accept his lacking of communication, or reevaluate your relationship.
Good Luck Out There.