The Playbook For Dating A Busy Man + 15 Tips To Make It Work

You like him.

You see potential.

Or perhaps you and he have been married or seriously committed for years.

Whatever the case, the problem is that he’s always busy, and his hectic schedule has you asking questions. 

Is he genuinely unavailable for valid reasons, or is he politely brushing you off?

Is he faithful, or is “work” a euphemism for “cheating” or “dating other people”?

Cozy up.

Because below, we’re unpacking the ups, downs, and red flags of dating a busy man.

How Do You Know If a Busy Man Likes You? 

Step one: Determine whether the busy man values you in a meaningful way that you also find satisfying.

dating a busy man

That last part is critical. He must also meet your needs. 

So what does that look like? Let’s approach it from the opposite side and look at a few signs that trouble may be lurking around paradise:

  • He never wants to “hang” outside the bedroom.
  • He rarely texts you, and when he does, it isn’t sweet or thoughtful but instead perfunctory or critical.
  • When you spend time together, he’s focused on everything else but you.
  • You know nothing about his friends and life outside of whatever is going on with the two of you.
  • You’re married or living together, and he goes on vacation “by himself.”

On the opposite side of the coin, when someone genuinely respects you and wants you in their life, they’ll likely show it by:

  • Keeping in regular touch; it’s rare not to get a quick text or message from him daily, even if you don’t see each other.
  • Going out of their way to make you happy even when they cannot be there in person.
  • Listening to you and making an effort to see things from your perspective.
  • Valuing your opinions and perspectives.
  • Supporting your personal goals and dreams.

15 Invaluable Tips for Dating a Busy Man 

You’ve weighed the factors and decided to pursue or maintain a relationship with a busy man. Buckle up. It’s bound to be a bumpy ride. But for you, we have tips.

1. Be Honest With Yourself

Step one is being brutally honest…with yourself. What do you genuinely want? 

Ponder whether your love language is “quality time.” If so, being with a busy man may not be ideal. 

Also, think about whether you’re looking for a partner to complete you. (For the record, that’s never a great idea.)

Don’t-Be-Foolish Check: Don’t convince yourself you love salad when a Bernaise-smothered steak is really your thing. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not for the sole purpose of being in a relationship.

2. Don’t Over Text

Busy men find few things more irritating than a partner who texts them incessantly — especially if they've already explained their hectic lifestyles.  

If your gut is telling you to message him, but you don't know what to text him when he's busy at work, check out this compendium of options. 

However, we recommend holding back. In these situations, withholding is a win-win. If he's into you, your chillness will make him want you more. If, on the other hand, he's trying to shake you off nicely, you won't embarrass yourself by over-texting.

Don't-Be-Foolish Check: If the male in question only ever booty texts you, he doesn't regard you as anything more than a party girl. Stop responding to his messages if that's not who you want to be. Ghosting is acceptable in these situations.

3. Don’t Be Petty

If you’re dating a busy man, don’t waste your time together being petty and unpleasant. Such behavior will have him running for the door — but unlike the situation at Hotel California, he can and probably will leave. 

Think about it: Imagine you spent the day grinding and striving toward your goals. After work, you meet up for a pleasant dinner but end up fielding trifling questions, baseless accusations, and shallow concerns all evening. 

Don’t-Be-Foolish Check: Holding him accountable for shady behavior is not petty. Don’t let him convince you otherwise.

4. Keep Your Expectations in Check

Part of dating busy dudes is keeping your expectations in check. The chances of him being able to spend days on end with you, catering to your every whim, are between slim and none — especially if he’s in the early stages of his career. 

Lingering on the phone and long text sessions are also rare when dating pathologically ambitious people.

So if you want the relationship to work, adjust your expectations. Learn to be happy with a quick “hello” here and an “I miss you” there. 

Don’t-Be-Foolish Check: Expecting to be treated with respect, compassion, and kindness is not an unreasonable expectation — it’s a baseline. Being busy is never an excuse for belittling quips or belligerence.

5. Engage in Due Diligence

If you’re part of the 98% and crave a life of financial comfort, hard work is necessary. So splitting from a diligent partner because of a heavy workload may be counterproductive to your life goals. 

But here’s the rub. Some men use the “busy” excuse as a cover for cheating. 

So don’t ignore your instincts. It may be if it smells, walks, and looks like infidelity. When people cheat, evidence has a way of making itself known. Keep your eyes out, and follow up when things are fishy. 

Don’t-Be-Foolish Check: You’re smart. Your gut can sense when something’s amiss. Honor your instincts. Likewise, don’t try to make drama where none exists.

6. Don’t Be Controlling

Hard-working people are usually pulled in multiple directions, and the last thing they need is a partner who tries to orchestrate every minor detail in their lives. 

Is it helpful to capably handle logistics when things pop up? Of course. But that’s a far cry from micromanaging the relationship.

Furthermore, always remember you can only control personal choices. Everyone else is in charge of themselves. 

Don’t-Be-Foolish Check: Controlling and communication are not the same things. If your partner pushes back because you ask simple questions, it may be time to reconsider your relationship dynamics and make necessary tweaks…or break up.

7. Keep Yourself Busy

Birds of a feather flock together — so it follows that busy people tend to partner with other busy folks. 

If you’ve fallen for a man who doesn’t have much time on his hands, see it as an opportunity to fill your life with satisfying endeavors and pleasures. Set your own goals; spend time with friends; try new hobbies to see if any fit. 

Don’t-Be-Foolish Check: Something is amiss if he gets mad when you’re busy but expects you to accept his jam-packed schedule.

8. Suggest a Break

A lack of breaks leads to burnout, which comes with its own set of baggage. Ultimately, the goal is to avoid it at all costs.

So while your man may insist he's too busy to slow down, suggest that he may be experiencing exhaustion and spinning his wheels to no avail.

In these instances, a vacation can do wonders. 

If you've been dating for more than six months, suggest jetting out of town to rest and rejuvenate. Remind him that being overworked is the enemy of intelligence and productivity.

Studies show that people who prioritize rest and rejuvenation deliver better work products. 

Even if you don't have the money for a full-blown vacation, plan a staycation and do things around your area that you normally wouldn't, like bowling, eating out, hiking, or shopping.

Don't-Be-Foolish Check: If your partner agrees that he needs a vacation and then goes on one without you, it's probably time to pull back and move on…without him.

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9. Take Care of Yourself

Knowing how to take care of yourself is a valuable skill. Once you learn how you’ll never depend on someone else for pampering or security. 

Leaning on friends and family in times of need is great and helpful, but managing your day-to-day business is step one on the personal growth path.

Moreover, many ambitious guys appreciate self-sufficient partners. It’s less pressure on them. So cultivate a private life that doesn’t center around him and satisfies you.

Don’t-Be-Foolish Check: Yes, practicing self-care and treating yourself is essential. But don’t demand constant attention and pampering. Moreover, never become one of those folks who expect to be treated better than they treat others.

10. Make Your Dates Memorable

By definition, busy men don't have oodles of time for leisure and pleasure. More often than not, their work lives are filled with stress and strategic maneuvering, which leads to a trough-full of professional anxiety.

Keep that in mind when making plans for the two of you. Try to make your time together memorable and relaxing. Not only will he appreciate it, but it's healthy for the relationship

Don't-Be-Foolish Check: Planning shouldn't always fall on your shoulders. He also needs to make an effort. If he has time for other things, he can find time for you. Moreover, it's not okay if he never lifts a finger but always complains about what you plan.

11. Learn To Trust Him

Trust is a cornerstone of every healthy relationship. Without it, things fall apart.

Trust becomes increasingly vital when dating a preoccupied man. A lack of it could lead to crippling paranoia, and you don’t need the added stress. Thankfully, reactions are up to you. 

So if your man hasn’t given you any reason to doubt his fidelity, don’t mistake productive hustling for cheating

Don’t-Be-Foolish Check: Trusting doesn’t mean ignoring glaring red floodlights.

12. Be Supportive

Would you rather have a partner who supported your goals or one that nitpicked your every action, complaining every step of the way?

Well, the same likely goes for your guy.

So support him in the same way you like to be supported. Live by example. Be the change and all that.

Don’t-Be-Foolish Check: Does he expect you to support his objectives but ignore yours? That’s not a healthy balance, and it will only lead to (justified) resentment.

13. Familiarize Yourself With His Schedule and Work Life

Many single parents insist that serious romantic candidates and partners deal with the whole package. Well, think of a busy man’s schedule as his baby — and the same rules apply. 

Since work is a massive part of his life, make an effort to understand his schedule. Does he have stressful reviews or meetings every Wednesday? Who are the people who make his life harder, professionally speaking? 

What about the best time of day to contact him if need be? Do you know when that is? If not, find out, and make an effort to work within his schedule. If he’s a keeper, he’ll be grateful for the effort.

Don’t-Be-Foolish Check: If you text or call at an inconvenient time, he shouldn’t blow up at you. It’s a simple mistake. So if he does, consider it a red flag.

14. Be Flexible

Are you always on time? Do you never cancel at the last minute? If you date a busy bee, you’ll need to put aside your penchant for punctuality and learn to be more flexible.

Because there will be times — many of them — when your busy boyfriend won’t be able to follow through.

But there’s a flip side. Don’t be too proud to pounce on it when he does steal a moment. Making up fake reasons why you aren’t available probably won’t work as you imagine. 

Don’t-Be-Foolish Check: We’re not suggesting you always drop everything the moment he’s available. That’s ridiculous and unhealthy. But if you don’t have anything else going on, don’t play games.

15. Don’t Be Clingy

Whether you’re dating a person with limited time or not a care in the world, clingy is never a good look. Moreover, it’s almost always a sign you’re lugging around unaddressed emotional issues that need attention. 

Constantly throwing yourself in someone’s way won’t get you far. They’ll find it far more annoying than they do endearing. 

Don’t-Be-Foolish Check: Expecting your partner to answer reasonable questions is not clinginess. Don’t let anyone try to gaslight you into thinking it is.

Tips on Texting a Busy Man 

Texting a busy man requires a bit of skill. You don’t want to blow up his spot at all hours, but you also want him to know you’re thinking of him. What’s the right balance? Here are a few tips.

  • Keep it short and simple: He’s busy and doesn’t have time to read novel-long texts.
  • Make it rare: If you’re constantly texting, it will cease to be special.
  • Think before texting: Is it a good time of day for him to get a text? Are you being overly emotional? Think before pressing send.
  • Match his personality: Don't send mushy texts if he’s not a mushy guy. If he appreciates sweet nothings, be sugary.
  • Be mindful of the relationship status: If it’s new, don’t text like you’re in love and have been together for years. That behavior will have him sprinting in the opposite direction.

What Does It Mean If a Guy Apologizes for Being Busy?

Is your guy always apologizing for being busy? That usually means one of two things.

Most often, it’s a good sign. Genuine apologies signal that he wants to spend more time with you but can’t. So if all the other tea leaves are positive, and he treats you well, try not to be suspicious of apologies.

Then again, all “sorries” aren’t created equal.

If your man has been throwing excuses and regrets at your feet for months or years, yet his behavior stays the same, it may be time to reassess the situation. Is the relationship backed up against a dead-end? Does it serve your needs and desires?

Every relationship is different and comes with its own set of unique circumstances. So it’s impossible to say for sure what a given apology means. But nine times out of ten, they fall into these two categories.

Signs He May be Too Busy for a Relationship 

Sometimes, people want to be in relationships but don’t have the time. In these instances, it may be best to say goodbye and move on. 

When is it time to start contemplating the exit door? 

  • He always, without fail, bails on big things at the last minute.
  • He never remembers things you deem important.
  • When he does have time off, he spends it with his friends, not you.
  • He only gets in touch when he wants to have sex.

Dating a busy person has its drawbacks, but it can also be a uniquely rewarding experience. So assess your situation and decide what’s best.

From there, apply our tips and take each day as it comes.