5 Ways to Make Your Relationship Work When You’re Both Busy

A new semester of college is upon us, meaning that life is in full swing again. Balancing classes, work, extracurricular activities and a social life is hard enough, yet finding time to squeeze your SO into the mix can seem impossible. Time may not be on your side, but creating space in your schedule to keep the love alive in your relationship is possible. Here are five ways to keep the spark going in a relationship where you’re both busy.

1. Schedule dates and stick to them

It’s easy to put date night on the back burner because you’re “too busy.” However, when you make date night just as important of a priority as a doctor’s appointment, then you’re sure to not miss another date or schedule anything over it.

Even if you can’t spend a long amount of time with them, try to make date night as memorable as possible. Marie*, a graduate student at Florida Atlanta University, thinks that seeing each other even for a couple of minutes is better than not seeing her SO at all.

“Schedule dates that you can look forward to,” she says. “My boyfriend and I try to do weekly lunch dates, even if they are only 20 to 30 minutes long by the time we drive to meet each other.”

Remember, a memorable date doesn’t always mean expensive, either. Simply trying to incorporate romantic touches like a bouquet of handpicked flowers or a note to leave your SO with when you part ways is sure to leave them smiling.

2. Pick up the phone

For the majority of us, there isn’t a day that goes by that we aren’t on our phones. And let’s face it—it only takes two seconds to send a text. If we think even deeper, we probably have at least 10 free minutes in the day. The excuse, “I was too busy to contact you” won’t fly anymore.

Jay Hurt, expert relationship coach, finds that in his personal life, he still finds a way to reach out to his wife, who is equally as busy. “Even when I’m busy working or away traveling, I’ll send an email or a text to let her know I am thinking about her,” he says.

Even if you don’t have the opportunity to have a full-blown conversation with them one day, let them know that you’re still thinking about them.

Related: When it’s Good to Compromise in Your Relationship (& When it’s Bad)

3. Fit them into your everyday routine

If finding a free day for you and your SO to have date night is a seemingly impossible task, don’t worry. You don’t have to rearrange your whole schedule to make time for your SO. Instead, fit them into your current schedule.

Whether that means they become your new study partner or your errand buddy, the most important takeaway is that you’re spending time together.

Rachel Petty, a senior at James Madison University, finds that even doing the littlest of things together is the most meaningful. “My boyfriend and I are both super busy,” she says. “But, we do little things like go to the gym or make dinner together to keep the spark going.”

Having your SO there and being supportive in your everyday life could serve as motivation to do your best.

4. Remember little details

It’s hard not to feel a rush of excitement when somebody remembers the little details about us. So while you may have a lot of things you need to remember, you need to add “random facts about your SO” to that list.

Maybe your SO is into animals, so you tag them in a cute Facebook video of animals. Or perhaps they have a favorite football team, so you buy them some team gear before the season kicks off.

“It’s all about the little things and details. For example, I’ll make sure my wife’s favorite show is recorded… Even when I travel, I send my wife her favorite flowers,” said Hurt. 

Your SO is sure to appreciate the effort, whether big or small. Any action that proves you're invested in the relationship will be met with gratitude. 

5. Make sacrifices

Part of being in a relationship is making sacrifices for the benefit of your SO. The most successful relationships are those in which couples don’t give up so easily just because their lives got busy.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re in high school, college or my age,” says Hurt. "I am big on selflessness. Do whatever it takes to put your SO first."

When Alaina Leary, a graduate student at Emerson College, experienced clashing busy schedules with her girlfriend, she decided to cut part of her social life out to make time for her.

“We found it was important to make time for just the two of us,” she says. “Since we have active social lives and a lot of friends in the area, we were often spending our only time off, weekends, with a group of people and rarely had time to spend together. We made an effort to schedule time together, and that helped a lot. It was good for both of our sanity.”

If you are confident that you have found the one, you should want to make these type of sacrifices for the wellbeing of your relationship.

So while you may be swamped with all different types of commitments, that doesn’t mean you should lose sight of love. It’s possible to make your SO a priority and not lose sight of your goals either. Being busy doesn't excuse putting your relationship on the backburner.