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How Do Two Busy People Find Time to Form a Relationship? 

Dear Athena,

A while ago, I met a wonderful woman who is everything I could possibly want. We haven't been able to see each other lately, and I get the feeling she feels pressured to find time amid our busy schedules. I care for her deeply, don't want her to feel stressed and want to establish a better foundation of trust between us. Could you give a shy guy like me some advice?

Please and thanks,

Mr. Ferric

Dear Mr. Ferric,

Establishing trust takes time. It grows from a collection of shared experiences. As time passes, those moments become memories, and from these you can build a solid foundation.

It's challenging to make a relationship work when one or both partners feels overbooked or overworked. We have our own rhythms, and, particularly, with a new romance, accommodating another person's schedule isn't easy. If you want to get closer to her but are having trouble making the time, then something else might have to give. Relationships that last are the ones for which sacrifices are made, so being flexible makes all the difference. I'm not saying you have to rearrange your whole life, stop hanging out with friends or working out, but if she's worth spending time with, then make the time.

You say she's feeling stressed about time, too; showing her that she's a priority in your life should help to put her at ease. She shouldn't have to feel that it's all on her to make your schedules work. And if she knows she can trust you, she'll want to carve out more time with you. Solidarity goes a long way.

As you begin a relationship, it's important that you steal away moments to be together. If that means waking up a little earlier to meet for coffee on your way to work, or taking in a late show, or squeezing in an after-work cocktail, do it. It feels good when someone makes a determined effort to see you — and as two busy people, you can even laugh at having to consult your planners to make it work.

Partnerships that are challenged by hectic schedules must be approached in the same way. Send her a love note, or flowers; text her in the middle of the day for no reason, get creative about ways to show her your affection from afar. Who says there can't be romantic, old-fashioned courting in the 21st century?

And then, when you are together, make it count. Don't check your email or take calls, or spend all your time venting about some jerk from the office. Ask her questions, tell her about yourself, share your interests. And get moving: Developing the physical side of your relationship is also paramount to building a strong foundation. When you find ways to get hot and sweaty together, such as a hike, dancing, biking or working out at the health club, it can be a real turn-on. The next thing you know, you'll be getting busy in other ways, too.

Good luck!

Yours,

Athena

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