I want more quality time

Letters to l[email protected] Sign up for newsletter here.

Hi Meredith!

I'm a single mom. I’ve been single for five years. Eight months ago, I met a single dad on a dating app. He’s a good guy ... responsive, reliable, fun when we used to go out before the quarantine, a great dad to his daughter. As single-working parents, having time to date is very difficult. We see each other for a few hours about once a week, but at times, because of the kid schedules or holidays, etc., we can go a few weeks without seeing each other.

My primary love language is quality time, so even though I understand and sometimes it’s my schedule, it drives me batty not seeing him more. I’ve also only met his daughter once, for 30 seconds, while picking something up at his house. Also, we've not really said "I love you." I’ve probably only heard "you look nice" as a compliment twice since we started dating. Words of affirmation are my other language. He does other nice things … makes me dinner a lot and refuses to let me pay for anything when we go out. My concern is that (1) our love languages are too different to be compatible and/or (2) he's not emotionally available. I've brought our lack of time together up on a couple of occasions and he’s always very sweet, but nothing has changed. I also brought the "I love you" thing up and he said he feels that way, but has a hard time saying it and is afraid of what it means. Please help!

Am I being too needy or too accommodating?

– A bad dater

For now, focus on the quality time. A few hours a week isn't enough for you. You want a plan for more, and that doesn't make you needy.

Tell him what you want for visits and be very specific about it. If he shares custody and you would like more of his time when his child isn't there, be clear about that. If you want to see him after a long day of work, even if it just means having an hour of conversation before passing out in the same bed, say that, too. Basically, paint a picture of what a good relationship looks like to you. Then ask if it sounds attractive to him. Stay empathetic because single parent schedules are complicated, and sometimes those parents need a few hours alone.

It's OK that you haven't spent a ton of time with his child. Also, people who have different ways of expressing love can learn to make each other happy. Please recognize his languages because they are real.

But if this man doesn’t have time to put into the relationship – if it's basically long-distance from the same zip code with no end to that in sight – it won't grow the way you need it to. All that means is that you're looking for something else.

– Meredith

Readers? Needy? Too accommodating? Can single parents weigh in on this path?