How do you keep dating momentum with conflicting work schedules?


IsThisNot_Y_U_R_Here asks:

I’m 29M, she’s 23F. I met this girl online right before we both went on vacation for a week. We texted a little bit that week and then made plans for a Saturday night after she got out of work. On Wednesday before that I was out with friends near her place and I ended up going over for a few hours to hang out (yes, we hooked up).

Her texts the next few days weren’t all that enthusiastic, but I chalked it up to not being a big texter, being at work, and me not getting used to her style yet. She assured me we were still on for Saturday, so I was satisfied. We had a good dinner, but it was overall a short meetup considering she had worked all day Saturday and had to again Sunday at 8am. After she got home she texted unprompted that she had a good time and we talked a bit before heading to bed.

Here’s the problem: I work a 9-5 M-F job, where she works more retail hours, typically a noon-10:30 or 8-6:30 and has 2 random days off during the week and usually works weekends. This week on top of that she has relatives visiting (she’s new to the area) so her schedule is even more busy than usual. I told her I was interested in getting together again and tried to be clear that she should let me know when is best for her and I’d do my best to be free since I have no problem staying out late on work nights if needed. She gave me a “yeah sounds good!” and mentioned her schedule might be getting switched around so it could be crazy.

How do I keep the momentum going without being pushy? Or do I just sit back and wait for her to ask if I can get together? I worry that a week or so break could easily lead to lost interest. If I don’t hear anything by a certain day should I make some small talk then bring up going out again?

Demetrius says:

Okay, I’m going to jump ahead a little bit and give you an idea of where my heads at after reading your question. I can tell you how to try to maintain momentum by outlining some best practices, but maintaining dating momentum isn’t a one-person job. If the other person isn’t committed, it doesn’t matter how hard you try. I’ll come back to this, but for now let’s just lay out your questions:

  • How do I keep the momentum going without being pushy?
  • Or do I just sit back and wait for her to ask if I can get together?
  • If I don’t hear anything by a certain day should I make some small talk then bring up going out again?

What you’re really asking are for some basics on how to keep momentum going, whether you should be more aggressive or passive in your follow-ups, and what’s a good point to circle backif you feel like she’s pulling away. Does that sound right to you? That’s what I’m getting from your questions at least.

So let’s briefly touch on how to maintain momentum. Not just in your particular situation, but in general. Like pretty much every aspect of dating, I’ve written about maintaining momentum before, because that’s what happens when you write WAY TOO MUCH. If you’re not feeling lazy you can read what I’ve previously written about momentum,   whether it was maintaining momentum over the holidays, after the holidays, maintaining momentum after a first date, what to do when you’ve already lost momentum, what to do when you’ve lost some momentum but can regain it, or what to do if you’ve lost momentum after the 4th date. I wont rehash every post in detail, so here’s some basics from each of those posts. First, there aren’t any rules for how often you need to be reaching out, so long as your outreach is reciprocated. If you reach out on a daily basis and get responses, you’ll be able to maintain momentum. You can’t maintain momentum if you aren’t getting responses, whether it’s from a daily, weekly, or monthly text. Try to plan a follow-up date as soon as possible, or at the very least start the planning process as soon as possible. Your communications should be focused primarily, on either getting to know the person you’re interested in dating, or planning a date, especially in the very early stages of dating. If you’re doing neither of those things, you’ll lose momentum. Those are the basics that pretty much guarantee a steady momentum if your interests are reciprocated.

Now, for your specific situation…let’s get back to my earlier point. As much as you might want to maintain momentum, I can see how all of the challenges you’re facing might not allow you to build momentum. Besides the differing work schedule, I think maybe you’re downplaying, or just don’t realize how important it is that she’s new to your area. This obviously is not true for everyone, but for a lot of people when they move to a new place, the last thing on their mind is dating someone seriously. If that’s where her head is, nothing you do is going to help you build momentum. Yes, bad schedules can be overcome, but again, it takes a little more commitment than “yeah sounds good” and some lackluster text responses. Her schedule might fluctuate from week to week, but you’ll be able to tell how committed she is to seeing you again by how often she updates you as to when she’s free. As crazy as her schedule is, at some point during the week she finds out her schedule and knows when she’s free. If she’s keeping you in the dark about her free time, it’s because seeing you isn’t a priority. After a first date, and some texting back and forth, there really isn’t much more you can do to help keep the momentum up. It’s really on her at this point.

Yes you can reach out more often, but if she’s not prioritizing seeing you, which would make sense given what we know about her, there’s not much being proactive or passive will do to change that. As for when to bring up going out again, that’s entirely up to you, but I would check in with her to see when her schedule is set to try to plan something then, so maybe in a week’s time or so. If you ask when she’ll know her availability and she’s vague, or vague about getting back to you, you should take that as a sign to back off a bit. She’s either too busy to date, or not motivated to see you. Either way, take your time and energy and work on building momentum with someone who would actually want to make time to see you.

Good Luck Out There.