Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

Boyfriend Doesn’t Understand Busy Schedule

DEAR NATALIE: I'm an entrepreneur and because of that, I have a very hectic schedule. My boyfriend doesn't seem to understand that and it is taking a toll on our relationship. How do I explain to him that I am doing the best I can, but I can't always be there when he wants me to be? -- FRUSTRATEDBF

DEAR FRUSTRATEDBF: It can be quite challenging to work in the modern world. Gone are the days of 9-5 workdays. Now, especially with smartphones, it seems as though work can pull you back in at any moment. That doesn't mean you have to let it. If you want your relationship to work, banish the phone during certain times, such as dinner or movie night. When you are together, give him the attention he seeks. And when you can't be there, let him know your schedule as much as possible in advance so he doesn't feel blindsided by your crazy calendar. "I'm sorry" can go a long way, too, and so can a romantic dinner the following night. What we water is what grows, so make sure your money tree isn't the only thing being tended to.

Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: Nonverbal communication is key to making the first impression a good one. And this means a good handshake. (No clammy hands, please!) A firm (but not overpowering) grip says that you are confident and in control. Smile, extend your hand and make eye contact while you repeat their name. This helps solidify in your mind who you are talking to and makes it clear that you value who they are. 

Please send your relationship and lifestyle questions to or tweet them to @NBSeen. You can also send postal letters to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)