She’s Forty Minutes Late

This is part of a longer reply to a reader email with multiple minor events. The wife’s habit is to be late, and this time she was forty minutes late to a planned dinner out and offered no apology…
I think part of the lateness thing on that night was you setting her up to fail. It seemed several times in the morning you repeatedly told her – reading between the lines – that “hey I don’t think you will be home on time or tell me what’s going on“. So you were reinforcing the expectation that she would be late and keep you out of the loop. Then you probably spent half the day slowly getting worked up about her likely being late. Then surprise!! she was late…
The better solution is just to say “I’m going to dinner at 7pm, you’re welcome to meet me there”. Though she can still show up late to that, in which case she should find you eating dinner happily at 740pm. A movie is great for a natural cut off where if late, she’s out of luck.  Another option is ordering in. If she’s 40 minutes late, the food is cold. Natural consequences for the win. In general though, you decide what you are going to do, and if she comes cool, if not, oh well.
Mostly you just don’t leave yourself at the mercy of her being late. If she throws a fit, just say calmly “you were late” as the answer to every argument she throws at you.
Otherwise things are going great for this reader. Sex went from 3-4 times a month to 4-5 times a week.
 

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Sexy Move: Buy her a wristwatch.

  2. Anonymous says:

    How late is too late? My partner is guilty of this and I'm never sure how long to wait on him.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I've hardly ever been late in my life, more often I'm early and bring a book for the wait. I consider making other people wait an arrogant and rude way of telling them that you are more important than they are…

  4. Anonymous says:

    Constantly being late boils down to lack of respect for other people's time. People who are frequently late do not have it in themselves to show that respect. This goes for both sexes by the way, but it's easier to retrain men than women.

    It was a huge issue in my short-lived marriage. She was late for *everything*, even at our marriage she held us up for over an hour before we got started. And had the temerity to yell at me about it. We once missed a plane flight because of her lateness and she took her frustrations out on the staff and when I wouldn't back her up, she took them out on me. Yes she had the classic worldview that "everything revolves around ME!"

    To clarify, this was only one of several issues that drove me out of the house, but I'm glad someone's talking about it because I felt so burned and often embarrassed when my ex-wife did it.

  5. The MacNut says:

    I don't know that men are "easier" to retrain than women on the lateness issue, I think it's more that it's culturally acceptable, or at least more tolerated, for women to be "fashionably late". Men are expected to just tolerate this as a quirk of women in general and their woman in particular. Hence the man who tries to change this is more likely to encounter resistance, and is more likely to be forced or shamed into backing down.

    Whereas men, on the other hand are more likely to be forced or shamed into eliminating habitual lateness, either by the threat of no sex or even of being dumped. Men often won't or can't make or even enforce such threats.

    Personally I think the best move is to eliminate women with this flaw while dating. If she's late for the 2nd or 3rd time for the 2-3rd date with the man, let it be the last date he has with her. Find someone else who actually respects other people's time.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I'm actually the person who posed this question. As Athol said, there has been significant improvement in my sex life over the last few months. With my MAP, I've gone from having sex with my wife 3-4 times per month to 4-5 times per week.

    It's just of late, my wife appears to be "pushing back" (e.g., fighting the 'new me.') A couple of times recently she fell back into talking to me like one of the children and this incident where I had gone out of my way to make it known that I'd be leaving on time. I did go to dinner without her but we also had a big argument. She eventually apologized but it took a couple of days.

    When and if something like this comes up in the future, I'll be ready and will respond in a calm but very direct manner rather than lose my cool and get into an argument.

  7. Anonymous says:

    If everything else is going well I don't see why you'd make a big deal out of her being late. I would ask her to work on it instead of leaving her, which pretty much says "getting there when I want to get there is more important to me than being there with you."

  8. Anonymous says:

    This is Anon@12:23pm

    To Anon@2:48, if she's not respecting you in one area of the relationship, it's not difficult for that lack of respect to expand to other areas. Lack of respect is a huge concern no matter where it shows up and it must be addressed firmly and immediately. Just asking her to work on it is often not enough.

    Now if she's still late, she's showing you she doesn't respect you, it becomes a fitness test and it's more important to show you will not put up with bad conduct.

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is the Anon 1:57, the individual who originally posed the question.

    To Anon@2:48:

    My wife is not late once in awhile, she's late a lot. She has often kept me waiting and in the past, I complained/got angry, etc but nothing changed. Of course, I was Super Beta Man in the past, which was why we had so little sex.

    I let her know a few times that morning that I would very much appreciate not being kept waiting. She even confirmed via text at about 5:50pm that she'd be home at 7:00. I got a call at 7:05 as she had just left to come home.

    There was absolutely no way I was going to wait for her to get home. Where I erred was in losing my temper. I should have calmly, but directly, told her where I was going to eat and she could catch up with me but I wasn't waiting.

  10. Athol Kay says:

    Anon – I wouldn't buy her a wrist watch, she'd view that as passive aggressive and therefore weak, plus she already likely has timekeeping devices like a cellphone.

    The MacNut – yep agree on the weed them out at the dating stage on this one.

    Anon – ye gods missed a plane flight because of her lateness. I'd be absolutely disgusted because of that.

    Agree with above commenters that you can't get trapped into a situation of repeated lateness and just go along with it because other stuff is going well. Usually the other stuff going well is because you'd call her on her Fitness Tests anyway.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Is being late even a fitness test most of the time? Some people are just procrastinators who wait until the last minute for everything, including things like going out/meeting someone.

    Anyway Anon @ 3:39 – If I was running late and my husband left me he would end up eating alone. I would make plans with someone else.

  12. Athol Kay says:

    My hunch is that she is not late for hair appointments…

  13. Anonymous says:

    Great points and suggestions.

    Jennifer 6

  14. As a sometimes late person, I think it is more due to poor time estimating skills (I try to squeeze in 3 tasks before I leave instead of a more realistic 1 task). Not due to disrespect, at least in my case. But I do apologize….

  15. Stephenie Rowling says:

    My best friend was a late comer to everything, including her graduation at college, at one point we started to tell her that the appointments were an hour early so she would arrive in time, the thing is she hates waiting so she tries to make it there when everyone is there. I have no idea what to call it, we pretty much just accept that she will always be late and move on. Of course this is a problem with everyone including her family so not sure if is fixable with the MAP.

  16. The MacNut says:

    Please keep in mind here people that we're not talking about someone who's late once in a while, every now and then, but someone who's habitually late for virtually everything, like Stephanie's friend above.

    There ARE consequences for that kind of behavior; people can and do get fired from jobs for habitual lateness (that's assuming they even get the job in the first place after being late for the interview…)and I'm sure Steph's friend missed a good deal of her graduation ceremony being late.

    What happens when Steph's friend meets a man she really likes, but who gets really tired of her being late all the time? Who decides to not just "accept it"?

  17. Stephenie Rowling says:

    "There ARE consequences for that kind of behavior; people can and do get fired from jobs for habitual lateness (that's assuming they even get the job in the first place after being late for the interview…)and I'm sure Steph's friend missed a good deal of her graduation ceremony being late"

    She actually behaves at jobs

    "What happens when Steph's friend meets a man she really likes, but who gets really tired of her being late all the time? Who decides to not just "accept it"?"

    Actually she is married 15 years, but I don't think her husband cares at this point I guess the good outdo the bad and dominicans are not famous for their punctuality anyway. She was just a HUGE extreme case even for our standards. I also need to mention that if you are late to her she gets really mad at you so again this was the only defect in an all around nice woman. I'm just offering the perspective of someone that is always late but I don't think is due to entitlement just some people are wired that way. One of the reasons I stopped making appointments to her and started visiting her at home instead, she cannot be late at her own home. Thank goodness, she is 37 so I doubt she will change.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Macnut – if she was late whhen you met her and late all throughout your dating then it is wrong to try and change her later. She's late, you knew that going in, get over it.

  19. "She was just a HUGE extreme case even for our standards. I also need to mention that if you are late to her she gets really mad at you so again this was the only defect in an all around nice woman."

    She must have some exceptional qualities, Stephenie. I don't know if I could put up with a friend that was always late, but mad if you are. And you are a very nice person for putting up with that.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Knowing what I know now, I will filter a girl out if she is habitually late for everything and does not change her behavior when confronted with it. A girl who refuses to show respect over something like that is a girl who does not deserve my company, let alone get me to the altar. Let her find someone who is more tolerant of that. They're called betas.

  21. Stephenie Rowling says:

    "She must have some exceptional qualities, Stephenie. I don't know if I could put up with a friend that was always late, but mad if you are. And you are a very nice person for putting up with that. "
    Nobody is perfect and we all deal with that she is indeed a great person, I just avoid any situations that can make her lateness a problem. At least she never lives in USA she will end up with no friends pretty soon if that were the case. There is a reason for everything I guess.

  22. Athol Kay says:

    Stephenie – "if you are late to her she gets really mad at you".

    So the rules apply to everyone but her?

    Treat her like a princess and she won't give you any trouble?

  23. Stephenie Rowling says:

    She is really generous, kind and patient human being in every other aspect so we deal. Hard to believe but she is not princess all over just with being on time in places. Is one of those things that the good outweigh the bad.

  24. Thag Jones says:

    she hates waiting so she tries to make it there when everyone is there

    So she makes everyone else do what she hates doing. That would be all the more reason for a decent person to show up early and find some way to amuse herself while waiting, in order to spare others the waiting.

    if you are late to her she gets really mad at you

    Sounds like a great gal, really. It's one thing forgiving people's foibles, but this is way too "do you know who I am?" for me. It's her problem if she hates waiting that much. What an attitude – I'm surprised when people like this actually have friends and a husband.

    Also, chronically late people – who are probably not late for other things (hair appointments, like Athol said, work, that sort of thing) annoy the hell out of me. It's disrespectful. Most people are late once in a while; that's different.

  25. Stephenie Rowling says:

    "- I'm surprised when people like this actually have friends and a husband."

    Many friends and a husband. But again the good outweighs the bad. She is also late at the beauty parlor so yeah, chronically lateness.

    At least is a good thing she never lived in USA and doesn't even want to, she will end up alone, my husband does try to be on time everywhere and I'm use to arrive early to most of my appointments out of habit.

  26. Anonymous says:

    "Anonymous said…

    Is being late even a fitness test most of the time? Some people are just procrastinators who wait until the last minute for everything, including things like going out/meeting someone.

    Anyway Anon @ 3:39 – If I was running late and my husband left me he would end up eating alone. I would make plans with someone else."

    Bluntly, if you were consistently late meeting me and decided it was okay to keep doing so, you wouldn't be eating with me.

    I ate alone. My wife ate alone. She is not late to work, she is not late to the airport, she is not late for appointments. She has the ability to be on time. She chose to be late. I chose to leave and eat without her.

  27. My husband can be very disorganized and frequently made us late to church. It’s a small church and I hate walking in late. I finally decided to say, “Okay, I’m leaving by this time. if you’re not ready to go, then you can just meet me there.”

    Only had to do it once.

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