Post # 1
Two days ago we were going to my college roommate’s wedding. We needed to stop at my work on the way because an emergency came up the day before. It would only take me 15 minutes to take care of it. I told SO the day before the wedding that I wanted to leave early so we would have time to stop at work, and he was fine with that. SO is habitually late to everything, whereas I am extremely punctual. The last wedding we went to we actually arrived after the bridal party had processed in – it was mortifying. I was ready when it was time to leave, while he was nowhere near. He spent about 20 minutes in the bathroom and then had to get dressed.
He asked me what was wrong and I told him I wanted to leave on time. He said we’ll only be 10 minutes behind (it was 20). I was seething, because his time is always more important than everyone else’s and all I wanted was a sincere apology. He acted like nothing was wrong the whole way there, but knew I was upset. He finally asked what was wrong, and I said, “We never get anywhere on time, usually because of something you’re doing. Your time is always more important and you don’t even care”. He said nothing.
He said nothing the rest of the way and I knew he was pissed by his mannerisms. I was telling myself the whole ride (45 mins) that I was going to regret being this angry, and what if something happens to him and this is the last conversation we ever have? And still I couldn’t snap out of it. I’m horrible at letting things go, no matter how much I talk myself out of it. I feel so bad about the way I acted the other day. Help?
Post # 3
@newcitylights: That’s a tough one – if you don’t let things go more easily, you will end up making yourself miserable.
Post # 4
Well, part of the problem is that you called him selfish, when he probably didn’t see things that way. Punctual people often say things like that (same as neat people attributing messiness to some sort of personality defect)–and I know because I’m a punctual person! But the thing is, while I recognize that being late means you in some way didn’t have concern for the other person doing the waiting, there are a lot of other factors as to why people are late, ranging from cultural, to being scatterbrained.
My own Darling Husband uses the “scheduled time of departure” as a deadline for other projects–meaning, it’s habitual for him, literally 5 minutes before we’re supposed to leave, to decide, “Hey, now’s a good time to pay the bills/clean out the closet/wash my car!” It drives me up the wall, but it’s a strange compulsion he has. So my advice is to calmly tell your SO that it’s important to be on time and then implement strategies to help him get there. In our house, our clocks were quietly set (by me) 10 minutes fast. I also will do the “mom thing” and go tell Darling Husband, “Okay, we’re leaving in an hour” “Okay, we’re leaving in 30 minutes” “Okay we’re leaving in 15 minutes” so that he has a better sense of time management. And I did call him on the starting projects thing and now try to preemptively talk him out of doing them before we have to go.
In other words, approach this with specific, active solutions in mind, rather than assuming that it’s some sort of character flaw he has to fix.
Post # 5
Hmm, I’d say you have the right to be grumpy on this one. You did warn him the day before. I’d suggest mellowing out if you were just a perma-control freak, and were angry because “he made you late, just this one time.” But you gave him a reasonable amount of forewarning.
I guess a compromise is to do what I do with Fiance. Lay his clothes out the night before. Don’t give him the opportunity to piss time away. If I want Fiance away from his computer for something important, I force him to shower and shave the morning of (the SECOND he’s up), and then I lay his clothes out. I’ll leave him alone until an hour before we’re supposed to leave. Not before the event, but until we’re supposed to leave. If he ignores that, he sees my wrath.
Post # 6
Try changing the time on him. If you need to be somewhere tell him you have to be there earlier than you do. Exp. Wedding at 6:00 tell him 5:30. This works with guys who rely on us for this stuff, they just go along.
Post # 7
Ahhh I totally, completely GET you. My Fiance doesn’t have lateness issues but he does do some stuff that drives me insane in the same way you’re describing. Two things that have helped me: First, I took a class for work about differing personalities. Myers Briggs. It was great in helping me see that just bc Fiance does something that I perceive as selfish, rude, or just flat out wrong doesn’t mean that’s his intent. And he could see my reaction as controlling, rude, rigid, etc. People are just different.
Second, I heard a story from someone who just celebrated her 40th anniversary and who was happily in love – she said that when she got married she wrote a list of all the things her husband did that pissed her off and sealed it up (weird I know). Twenty years later she opened it up and realized that he still did those same exact things. Not sure if that’s strictly true, but her point was that some things won’t change and you just have to decide if you can deal with it.
Maybe start telling him departure times 15 minutes before you really want to leave? I have a feeling he’s just one of those people who is habitually late and it’s not going to change. But believe me, I feel you and I sympathize. Good luck!
Post # 8
I totally get what you’re saying about this probably not changing. Last night he actually asked me why I even want to be with him because he feels that I’m always getting mad at him for something and thinks I’m trying to change him. He said he’s set in his ways because he’s 31 and I have to take it or leave it. It was quite an uncomfortable conversation..
Post # 9
I don’t agree that you have to ‘take it or leave it.’ I realize you can’t change people, BUT a relationship requires compromise from both people. So when you express how upset his lateness makes you, especially in this particular case, he should be more aware of how his actions affect others. My Fiance and I have had similar fights (not about being late- he is incredibly punctual) and they used to be blow-ups, but we have learned (and are still learning) that there are 2 of us involved here and we need to try and see the other’s side, which os not always easy. I tend to overreact to things and he is very laid back. So, I usually get upset, he gets defensive and after we have both cooled down I can see where maybe my reaction wasn’t necessary and he sees how his actions contributed to causing a problem. The important thing is that we both make an effort in the future to not repeat whatever it was that caused the problem. Things don’t magically get better overnight, but as long as both people are willing and making an honest attempt to be a better person for their SO, then things will work out.
So, I understand that feeling of “Oh no, am I overreacting and what if something happens, should I not have made such a big deal??” But on the other hand, after he’s cooled down, he should also be willing to say, “I know you asked me to be ready and I wasn’t. I realize that this really upsets you and I’m going to try and it’s something I’m going to work on.” I’m sure he won’t be suddenly Mr. Punctual, but if you see he’s making an effort, you wouldn’t be as sensitive to it.
Post # 10
@newcitylights: First of all, good for you for not playing the “Nothing” game when he asks you what’s wrong and being mature enough to speak up. I think maybe you could try changing the WAY you phrase things. “It really means a lot to me to get places on time. I’m upset that we are running late.” rather than putting all the blame on him (where it should be, but that’s a more “attacking” way of phrasing it).
Post # 11
It sounds to me like you couldn’t “let this go” because he was unwilling to acknowledge that he was in the wrong for being late. A sincere apology from him might make it easier to let it go.
You’re entitled to feel angry when your feelings aren’t taken seriously. You deserve respect.
I hear a lot about how “I statements” are a better way of communicating than accusations. For example, instead of saying, “We’re late because you think your time is more important than other people’s and you don’t care,” you could try, “I hate being late, it makes me feel incredibly stressed out. I worry that people will think I don’t care enough to be on time.”
Post # 12
I’m the same way! Punctuality is a huge obsession of mine (I like to maximize each moment!) and my Fiance is habitually late for EVERYTHING.
I vote that you should start telling him 30 minutes early on EVERYTHING.
Post # 13
What the heck was he doing that whole time? My husband can be showered, groomed, dressed, and out the door in less than 20 minutes!
I think you have a reason to be mad. Being habitually late is not ok. It is rude to keep people waiting for you. He owes you an apology for that. Being “set in his ways” is not an excuse to keep up rude behavior.
If I were you, I’d set all the clocks a few minutes forward, and move back the time you need to leave if you’re going somewhere by a minimum of 30 or 45 minutes.
Post # 14
I actually told him last night that all I wanted was an apology and things would have probably been fine. I’ll admit that I didn’t word things right. I guess things just boiled over the top by the time I said something. He also said he’s probably not going to change his ways when it comes to putting his foot in his mouth…he’ll say insensitive things in an attempt to be funny (like when I told him that a lot of waiting Bees are in the same boat as me – he said “the S.S. Looney?”). I’m frustrated because I’ve tried changing behaviors for him – having a clean house was never a priority until I met him. He needs everything to be tidy. Now I try to keep our house clean for him. And yet he won’t reciprocate for me.
Post # 15
He told me that the only thing he worries about being late for is work because there are consequences. He said he isn’t going to stress about getting ready in a rush because he figures, what does it matter if I’m 5 minutes late? He thinks life is too short for that or something.
Post # 16
@newcitylights: Saying insensitive things while pretending they’re “funny” is passive aggressive, and being chronically late can be passive aggressive, too. I suggest you do some reading so you can understand what’s happening and try to deal with it. (I’m going through a similar thing in my relationship right now, so I can’t give real advice, I can just help provide information!)
Passive aggression may be directed verbally rather than acted on physically, which is a more caustic and damaging way to undermine someone. Perhaps we have a relative, lover or “friend” whose statements often feel like barbs. When we react to the slight or attempt to get clarification on their meaning, they may tell us they’re “just kidding,” or we’re being “too sensitive.” This is designed to invalidate our perceptions and deflect the confrontation–but as Ellen DeGeneres always says; ‘kidding’ is when both people can laugh at the joke. Rather than directly expressing what they really think of us, they choose to deliver their hurtful messages indirectly or ‘in code,’ to disarm and disable us from responding to their (veiled) attack. These comments usually come at us in a kind of sideways manner, or slightly under the breath as a jab–and they’re deeply wounding! This person’s definitely trying to convey something, but their message is cloaked, to avoid being held accountable for their words–or our reactions.
(From here – http://gettinbetter.com/dirtywork.html )
Joking that you’re crazy isn’t funny. It’s mean. Pretending it’s a “joke” that you “aren’t getting” is a way for him to be mean while acting innocent. It’s hurtful and damaging.