My Boyfriend is Habitually Late and I’m Sick of It!

Lady wearing red sweater watching her watch while waiting for his boyfriend

I have been dating a guy for 9 weeks and we’ve been exclusive now for 2. He is always late for our dates, and it drives me crazy. It’s been this way from day one. It usually ranges from 10 minutes to over an hour. Usually he checks in, but I could be doing other things. He is perfect in every other way except this.

The first time I spoke to him about it I did so by cancelling a date on him. He had given me a time range of 3-4 that he would be at my house then texted me at 5:10 that he was on his way and would be there at 5:30. That’s when I replied and told him I wouldn’t be going. We talked about it and he said he thought that I was just home not doing anything, and that it wouldn’t matter. I told him it was disrespectful to me and my time and didn’t make me feel very important. He said he wouldn’t make the same mistake twice. However, he’s continues to be late. I can tell he’s really nervous when he gets to my house because he’s worried about me being mad. I just don’t know what I should do about this. I talked to him again the last time he was late because he was basically an hour later than he originally said he would be even though he checked in with me. I was upset because I could’ve gone on a bike ride if I knew I had another hour.

He said I’m one of the most important people in his life, but why does he continue to be late? I asked him why he’s late all the time. He owns his own business and said he’s typically coming from work (not all the time though), and has people to take care of issues and needs to just let them handle them. He said that he’s usually a pretty prompt person except when meeting me. I asked him, how do you think that makes me feel? I asked him if his lateness has been an issue in other relationships, and he said yes, but it has never jeopardized a relationship. That tells me he’s not always prompt except when meeting me otherwise it wouldn’t have been an issue with others. I don’t want to break up with him because again, he’s so perfect everywhere else, but I expect if he says he’s not going to do it again to not. It also makes me feel like if he can’t be on time and continues to tell me he’s going to change and isn’t, what else is he going to tell me won’t do and then do?

I know he’s going to be late again. I want to compromise with him about his lateness, and I want to be able to be flexible, but I don’t want him to end up taking advantage of me. If I tell him if he’s more than 30 minutes late that I’m not going on a date I feel he’ll think I’m giving him permission to be 30 minutes late. I understand that life happens, but he’s literally been late to every single date.

I spoke with a male friend about this and he said that if I was a business transaction and had money for him he probably wouldn’t be late. I need to let him know I won’t tolerate lateness. But how can I do that and still be flexible? I believe he’s just a chronically late person and it’s not going to change and that it has nothing personal to do with me.


Once upon a time, there was a dating coach for smart, strong, successful women. This dating coach prided himself on his New York sensibility. He paid his bills the day they came in. He RSVP’d to parties as soon as the Evite arrived. His word was his bond. This worldview, plus his tell-it-like-it-is-attitude and ability to understand others’ perspectives made him a success…

That is, until he met his own wife.

The dating coach’s wife, like your boyfriend, was habitually late. Her family joked that she ran on her own schedule, which just happens to be 15 minutes later than everyone else’s. While she’d protest that she never missed a flight in her 16 years of international travel, it still didn’t make her boyfriend feel any better while he was stuck waiting for 30 minutes as she curled her hair before a date.

People’s issues exist on a spectrum and so does people’s tolerance for said issues.

Ten years later, they’re still together — and still arguing about the definition and value of being “on time.” But let’s say that she is still highly attentive to detail and that such attention often sucks up a disproportionate amount of time. She can spend a month preparing for a four-year-old’s birthday party, a week packing for two nights away, and an hour getting ready to drive the kids to school. It’s just how she rolls. All the talk about respecting others’ time — she gets it intellectually, but really, it doesn’t change anything. As you said, it’s just how she’s wired.

The compromise she and her husband struck seems to be this: she does her best to not let her time management affect him, and he does his best not to yell when he’s affected by it. Usually, it’s about a 10 to 15-minute wait, followed by 30 seconds of grumbling in the car, followed by getting back to normal.

Yet despite all that, the dating coach swears that he’s got a great marriage since this is literally the only thing about which they continually argue — and even those arguments are pretty mild, ten years into their relationship.

After all that, you might think I’m telling you to stay, Marlene. I’m not.

Ultimately, this is about one thing and one thing only: how much this bothers you.

People’s issues exist on a spectrum and so does people’s tolerance for said issues. Despite my misery-loves-company story above, it would be unfair to conflate my story with yours. I’m different than you. My wife is different than your boyfriend.

Ultimately, this is about one thing and one thing only: how much this bothers you.

Sounds like it bothers you a lot. Sounds like it’s not getting better. Sounds like he’s not going to change.

Which leaves us with a very straightforward question: if you could marry him right now, knowing that he will continue to be this way for the rest of your respective lives, would you be content?

If not, dump him on the spot. This IS a glimpse at your future.

And if the answer is yes — despite his chronic and maddening tardiness, the good far outweighs the bad – do your best to bring something to read wherever you go.

Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure the iPhone saved my relationship.

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  1. 1

    I used to have a boyfriend who was habitually late.   Finally told him that in the future, if he were more than 10 minutes late, I simply wouldn’t be there, whether I was simmering just behind the door or not.   The very next time, you got it, at the 10 minutes late mark I got up to lock my door, and there he was.   He knew I meant it and he was never late again.

    1. 1.1

      100%. If your date doesn’t arrive within the range after you’ve informed him it matters to you, you don’t go, and he doesn’t get the benefit of your time. I wouldn’t even answer the phone. I’d just text with the time I’m next available, then drop it.

      But for the OP, she’s already told him, he said he wouldn’t do it again, and then he did. He’s already blown his chance. Dump this guy immediately.

      1. 1.1.1

        Except that she told him and she let him do it.


        She needs to be assertive about it and actually start dropping the dates if he doesn’t show up on time. Tell him it upfront again and the next date if hes not there within 10 minutes of when hes expected you don’t go out. He’ll either break up with her for not ever getting to go on dates with her or he’ll start showing up on time.

  2. 2

    There is a big difference between someone being habitually 15 minutes late to somewhere and someone who is always late but you have no idea HOW late. I have certain friends I know will be 10 – 15 minutes late. It’s easy, I show up that late myself and problem solved. But not knowing if you’ll be waiting 15 minutes to an hour? How exactly can anyone structure their day with that lack of information?

    It shows a disrespect for your time and placing his as priority over yours. The fact that he admitted that he just assumed you’d be waiting around all day anyway so he didn’t need to come on time is evidence enough that he has no respect of your personal schedule or you having, you know, a life. The fact that too he’d show up for a business engagement on time is yet more evidence. Do you want to be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t respect you like that? Who thinks you don’t have your own things to do and can just wait around for him because . . . why? Because he’s just THAT fantastic?

    I like Donna’s idea. Don’t be there. Give him 15 minutes and if he doesn’t show up by then, leave. And ultimately if he doesn’t change his behaviour then you need to really think about this carefully. Can you spend the rest of your life with someone with this behaviour? I couldn’t. But maybe you could. And if you could, well I give you serious props.

    1. 2.1

      1000%. Someone being 15 minutes late AND actually letting you know they are late, or going to be late is fine. Showing up WHENEVER you feel like with no excuse and just assuming I have nothing better to do is completely unacceptable. You don’t text to say you’re not coming when you said, or to check that I’m still interested in the date at that point. It is just RUDE and WEIRD. I just ended something with a guy. First time he was on time. The next three times he was 1-2 hours late and didn’t even bother to text me until I texted him or until the ACTUAL time we were supposed to meet. I told him, if you’re going to be THAT late, the decent thing to do is to text and say you’re not planning to make it for that time so I can do something else. Then he would tell me he’s going to be 15 mins late, but then still be an hour late lol. The ONLY reason I wasn’t harsher about it right off the bat is because of the nature of the date which was coming over to watch a movie so I could still do things until he showed up BUT it was still highly disrespectful. And every date he got later and later. The last time I just texted him do not bother coming. He immediately hopped in his car to come over. I told him if you show up I will not open the door or answer my phone. And we’re done.

  3. 3

    How much does it really bother you? Does it leave you fuming, to the point that you can’t enjoy your time together once he arrives? It doesn’t sound like this habit is going to disappear anytime soon. Is he late for everything, including events, such as concerts, where they don’t let you in after it has started?


    I’ll admit to not being the most punctual of people myself, though it’s something i am working on, as i live in a country where it’s frowned upon to be more than five minutes late. I always think i can cram in one more task before i head out of the door and lo and behold, it suddenly turns out to be later than i thought it was. What helped me was my friends telling me what it felt like to be left waiting, that it came across as me thinking my time was more important than theirs. That’s when i realized that i had to start paying attention to how long it REALLY took to head out of the door and act accordingly. Maybe he would be willing to see what his time slurpers are so he can turn up at places in time?

  4. 4

    I have a brother like this. He’s been that way his entire life. Always made it to school and work on time. Literally, on time. Not 15 minutes early. Ever. But, for everything and everyone else, chronically late. If my mom told him we’re going to dinner… Be ready by 7. He might show up by 8. She finally started telling him a different time than the rest of us. If she wanted to leave by 7, she’d tell him to be there by 6. Worked pretty well, but it’s a little ridiculous having to manipulate a grown man just to get somewhere on time.

    I’ve often wondered if it was some sort of unconscious desire to control things. “We’ll go when I’M ready”, type thing.

    Not sure what type of business Marlene’s boyfriend has, but maybe that’s why he has his own business. He can make his own hours and get there when he wants, which is great, but he can’t run the rest of his life that way. Not without consequences, anyway.

    1. 4.1

      I’ve often wondered if it was some sort of unconscious desire to control things. “We’ll go when I’M ready”, type thing

      I think you’ve nailed it here. I had a b/f who had similar issues, and it would always leave me MAD. This is about control, it’s “i am so much more important, please kindly arrange your life around my schedule and sit around and wait for me to show up” – whether it is conscious or unconscious. This is not the same at all as being 15 min late because you’re curling your hair kind of thing..

    2. 4.2
      Emily, the original


      I’ve often wondered if it was some sort of unconscious desire to control things. “We’ll go when I’M ready”, type thing.

      I totally agree. I have a cousin who is like this. She came to visit me and spent TWO HOURS in the bathroom every morning. I was living in a one-bathroom apartment! I spent most of her visit waiting for her, and one morning I lost it. “You look the same going into the bathroom as you do coming out!” I shouldn’t have said that, but my goodness, I was expecting Elizabeth Taylor after all that primping.

      Always being late is about control or selfishness. People who make you wait don’t care that they are wasting your time.

  5. 5

    It’s not going to get better, it will only get worse and you will resent him big time in the future. I’d cut loose this guy probably after his second lateness. Will not even continue to see him because this behavior will not change.

    I had an ex who was late all the time and not 10-15 minutes but hours. The last straw was when he asked me to leave early from work to go to his sister’s birthday party so we won’t hit the traffic but he was late 2 hours and it took us 2.5 hours to get to the place instead of an hour if we left early. I was furious, tired and felt disrespected. I told him that I am not going to attend any of his family’s functions anymore or change my schedule for him ever again. It was always a lot of stress for me to plan anything with him because he was always late and I would stress out. Oh, and I also thought he was fantastic but then I met another fantastic guy who was always on time.

  6. 6

    Schedule a date 30 minutes earlier than you actually plan to meet and then show up 30 minutes after that planned time.   For example…schedule drinks on Friday at 6:30 at night and then show up around 7.   If you both show up around the same time, problem solved!   If you show up after he does ask him if he liked waiting around for you to show up.   If he says ‘no’ then tell him that’s how it feels for you when he shows up late.   It may not solve the problem, but at least he will have a bit more respect for your perspective.

  7. 7

    Chronic tardiness is a sign of a passive-aggressive personality. Time is the most precious commodity there is, because it’s the one thing in life you can never get more of. Find someone who shares your values regarding time.

    1. 7.1

      That’s not true at all. Like Evan said, people’s stuff exist on a spectrum, which is one of the best things I’ve ever read on Evan’s blog for it’s simple and pure truth.

      As someone who is often late, it has nothing to do with being passive aggressive or trying to control others. Being late could be for a million reasons, from social anxiety ( and even people who look confident and easily social can and do have social anxiety) to just an in an ability to have good time management to even perfectionism. Sometimes before leaving for somewhere, I have this burning. need to accomplish x, y and z before I can feel like I can go and feel relaxed. Sometimes people run late for one reason at certain times, and other reasons at other times. My immediate family and close relatives on my dad’s side are known for their habitual lateness. No one takes it personally or believes anyone is trying to hurt or disrespect anyone.

      While I get being annoyed by hibitual lateness, I feel some are taking it too personally. People do stuff more because of their own crap vs doing stuff to purposely hurt you. It’s like that old saying about being worried about what others think of you when the reality is most people are are too worried about themselves to worry about what you may be worrying about.

      1. 7.1.1
        Emily, the original


        “Sometimes before leaving for somewhere, I have this burning. need to accomplish x, y and z”

        Ok. Being late may not be done to hurt the other person, but it’s still selfish and implies a certain level of self-involvement. It should bother you that someone is having to wait for you. It’s rude.

        1. AllHeart81

          Emily, and your comment here isn’t rude? Telling me I’m selfish isn’t rude? You don’t even know me but you are ready to cast all kinds of judgements on me. Maybe you should spend more time asking yourself why that is vs looking to make me the target of your own judgements.


          People don’t exist in a vacuum. When a certain family memeber got sick, I upsurped my life, moved and was there to help take care of them. I volunteeer with homeless families and regularly buy random homeless people meals. None of which I ever talk about or tell my family about because that’s not the point. But since you are suggesting I am a self involved person, I only tell you this so you understand people are not one deminsional. I don’t claim to be a perfect person. I already know being late is not my best quality. Sometimes I run late, sometimes I don’t. The having to get x,y and z done before leaving is more like an OCD thing. I am sure you most certainly have your own qualities that are less than favorable. The fact that my less than perfect qualities personally bothers you, doesn’t mean I deserve to be negatively labeled by you and your judgements. It just means we couldn’t date. Which is okay! You have to know what you can handle and what you can’t handle. I am okay with you not being able to handle my lateness. That is legit. I am not okay with your perceived judegements and attempts to paint me a negative way or tell me who I am.

      2. 7.1.2

        your smart

    2. 7.2

      That’s not true at all. Like Evan said, people’s stuff exist on a spectrum, which is one of the best things I’ve ever read on Evan’s blog for it’s simple and pure truth.

      As someone who is often late, it has nothing to do with being passive aggressive or trying to control others. Being late could be for a million reasons, from social anxiety ( and even people who look confident and easily social can and do have social anxiety) to just an in an ability to have good time management to even perfectionism. Sometimes before leaving for somewhere, I have this burning need to accomplish x, y and z before I can feel like I can go and feel relaxed and have fun. Sometimes people run late for one reason at certain times, and other reasons at other times. My immediate family and close relatives on my dad’s side are known for their habitual lateness. No one takes it personally or believes anyone is trying to hurt or disrespect anyone. We just tease each other about it.

      While I get being annoyed by hibitual lateness, and not being able to put up with it ( I personally can’t stand loud eaters or soup sleepers even if they are super great guys), I feel some are taking it too personally. People do stuff more because of their own crap vs doing stuff to purposely hurt you.

      1. 7.2.1

        Darn auto-correct…that was suppose to be “soup slurpers” ..not soup sleepers, lol.

        1. John

          Hi AllHeart81,

          I totally agree with your point of view. You are speaking the language of the heart. Those who argue that you wrong are coming from the head. You are speaking a different language than most commentators here. You are brave to live that way. We all have flaws. When you live from your heart you tend to overlook small flaws. When you live in your head, you tend to judge, condemn, punish and take everything personal. All this comes from a lack of forgiveness. You can be discerning without being judgmental. Real life is definitely messy. I think most people live in their imaginary perfect world where nothing good or nothing bad happens to them. It’s safe and boring. Real life is an adventure and it is risky and messy.

          I prefer the real life.




        2. AllHeart81

          Thank you for these kind words john! They warmed my heart. You said it when you said, “you can be disconcerning without being judgementsl.” Exactly!

      2. 7.2.2

        I don’t think people always mean that others are doing it purposefully (though sometimes they are because there are jerks of all stripes). I think what it comes down to is what you said, people doing it because of their own crap and not considering others. And while yes that makes it far less about intentionally hurting others it does mean that such an attitude comes with a sense of “my crap is more important than your crap”. For example, you need to do x, y or z before leaving the house to have a good time. But the other person may need to be somewhere for a certain time, or had to rush, or had to cut short a meeting, or just generally feels less anxious herself when things are on time. You choosing to place your need to x, y or z over being somewhere you AGREED to be at a time you AGREED on is showing that your personal anxieties or whatever are indeed more important than your friend’s. That you think it’s just fine for them to wait for you so that YOU feel better about things.

        So to say that it’s not personal I get because you aren’t purposefully doing something to someone, but it still is personal in its own way, you are saying of the two of you your needs are more important. And you know what, once in a while yes, our own anxieties are more important. Sometimes you will be late because you just cannot manage to be on time for personal reasons and an understanding friend will get it. But if it’s EVERY time? And especially after your friend has told you it bothers you (like in the OP’s letter)? Then that’s showing that you don’t respect your friend’s needs at all. That you think yours are more important. And that’s unfair and that’s not a good foundation for a healthy relationship.

        1. AllHeart81

          Callie, I offer you a challenge. I want you, right now, to think of one quality you have that you know isn’t your finest, that you know can be annoying to others, that you haven’t been able to conquer. Share it or don’t but think hard about that quality. Honestly, we all have multiple such qualities. And if you can’t think of just one, then you don’t know yourself very well.

          Because, honestly,  I am left with the impression that the people who are never late and feel their time is so precious that it’s wasted when they wait for someone else, must also believe they are perfect people who have no unattractive qualities. We all have our own stuff.   And it’s one thing to say, “hey, I can’t deal with this” (legitimate),   vs all the comments so forth made where you are trying to tell people who they are simply because they have a behavior you don’t personally like. I am not even arguing with you about being late in terms of wanting you to accept the behavior. If it annoys you, that’s a legitimate way to feel. What I dislike are the judgements you and several others are making where you feel you are entitled to to tell others who they are because of being late and the clear tone of superiority being exuded.

          It may make things easier for to believe I am being selfish because wrapping things up in that tidy bow makes it easier for to confront your own feelings, but I that is simply how I see it. I have never ever been late because I believed my stuff was more important. So don’t sit there and tell me that’s the truth when it isn’t.

          Now I never said I or anyone else shouldn’t make the effort to be on time or considerate to others. I never claimed it was a good quality either. It’s a real struggle for some people and just because it isn’t a struggle for you, doesn’t mean I deserve being told I am this or that while you lift yourself up as being the “better” person because you are on time.

          Do you have any idea how personal anxieties or how OCD even works? These are not choices. Infact, people with those conditions would LOVE not to have them. these are real disorders that do affect people’s behavior and they don’t make these choices to disrespect others. How about some compassion all around for each other? I complelety understand why lateness would bother you and why you wouldn’t be able to deal with it. But the judgements about who you think people are because they run late needs to stop. Because that isn’t right.

          people don’t exist in a vacuum where those who are on time care about others and those who don’t run on time don’t. Infact, actually, one of the most self involved men I ever dated was extremely punctional but he was also very selfish and a control freak.people don’t exist in a vacuum.



        2. Stacy2


          I agree with everything that Callie wrote.  I understand not liking to be labeled, but you have to understand that this is exactly how a person with such quirk comes off: as inconsiderate at best.

          I disagree that most people have highly annoying qualities. I think most people (at least most people who surround me) are really good at being good, considerate and courteous members of society. I don’t think any of my friends, family or co-workers have any annoying qualities to be honest. What they do behind closed doors is their business and they may very well have stuff that is annoying to their SOs. May be the way I chew cereal drives my b/f insane for example, but that is not at all the same thing and I think we can agree on that.

          Now, if you’re saying that this is a mental disability sort of thing, i can understand that, but is it really? How many people really have such a debilitating OCD condition that they literally can’t leave the house on time because they’re stuck cleaning? My guess is not that many. Most people probably do have those tendencies and just don’t give a shit about managing them. That’s selfish.

          If it really is that debilitating, perhaps warning your partner about it is a good idea. I used to date a guy who said to me during our first few dates that he was hypoglycemic and as a result if he felt hungry he had to eat right away, and he told me that’s not him being difficult its medical condition. Ok, i totally get it. Same thing here.

        3. AllHeart81

          So Stacy, are you also saying that Evan’s wife is inconsiderate and any of the other adjectives you or Callie applied here? Do you think Evan married an inconsiderate woman?  A rude woman? Do you honestly believe Evan would choose to be with someone this callus?  

          The thing about labels is that they are rarely based in truth and largely based on an individual’s own preconceived prejudices and judgements. That’s why 100% of humanity doesn’t like to be labeled, not just me. Because labels are rarely accurate. The ability to label others doesn’t mean you’re right in your labels and your judgements and it especially doesn’t mean you are *in* the right simply because you can easily attach labels onto others that make you feel like you come out the better person.  

          Like I said several times already, it’s completely legitimate to be annoyed with someone who is perpetually late and not want to date them. But you are not judge and jury on who people are simply because you don’t like one of their qualities. There are many opinions here and not everyone sees it like you do. Some people here are okay with lateness. Other’s aren’t okay with it but certainly don’t see it as a   black mark on one’s soul.  

          What I do find strange is your need to suggest that you and those around you have no or nearly non-existent annoying qualities. I honestly do not know one individual on the face of the earth that doesn’t have annoying qualities. Because in all honesty, 99.9% of people don’t live like you do Stacy.   We struggle, we fight, we laugh, we compromise, we are stubborn, we are judgemental, we fight, we make amends, we love, we disagree, we get frustrated, we get annoyed…we all experience the full spectrum of human emotions with other human beings who are sometimes our family, friends and even our co-workers. I can only guess that you either live a very privileged life, or you are not exposed to many people, or you don’t have deep connections and interactions with others, or you are not self aware enough to know and admit to your negative qualities or you are a very young person with not much life experience. I don’t really know. But I do know that no one lives in such a perfect bubble as you’ve represented your own life here. Real life is messy. Real life is full of other people’s emotions, experiences, quarks, hang-ups, imperfections, frustrations, joys, ups and downs.  

          So no, I don’t agree with you (as you tried to push) and I don’t for a minute believe you have no annoying qualities or that your annoying qualities aren’t that annoying. Neither do I believe your family, friends and co-workers also all live in this perfect bubble of near human perfection. Because I promise you, you’re annoying qualities are no less annoying to others than how you feel annoyed by others people’s annoying qualities.     

          You are not a superior person because you are on time. You are completely allowed to not want to date someone who isn’t on time and it’s completely legitimate for that to bother you. Where you loose ground is your judgments about who people are because they run late. You think you have no responsibility here to mitigate your own beliefs about others. But you do.  

          As for mental disabilities, they neither exist in a vacuum. People live normal lives all the time with OCD, perfectionism or social anxiety. You don’t have to have an inability to leave the house to have such conditions. These things all exist on a spectrum and I think it’s become very easy for you to judge here simply because someone has not performed as perfectly as you wanted them to. I am not saying you should accept lateness in your relationship. It bothers you. That’s okay. That’s a deal breaker for you. That’s okay. All I am saying is you need to cut out the judgements about who people are because they run late.  You are really eager to cast all these negative views on others who aren’t as perfect as yourself.  

        4. Callie

          I’m not sure where I ever said or even implied I was perfect. Honestly, I’m stunned by your reaction. I was trying to explain how actions can still be selfish even if they aren’t on purpose in order to kind of defend you. To agree with you that lateness isn’t always a power play and that it’s wrong for people to think that. I myself have hurt friends in the past by my actions completely by accident, not even realising it until they told me about it later. It’s a horrible feeling when one does such a thing. But I’ll tell you what I don’t do, I don’t double down and get defensive about it. I admit I was acting selfishly and attempt to do better. And no, I don’t always succeed every time, but I do work to steadily improve my behaviour. And I think I do get better over time.

          At any rate, I in no way intended to shame you or say I was better than you. It’s quite possible that you are much better than me, I have no idea. What  I said was that if one  does something repeatedly that a friend/partner has told you upsets them then that’s not good. It’s just not. But I don’t know if you actually do that.

          Next I pointed out that you  yourself said that you felt you could not have a good time unless you did x, y or z first causing you to be late. I was just pointing out that maybe the person waiting for you couldn’t have a good time if you were late. And I questioned why your anxieties causing you to be  late were more important than their anxieties having to wait for you. Because obviously  if being late makes you feel better but makes them feel worse you are prioritizing your feelings over theirs.

          As to me being imperfect well one of the things that makes me so is I actually have anxiety issues. I get panic attacks and I have mild OCD. So I come from a position of deep understanding actually. But that means not only do I understand your anxieties and needs, but I understand the anxiety and needs of other people. So yes, sometimes I do need empathy from my friends when I behave a certain way that isn’t ideal. But other times I need to suck it up and be uncomfortable for their benefit, to feel empathy for them. It’s a two way street.

          Look if you are in a relationship (friendship or otherwise) where someone accepts your lateness as just part of you and are okay with it, than that’s great. But that wasn’t my point. My point was you seemed to suggest your lateness should always be accepted. That your personal anxieties should take precedence over the anxieties of others. And that’s what I was taking issue with.

          People are willing to put up with different issues depending on their personalities. I’m sure you can find someone who is chill and doesn’t need to stick to a schedule. But the lack of empathy that seemed to me to come across in your posts (but maybe it’s just in post form, not in real life form) towards people who might get anxious waiting on you is what I take issue with. As someone with anxiety I would assume you would get it even more. That’s all.

  8. 8

    Week 9, 2 weeks of being exclusive—still pretty early into the whole relationship. Id NOPE and BAIL right now girl. At end of day, its just pretty damn rude. Like Very rude. I have been on hundreds of dates, a guy is late once or twice–fine. Late EVERY time, Id start scheduling dates before meeting him and even dine and order my food already. Pretty much youll start to have to manage the time that is spent ‘waiting’ , which creates a whole new set of problems. Id start to feel very very single. Id say there is a sea of men out there, you can have your pick. Id chose the guy that shows up on time 80% of the time. You can compromise yes, but not on values. If he doesnt value your time, why should you stick around? =)

  9. 9

    If he has his own business is pretty understandable why he is late. Has NOTHING to do with respecting you or not. Is because his brain is always occupied with the business – whatever it,organisational issues,..who knows what.. There is Always something to think or do in your own business .. And man’s brain /some women’s as well / does not just switch of this.. When is only him thinking about it..

    There is also – Murphy’s law – may sound funny,but.. is Always..Always something happening in the last minute,something you can not drop and go,something you think it will take only two minutes to fix ,but in fact may take an hour…

    She is focusing far to much on this lateness and does not look wider than that.. Is not about her and is not intentional at all, I am sure.. he does Not just sit there,twinkling his fingers thinking : ” how much to be late today to hurt her or piss her off..”

    Evan said it – get a book,play phone games,do something with this time.. and   open your mind and Understand him a bit more. May be get involved in his business ,if you are exclusive,he may like that.. Than you will have another point of view for everything..

    or let the guy go and do not punish him for being what he is and trying his best .

    1. 9.1

      What a bunch of baloney. Thousands of people run businesses (more complex than the OP’s b/f) and manage to show up to their relationship. And *sarcasm on* getting involved into the business of your b/f of 9 weeks is a great way to strengthen your relationship *sarcasm off*

  10. 10

    Evan illustrated a good point that he tends to overlook his wife’s flaw of being late. What I got from his response was his wife is a fantastic person and he lives with the tardiness. The person writing in said her boyfriend is perfect, except he is chronically late. If I met a woman who was perfect for me and she was late all the time, I would ask her to show up on time. If she continued to do it, I would be grateful that was her only flaw. It’s not easy finding a mate with one flaw. Tardiness beats most other flaws I can think of right now.

    1. 10.1

      Actually I don’t think he overlooks the flaw, he is looking at it straight in the face and can deal with it because it remains below a tolerable threshold.

      If his wife was not such an easy going person then his continually grumpy reaction to her being a ‘wee bit’ late could, in theory, start to wind her up, then you would have two grumpy people (‘you are so selfish’ ‘hey but you are so intolerant’) and roll on marital discord.

      This is my theory: Everyone has flaws (bad news), most displays of flaws don’t last forever (potentially good news). A flaw can either just run its course or expose a negative trait in the companion. Two negative reactions causes a feedback and trouble.

  11. 11

    Nobody, i think, is expecting their boyfriends to be on time 100% of the time. There’s traffic, weather, last-minute work calls etc. Being late sometimes, or even being late always by 10-15 min is tardiness and it can be tolerated. Being always late by an hour?? This goes beyond tardiness. This is plain disrespectful. Everybody is busy. I only have 10-15 hours a week to socialize with friends and family and if a person habitually wastes 20% of that time because they “run a business” (as opposed to us mere mortals who have nothing better to do but sit and wait for them…) they should be g-o-n-e

  12. 12

    Fifteen minutes late is one thing, texting I am on my way and showing up over an hour later is another.   To the OP, maybe instead of being unavailable the next time he is late, go out on your own and do something else in the meantime regardless of how long it may take.   When he calls or texts ” I ‘m here” text back back ” Oh, I decided to go shopping and run errands, I’ll get there as soon as I can.   See you in a bit,” and just show up when you decide to show up.

    1. 12.1

      Excellent comment.   If he’s not there within 15 minutes, leave and go do something else, and keep him waiting.   Then he’ll get the idea that it is no fun to wait.   I imagine he won’t like it at all, and will be very fidgety, if not fuming.   I was casually dating someone last year, and he was usually 15 to 30 minutes late….trying to slip that one more thing in before he left work. So one time we are meeting in the middle, and I assume he’ll be 20 minutes late, so I take my time leaving my house.   Was the one time he was on time, and I could see his brooding  face as he waited in his car.   Seriously?   This is what it feels like.

  13. 13

    This is a deal breaker for me.    I am perpetually early,so to me on time is late :).    I think you ask yourself this, will you be perpetually unhappy if you continue to date him or can you learn to let this go.   If the answer is the former, then you need to end things.    As someone who sees this as a deal breaker I attempted to date people like this, but I was always angry at the person, I ended up not enjoying dates when they did arrive, and so that was no fun for anyone.   You need to accept him as he is, knowing that he will not likely compromise and know if you are okay with that or not and I do not think that you are.      What I have learned is that some people are just late people.    I had a good friend who told me the same as your boyfriend did, well you are just sitting at home, it’s not like we had to be somewhere or anything and that to me showed lack of importance. To him it was just a practical way of thinking.    They generally do not do it on purpose, to hurt you but they cannot fix it. They will say they are on time for work, or never miss flights but if you look deeper you will see that they are in fact late for those things or they cut it very close.

    Many people that are late just do not have the same concept of time that we do.   They try to be on the but often times get distracted by something else and lose track of time.    Many of the people who act like this are suffering with undiagnosed ADD.      Others just cannot estimate the time it takes for them to get ready, or how long it will take to travel to a certain place.   I wish I could make this more clear for those of us in the on time world but I cannot, it just is how some people are.


    Sure you could tell him to be there an hour earlier than you need him to be, but that will get old and he will catch on.   Or you can set t he if you are not here in 30 minutes I will not go on a date with you but ultimately you likely will end up never seeing him.       I think either you accept him or move on.

  14. 14

    Double and triple booking can help reduce your sense of frustration. In other words, treat his dates as options, because time-wise they are options for the given timeframe, and then go about your life as if the date with him expired within a pre-set timeframe. So if you would otherwise go see a performance by yourself 8, but you scheduled a date with him at 7:30, but he’s not there at 7:30, then go to the performance, leaving in at an appropriate time to get there for your own pleasure. He might find an empty house, but then again, maybe you’ll be back by the time he gets there.

    Main idea here is GO ABOUT YOUR LIFE and don’t get hung up on committing your time to someone who didn’t show up at the scheduled time. And don’t give up valuable opportunities. Go to the opera yourself, have the tickets at the box office, whatever, but don’t make yourself so dependent on his performance. If you don’t like that kind of independence, if you do like a mutuality and togetherness for scheduling, then his timing thing might not work for you.

  15. 15

    @Stacy2 in 9.1 and 11

    Sarcasm on… I can see you are widely experienced with running a business, and of course, they all conform to the same requirements and business model Sarcasm off

    It is one thing to own a boutique (stable hours, open from X to Y), one business type, and even for that one, if your biggest client happens to come in to browse or rty things on at Y-5minutes, you might be there for a while. Lo and behold, there are OTHER business models that you may never have contended with: t’s called the service industry. You know when you start in the morning (first call) and have NO clue when it ends.
    For the home service and repair, the plumber has a one-hour call in an old house, and the pipe must be replaced. One hour turns into 2, 3, 4… MDs face similar conditions. Electricians, repair men, but also a wide  array of industrial services  you’ve likely never heard of, even if you worked in the front office of a plant.
    Policemen and law enforcement face unexpected overtime. If  the judge decides that he’s in the mood to keep going, nobody leaves. Lawyers and other Court personnel serve at the beck and call.

    Quite different than working on a punching in basis and no overtime, or from the office from 9 to 5.  We eckon the guy was not doing his books (accounting). If he was, he’s a twit. Period.

    I’m absolutely not defending tardiness. But there are imperatives. I myself am tuned like clockwork. Usually arriving 5-10 minutes in advance to bang on cue. The early arrival is when nothing actually consumed my buffer.
    BUT, I have arrived 90 minutes late to a double-date dinner. Called in to say I’d have my appetizer by the time they were having dessert. So the proceedings were longer than expected. Nobody was phased. We all had a good time. Noobody was left abandoned.
    Technology… Makes life easier… Cell phones can avoid odd circcumstances. Was to meet my gf for drinks and dinner same gf, in fact, as previous anecdote), and she had gone shopping. PRE cell phone era. Had to call a friend of mine (part of our peer group) to replace me for dinner. We laughed about it!

    If everything is a problem for you, don’t date! You’ll only make yourself and others miserable. Oh, and never, ever travel with anyone. Travel: the ultimate acid test of a relationship!

    1. 15.1

      I wouldn’t know anything about running a boutique or any business for that matter. But I’ve dated several people who ran multi-billion dollar businesses and managed to show up on time always. That said, having gone through a career phase where your boss could drop an assignment on your desk at 7 on his way out and inform you he wants to see it done after he has dinner with his kids at 10pm, and then send you revisions by midnight, or there’s breaking news and it is all hands on deck, i really do understand what having an unpredictable, uncontrollable schedule looks and feels like. I have been called from work when I was sitting with a relative in the ICU,   at holiday dinners, on vacations, you name it. I get it. What I don’t get is why somebody would expect to oh so freaking special  and expect to be cut some slack. Everybody is busy, you’re not a special snowflake because you chose to run your business.  Being late by over an hour is not even being late. In my book its me being stood up. I can say the same – if you can’t manage your time and show up to your relationship – don’t date.

      1. 15.1.1

        Hanging out with multibillion-dollar revenue company managers is not extremely difficult to do: there are 1,900+ US public and 220 US private companies listed as $1B+ revenue. In that vein, even the CEO is a manager.

        What you’re talking about is the corporate class.   With many subordinate hands on deck to deal with any issue. Totally different from the small-business operator or self-relying entrepreneur.

        As to MY time-management,  back in the day, the rules of engagement and obligations were fully explained and understood. It was NEVER a problem, in spite of unexpected twists and turns. Simplicity itself: given your stance on the matter, I  could still date, but would not have dated you.

        1. Stacy2

          You still don’t get it. Your business and your time and your neuroses (i.e. “just must to do x, y, z before i leave or the world will collapse and people waiting be damned”) are not more important than my job and my  schedule and my neuroses. You’re not special (I am betting that you’re not saving the world or curing cancer when you’re an hour late to meet your date). So seriously get over your “i am running the business so i need a different standard for myself”. Nope, sorry. It’s this attitude that really pisses me off in people. Everybody thinks they can behave like an ass and are justified in it because … why? Oh yeah you’re a businessman  and I am … sitting at home doing nothing?

          Again, there’s nothing wrong with sometimes being late or even sometimes being very late or having to cancel. But extend your girlfriend the same damn courtesy as you would a business partner, or does she just have to sit and take it? Of course, if you find a doormat who would and go with these rules of engagement, which is as far as I understand means “when i say i will show up at 5 it mat mean i come anywhere between 6 and 9 or don’t come at all, i will let you know my ETA 5 minutes before” – good for you. I wonder why that relationship didn’t work out for you? Or did it?

  16. 16

    I don’t know if it’s a male thing, or a people thing, but I think some individuals – and it’s been mostly males in my experience…see what they can get away with, they “test” and see where you will throw up a boundary or set a standard.   He is very telling in his response that he thought she would be home ‘not doing anything’…so he takes that as license to do as he pleases.   I think in this case, this is an early warning signal for a pretty bad character flaw.   And not only is he late a lot and making poor excuses – he is not communicating well about it either.   In the day and age of texting, where it takes an extremely low amount of effort to check in to give a heads up, this is very unacceptable treatment.   I did marry someone quite a lot like this.   The disrespect of another person’s time is quite difficult to live with long term, especially with children.   Mine crept into disrespect of quite a lot more once I married him.   In the days of no cell phones, he would disappear for very long periods of time and say…oh you are just home doing nothing.    My “nothing” was everything that took to run an entire household weekly crammed into 2 weekend days, after my 50 to 60 hour workweek.   Even when cell phones became the norm, he resented a ‘check in’.   He would not even let me know he’d be late for dinner, which I prepared 5 nights a week.   The boundary busting moved into every life aspect, including extreme spending   – “we have tons of money.   what are you working for?” and extreme time disrespect “hey, I am going to stay away on my business trip a few more days (while you are with a child who was just in the ER because she can’t breathe and you have to go to work the next day even though you were out until 3am at the hospital)” I was very lucky to be able to leave this prize after 27 years.

    After divorce, my first boyfriend was also a boundary buster.   I knew this, and had no intention of staying with him long term – I decided the relationship was for the duration of my separation, because I wanted a little stability and a regular date.   I felt sorry for him, as he seemed to be a struggling single dad with an extremely difficult professional life.   So I let him get a way with more than I should have.   I told him early that certain behaviors were unacceptable, then I never mentioned them again – yet the behaviors continued and I gave him a pass on them.   I set my timeframe, and broke up with him on the date I planned, explained my reasoning, and moved on.   In the inevitable wrangling post breakup…he said “But you changed your standard”   I said…”you never met my standard, and this was always temporary”.

    To be honest also, both of these men had the outward appearance of being great guys, and had other good qualities.   But as Evan says, 20% is too much asshole.

    I enforced my standards after that relationship.   The very best man, in every way, then showed up.   I doubt this was luck.

  17. 17

    Wow, there is such a cultural difference at play here. When I lived in the U.S. this would have  made  me nuts. I’ve lived abroad now for six years in a region of the world where almost everyone and everything runs 30 minutes to an hour late, and my tolerance for lateness has grown along with the understanding that almost no one means it as a sign of disrespect. People here tend to deal with people and things as they come — and then their schedule stretches accordingly — rather than fitting people and things into their schedule in advance, if that makes sense.

    My boyfriend of one year is exceptionally late, much later than most here,  and to be honest it hardly  bothers me at all anymore. First of all I’m more chill and go-with-the-flow than I was when I lived in the U.S. But more importantly I’ve learned how to manage my own time in a way so his lateness barely affects me. He sounds a lot like your guy. Morally upstanding and really kind and respectful, but somehow  always  half an hour to an hour late, sometimes more. He famously showed up several hours late to a birthday party once when he was bringing the cake, as his friends  complained to  me while teasing him about the issue. Literally the only thing he is on time for is crucial work meetings, and even then he might be 10 minutes late. He’s late waking  up, he’s  late to work (his boss forgives him because he’s good at his job and he stays later), he’s late to doctor’s appointments, he’s late to see friends, he’s late with me. Initially it caused conflict and I would get huffy and tell him I felt disrespected and complain. But once I understood that a) he really can’t help it, he’s a terrible time manager, to the point of it almost being a disability and b) he absolutely means no disrespect, I sort of got over the issue.

    If you really do like this guy and he’s a good fit for you  otherwise, here are some tips I use to make my boyfriend’s lateness more tolerable and to minimize its effects on me.

    1) I assume he will be late. Do not plan for him to be on time, seriously. You’ll only be surprised and upset when he’s late if you keep expecting him to be on time! I EXPECT my boyfriend will be half an hour late and plan my schedule accordingly. For example if he tells me he’ll come by at 8:30 I’ll stay in the gym until 8:15 then take my time heading home and showering. Need to run an errand? Go ahead! He probably won’t be on time anyway! Meeting him at a restaurant at 7:30?  Shift the reservation to 8 and bring a book when you show up.  Basically, do what you need or want to do and don’t warp your schedule for him. If he  occasionally surprises you and  turns up on time or is only slightly late — and you’re not there or not ready yet — who cares, MAKE HIM WAIT!  After all, he’s used to making people wait so there’s no way he’ll be offended, he’ll  understand  it and probably be quite chill.

    2) Rather than meeting him places, have him come pick you up. This minimizes time spent waiting around in public with nothing to do but browse your phone, which is totally annoying and I empathize. If he’s coming to you, you can take your time getting ready and there’s always work you can do, things  to do around the house or a good book to read, so you don’t feel like you’re wasting your time. I can’t remember the last time I met my boyfriend somewhere, he pretty much always picks me up. He always tells me when he’s  going to arrive, which is almost always wrong, then he texts or calls me again when he actually leaves his house, which gives me a realistic 20-30 minute window to jump into action and get ready. Until  I get that text, I chill out or follow my own schedule.

    3) If something is truly important and time-sensitive, stress it to him. There’s an important caveat to this: Don’t sweat the rest of the stuff. Do you really need to be at the restaurant on time?  Probably not,  unless it’s a Michelin-starred joint in New York. Does it really matter if you guys are 20 minutes late meeting a group of friends or miss the previews of a movie? Probably not.  Forget  the stuff that actually doesn’t matter timing-wise, and then when something does matter and you stress that he really needs to be on time, he’ll hear you and do his best. If you’re always on his back about being on time, you’re just going to create conflict. To be honest if he’s always been this way, he probably always will be. You’re not going to change the way his brain is wired and you’ll waste a lot of energy doing so.

    As a fall-back tactic, if I’m still worried we’ll be late to something important, I’ll lie to him about the timing of the event. He knows I do this sometimes and he doesn’t mind and finds it funny. I’m not even the only person in his life who does this. People do this because it works! For example we sometimes go to embassy parties where for security reasons they shut the doors at a certain time and you really can’t get in afterward. If the doors shut at 9, I’ll tell  him  they shut  at  8:30. We’ll get there at 8:40 and we’re fine. He’s sheepish about his problem and is well aware it exists so he never gives me a hard time about this. For this to work well, you’ll need to be the one who does most of the scheduling for the two of you, but if he’s late all the time and you’re more of a law-and-order punctual type of gal, this is probably better for both of you anyway and you’ll both appreciate it. I’m sure there’s something in your life that you’re bad at, and you’d appreciate and welcome his help with that if he’s better at it.

    Good luck. If you try shifting your mindset and using these tactics and you’re still annoyed as hell, he’s just not the right guy for you. It works with me and my boyfriend because 90% of the time I’m not actually annoyed anymore, and the 10% of the time when I am, he’s very apologetic.

    1. 17.1

      Wow, and I am sure there’s more advice in store on how to handle such disrespectful and irresponsible person down the road when, i don’t know, as a for example  He doesn’t show up to pick up kids from school/class and the teacher is calling your at work/doctor’s office/business trip and you have to drop everything and go get them?

      Like Evan says, which is so true, men reveal themselves in their actions. This guy has revealed that she’s not his priority. Case closed.


      1. 17.1.1

        Also about 15.1.1

        Wow! Chip, shoulder?
        OK, we fully grasp that you’re neurotic, as per your own admission.
        That being said, you seem incapable or unwilling to  comprehend the nuance of working in a specific place at regular hours, as opposed to being on call and at  a client site. Anything started at the office (admin, accounting, reports) can be delayed. No neurosis.

        If unable to perform adequately because you have to drop everything to go on a date, you lose the client. Might also get sued.  An MD would lose the patient. FYI, an ObGyn must show up when the baby decides to come into this world. And no, the obgyn will not commit to picking up the kids if he knows one of his patients is clsoe to delivery.
        NOT applicable to everyone. The water damage clean-up company does not have the luxury of letting a household’s contents float around until they get to it! Reaction time is key. And how long the job will take is anyone’s guess.

        I will not give you all the detail of my professional life. Suffice it to say that a paper machine goes down, loss is $25K/hour,
        catastrophic damage on same may delay restart by WEEKS,
        a hospital OR block loses positive air pressure, it is deemed contaminated and unusable, (not just inconvenient: downright life-threatening),
        a coolant pump problem  at a nuclear-reactor site is not a good day,
        loss of a gas turbine can  blackout a large area,
        an oil refinery can have serious problems,

        I must be a real imbecile at what I do. Oh, wait! Yes, that is exactly why I was brought in on cases in more than 20 countries. And btw, planes don’t always leave or arrive on time.

        As to that relationship, it worked just fine. Then, one day, life was pulling her to another city, and my life was anchored where we had met. Might turn the table and ask what happened to your multibillion revenue “captains of finance, industry or commerce” (my expression), but given your post, I’d say they made a quick and salutary escape.

        1. Stacy2

          That being said, you seem incapable or unwilling to  comprehend the nuance of working in a specific place at regular hours, as opposed to being on call and at  a client site. Anything started at the office (admin, accounting, reports) can be delayed. No neurosis.

          “They could build monuments to your self-centeredness”

          No, not everything started “in the office” can be delayed. Ever heard of front office? Live deals? I am assuming the answer is no.

          No doctor is on call 24×7 week, and neither is any other professional, oil pumps or nuclear plants. Emergency responders, technichians. etc. all work in shifts. Please save this BS for some dumb girls you’ve been dating.

          And if you run your business in such a way that you have an emergency on the scale of nuclear plant meltdown on a daily basis and absolutely can not delegate it to your employees – may be you ought  to consider hiring, you know, staff. Or if you can’t afford that, it doesn’t seem like much of a “business” to me – just a job with no overtime and benefits.

          And regardless of all that – after all it’s everybody’s business how they run their lives – I am still unclear why you think you deserve any special treatment and consideration vs., say, an accountant who works 9-5? What makes you so special?

          Might turn the table and ask what happened to your multibillion revenue “captains of finance, industry or commerce”?

          Sure. I found someone who I considered a better candidate for marriage at the time and broke up with him

        2. KK


          There’s a big difference between someone being late for no good reason vs someone who has a reasonable explanation.

          ‘No good reason’ guy might be a jerk. He might think his time is more valuable than yours. He might be trying to demonstrate his ability to control you. Or… He might just be really bad at time management. That’s for you (generic you) to figure out…. or you can say no thanks, no matter the reason. Your choice.

          Contrast that with ‘I have a job that sometimes requires me to work late, be on call (whatever)’ guy. Are you saying that even if he lets you know he has a demanding career, you’re unwilling to be flexible with dates?

          I’m asking because I’m seriously confused. (And I’m not trying to be a jerk here). But if you make half a million dollars a year, and would only consider dating a man making more than you, how exactly does that work? Isn’t it safe to assume that a $500K ++ salary most likely comes with late hours, extra responsibilities, and last minute meetings?

        3. Stacy2


          Are you saying that even if he lets you know he has a demanding career, you’re unwilling to be flexible with dates

          No, of course not. I am super flexible, i am the definition of flexible, the key for me is knowing that my time is being respected. Don’t schedule anything rigid with me if you know that you’re on call that night. Tell me that’s the situation so i have a chance to make a back up plan. If something comes up – give me a heads up immediately so i can salvage what’s left of my evening. Etc. At the end of the day, it is your (generic you) job to compartmentalize your career in such a way that its interference with the other aspects of life is controlled. If you can’t (or won’t) do that – than you need a person who’s completely content being subordinated to your schedule and interests all the time. I am simply not that person…

        4. KK



          If that’s the case, I think you & FG are probably on the same page. : )

    2. 17.2

      SUPER advice, Expat!! Thanks for posting this. I’m so much like your bf except that I actually HAVE missed airplane flights, lost a dentist for being late to appts.   I was late for my own wedding. Living in the U.S. there isn’t much leeway, but after living my whole life stressing about the damn clock, I decided to get rid of all the clocks in my house except my cell phone, and just chill out. Ahh, life is so much easier, and as I relax and destress more and more, I am late by fewer and fewer minutes per appointment.

      After trying out all kinds of “cures” (mostly involving shaming, the moral depravity argument), I gave up on trying to “cure” anything. I noticed the pattern that the more anxious or stressed I feel, the later I arrive.

      Some people get irritated by it and we don’t date. Others it doesn’t bother as much and so we continue.

      I did have one assignment that involved arriving at a public meeting every two weeks. I made those meetings pretty well ~~ a 99% attendance over 4 years ~~ but it would take me an entire week to work myself up to getting there on time. If I had to work that hard for every appointment, I’d just give up on making appointments all together.

      So essentially I handle things by making the fewest time-strict appointments I can get by with. On the other hand, time-stretchy appointments are cool and work fine for me.

      Btw, my friends use the same techniques for me that you do for your bf. There was one time when a friend asked me to drive him to an airport to catch a plane 6 hours away. Time was of the essence, so he fudged the time (I don’t know how much) and the trip was relaxed and enjoyable for everyone.

      I have waited for friends, too, and it doesn’t bother me because for me, it’s never been a power game. Of course, it works better when I have my computer or a book with me, or some kind of little chores to do. And if I know I’ll be really late, I call and ask if my date wants to cancel or reschedule. I never expect anyone to feel good about waiting or feeling left hanging for hours.

  18. 18

    Depends on your view. If you really see tardiness as a moral failing, then break up with the guy; it’s hard to respect someone you see as having a moral failing, and relationships need to be built on mutual respect.

    I personally can’t dismiss more than half the world as having a moral failing just because they tend to run late and have a more flexible sense of scheduling.

    1. 18.1

      This sounds like a take it case-by-case issue. You seem to have found good solutions to the consequences of his chronic lateness. It also helps that you live in a culture which can accomodate this quirk of his, and that sure helps (i don’t know how he could possibly function in countries such as Germany or Japan). Most importantly, you know it’s not personal! He would be late to his own funeral, it says nothing about his love for you.

      Having said that, maybe tardiness in other individuals is a sign of contempt or taking the other granted. In these cases, maybe it is better for these couples to break up, as the tardiness is a symptom of a much graver underlying issue. Only the op can figure out whether this is the case within her own situation.

      1. 18.1.1

        I agree, Malika. Case by case basis and Expat sounds like she really has it figured out.

        If I had a boyfriend, with only the ONE flaw, I would count myself incredibly lucky and happy. If he has no other major flaws, it isn’t a character issue. I could live with that. Easily.

    2. 18.2

      I don’t know if it is a moral failing but to me it says I can’t ever count on that person. Like, if you’re a grown up and you can’t ever show up to an event on time – what can you do? I mean, if you can’t be counted on to do something as simple as showing up on time for dinner every once in a while, how am I going to trust you as a partner in life with something more complex or difficult? How am I going to trust that you will come through? The answer is I can’t. Hence, I can’t be in a relationship with you.

      1. 18.2.1

        I get that. If my boyfriend were flaky in other ways, this would bother me a lot more, but he always says what he does and does what he says and I’ve always been able to count on him in a pinch. When there were inexplicably no wifi  SIM cards available in the whole country for three days, but mine had expired, he drove around town and waited in line for hours and hours without complaining because he had promised he would take care of it for me. Basically he always does what he says he’ll do and he always shows up – it just all happens later that normal, and as Malika points out, it certainly helps that this is more acceptable in this part of the world. I’ve showed up half an hour late to plenty of appointments,   and they’ve always accommodated me.

        If the poster spends more time with this guy and finds his flakiness extends to other things or that he is just not dependable, then she should leave for sure. I just don’t think that tardiness on its own is necessarily a sign that someone can’t be counted on or disrespects you – though it certainly can be.

  19. 19

    I dated a girl who was perpetually late.  After a couple of months I decided to turn the tables around. I would read, workout etc and be the one that was 15-30 minutes late. Drove her nuts. After a while of that, miraculously time was manageable.


    Grownups know how to manage time. It’s not hard. If they can’t and it bothers you. Leave them. For me time is the most value resource I have. I’m not going to use it waiting around.

  20. 20

    If I were you, I’d only arrange to see him if there’s something else I can usefully be getting on with if he does show up late. My partner is very rarely late, but on occasions where he HAS been, I’d already got stuck into something and let him wait until I’d finished. It wasn’t a problem for either of us.

    In the instance where you could have gone on a bike ride if you’d known you had another hour… how about phoning/texting to ask if he’s close, and let him know that if he isn’t there within, say, 20 minutes, you’ll go out for a ride and let him know when you’re back.

    If he’s showing any other passive-aggressive behaviours, then you have something to worry about, but there’s nothing in the post to suggest he has. Yet. If he does start promising to change his ways about other things and then doesn’t, that IS indicative of a deeper issue and you need to deal with it if it arises. So, for the time being, you have choices:

    – End the relationship, which you don’t want to do

    – Carry on as you are, beginning every date with a certain amount of resentment

    – OR accept that this is the way it’s going to be, and work out creative ways of working round it which will stop you feeling (understandably!) angry; in other words, practise self-care in the face of adversity. He knows how you feel about it, and is choosing not to change his behaviour, so you need to work with it if you still want to be with him.

    Speaking personally, I’d eventually start to lose my feelings for someone who persistently treated me like this – but you are the only one who can decide what your priorities are.

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