I’m writing to ask for advice regarding my boyfriend. We’ve been together for several years now and are very happy. We have many mutual friends, we have great dates and we attend many wonderful events. However, no matter what I do, he always seems to be running late. If an event is scheduled to start at 7:00pm, without fail he will arrive at 7:45pm. If he has work at 8:00am, he will inevitably arrive by 8:30am… you get my drift. This tends to apply to events of all sorts — happy hours, charity dinners and the occasional Friday night date.
For the most part he is a responsible guy, it just happens that timeliness is one of my pet peeves, so it probably gets under my skin more than anyone else’s. His friends have learned to deal with this ‘fault’ by giving him false and early times to arrive, and voila, he is there on-time. I view lateness as disrespect to others around me, but if I explain this to him, his reaction is simply, “Eh, I’ll get there when I get there.” Or, if he is the focus of the event he says, “What are they going to do, start without me?” It is even more frustrating when we are attending an event together and consequently arrive late together. Miss A, please help me learn how to make my guy on-time, and show him he is not just affecting himself with his tardiness.
If being “tardy for the party” is the biggest problem you have with your boyfriend, I think he’s a keeper. Everyone you date is going to have faults, so you just need to find someone with faults you can live with. If he was only late for you, then I would be concerned, but since he is late with his friends and even professionally, then there really isn’t anything you can do. At a certain point in life, people just aren’t going to change. He hasn’t had to deal with any serious consequences, so he has learned that his behavior is acceptable. In life, we have to pick our battles, you could give him an ultimatum and punish him with consequences, but in all likelihood he would just find another woman who would be willing to accept him as he is. Really that is what it’s about. You need to love him unconditionally, as his closest friends have, and learn to work with him as he is — not as you’d have him be. You can’t change him, but you can change your reaction to his behavior.
His behavior may be a manifestation of his sense of entitlement, selfishness and arrogance, which is a much larger issue, and perhaps that is what is really bothering you about your boyfriend. Perhaps his being late all the time is just an annoying symptom of a much deeper problem. If you can’t tolerate his behavior, you may just have to leave him, but don’t ever think that you can change him. He is who he is.
- Miss A