25 Jan
Johnny Come Lately

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

I truly love my boyfriend. He’s the sweetest guy ever. We’ve been together for two years but here’s my problem. He’s late for everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. 45 minutes late for Broadway plays, movies, my birthday dinner! This is the only thing we fight about. I really want to settle down with this guy but I don’t want to spend my life being late for everything. Any ideas, Mouthy Housewives?




Dear Timely,

Well, the good news is that as your relationship progresses, you will absolutely find new and different things to fight about. (Have you met his parents?)   So if you are worried about spending a lifetime fighting over only one thing, let me assuage your fears!   There’s a whole plethora of discord to look forward to! Yippee!

If, however, you want advice on how to adjust his internal clock, you’ve got the right Mouthy Housewife.   Because I think that “fashionably late” is just “rude” with a great PR team behind it.   So, to remedy your boyfriend’s tardiness,   I suggest   minor tinkering with his DNA, plus an alarm clock embedded in his frontal lobe.   Sure, it’s expensive, but it will save you years of aggravation!

Seriously, this is what will not work: nagging, notes, withholding sex, not withholding sex, setting the clock ahead to ‘trick him’, lecturing him, silent treatment or public shaming. One night my then-boyfriend-now-husband and I had to be at a party at 8, and it was 8 and he was still getting ready. I was so happy because I was certain that   he must have a time machine that would let us leave his place after 8 and yet arrive at our destination, across town, at 8. We were going to be rich! Alas.

He is late because he wants to be late. And he may enjoy the attention that he gets when he is late.     Whatever the reason, you will never change him.   And only you know if you can live like that.

It could be worse, you know.   He could be one of those annoying punctual people.


Marinka, TMH

14 Responses to “Johnny Come Lately”


Comment by MommyTime.

I had a friend like this in grad school — could not be anywhere within an hour of the appointed time. We actually started telling her we wanted to meet her at 2:00 when we really wanted to meet at 3:00. A few times of that, and it finally began to sink in for her. SHE had to make the decision, though, but when it finally hit home, she simply made herself get places on time.

One thing to think about: some people chronically under-estimate how long it will take to do things, so that they assume they will need 20 minutes when they really need 45. Figuring out how to help them estimate better? I’m not sure. But I am in this camp, and as soon as I heard that there are studies about people who do this, I realized that that was why I was always rushing around. Because, obviously, there’s plenty of time before breakfast to make the skirt I want to wear to the big meeting right after breakfast. So now I work harder at accurate estimation (aka taking on less), and it works like a charm. And I plan my outfits the night before.

Marinka, TMH Reply:

That could definitely be an issue. “Timely” should make sure that her boyfriend sets aside plenty of time to sew his skirt!


Comment by Muirgen.

This is my MIL, who almost missed our wedding. When it happens, you can say “you were late. This is how it affected me. I don’t like it. It’s really rude.” and see how he responds. Other than that, there are times you just might have to leave him there. Late to a play or movie? I’m leaving without him or we aren’t going, whichever will annoy ME least.

Marinka, TMH Reply:

I assume your MIL’s near-miss was a wedding gift?

Muirgen Reply:

She can be very generous & thoughful, but no. I think the only reason she made it was b/c she knew the boat would leave without her.


Comment by JulieBouf.

I would advise to just get married and have kids right away and then 1) they’ll be the ones causing you to be late 2) you’ll have an excuse for being late.

Marinka, TMH Reply:

This is a wonderful solution, Julie. Probably to most problems.


Comment by GrandeMocha.

I was almost late for my own wedding. The priest was sweating. I kept saying, “They never start without the bride.”

My hubby waits until it time to go to start getting ready. Drives me nuts. He’s even later than I am.

Marinka Reply:

It’s true, they never start without the bride. Although if gay marriage became legal, it would really solve that problem.


Comment by Wendi.

I think you hit the nail on the head when you said he likes the attention he gets when he’s late.


Comment by Karin.

My husband is like this. He was 45 minutes late picking me up for our first date – and it was a blind date so I thought I’d been stood up and was calling my friends – except the friend that set us up – to see what they were doing and if I could tag along. It almost lost him both the first date and any future dates but I laid into him the next time he was late and always had a backup if he was more the 15 minutes late in the future – I just wasn’t there to be picked up if he wasn’t on time (okay, secret time – if he was late, I would go to the grocery store or the mall and not answer his calls on my cell). Note: this doesn’t work as well now that we’re married b/c we’ll meet up later when we’re both home…

Marinka Reply:

That is a fantastic strategy. I’m sorry that the whole “being married” thing is messing it up.

Karin Reply:

eh – he’s not as bad anymore. He actually gets our kids motivated to get ready in the morning more effectively than I do.


Comment by mom, again.

If it really bothers you, break up. Seriously, next time he is late, take a page out of Karin’s book and don’t be available. When he finally contacts you again, let him know you don’t want to live the rest of your life irritated and frustrated over his lateness. That you know you should be a bigger person, lateness isn’t that big of a deal. But, you aren’t. And it isn’t fair. To him.

Basically, pile it up so high, he has to react.

If he agrees to change, well, he won’t, but at least you can feel you’ve made your feelings known and now you have that to hold over his head forever. Next step, don’t break up after all. Or do. Up to you.

If he agrees to break up, well, there you are. If he’d let you break up over this, then let him just be alone and late.

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