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On Choosing Not to Get Mad vs. Telling everything you're feeling
December 29, 2005
3:30 pm
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artist 2
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Ok my Bf and I had a huge discussion last night. I started by telling him how I felt about his showing up late. The rub is that we did not have a specific time set aside, but he was much later than he said he would "shoot for."

Am I to blame because I accept his telling me he'll be over "around" a certain time? I told him I will start asking his to come over at specific times every now and then. Keep in mind we are not shooting to be at a place with time constraints like a movie or concert. We are planning to hang out at home.

He thinks it's ok to be there "around" a particular time. I told him I didn't like it because I have to stop what I'm doing at the beginning of the time window and wait until he shows up - which can sometimes be half and hour later.

Anyway to the point: he says if he's in the same situation, he would not ever bring it up, because he chooses not to. He says he can choose not to be upset about something and implies that I choose to disrupt things in the relationship.

Who's right?

December 29, 2005
3:42 pm
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Lass
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There is a great saying: "Would you rather be right, or happy?" Ask for what you want as clearly as you can. You can't control another person. You can control how you think about a situation, and whether you let yourself get pissed off. If he does this consistently, simply be doing something else when he arrives, and keep doing it until you are done.

LL

December 29, 2005
3:44 pm
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kathygy
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artist,

Oh brother! This reminds me of my ex-husband. He would always say, 'if you didn't make it a problem, there would be no problem'!

This drove me crazy! It is crazy making. Your feelings are very important and should matter a great deal to your bf. His job is to talk this through with you until you feel resolved and you both feel comfortable.

He could call before he leaves the house to give you a better idea of when he'll be there.

It sounds like your bf is uncomfortable talking about feelings and so makes you wrong to avoid it.

If you marry this man given this issue you will go crazy. If unresolved these issues get much worse after you get married.

He is showing no respect for your feelings what so ever. He is also wrong to expect you to be like him. You are a different person.

December 29, 2005
3:52 pm
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artist 2
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Great feedback both of you! Thanks so much!

December 29, 2005
3:57 pm
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artist -

knowing that he is not willing to be accountable for the time he will be home seems to be something you will have to continue to deal with.

You have stated how it makes you feel - and he has stated that he thinks he does no wrong. Which, in effect, means he is not likely to change the behaviour.

So this is one of those things where you need to retain your own power - and not let his behaviour infuriate you.

Instead - do what you have to do - do not put things on hold when you expect him home - just keep plugging along. And when he gets there, if you are in the middle of something - he will have to wait until you are done. Don't finish prematurely just to accomodate him either. Finish what you are doing. And if you need to go somewhere - go - don't wait for him. Leave a note and let him know you couldn't wait and will be back LATER - with no specific time.

He may not mind waiting, but then again he may. And if he ends up waiting enough times - then you can come up with a compromise - like him calling when he is close to home - so you can wrap up what you are doing.

I had this type of thing happen to me and I was told that I give away my power by sitting home, miserable and ranting about it - instead of taking the time to enjoy doing something I wanted and needed to do.

December 29, 2005
4:02 pm
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artist 2
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This is good too... thank you!

December 29, 2005
4:19 pm
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artist2,

I may be mistaken, but from your message it sounds like you are allowing your desires/feelings about him being late to be up for negotiation with him. If you are truly confident with yourself that this bothers you (for whatever reason), why are you finding it so hard to simply say "I do not like it and would like to ask that you respect my wishes on this and try to keep your commitments with me"? ... or however you think is best to word it.

This could all be done very calmly, and leaves no room for negotiation of your wants/feelings, but does leave room for not expecting him to be perfect.

It is something I am working on myself, which is why I presented it. I find when I start to explain why I feel the way I do, it's usually because (1) I feel that the other person does not understand and needs to in order to have any luck with them making an effort to respect my wishes (which is not true), or (2) I am still questioning if I am right or wrong about my feelings, or (3) I am afraid to ask for my needs to be met by someone else.

With some people (that I know care about me and/or have a similar type of communication as I do), explaining things is not a problem. With others, I feel they need the more direct approach to take me serious.

Added note: I found this comment of your bf's to be kind of rude of him: "He says he can choose not to be upset about something and implies that I choose to disrupt things in the relationship. " ... IMO, him saying this to you is implying that he is the good guy and you are the bad guy for sharing your needs with him. If he does this often (and taking into account that you do not complain about everything he does, and are able to let some things slide), I can see why you hesitate asking for what you want from him. (Been there, done that.)

angel4u

December 29, 2005
4:24 pm
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turnabout
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Sounds like a difference in expectations. You expect his reference of a time frame for "around such and such o'clock" to be the same as yours. He expects that since he didn't commit to a specific time, you won't be expecting him at that time.

I have to say I relate more to your BF on this one. My mother and I have this kind of relationship. I'll give her an approximate time to expect me, b/c I don't want her to be disappointed if I can't get there by a certain time. Problem is that with her, the phrase "around such and such o'clock" has a leeway of about 10 minutes ... for me, half and hour seems reasonable. It's just different frames of reference. I try to keep this in mind when dealing with her.

It does get disrespectful when a person says they'll be there that afternoon, but don't show up until late in the evening. I hate admitting I've been guilty of that many times. I think I'm more conscientious of it now (i hope), but I did this for years despite my mother's frequent complaints about it b/c I NEVER SUFFERED ANY CONSEQUENCES. She complained that she had waited all day for me, and my response was, "Why?" I never asked her to hang her whole day on my showing up.

It's like that saying... we're treated the way we train people to treat us.

I tell you, there is little more frustrating a circumstance than to find you missed out on something b/c you fim-faddled around and everyone left to do whatever it was without you. It will make you mad, but there's no one to really be mad at but yourself.

So, it's true. If you sit there waiting, in essence accepting what you CLAIM is unacceptable, you're sending a message that trumps whatever you're saying. Actions DO speak louder than words.

December 29, 2005
4:29 pm
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artist 2
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It's a little like that... when he says "about" he says it because he doesn't think he can make the time, and I'll be at home anyway. This leaves him a wide window, in his opinion.

When we talked last night, we agreed that I would chill out about this window thing, and he would come at a certain time, when I'm cooking dinner for instance.

On the other hand, I am afraid to speak my feelings for fear of being the nagging GF, the one who always disrupts. However, I did take up for myself last night in saying that I refused to be treated that way.

December 29, 2005
4:31 pm
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turnabout
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Oh, and I meant it would be frustrating to your BF to find he missed out on something b/c of his tardiness if you left him out in the cold once in a while... which is something it sounds like he needs to experience. It might make him mad, but who can he be mad at but himself?

December 29, 2005
4:33 pm
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artist 2
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True... I'll think about that. Maybe I'll be out when he arrives next time he needs to come "about" a time of arrival.

December 29, 2005
4:33 pm
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turnabout
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artist, I don't blame you for being upset about it at all. Just be sure that when you say you refuse to be treated this way that you aren't crying "wolf."

December 29, 2005
4:35 pm
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artist 2
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thanks... :o)

December 29, 2005
4:44 pm
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Hej artist 2,

We used to have arguments along these lines too. When I think back about them, I think our "tone of voice" when we "discussed" the issue was more crucial than the topic.

It is a control issue.

I've read/heard that people who consistently arrive Late do it consciously or subconsciously for attention. If it's a meeting, everyone looks, it may wait for him/her to settle in their seat. If it's a party of friends, the welcome might be greater after extending the anticipation.

So with a g/f, could it be like what a child sometimes does with a parent in "will you still love me if I behave this badly?" Negative attention is still attention.

Ali just gave some wonderful ways to choose to react to it, and then ways to compromise. Lass, too. So succinct.

Also sounds like he's "choosing" to look like he's the more tolerant and magnanimous person by saying he'd never mention it (insinuating you are picky and like to start arguments and he is not).

Maybe you could tell him that's great that he feels so benvolent and loving, but you're going to have supper at 6:30 and start the DVD at &:00 and if he doesn't show up on time he doesn't need to join you and see what he chooses is important -- recognizing your feelings or playing indifferent to them. (Or ignoring them by himself) Oh yeah, risk factor here. Or maybe let him assume you'll be home waiting as usual, and then you're NOT.

December 29, 2005
4:49 pm
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artist 2
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I know what you mean about tone of voice. He suggested I give him a hug when he arrives before bringing up an "issue." That makes sense. He really didn't expect it and the conversation was unpleasant. I could use some patience too.

December 29, 2005
4:55 pm
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angel4U
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Just read all of the other responses as well and found them to be very beneficial as well ...

Alicat: I especially have found that your suggestion works the best (and is the only way to keep your own sanity and help them to see you are serious about respecting yourself) - state what your boundaries are and what the consequences will be, and let him reap the negative impact of his tardiness rather than you. If he tries to throw it back on you or starts playing games (like showing up late on purpose), then IMO he is simply an immature, irresponsible guy.

I knew a guy that was late all the time, or would cancel plans or not call when he said he would. I later learned (from him) that his own boss has gotten upset with him for being this way too (he said he didn't call a client to tell them he was running late and the boss had words with him about how "disrespectful it was to not call"). I just smiled inside when I heard this, as it told me that his irresponsibilty was not about me (usually isn't, btw) and he was hearing it from someone other than me and I "think" finally learning that I wasn't being a meanie by getting upset about it.

Good luck, and let us know how it all turns out for you.

angel4u

December 29, 2005
4:57 pm
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artist 2
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Thanks, I stood by my guns in not being the meany. I simply stated it as what I needed, and even though he was impatient with it, that's the breaks.

December 29, 2005
4:59 pm
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I wasn't too serious about the last suggestions. The hugs always were more effective and fun.

December 29, 2005
5:08 pm
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Brynnie, you weren't serious about the last suggestions? like saying dinner is at 6:30... ya snooze, ya lose? I think that sounds like a great way of dealing with it ... take it from another time offender! "If you're not home by (whenever he says), you don't get to eat dinner with me."

Of course, you then have to prepare yourself for the possibility that this may be no big deal to him. He may not mind missing dinner, so you have to watch out that you don't let THIS ruin your day either. B/c doing something like that just to teach him a lesson or make him suffer is manipulation. But, at least you aren't putting your life on hold and revolving it around him.

However you deal with it, the point is that you don't let looking out for him override looking out for yourself. That's the rule in a nutshell.

December 29, 2005
5:12 pm
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angel4U
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Wow, my 2nd post was based on the posts above my first post, and I am loving all the rest of the feedback as well (this is all helping me too =)

Brynnie - You said: "I've read/heard that people who consistently arrive Late do it consciously or subconsciously for attention. If it's a meeting, everyone looks, it may wait for him/her to settle in their seat. If it's a party of friends, the welcome might be greater after extending the anticipation."

I have to disagree with you on this (in my case anyway). I (am sorry to say) have been guilty of getting caught up in things at times and arriving late - sometimes it's been because of poor time management or over-commitment, and other times it's because something I could not avoid came up (e.g. an emergency). Never has it been about wanting attention. I actually am embarrased and would love if noone noticed. But I usually will call, if possible, or let someone know ahead of time that I might be late. In the case of a meeting, I am always respectful of being quiet so as to not disrupt things.

December 29, 2005
5:26 pm
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artist2 - Living in L.A., and because there is a crapload of traffic, we tend to deal with "around-about" times. I'll be there between 5:30 and 6:00, as opposed to beng there at a apecific time - it's almost impossible to predict the traffic around here, so this way of estimating your arrival time, is safe. Don't think that I dont' know how you feel... I most certainly do. This took some getting used to - since I moved from a farm town with absolutely no traffic and hooked up with a guy that has no realistic concept of time, or being ON time. My mother is the same way.

People treat being on time differently - very differently. To some it is all important - to others, it doesn't really matter. For me, I tend to deal with all of these time-challenged people differently - knowing, after some experience, what I can expect from them. For example, I know my mom typically runs an hour late.... and I make plans accordingly. I tell her that I'll be there to pick her up an hour earlier than I arrive, because I know that she won't even get into the shower until she thinks that I'll be knocking at the door. I hate it, but we deal with different people differently.....

I have my bf call me when he's an HOUR away from arriving... that way I know that I have roughly an HOUR AND A HALF to get ready before he gets there. It's tricky, but it alieviates some of the stress.

Take care artist2 - love - shaney

December 29, 2005
5:28 pm
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turnabout
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yeah, angel, i wasn't going to respond to that, but I was thinking the same thing. I'm sure there are people who are late to get attention, but I don't think they're in the majority. I'm mortified when anyone calls attention to my lateness, especially in business. I'm very aware that I'm not living up to my responsibility and am already beating myself up over it before walking in the door.

For me, the reason can vary from thinking that I'm not really important enough to be missed, selfishness regarding MY time (i'm more selfish w/ my time than my money), fear of being uncomfortable by showing up at a place alone (which is like a fear of appearing inadequate), genuine obliviousness that I'm inconveniencing anyone, AND poor time management.

Guess I wasn't raised right. Hehe.

I read once that all procrastination is fear based, and I think that's true. And tardiness is just one form of procrastination.

December 29, 2005
5:29 pm
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Shaney, congratulations on how you handle all these different people. Maybe I can do that too!

December 29, 2005
5:45 pm
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Angel and turnabout,

Interesting how much of an issue it is in some of our lives -- I guess I don't experience it very often, but any time I have a problem with it I know it is from not staying in awareness of the time and poor time management (Oh and maybe the place you are headed is not too appealing and you 're dragging your feet?).

I will say I had a dear friend who always had "time" for each person and when she was this kind of friend to me I loved her for it. So that could actually be a virtue (unless she was making others wait).

December 29, 2005
5:53 pm
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Sometimes people think their time is more valuable than yours. You need to disavail them of this notion. I am totally behind what Ali posted up top.

LL

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