I usually think your advice is right on, but I have to disagree with your recent response to “Fed Up” in Napa, CA.
Fed Up’s husband is outgoing and very talkative. He loves conversing on the phone for hours, and visiting with all the neighbors, so let’s call him “Chatty.”
Chatty’s conversing and visiting means he’s consistently late for dinner. Fed Up has a set time for dinner – 6:30pm – and Chatty knows this, but he shows up 6:45 and even 7pm. When he’s late – which seems to be chronic – Fed Up gets, well, fed up, and goes ahead and eats without him. She would rather, she says, have Chatty with her when she sits down to eat at 6:30.
Your advice started out well, when you said Fed Up can’t force Chatty to the dinner table at 6:30.
Then your advice went south when you said, “Try this: Tell him dinner time is 6:30, but prepare the food as if it’s for 6:45 or 7.”
When wife Fed Up fixes husband Chatty dinner every night, does he show up on time, and thank her for doing this night after night, like men do in real life?
No. He shows up late.
There’s only one excuse for tardiness: Death.
If Chatty dies on his way home from talking to the neighbors, then I’m OK with his failure to appear for dinner on time.
Otherwise, Chatty is late because
- He’s an ungrateful, unappreciative jerk.
- He’s disrespectful of Fed Up’s time and effort.
- He chooses to be late, which is passive-aggressive behavior.
You should have suggested serious, long-term counseling for Chatty to address this personality disorder, but…no.
Instead you tell Fed Up to accommodate Chatty’s bad behavior first, by lying, and second, by preparing dinner for a time adjusted to Chatty’s lateness.
Are you crazy?
Here’s my advice to Fed Up: Divorce Chatty, sell your house, take a nice long vacation to a five-star hotel where someone else does the cooking, hook up with a younger guy who appreciates you, and live happily ever after.
Just like women do in real life.