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“I Went to My 40th Birthday Dinner Without My Husband Because He Didn’t Get Ready on Time!”

One woman has turned to Reddit to find out whether she is at fault for leaving her husband behind when he failed to get ready in time for her 40th birthday dinner. Despite being able to make it to work on time every day, and never being late to any of his own functions or drinks with his mates, the frustrated woman noticed that he would always make them late when he was expected to attend family things or go somewhere with her and their children. Deciding that she didn’t want to lose the restaurant table that she had booked for her birthday dinner because of her husband’s tardiness, she bundled the kids into the car and went without him. But when she returned home later that evening, he was angry with her. So, who was at fault?

It was my (40 F) 40th birthday a few days ago and we had a reservation for a table at a nice restaurant for 7pm. It takes about 20 minutes to drive to the restaurant so I planned to leave the house at 6:30pm to build in time for traffic and picking up my father.

My husband (43 M) had decided to do a bit of work on his car about half an hour before we needed to leave. At 6:30 when the kids and I were waiting by the door, he was still doing it. He hadn’t changed and hadn’t showered. I told him to quickly get ready, but it got to 6:50 and he still wasn’t ready yet so I decided to just leave without him.

He has a habit of always running late when we go out and he is always the last one to be ready. Normally I can tolerate it since it only sets things back by ten minutes at the most, but my birthday dinner was important to me and I had been looking forward to it for weeks. Making us wait for 20 minutes was taking the mick, so I yelled out that we were leaving and left, because I didn’t want to lose the table, since we would have arrived about 7:20.

I called the restaurant to let them know we would be late and we luckily still had our table, but my husband didn’t show up at the restaurant and when we got home he was mad at me. I told him that I was tired of him not respecting my time and always making people wait for him, and that he could have made his own way to the restaurant. My father agreed with my decision to leave without him, but my kids were a little upset that he wasn’t there to have dinner with us.



One commenter thought that she could have probably managed the problem better by stopping her husband from going off to tinker with the car in the first place.

NTA. You were already late when you left. If you waited any longer, you wouldn’t have a table and thus no birthday party.

When you got home, you should have torn him a new one for deliberately trying to sabotage your birthday party. Put him on the defensive, where he should be, for his behavior.

Really, though, when your husband decided to do some work on his car, you should have said, “No, you’re not doing that. You’re going upstairs and getting ready to leave with us.” This was a totally predictable problem.

In general, you should stop tolerating his lateness. When you do that, it gets worse, not better. (extinct_diplodocup)

However, other commenters disagreed. She already has children to take care of, why should she need to parent her husband as well!


It’s not her job to keep track of her husband. She already coordinated everything for the family, including her dad and the kids. All her husband had to do was show up on time.

I hope you thoroughly enjoyed your dinner, OP. Make this a pattern with your husband and the problem will resolve itself. Either he’ll figure out how to be on time or you’ll no longer need to be stressed out about it. (U4RiiA)

Most people thought that he’d had it a long time coming, and were surprised that she’d allowed his behaviour to go on for so long.

NTA. Your tolerating his thoughtlessness and disrespect for others’ time has only exacerbated the problem. It is also sending the message to your children that his behaviors are acceptable ways of treating others. It’s way past time that you stop, even if it was for your birthday. (Individual_Ad_9213)

However, for many people, his chronic lateness for anything that involved spending time with her, signalled more than an inability to be on time.

NTA. He knew what time was Go time and he chose to ignore it. By saying “yes” to car repairs, he chose to say “no” to your birthday dinner. He had the same information you had, and he prioritized what was important to him. You did the same. (FairyCompetent)


NTA does he go on weird power trips about other things, or just this? He knows exactly what he’s doing, it’s purposeful. (enjoy-the-ride-)



Power trip is the right way to describe this. People use their chronic lateness to control others.

NTA. (Canadasaver)


Not always. Some people are just a bit flighty. But the husband choosing to work on the car instead of getting ready for what is clearly a special occasion shows in this case, it is a power trip. (Sneezydiva3) 

Totally agree. This is passive-aggressive behavior. He must either have huge resentment built up or huge control issues. (Studious_Noodle)

Commenters told the woman to continue to leave him behind when he doesn’t get ready on time, until he learns his lesson and starts treating her with respect.

NTA. Good for you. You showed him you aren’t tolerating this anymore. Tell him you will do it again, and follow through. He is an adult, he can tell time. He can set alarms and reminders on his cell phone so he know when to start getting ready.

He is doing this crap as a power play. (Emotional_Fan_7011)

NTA. Your husband is acting like the main character in your life though. Starting ‘a bit of work’ on the car 30 mins before leaving is taking the piss. I think you need to think about how to address this and make him understand that he needs to respect other people more. (Mr_Pink_Gold)


He’s a grown man and has had plenty of time to learn manners and respect for others. Doubling down on his bad behavior of lateness by being mad at you when you got home (on your birthday) and punishing you by not showing up to honor you at dinner is over the top. Plus he disappointed the kids. He needs to snap out of it and apologize then make up the damage to family harmony that he deliberately created. He is the asshole, not you. (HighAltitude88008)

What do you think? Do you think he just got caught up in what he was doing, or do you think he was being passive aggressive and purposefully taking his time?

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Jolene enjoys writing, sharing and connecting with other like-minded women online – it also gives her the perfect excuse to ignore Mount-Washmore until it threatens to bury her family in an avalanche of Skylander T-shirts and Frozen Pyjama pants. (No one ever knows where the matching top is!) Likes: Reading, cooking, sketching, dancing (preferably with a Sav Blanc in one hand), social media, and sitting down on a toilet seat that one of her children hasn’t dripped, splashed or sprayed on. Dislikes: Writing pretentious crap about herself in online bio’s and refereeing arguments amongst her offspring.

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