Scheduled family dinners can be a comforting ritual or an annoyance depending on your personality style.
Some people love the idea of sitting down at the table every night at the same time to share dinner and stories about their day. Others prefer to be more spontaneous—dinner happens when it happens, where it happens.
For one Redditor who cooks dinner every night, dinner has become a battle between her and her husband because he won’t make the effort to join her on time, instead preferring for downtime before dinner that causes him to be late.
One night, this wife got angry and tossed her husband’s meal in the trash.
“My husband could burn cereal so I do all the cooking in the household, although he does balance the division of labor out pretty well with other chores. The problem is that he is chronically late for dinner.”
“We agreed months ago to have dinner at 6:30 every night to try and get the problem under control, but it hasn’t helped at at. Every day he gets home from work at 5:30, I remind him that dinner will be ready in exactly one hour and to make sure he is ready. Every. Single. Day. he sits down at the table 10 to 20 minutes late. Every single day he yells, ‘I’ll be down in just a second!’ from his computer room while I am sitting there watching my food get cold. Sometimes I say ‘fuck it’ and start eating my portion after it’s clear that he’s not going to be on time, which he is indifferent to mildly annoyed about depending on the day.”
The OP’s husband texted her one day asking to push dinner back to 7:30 because he is working late. She said, sure, but he needs to be on time.
“He gets home at 6:45 while I am making dinner. At 7:20 I give him a heads up that he needs to be ready in ten minutes. At 7:30 I put food on the table. He yells down ‘Sorry, sorry! I am literally coming in one minute.’ At 7:35 I pick up his plate and empty it into the garbage.”
“At 7:45 he comes downstairs and asks where his dinner is. I tell him that I threw it out because he couldn’t be bothered to be on time. He says, ‘Are you f**king serious? What am I going to eat?’ and I say ‘Whatever you make.’ He throws a fit and ends up eating a handful of granola bars from the pantry and slept in the spare bedroom last night, and it’s been radio silence all day today.”
“I know I only waited five minutes but something about last night just made me snap. Like it’s not bad enough that he is never ready on time, but he makes me wait even on the day that he specifically requested a certain time? I get home at 5 every day so I have almost no time to relax when I get home from work, while he has an hour every day to unwind and he still leaves me sitting at the table waiting for him.”
What did Redditors think of the situation?
Does the OP’s husband need to be more respectful of her wishes or should the OP relax the rules a bit?
“OP, it sounds like the problem isn’t so much that he’s late for dinner, it’s that you’re not getting to relax and he isn’t appreciating the effort you’ve put in. Is that a fair assessment? What your real issue is will depend on how you address this. If you’re annoyed about not spending the time together to eat dinner, then you need to explain to him that this is a time for you to be together and you need him to see that as a priority, 5-10 mins consistently late isn’t good enough and it makes you feel like he doesn’t value you. If it’s about you not getting to relax when you get home, cook meals that work around that – stick things in a slow cooker so you just have to dole them out, heat up meal prep. And if it’s about having less time to relax, then make sure you have an hour before you start cooking (quicker meals or later dinners might help both of you) or take the time after dinner to completely shut off and do your own thing,” advised loxima.
“Gonna say ESH. I’m the main cook in my household, so i get the frustration but I also think a set dinner time is kind of patronizing. Eat when you want to eat, they can eat when they want to too. I’d just be annoyed if they complained about the food being cold – like lol yeah.. my bf sometimes gets home after my own bedtime, so I just cook dinner and so it’s their for when he gets home. I think I’d also get annoyed if it was a special dinner/occasion… but idk.. I think people can eat when they want, but that’s my opinion, and definitely because how I was raised -we never had a set dinner time and my mom and I took turns cooking or getting take out and meals were definitely more of a go with the flow kind of thing I guess. My bf is kind of a late person in general which was frustrating at first but when it’s something I really want him to be on time to I just lie about the time he should arrive/be ready lol if I need him there at 7, I’ll tell him he needs to be there by 6:30. So I do get your frustration to a point, but I do think throwing his food out was a bit childish and a waste of food (was also raised not to waste food), because you could have just let it sit there and get cold. BUT I think how he reacted since has also been childish. Yall just need to talk,” suggested MoodyStarGirl.
“YTA. This seems extremely unnecessary to me. I live in a house with 6 people, if we agree dinner is at 5:30, people who want to eat start eating. It’s your problem if you’re late. Food gets cold sure, but why throw it out? There are times that I come down at 6 because I was busy. No one tells me that because I’m late, I somehow forfeited my food. Do I now have to eat by myself? Yes. Do I have to make an effort to come down on time if I want to eat with my family? Yes. Seems like there’s deeper rooted issues here than him not coming to eat on time,” said ruski101.
“NTA but he needs to get his head out of his arse and realise that he’s very lucky that someone is willing to cook for him every night. The least he could do is be on time. Why can’t he be in the kitchen with you and do the dishes whilst you’re plating up or something? If it was me, instead of giving him time reminders, I’d tell him that food will be ready at 6.30 if he isn’t there then you just eat yours. Make him eat by himself when he eventually comes down to cold food. You could find yourself a hobby to occupy your free time when you’re done or have a nice relaxing bath whilst you’re waiting for him to finish eating,” suggested whoevenknows88.
“It’s not just that he’s late for supper. It’s that he doesn’t care if he eats with OP. He is not looking for her company. To me, that indicates a bigger problem. You’re NTA, OP, but you and your man need to have a serious talk about whether you are a relationship or a catering service,” said JudgeJanus.
What do you think the OP should do?
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