Help For Partners

Do you live with someone who is always late?  You are not alone – 20% of the population have a problem with punctuality, and many of them drive their partners to distraction.   The frustrations are huge – asking your partner to be ready on time seems like such a simple request, so why don’t they do it?  Is it just a lack of respect and consideration?  Why are they never ready until you get annoyed?  Why can they be punctual for others, but not for you?  Do they think their time is more important than yours? The pressures caused by lateness can create deep rifts and break up relationships.

The reasons for habitual lateness are complex, and not easy to change.  You can read more about these in Grace G. Pacie’s ground-breaking book.  People who are often late have a different perception of time – which is why we are calling them Timebenders.  Not everyone sees time as linear.  However, there are ways that Timebenders can make themselves more punctual.

But all you may care about is how to get your partner to be on time for events, so let’s skip the WHY and focus on the HOW.


After reading ‘LATE!’ I now better understand why I’m always in the car waiting for my husband and, more importantly, what to do about it!  It’s a fun, easy read with a lot of practical tips for people who have to live with someone who is chronically ‘bending time’.”
Joy Wodziak

Strategic Marketing Consultant

“LATE! is an insightful and intriguing book. As well as a helpful guide for partners and friends, this would also be a useful book for managers to work more effectively with any timebending staff!”
Joe Cheal

Author of "Solving Impossible Problems" and "Who Stole My Pie"

LATE! A Timebender’s guide to why we are late and how we can change lists 12 tried and tested guidelines for living with someone who is chronically late.

Here are three of the best:

1. Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines! 

A deadline is the trigger which motivates a Timebender to get moving.  Without a deadline they can be hours late.  But a deadline can’t just be plucked from the air – it must be real and have consequences.  Made up deadlines have no effect whatever.  If there isn’t a deadline, see if you can create one.  Could you call a cab instead of driving yourself?  Could you arrange to pick up someone on the journey?  There are plenty of ways it can be done, if the event is important enough not to be late for.

2. Don’t give an inch! 

If you say you are leaving at 2pm, then leave at 2pm.  This seems harsh, but it is tough love, and will save your sanity.  One you have demonstrated that a deadline is real, it will start to be heeded.  There is a theory that people who are always late are adrenaline addicts, and needs to feel that kick of fear to get moving.  If you treat them gently they will keep pushing the boundaries later and later.  You need to be cruel to be kind.  Believe it or not, they hate being late, and are grateful for a real deadline which motivates them to be on time.

3. Try not to get mad 

If you lose your temper every time a deadline is missed, this becomes a way of measurement.  Your tolerance limit becomes the starting pistol.  Once the steam starts to come out of your ears, your partner will start to get a move on.  This is not good for either of you, so see if you can find other ways to show that time is up.  What ideas can you think of, to signal that time is up?  How about practicing a musical instrument?

How to be happily married to a Timebender

Steven started to learn to play the piano at around the same time as he married his Timebending wife Kate.  As a deadline approached, once he was ready and waiting, he would sit down at the piano and start practicing.  As soon as she heard the tinkling of piano keys, Kate knew that she’d better get a move on.  Instead of getting cross, Steven improved his piano playing.

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