Ask a counsellor: Should I put up with a man who is always late?

Columnist and counsellor Fiona Caine offers her perspective on whether a woman should put with a man who regularly stands her up.

The problem…

“A couple of months ago I met a man and we’ve been seeing each other a few times a week. However, he is nearly always late for our dates and once he left me sitting in a busy restaurant on my own for almost an hour. Twice he has been a complete no-show and didn’t message to say he wasn’t coming – he just texted the following day to apologise.

“I’m ready to try again for a serious relationship, but I’m worried I might be setting myself up for a fall. Should I continue to see him?”

Fiona says…

You’ve been remarkably forgiving so far and many people, myself included, would have decided that being stood up twice in such a short space of time was already a step too far.

It’s not difficult to stay in touch with people using mobile phones today. To apologise by text, rather than a voice-to-voice call or voicemail, suggests a lack of respect at best and downright cowardice at worst.


I accept that plans must change sometimes but, when a pattern develops like this, I am not sure it can be put down to simple forgetfulness – but only you can decide whether to give him more time. If you do, I suggest you make a start by saying you care for him and want to continue to see him, but that you were hurt by being stood up and doubly hurt when he didn’t call after promising to.

Stress that you understand why his plans may have to change at short notice, but tell him your time is valuable too, so could he let you know in good time if he’s going to be late or his plans change. You can then see how it goes, but I think you might also want to consider pulling back from thinking of this as a “serious relationship”, at least for now. I am not saying it won’t get to that stage, but you’ve only known him for two months and his behaviour to date suggests he might not yet see this as a serious relationship either.

Enjoy your time together and decide how long you want to give him; hopefully he will grow to feel the same way about you. If his behaviour doesn’t change, and he fails to consider your needs though, you’ll know it’s time to move on.

If you have a problem you’d like Fiona’s advice with, email


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