Fiance Has Issue with the Concept of Time

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My fiance cares a lot about time. He always times himself doing tasks, is always on time, etc. I feel like there is a problem with it now because he is timing what I do. The other day, we got into an argument because he says that I take too long to clean the house and I take too long to do my hair. Is this normal? It’s a bit concerning and I feel like it might be an attribute of someone who is controlling. Please help.

A: Before you decide he’s “controlling,” do consider other possible explanations. It’s possible he has anxiety or a little OCD that comes out around time. As long as he was only monitoring himself, I suspect you found it quirky but okay. It’s when it spills into your life that it becomes a source of conflict for you.

Instead of confronting him with anger, I suggest you initiate a calm discussion about when your different styles makes trouble. Can you two come to an agreement that as long as you aren’t holding him up on getting somewhere or doing something you had both agreed was important, your use of time is your own business? He is entitled to run his life on a timetable if he wants. But as long as your pace doesn’t adversely affect him, he needs to find a way to manage his own anxiety – not demand that you do it for him by meeting his deadlines.

Many people manage the anxiety that goes with waiting by doing slow breathing, by busying themselves with something else, or by asking themselves if hurrying will really make a difference that matters. Talk to your husband about what he thinks he can do for himself when he is frustrated so he doesn’t bother you.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 4 Nov 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). Fiance Has Issue with the Concept of Time. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/11/04/fiance-has-issue-with-the-concept-of-time/