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To think it disrespectful to leave the dinner table when others are still eating?

(124 Posts)
ItsDecisionTime Mon 30-Sep-13 00:03:12

Eating meals in our house is turning into feeding time at the zoo. AIBU to think that if I spend an hour or two preparing and cooking a nice family dinner that my dp shouldn't get up and leave the table when the rest of us are still eating so he can go outside and have a cigarette, then come in and start to clear the table? He even leaves me to finish a meal in a cafe or restaurant, pays the bill then stands outside smoking while I finish. I recently spent a week with his sister and her family, who are all lovely and generous by the way, but they do the same. She spends all afternoon cooking a really nice meal then the minute anyone of them are finished, they get up and start clearing away. I spoke to him about it and he can't see what the problem is, says eating for him is just about fuelling up for getting back to work whereas for me, having dinner as a family is a social occasion as is eating out. Clearly there are times when having a quick sandwich or snack is appropriate but I find it really disrespectful that I should work hard to create a lovely meal for it to be wolfed down in 2 minutes. I've tried spreading out the time between courses but this just results in him sitting outside smoking until the next course is ready. It's driving me insane.

Mintyy Mon 30-Sep-13 00:04:20

Yanbu. Where was he dragged up? Doesn't he understand about manners and stuff?

WilsonFrickett Mon 30-Sep-13 00:06:38

YANBU. That would drive me insane. How rude.

SocksinBoots Mon 30-Sep-13 00:07:17

I do this. It's rude I know. My defence is that eating triggers an overwhelming urge to smoke.

Roll on Stoptober.

DoJo Mon 30-Sep-13 00:12:09

It would be rude enough if he had at least prepared the meal, but to get up and leave you eating on your own when you have cooked, or (worse to my mind actually as it's a public place) when you are out?! That's appalling behaviour and I would probably stop serving him food if he couldn't even grace me with his presence for long enough to actually finish eating it.

DioneTheDiabolist Mon 30-Sep-13 00:13:53

I am a painfully slow eater and I do not think that the desire to leave the table before I have finished is rude.

However OP, what your DH is doing is rude IMO. And I speak as a smoker.

BackforGood Mon 30-Sep-13 00:17:43

I think there's a difference between when someone else is still eating and clearing away once they've finished. I also think there's a big difference between your normal family tea, when maybe someone has time pressure to be leaving the house shortly afterwards, and 'going for a meal at someone's house' which is clearly a more social occasion.

On the whole, it is very bad manners to leave the table until everyone has finished, but there are going to be exceptions.

timidviper Mon 30-Sep-13 00:19:58

I would find that very rude. We had a rule when DCs were small that nobody left the table until we had all finished and it is far nicer.

I think you need to have a serious chat with him and explain you feel your time on cooking and your company are not appreciated and ask him how he could help improve things. BTW if my DH left me alone in a restaurant to have a cigarette I'd fecking kill him.

ItsDecisionTime Mon 30-Sep-13 00:22:15

I enjoy making the family dinner the time when everyone sits down together, chats about their day and relaxes a little. Half an hour out of his day shouldn't be too much to ask. Walking out of a restaurant and leaving me to finish a meal on my own is downright rude though. He doesn't think so but perhaps his craving for cigarettes is so great that he can't help it. I don't know as I'm not a smoker.

olgaga Mon 30-Sep-13 00:57:45

This situation isn't going to change while he is a smoker. it probably won't change even if he gives up.

Some people like to eat up then get up and do something - anything - else. Others eat so slowly that the quick eaters feel like banging their heads on the table.

You're at home, not at a formal dinner!

Do you really want him to stay at the table, silently fuming, while you chew every mouthful 30 times? Surely if he didn't appreciate your cooking he'd push it around the plate, have a cig, make himself a sandwich then leave you to clear the dishes?

If you feel so annoyed that your culinary work isn't being appreciated you could always cook a more basic dinner - or tell him to cook!

MagzFarqharson Mon 30-Sep-13 01:15:31

olgaga - how rude!

Sitting down for a meal is not only about fulfilling a need to stop being hungry.

Surely meal times are a time for the family/assembled group to get together, chat and enjoy each others company.

I don't think OP is expecting gold medals for her culinary efforts, just a basic acknowledgement of mealtime etiquette?

MrsTerryPratchett Mon 30-Sep-13 01:17:38

My DM is the s l o w e s t eater in the world. She drives everyone to distraction with her s l o w eating. We all sit there and wait but it is tortuous. Are you really s l o w?

olgaga Mon 30-Sep-13 01:40:48

Mag there's nothing rude about my comment. One of OP's gripes relates to the amount of time she spends producing a nice meal. So I'm simply suggesting that if it bothers her so much that he doesn't appear to appreciate her efforts one option would be to make less of an effort!

As for mealtime etiquette, presumably she noticed its absence before she committed to him.

ItsDecisionTime Mon 30-Sep-13 01:42:51

I believe manners are the things that separate us from being animals. I'm not asking for any awards, just some basic consideration and appreciation for the fact I've spent time, thought and effort on preparing a nice dinner. Sometimes, if it's late, we just eat something quick and easy on our laps in front of the TV. That's different to sitting down at the dining table to enjoy each others company. Isn't it?

MrsTerryPratchett Mon 30-Sep-13 01:47:06

I believe manners are the things that separate us from being animals. And pointless war, but that is splitting hairs.

MagzFarqharson Mon 30-Sep-13 01:49:50

Ok, leaving the table and going outside for a fag in the middle of the meal then coming back and starting to clear the table, before everyone's finished?

Well if that's acceptable and a comfortable mealtime experience for you, fair enough. Maybe op is hoping for a little more social interaction connected to mealtimes, not just wanting to get back to his fags and Jeremy Kyle on ITV2+1+1

justmyview Mon 30-Sep-13 02:04:33

Be glad he clears the table. Plenty of people on here complaining that their DH's don't lift a finger and treat them like skivvies

Butwilliseeyouagain Mon 30-Sep-13 02:17:42

I seem to be in a minority - I just can't see the point of sitting at the table watching the last person finish eating. But I have no attention span. Luckily we are all as rude as eachother in this house.

garlicbrunch Mon 30-Sep-13 02:30:37

The clearing away - or paying the bill, if out - before others have finished actually shocked me. I know I'm reasonably well mannered, but I don't think I'm prissy about it, and I am a smoker.

Clearing the table or paying the bill says "meal over". If it happened to me, I'd be left feeling my co-diner hadn't even noticed I was there!

It never has happened to me, OP, in 58 years of eating with people, several of whom were highly abusive. Did he do this before you married? I'd have dumped him the second time he paid the bill and fucked off outside!

ChiefToiletRollChanger Mon 30-Sep-13 02:31:30

How rude. My children are now allowed to leave the table if DH and I are sitting talking after having eaten - but they have to excuse themselves first and not just get up and walk.

garlicbrunch Mon 30-Sep-13 02:40:27

YY, CTRC. That's a different thing - "I have to go now, sorry." - "OK, clear your place up." - "Thanks for dinner." I would expect manners from busy people, and also expect everyone to make time to sit & chat a while after eating when it's a Sunday dinner kind of mealtime. I'd be fairly horrified if anyone just buggered off from any meal, busy or not!

garlicbrunch Mon 30-Sep-13 02:41:46

(I do go out to smoke, but not before everyone's finished eating and I go back after!)

BonaDea Mon 30-Sep-13 02:48:29

Yanbu. Height of rudeness.

MrsHoratioNelson Mon 30-Sep-13 05:31:18

My DH is like this - he seems to find it physically painful to sit at the table with an empty plate for the 2 minutes it takes me to finish. I am categorically not a slow eater.; We both eat relatively quickly. His mother does the same, always leaping up to clear plates while others are still eating.

It drives me insane and I was brought up to believe that it was the absolute height of bad table manners. It annoys me in restaurants when waiters clear plates while others are still eating as well. Things will most definitely be changing when the DCs are old enough to be taught table manners.

laughingeyes2013 Mon 30-Sep-13 05:47:45

It is bad manners, yes.

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