Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on morals and manners.

Advice on manners and morals.
May 19 2005 7:26 AM

She's a Maniac

Help! My wife is a terrible driver.

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Dear Prudence,
My wife is a bad driver. She is a really good, sweet person, but behind the wheel she's a menace. She speeds, weaves, tailgates, brakes late, and rages at other drivers. We've had some pretty strong arguments, but she's never been as mad at me as I guarantee she will be at half a dozen motorists on her commute home this evening. Over the past six years I've managed the body-shop bills, handled the insurance and the speeding tickets, endured frightening rides from the passenger seat, and pleaded with her to change. But now there's a new wrinkle—a child. With the imminent birth of our first child, I sincerely want to ban my wife from driving our innocent newborn—anywhere, ever. In my opinion, letting her chauffeur our child amounts to reckless endangerment. Of course, she thinks I'm being unreasonable, crazy even. What can I do? I don't want to get divorced.

—Married to Hell on Wheels

Dear Mar,
You really must put your foot down. This girl sounds like a rotten driver with a temper to match. Tell her she has two choices. She can take an anger management class, preferably one geared to drivers, or use taxis and buses. She will surely agree that the safety of your child is paramount. If she gives you static and is in denial about her vehicular skills, see some kind of neutral mediator. The body-shop bills, the insurance increases, and speeding tickets should be quite convincing to any outsider.

—Prudie, speedily

Dear Prudence,
I am getting married this coming August to a man I adore. We are very much in love and certainly compatible, but certain people at my workplace and in my social circle have a problem with our ages ... or more importantly, my age. My fiance is 30 years old, while I am only 22 (will be 23 at time of marriage). Our close friends and family have no problem with the age difference, and they're very excited and supportive. We never saw our age difference as a problem until certain women in my workplace began commenting on how young I am and "how little experience" I have with life. I'm a recent college graduate with a good job and am a responsible adult. Instead of drinking and partying my way through school, I studied hard to finish a semester early. Yet I feel like they think I must be too immature to be married. I have been with this man for three years and we have built a very strong relationship. How can I tell these women I am hurt by their views and that it's none of their business?

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—T.S.

Dear T.,
My dear, eight years' difference is a mere bagatelle. The kind of concern your officemates are displaying should be reserved for real May-December matches ... like a 20- or 30-year age difference. Your situation might qualify as a May-June romance. Don't bother telling these women that you're hurt by their views or that it's none of their business. If you absolutely can't resist, tell them you wanted an older man because you want to get your hands on his Social Security. That ought to settle their hash.

—Prudie, sarcastically

Dear Prudence,
About four years ago, when I was a college undergraduate, I met a guy online through a non-matchmaking Web site and we became chat buddies, nothing more. He had a girlfriend and lived across the country, and I was having fun playing the field. Over time, our conversations become more in-depth. About two years ago, we finally got up the nerve to call each other. Three months after that (things kept progressing and we really liked each other), he flew out to see me for the first time. It was better than I could have imagined and has only gotten better since. We are still a long-distance couple but see each other about once a month, and he is planning to move in with me this summer for good. I have met his family, he has met mine, and we all love each other. There's only one problem: My mom doesn't know how we met. I know that I shouldn't be ashamed of meeting the man of my dreams on the Internet, but my mom associates it with bad people (she is not technologically savvy). Everyone except my immediate family knows the truth and thinks it's a pretty neat story, so I guess my question is: Do I tell her?

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—Don't Want To Get on Mom's Bad Side

Dear Don't,
As long as everybody loves everybody, the how-we-met issue should not alter anyone's feelings. You were not, after all, on a site where the correspondents were inmates. If you really think your mother would freak, it would be perfectly honest to say you met "in a discussion group." Or you could even tell her that you met the beloved "chatting." If she is not cyber-savvy, she will not associate the word with "bad people." Prudie wishes you all the best.

—Prudie, electronically

Dear Prudie,
I've been in a relationship with my boyfriend for almost three years, and things have been going great. We understand each other, we rarely have conflicts (and when we do, it never results in yelling at each other, just a discussion), our personalities and interests are very similar, and neither one of us can imagine our lives without the other. However, I have been having a problem throughout this relationship: My boyfriend is the youngest of five children. (He was a "whoops" baby.) One of his sisters is old enough to be his mom. Because of this, the rest of his family babies him nonstop. While he's just as intellectual as I am, sometimes his behavior makes me feel like I'm not dating an adult. He stays home all day, every day, without any real plans of working or schooling, won't learn to drive because he's sure he'll get into an accident, and most of the time is so out of the loop on world events that trying to talk to him about anything outside of our interests is impossible. Anytime we've had a serious spat, it's been about this issue. It wouldn't bother me so much if he looked at it in an "I will, I just need to take it slowly" way, but instead he just always says, "I can't." I love him to death, but I worry about our future together. When I was younger, I sometimes thought about being a stay-at-home wife. Now I worry that I'd be the sole breadwinner, and I'd be stuck raising him. I don't want to leave the relationship, but I'd like advice on how to get him jump-started on facing the real world. I'd like to be with a man who will, well, be a man.

—Dating a Hermit

Dear Date,
If Prudie has understood you, the man in your life has been babied by his family to the point where he neither works nor goes to school, is afraid that if he drives he'll get into a wreck, and whose governing principle is, "I can't." It is lovely that you rarely have conflicts, but you must decide whether or not you want to stay with this case of arrested development and take care of him for the rest of your life. As no one knows better than you, his family has done him no favors.

—Prudie, maturely