Dear Jaclyn and Heidi,
My husband, Oliver, and I were having the trip of our lives until a couple of weeks ago when he had a fall and broke his arm. The accident itself was bad enough, but we received fantastic medical care and the prognosis is good. It’s just a temporary setback but I am now seeing the man I married turn into a demanding child. As if waiting on him hand and foot wasn’t bad enough, I also have to listen to this ‘poor invalid’ criticise my driving and roll his eyes every time the motohome goes over a pothole or I brake. Considering I’ve hardly driven in 30 years I think I’m doing okay but his constant carping is driving me bonkers. We’re crossing the Nullarbor next week, and I’m dreading the 10-hour gripe sessions that await.How can I shut him up?
Go easy on Oliver, Wendy. It is frustrating enough being unable to do simple jobs like washing up or tying your shoelaces properly, let alone being an enforced passenger. A lot of people who ‘always drive’ find it very difficult to sit in the passenger seat and this often manifests itself in being hyper critical of the new driver. I am sure Oliver doesn’t mean half of what he says, and would be mortified if he knew how much it was upsetting you. Just rise above it and carry on doing the best you can. It’s not your fault you keep running into potholes. It is down to the authorities who haven’t patched them up quickly enough! Don’t take the criticism personally Wendy. Just look forward to giving Oliver’s driving a much more critical assessment when he gets back behind the wheel!
Time to press the ejector seat button, Wendy! For some men, driving is all tied up with their self esteem. Take that away from them, and you’d best look out! Having said that, you shouldn’t have to worry about the delicate male psychology. It’s not your fault that Oliver took a tumble, and it’s not your fault he’s a nervous passenger. In fact, it’s about time you told Mr Insecure to ‘belt up’ or prepare for a very bumpy ride. You’re in the driver’s seat now, Wendy, and Oliver is just going to have to deal with it. If he doesn’t sharpen up his act, I suggest you accidentally on purpose leave him behind at a remote roadhouse. When you come back for him in a year or two, you’ll be a more experienced driver … and I bet he’ll be a lot more appreciative!