DEAR ABBY: My 60-year-old son, “Martin,” is an accomplished litigation attorney, handsome and opinionated, but kind and attentive to me. (I am a widow.)
Unfortunately, he’s a terrible driver and always has been. Sometimes I think he has a death wish the way he drives. He speeds, texts, phones, and looks away from the road to talk to passengers in the car. I can’t understand how a man of his intelligence can be so reckless with his life and the lives of others. He’s a husband, father and grandfather.
I hate to drive anywhere with Martin, even though he invites me to come along to various events. He doesn’t take kindly to criticism, and when I say he’s going too fast, he gets defensive. He just doesn’t get it. He thinks he’s invincible.
I’m not the most tactful person, but I’m running out of excuses for why I don’t want him to pick me up. I do drive, so I say, “I’ll meet you there,” but it’s getting old.
How do I tell my son I no longer want him to drive me? How can I make him understand how serious his bad driving habits are? I’m not afraid of dying at my age, but I’d rather not die in an auto accident. — DISTRAUGHT MAMA IN FLORIDA
DEAR DISTRAUGHT MAMA: Stop making excuses with your son. Tell your son how much you love him. Then tell him the truth — that his driving makes you afraid not only for your own safety, but also for him and his family.
If he becomes defensive, let him rant, and when he runs out of breath, go on to say that this is the reason that, while you deeply appreciate his invitations, from now on you will be arranging your own transportation. Do not be unpleasant about it, but don’t be dissuaded.
DEAR ABBY: My “fiance” and I have been together for 10 years. I say “fiance” in quotes because although he has given me a ring and popped the question, we don’t talk about planning a wedding. Every time I try, it gets me nowhere, but this isn’t the problem I’m writing you about.
He has never been the type to attend my family functions. He will come on the major holidays, but even then it’s a fight. I have reached the point that I no longer ask him to join me, but then I have to make up some kind of excuse for him. I’ve had enough of it.
Recently, when I have mentioned my family, he has started going off about what he doesn’t like about them. It’s getting worse, and it puts me in a tough spot. What is the best way to handle this? — STRESSED OUT IN ILLINOIS
DEAR STRESSED: You would be wise to realize that at some point you may have to make a choice between your “fiance” and your family. Take into consideration that you have devoted 10 years of your life to someone who has given you a ring and a promise, but who has shown no signs of being willing to follow through.
Since you asked, I think the best way for you to handle it would be to cut your losses and choose your family.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.