Who Is Driving?
I was not surprised to learn that my estranged husband always takes his car and drives when he travels with his girlfriend even if he always insisted we share the time behind the wheel when we traveled. It’s part of being a “perfect” partner for someone new which can be annoying to watch but is all too common.
I have known many men who would never let their significant other drive when they went somewhere together. I’m not sure about their motivation, but I guess it was some kind of macho man desire to be in control in some cases. In my opinion, it was just chivalrous. They would let their wife relax in the passenger seat while they took on the stress of driving.
This was not something I enjoyed when I was with my husband. He would drive if I insisted, but he expected me to share the burden even after I became disabled in 1999 because of a stroke. My psychiatrist suggested he was just giving me a vote of confidence regarding my rehabilitated driving ability by asking me to at least drive one way of most journeys in the car.
I didn’t appreciate being expected to drive. I lived in chronic pain and only had the use of my right arm. Why couldn’t he be that guy who always drove?
To be fair, there were many, many tasks around the house I was not able to share such as diaper changes. We had a new baby and a two year old son when I was released from the hospital. Driving was one thing I could take on to help. So I did. With resentment.
At the same time, I was enormously grateful I was able to drive at all. After the stroke, the left side of my body was totally paralyzed. It took seven months of rehabilitation and driver training before I was behind the wheel again with a “spinner knob” attached to the steering wheel I used to make big turns using only my right arm.
For reasons unrelated to driving, my husband moved out in 2015. He bought a very expensive car at around the same time. It was not a mid life crisis sports car, but a luxury sedan. I drove it a few times before he left. It had an automatic transmission unlike many of his previous cars that he liked so much which precluded me from driving them at all with only one arm.
It has been four years since my husband left. I have seen him behave in ways that seem out of character in his new relationships. I dated someone new for a few years who was an excellent driver, but was often too inebriated to get behind the wheel so I was the designated driver just about all the time. I’m now dating a man who drives for a living so it’s usually me driving again.
This past weekend my husband traveled to his girlfriend’s daughter’s family weekend at college a few hundred miles away. The girlfriend has a late model car. There are over 100,000 miles on my husband’s luxury sedan. He commutes over 100 miles per day from his new residence. I thought it didn’t make sense for him to drive to go visit HER child in his car.
There was a story about how he likes to use his car when they travel because he is “uncomfortable” in the seats in her car because of his bad back. This is probably true, but I know it is also just part of him being the man he could never be for me for another woman.