I love my boyfriend, but I'm always driving him around. I certainly don't mind being on the road - I've got a Mercedes CLC. Problem is, he never fills my tank. Over the years (we've been together for four), I've fallen into the habit of not saying anything about it. We usually split everything else down the middle - vacations, dinner, and even go Dutch to the movies. Any advice?
- Running on Fumes
Gasoline. Really? In these environmentally sensitive times? With the trouble and discomfort fuel is causing you, maybe it's time for an electric car. Perhaps the two of you should go for a long drive and talk about it.
You can't let things fester. This will continue to needle at you. While you're avoiding confrontation by not saying anything, unfinished business is trouble. Today you're driving him around; tomorrow you might be raising a golf club to his Escalade. Who knows.
One thing is certain - you've got to let a man know what's wrong before you can expect him to change. There's always the subtle approach. A dab of petrol behind each ear is sure to be a conversation starter next time he leans in for a kiss. Same thing goes for having him unwrap a jerry can and siphon hose on his birthday.
But after four years, is subtlety really where you're at? An example from my love life comes to mind. I enjoy cooking. But I didn't know what it was like to have someone else toss the salad, let alone peel me a grape - until I met someone who did just that. I liked the role reversal so much that I didn't cook for him at all, and apparently wasn't picking up on his hints. When he finally spelled it out, I understood.
There could be a deeper reason your guy is using you as his personal chauffeur. In my case, with the cooking - sure it felt good to be pampered, but the real reason I didn't return the favour was that I was intimidated by his culinary skills. In your case, there's a good chance your guy is intimidated by your vehicle. A Mercedes is pretty hard to beat - if he's even got a car. Not to mention that being dropped off at soccer practice by a babe in a Mercedes will get him some serious cred on the field.
Which brings me to an obvious question. If you can afford a Mercedes, do you really need him to fill your tank? That could be what he's thinking, too. But of course, the matter of principle is another thing. I'm all for equality, but where's the romance in splitting everything right down the middle? Unless he's making a home cooked meal every night, or you're a professional driver, is this what you want in the long run?
And another question - what is this guy, an economist? I wouldn't be surprised to hear that he also antes up a coupon for his share at Dairy Queen. The fact that you split everything, yet he's riding in your car for free, puts him in a financially advantageous position.
As all drivers know, there's more to maintaining a car than adding petrol. Does he ever bother to look under the hood and see if you need an oil change or a lube job? If not, maybe the relationship is running on fumes, too. If you were planning to spend the rest of your life with this guy, perhaps it wouldn't matter so much -- you might consider what's yours is his and what's his is yours. But it sounds doubtful that this partnership is a permanent arrangement for you.
Do you think a mechanic would let you drive around with an empty tank? Maybe it's time to consider a change of passenger. There's something very appealing about men who look after their vehicles. Which brings me to wonder - if you had an electric car, would your current guy even bother to plug it in?
What it boils down to is this. You're the one in charge of your happiness. Next time you're running on empty, pull up at the gas station. Tell your man to fill the tank, and pay for it. Sounds crazy I know - but it might just work.
Need some auto therapy? E-mail Joanne at globedrive#globeandmail.com