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Is your car causing problems in your love life? Love life causing problems with your car? Need auto therapy? I'm your girl.

Have the kids gone from screaming in the back seat to driving? Got a dream date but your Trans Am's up on blocks? Is your partner's voice becoming as unbearable as the sound of a broken windshield wiper? Is your auto-honeymoon coming to an end?

Send me your questions each week. Auto Therapy will keep you on the road.

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Question:

I just started dating a guy who drives a flashy new BMW convertible. His car impresses me but what's behind the wheel? Should I cut it off now?

- Concerned of Ottawa

Being a BMW driver can mean a multitude of things. In addition to the car, you'll have to look at other factors to make your decision. A BMW is a grey area for determining personality, and in this case, date-ability.

Many of the reasons for driving a Bimmer are valid, like quality of the machine - they're very well built, they hug the road, and are incredibly fun to drive. But driving a BMW might also mean he's pretentious and into showing off his wealth. Then again, maybe he's just got an appreciation for fine machines, and a BMW is a fine automobile indeed. Maybe he simply enjoys the feel of the road. But a certain percentage of the population own Bimmers, and convertibles, because they offer the perception of wealth and prestige.

These drivers don't necessarily appreciate a vehicle for what it truly is. If that's the case with your new man, then he probably won't appreciate your less-obvious qualities, either. If he doesn't care about what's under his hood, how can he care about what's under yours? Apart from your fabulous good looks, would you be satisfied if your wit, sensitivity, and charm were lost on him? And what if he doesn't care about the fact that you can whip up an apple crumble to rival his grandmother's? Or that you were high school valedictorian or provincial ping-pong champ?

Believe it or not, there are unglamorous moments in owning a flashy convertible. Like any car, they still need oil changes, regular maintenance, and overall loving care. As a woman, even if it's your policy to never let them see you sweat, we've got our less glamorous moments, too. Imagine, for example, the horror of a sudden downpour during a weekend walk. Is this guy going to declare that you're even more beautiful drenched, with mascara running down your face?

When assessing any BMW driver you have to look beyond the car. What does he wear? How does he carry himself? Does he stand with the car as if it's only possession? Does he flaunt the fact that he owns a Bimmer? Does his wallet contain pictures of a buxom blonde bikini model leaning up against his car? Does he cherish it as though it were his only child? Is his sound system setting new decibel records? Is his mom making the payments? If any of these are true, you've got a problem.

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And let's not forget, this is Canada -- that convertible better be a hardtop. There's nothing like blasting through a Winnipeg winter with only a thin piece of fabric between you and the -65 degree windchill. And here's hoping he had the sense to buy the elegant new Z4 roadster, which, incidentally, was designed by two women.

What you want to hear is that it took your guy two or three years to find just the right car. You want to know that based on his previous car experience, he knew exactly what he was looking for. You want to know that it's ok to feel the leather, or that he'll let his dog jump up on the front seat, and worry about cleaning it up later. Does he talk badly about all the cars he used to drive? And if he sees another flashy convertible, what does he do? You need to know, because these things reflect how he will treat you.

If he's Johnny-Depp cool about the whole thing, his car doesn't define him, and you're not just another possession -- lean back and enjoy the ride, preferably on warm days with the top down. And who knows? If things go really well with Convertible Guy, maybe the two of you will trade up to a 3-Series Sports Wagon full of kids someday.

On the other hand, it depends what you're both looking for. Based on your hesitation, I've assumed you're looking for a committed, mature relationship. But if you simply want to see and be seen, and he's placed all his goods in the storefront window, the two of you may hit it off famously.

Do you have a question for Joanne? Send it to globedrive@globeandmail.com

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