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DH criticising my driving...

(42 Posts)
BadGirlsareGoodSometimes Fri 08-Jul-16 10:08:56

My first proper post - been lurking for ages but today I'd really welcome your opinions.

I'm not the most confident driver (took me 4 attempts to pass my test, although that was 18 years ago) but (touch wood) I've not been in any accidents. Admittedly I'm fine on my own and only more nervous with a passenger but I'm not dangerous, just a little hesitant and cautious.

So, 2 weeks ago my DH broke his arm and it's in a caste (irrelevant how it happened really - it was a DIY accident). Since then I've been driving him to and from work most days unless I have a prior work commitment (I work freelance; mostly from home but occasionally from clients offices).

My issue:
Every day DH has commented (*moaned and been critical*) on my driving. Sometimes it's in response to a question I ask about whether I 'should go' at a junction etc, as I've been asking him. He has very definite ideas about who/when I should let people in (or not!) and how fast I should drive etc, so after last weeks comments I've started asking him his opinion. However jnstead of replying nicely I've had the likes of 'f***ing cyclists - overtake him!'; 'you went too fast past those teenagers' (that walked out in front of me as I went round a mini roundabout - so I wasn't going that fast!); 'don't let them in'; 'stop farting about and put your foot down' get the picture...

I've bit my lip till now - often resulting in a stony silence from me, but this morning the comments were non-stop.

So once I arrived at the gym for my Friday morning class I text him this:

Honey - I'm not the best or most confident driver at the best of times, so your constant beratement and criticisms do nothing to help me. I'm doing my best to get you where you need to be so please stop criticising me. You've really upset me and it's not fair. If you don't like my driving you can make your own arrangements for the next three weeks until your caste is off. Have a good day - I'm at the gym. See you where I dropped you at 6pm Xx

His response:
It is quite simple, when you ask my advice when you are driving I give you advice, but, you being you, you argue about what I say so just don't ask for it. If you don't want to drive me in then don't. X

My response:
The delivery of your advice needs some work honey 😝. I am happy to drive you; I never said I wasn't. You were the one moaning you'd drive yourself next week 😳 xxx

Am I being unreasonable to be annoyed (and upset!) by his (unusually quick - I often have to wait an age for him to respond) response?? He is pretty rubbish at using the 'S ' word at the best of times (but is amazing and wonderful in every other way and we are very happy!).

I am particularly upset because he is also rubbish at using the 'T' word too and all I wanted was a simple 'sorry for upsetting you honey' and 'thank you for driving me to work'.

I should add:

- it's only a 25 minute journey (with good traffic) and I really don't mind driving him. Its meant I've been more diligent about going to the gym (which is on the way home) which is good.
- given his broken arm I'm doing other jobs that he would normally do too, like mowing the lawn, putting out the rubbish...basically anything requiring two good arms (😳).

I would love your opinions as I'm in a serious grump now and it's going to bother me all day. AIBU to expect a 'sorry'??

hollie11 Fri 08-Jul-16 10:12:42

Don't ask for his opinion any more whilst driving him. If he says something respond "thanks, but I've been driving for 18 years and know what I'm doing!"

Arfarfanarf Fri 08-Jul-16 10:14:52

stop asking his advice. That's really bad. You have to use your own judgement, you cannot defer to a passenger. You are in control of the car.

I know that's not what you were asking but it is really really really important.

If you don't trust yourself - how do you expect your passenger to trust that they are safe with you driving?

Every time you ask him whether you should go or whatever, you tell him that you can't make these decisions. He feels oh crap I'm in a car with a driver who doesn't even know when to go at a junction!

So he's driving too!

You need to stop making him your co pilot.

I think he owes you an apology for the aggressive nature of the comments and the swearing but really it sounds like this situation is because you're asking him to make decisions that as a driver it is your responsibility to take. Seconds are lost while you ask him and he decides whether it's safe for you to go or not. You can't do that. It's not safe.

ScrewyMcScrewup Fri 08-Jul-16 10:15:12

You shouldn't be asking him what to do. His opinion is irrelevant.

First time in a journey he criticises, tell him to shut up with a smile.
Second time, pull over at the next safe place and tell him to get out if he can't shut up.

user7755 Fri 08-Jul-16 10:16:17

What Holly said, and next time he comments on your driving pull over and give him the opportunity to get out. Perhaps near a bus stop if you are feeling generous.

ShotsFired Fri 08-Jul-16 10:17:04

Stop being such a wet blanket!

You can drive, you prove that to yourself every time you get behind the wheel. The only way to get more confidence is to do it more, and stop being such a deferential wimp to him and questioning yourself.

I mean this as nicely as possible btw.

AnnaMarlowe Fri 08-Jul-16 10:17:30

Stop asking his opinion. If you have a driving license and have been driving for nearly 20 years then you know the answer to all those questions.

Agree that in future you won't ask for advice and he won't pass comment on your driving.

My own (very lovely) DH is a terrible passenger. We long ago agreed that he isn't allowed to comment.

You are doing him a considerable favour so quite frankly he should be grateful.

That aside, perhaps an advanced driving course might help with your confidence?

MyKingdomForBrie Fri 08-Jul-16 10:21:00

I would not have swallowed that bloody rude response from him!! Don't drive him anymore if he's not prepared to listen to a very polite request not to rant about your driving.

BadGirlsareGoodSometimes Fri 08-Jul-16 10:21:35

Thank you - I agree with your comments regarding asking his advice. I never usually do but as his criticism became more frequent over the days I thought it better to ask his opinion. I realise my mistake (now..😳).

ScrewyMcScrewup - I love your suggestion! That really made me smile lol

Godstopper Fri 08-Jul-16 10:30:38

I would second an advanced driver course for confidence-boosting.

If my partner asked, what to my mind are basic, questions about when to pull out of a junction etc., I would likely be irritated, and it could lead to shouting since you do not have very long to decide most of the time. Not saying that's right, but I can see how someone might become irritable about it - the swearing isn't right though, and he should apologize.

PurpleAquilegia Fri 08-Jul-16 10:31:57

You've been driving 18 years and you're asking your passenger when you should pull out at junctions? shock

Bloody hell, woman, in the nicest possible way, you need to find some backbone. You should have slapped him down as soon as he started criticising you in the first place, not asked him for driving tips! Anyone telling me how to drive would get a stern warning and then find themselves on the pavement for a repeat offence.

Why not get some advanced driving lessons to brush up your skills and confidence? If you're dithering at junctions and driving hesitantly after 18 years of driving, for the sake of everyone else on the road (and for yourself), you really need to improve your skills. I actually misread the op and thought you'd said 18 months - my advice would still have been the same!

kaitlinktm Fri 08-Jul-16 10:45:46

My Ex used to criticise my driving and tell me what to do AND HE HADN'T EVEN PASSED HIS FUCKING TEST!! You are right though, it eroded my confidence until I felt I couldn't make a decision of my own.

No comments - and that includes tutting and sharp intakes of breath.

BadGirlsareGoodSometimes Fri 08-Jul-16 11:14:02

Just to clarify the 'asking him about when I should go at a junction' bit - I'm not hesitant at junctions, (it was a bad example); I've been driving for 18 years 🤓.

What I mean is - the roads we take are really busy, so pulling on to roundabouts when the cars are queuing and crawling is more judgement and opinion than right or wrong, and it should be made by the driver (I know this) but I seem to do this at the wrong time (according to him) so I started asking him when to go.

Also I sometimes let cars pull out from side roads in front of me (which he hates); each time I've done that he has got annoyed so I've been asking 'should I let that person out?'.

What's made it worse is he's started taking me on back routes through congested (with parked cars) residential roads which means lots of pulling in to let cars past - and I don't appear to get that right either...!

I'm a safe, confident driver normally, but this last few days his comments have just knocked my confidence.

And thanks for all the suggestions to do an advanced driving course - I'd love to and have talked about it often. I think it's time I pushed forward on that.

I'm glad I posted and stopped my 'lurking' here at mumsnet - I feel I have a good plan for later when I pick him up, thanks to all your advice.

It involves me confirming that I do not require his comments on my driving, nor will I be soliciting his opinion. 'I've been driving for 18 years thank you - and an very happy with my driving style and how courteous I am to other road users' (including cyclists who don't bother me nearly as much as him), and if he can't hold his tongue he can make alternative arrangements to get to and from work.

No more 'wet-blanket' from me (I loved that ShotsFired).

CocktailQueen Fri 08-Jul-16 11:17:53

He sounds like a selfish dick when he's driving - of course you should pull in to let cars out! FFS.

Good for you - stand up for yourself and don't ask his opinion! You are the driver; you are in charge.

MassiveStrumpet Fri 08-Jul-16 11:20:50

He has worn down your confidence. You've driven 18 years without an accident. You're a good driver. However, hesitating to wait for his input on decisions can effect your "flow" and perhaps make things less safe.

If you drive him again, don't ask for his opinion. And when he criticises tell him that you're not listening.

SaveSomeSpendSome Fri 08-Jul-16 11:22:07


I dont allow anyone to comment on my driving particularly none drivers like my mother and my 3 year old!! (I have a 3 year old back seat driver)

Why dont you go the way you know rather than the back roads?

RunRabbitRunRabbit Fri 08-Jul-16 11:51:55

I agree with what everyone else said. You choose the route. You drive it. You don't ask for his opinion, you tell him to shut up if he makes comments.

However, I think YABU about the text. I'd be upset if I were him. This is the first he has heard that you are unhappy. For two weeks he has been behaving like this and you have sought his opinion and deferred to his instructions.

How exactly was he supposed to know that for two weeks you had been pretending to have different feelings to the ones you were actually having?

When you sent that text you had just been in the car with him. By your own account you had a gazillion opportunities to tell him to stop it. You didn't. You waited until later. Then you didn't even tell him to his face. You sent a ranty text that included a threat to not drive him any more. That's the first he knew that you were not happy. That's record breaking 0 - 60 from his point of view. If I were him I'd look at that text and go "WTF! Where the hell did that come from?" and I'd feel unjustly attacked.

His response was OK in the circumstances I think. He said just stop asking if you don't want my opinion and don't drive me if you don't want. Perfectly reasonable I think.

Why on earth would you have a difficult conversation by text anyway? The non-verbal cues and aftermath conversations are hugely important if you are going to say something critical to someone out of the blue.

BadGirlsareGoodSometimes Fri 08-Jul-16 12:26:44

RunRabbitRunRabbit - I had told him in the car this morning, and yesterday, and the day before (etc) that his comments were making me lose my confidence; that he had upset me and that if I asked opinion could he deliver it nicely please?. It wasn't the first he had heard about it so it wasn't out of the blue.

I sent the text as we don't speak on the phone when he is at work and I wanted to make the point that he had particularly upset me today (as today he went on and on and he made the point he would drive himself next week as he didn't like my driving). I didn't want to leave it until I picked him up this evening as I'd like to enjoy my Friday evening with him rather than discussing a petty point.

It wasn't a difficult conversation as far as I'm concerned - I was expressing my feelings; and I don't believe it was a critical thing. He knows me (and how I work) very well, and he would not have been surprised to receive a text like that from me (annoyed but not surprised).

I appreciate your comments though and as with lots of situations written about on MN it's difficult to include every detail that has occurred so understand your response.

JudyCoolibar Fri 08-Jul-16 12:34:28

Just tell him (in person and not by text) that you're happy to take him, but you'll use the route you prefer and that he needs to say nothing about your driving unless it's an emergency; so long as you get him there safely it's no business of his whether you choose to let people out of side roads or whatever. If he opens his mouth, or if he even gives a sharp intake of breath or a tut, tell him that he's had his final warning and the next time it happens he'll be out of the car and walking. And if necessary, put that threat into action.

BadGirlsareGoodSometimes Fri 08-Jul-16 12:36:57

Exactly JudyCoolibar - I will do 😊

Whathaveilost Fri 08-Jul-16 12:41:32

As others gave said you are foolish to ask about junctions and stuff.

My lovely Dh only makes a comment when he's drunk. I just say'hey, everyone's a critic!' If that doesn't shyt him down then u say Well if it's that bad you can always make your own way home, I don't mind! Seriously I wouldn't put up with that nonsense abd be telling him to find his own way if he found the driving so terrible!

ProfYaffle Fri 08-Jul-16 12:46:50

"You should have slapped him down as soon as he started criticising you in the first place" Yup. My dh has a tendency to start with little comments about my driving. I call him on it every time in a jokey way. "Fancy a walk do you?" <eyebrows> or usually "when I drive, I drive my way. Feel free to drive any way you want when you're driving" etc

It's just a gentle nudge to remind him not to be so fucking rude.

ParadiseCity Fri 08-Jul-16 12:51:17

Good luck OP. My DH is a terrible passenger, I only drive him anywhere if he promises to get drunk and fall asleep. Obv this is not so helpful for a broken arm scenario blush

JudyCoolibar Fri 08-Jul-16 14:50:54

My DH does things like trying to tell me what lane I should be in and automatically checks at junctions as if he thinks I'm incapable of it. I usually just say "Hey, no back seat driving" and it generally works.

ShotsFired Fri 08-Jul-16 18:02:42

My bf used to (note past tense) turn my indicators on for me (before I got to them, not because I wasn't using them).

That was enraging. He knows my opinions on that sort of "help" now.

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