Men – Why You Need to Stop Driving Like a Rally Driver
“I would usually drive much faster, but today I have precious cargo” he said to me on our first date.
I remember this so clearly because this was the first time that a man had demonstrated to me his concern for not only my safety, but for my experience of driving with him. And it is the experience of feeling safe that I want to highlight.
Driving is one of those activities that I classify in “Advanced Relationship Skills” the fiasco of combining navigation, traffic, and speed, while being in a confined space, is a common source of relationship tension. Couples often get stuck arguing over whether or not he is driving safely. They debate the practicalities like how closely he drives to the bumper of the car in front. They rage about how fast he drives, how suddenly he stops or how he changes lanes. He feels undervalued and unappreciated, she feels unsafe, angry and unheard.
It’s not about your driving skills.
She knows you are a great driver! It is not about her judging you, or about your capabilities as a navigator. This is about your respect for her boundaries and her comfort.
On a primal level a woman needs to know only two things from her man. That she is safe, and that she can trust you. In this moment she is experiencing neither of those things. And it is more than that – when she doesn’t feel safe in your car, she doesn’t feel safe with you. This is a microcosm of your relationship, and she is telling you “I don’t know your boundaries. I don’t feel like you respect mine.”
It’s Fight or Flight.
When she has a physical experience of fear or anxiety in your car, it doesn’t matter a lick what you say, or that you are a precision driver. You are triggering fight or flight responses in her, and she has no influence over the outcome. On a biochemical level her body begins to produce cortisol and adrenaline, which have a direct impact on her mood, her libido, and the way she feels about you.
On a deeper level, she is learning that there are times when she doesn’t feel safe with you. And that when she expresses her need for safety, she can’t trust you to provide it.
You are in control of this outcome. Both literally as the driver, and metaphorically through your choices.
So the bottom line is yeah, maybe the guy in the V8 was being a jerk, and maybe you won’t get to your destination as fast as you would like, but what might have the greatest impact on your happiness?
The 5 minutes you save in traffic? Or a woman who knows she is cherished and respected?
I invite you to shift your attention to a different desired outcome- a harmonious loving relationship. Drive as though you are taking your test and there is zero margin for error. Imagine she is holding a full cup of hot coffee and don’t spill it! Leave 3 seconds of space between your car and the car in front.
Give her the experience of safety and trust in you, so she can relax and appreciate you.