PQ 12.9 — Do I understand the needs my partner is seeking to meet by requesting veto, and have I considered alternative ways of meeting those needs?

a closeup of a dark-colored car. There's a yellow banner that draped across it that reads Student Driver in black letters
Image by burnbless / CC BY

PQ 12.9 — Do I understand the needs my partner is seeking to meet by requesting veto, and have I considered alternative ways of meeting those needs?

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Where I grew up at least, the cars they use for driver’s ed have a second set of controls on the passenger’s side. That way your instructor can assume control of the vehicle at any time should you be in danger of, oh, hitting an ice cream truck head-on, to use an actual example from something that nearly happened in my driver’s ed class.

And it makes a lot of sense for an instructor to have that recourse. Poor driving decisions can be lethal, and new drivers can be notoriously terrible in their decision-making. Being a driving instructor is a high-stress profession even with this safety measure. It’s really the least we can do to make it a little easier.

But you’ll notice that this feature isn’t standard in normal cars. Passengers typically don’t have a set of controls that they can use to take over the driving at any time. In a normal car, the driver drives, and that’s that. The best the passenger gets is to make color commentary about those choices or to make suggestions.

If we’re a passenger and we want to stop, we can’t slam on the brakes in the middle of the highway (and besides, that, even if we could, it would be dangerous), but we can politely tell the driver about our concerns.

“Do you hear that noise? Maybe we should pull off to the side of the road and check and make sure the engine’s okay.” Or, “I have to go to the bathroom. Can we get off at the next exit?’

Vetoes and ultimatums in relationships are more like operating a driver’s ed car.

I don’t know about you, but I’m glad I left driver’s ed.

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This post is part of a series in which I answer each of the chapter-end questions in More than Two with an essay. For the entire list of questions and answers, please see this indexed list.

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