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by Abigail Van Buren

Husband's Road Behavior Is Driving His Wife Nuts

DEAR ABBY: "Robert" and I have been married seven years and have two sons, ages 1 and 3. Something is bothering me that didn't before -- Robert's driving. My husband speeds, tailgates, honks his horn to make others go faster and uses racial epithets. If I say anything to him, he accuses me of not trusting him or says I'm looking for something to complain about.

I am concerned for our safety and the impact Robert's behavior has on our sons, not to mention my worry about road rage. If either of our mothers drove with us they would cringe. What can I do? -- ROAD BULLY'S WIFE IN SAN FRANCISCO

DEAR WIFE: You are right to be concerned. Your husband is setting a terrible example for the children. His behavior behind the wheel could cause an accident or worse.

Drivers who behave the way he does are often using their vehicles as an outlet to vent anger or frustration about other things than the flow of traffic. Your husband appears to be unhappy about something, and it's important for both of you to get to the bottom of it before he hurts someone, or someone in your family gets hurt.

DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Ollie," and I have been married three years, together for almost six. Everything is going well, but his parents are a problem. They pressure us to visit them whenever we have time off. They live on the East Coast and we live in the Southwest, so visiting them is expensive.

Ollie wants to visit them whenever we have time off. I feel once a year is enough. I know he enjoys spending time with his parents, and I hate to have him not go because of me. But I'm beginning to resent my in-laws because I have spent all my vacations with them.

Abby, Ollie and I have never been on a trip by ourselves -- not even a honeymoon. I can't keep doing this. We have no children yet. How am I supposed to deal with it when we do if I'm having a hard time now? Any suggestions would be appreciated. -- STRESSED IN THE SOUTHWEST

DEAR STRESSED: That you and Ollie have never taken a trip alone is sad. It appears he and his parents are so bonded they are unable to let each other go.

Perhaps a compromise is in order. Divide up your vacation time. Suggest that Ollie visit his parents alone, and use the rest of the vacation time to take a trip together.

If you don't assert some independence now, by the time grandchildren start arriving, it will be more difficult to establish family traditions of your own.

You can try getting this message across to Ollie, but you may need the help of a family therapist to convince him to see the light. Please consider it.

DEAR ABBY: I am a "tween" who loves to share stories with my mom. When I tell Mom about my crushes and problems with my friends, I always tell her, "Don't tell Dad, please ..." She says she won't, but I found out that she tells my father everything. I am really embarrassed. Can I trust her anymore? -- LILLI IN THE CITY

DEAR LILLI: Your mother should not have made you a promise and then have broken it. It may have happened because she thought your father had a right to know what was going on with his little girl. That said, there's something YOU should know: A secret is no longer a secret when more than one person knows it.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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