DEAR ABBY: "Kate," my girlfriend of two years, and I recently had an argument that has left me questioning our entire relationship.
I owned a 30-year-old classic car in mint condition that I purchased new at the factory. I took meticulous care of it and drove it only rarely. One day, Kate drove my car out of her garage and broke a taillight and dented the side. She told me she would contact her insurance carrier and pay the $850 that I had received as a damage estimate. She later discovered her insurance didn't cover the accident, and suggested I pay for it with my own accident coverage. I didn't have that kind of insurance on the car, and told her that since she caused the damage, she should pay for it.
She refused to pay, saying she couldn't afford it, and a car shouldn't come between two people who love each other. I finally paid for the repair myself, but was so soured over the issue that I sold the car. She now claims that since I sold the car, it's really over with, and I should just forget the whole incident.
Whenever we discuss this issue, I become incensed at her irresponsibility and immaturity, and I have begun to wonder if this lack of character would manifest itself in other areas should I marry her. She claims that I have made money my god. Was I off base in my request for compensation for the damage she did to my car? -- BENT OUT OF SHAPE IN SAN FRANCISCO
DEAR BENT: You were not off base. Kate caused the damage, and she should have paid for it. Failing in that, she should have at least made the effort to pay for part of it.
Money problems account for a sizable number of rifts in marriages. Since you and Kate have had so much trouble resolving this, I urge you to seek premarital counseling to determine if the two of you have a workable future before proceeding any further.
Kate appears to be immature and irresponsible, as you surmised. The $850 accident may have prevented you from making a more costly mistake later. Be grateful.