Virginia Ironside's Dilemmas: Should I tell my husband about my driving ban?

Some advice for a reader who's managed to keep a big secret from her partner

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The Independent Online

Dear Virginia,

Six months ago I was banned from driving for a year – I got too many points on my licence. Somehow I’ve managed to prevent my husband from finding out and whenever he suggests I drive somewhere I’ve said I’ve felt sick, or that I’ve got the wrong glasses or I’ve made some excuse. But this summer we’re driving from the South to Scotland and he wants me to share the driving. I know I should tell him the truth, but he’s the sort of person who would never let this drop. How can I get out of driving just for another six months?

Yours sincerely,


Virginia says...

I’ve found myself wriggling over this problem. I have thought of all kinds of wheezes to keep you in the clear for another six months. You could develop a phobia about driving. You could pretend to fall down in your kitchen and claim you sprained your shoulder. You could say that you went to the optician and he said that until he could get special lenses in your glasses which would take a while, it would be dangerous for you to drive. You could argue fiercely that you longed to go to Scotland by rail because driving it was more environmentally friendly. You could pay money to a gangster to break your arm while you were out in the street.

You’ve spent so long – six months – hiding your “crime” that surely it would be mad to confess at this late stage?

But having gone through all the possibilities, as I’m sure you have yourself, a veil was suddenly whipped from my eyes. What was I thinking of? What have you been thinking of? You should confess – and as soon as possible.

True, you’ve left it six months too late, but better six months than a year. You know that at some point – even years later – the facts will come out, you will never be clear of it, and the sooner you unload it the better. I can well imagine the sort of nightmare your husband is, the kind who will, as you say, go on about it for ever, bring it up time and time again, belittle you, despise you and so on. But the problem you must then address is the problem of your husband, not the problem of your driving ban. I’m not suggesting you leave him if he torments you like this after you’ve admitted it, but you should certainly say you’re so unhappy about his inability to drop the subject that you’d like to go for couple counselling.

And if you can succeed in getting him to agree, you might find that in the end you not only have a perfectly free conscience about the driving ban, but you will also have a better relationship with your husband. True, you’re at fault by not telling him. But he, too, is at fault, for being the sort of person who, on hearing the news, will react in a way that will make you suffer for years.

I suspect he has no idea his bullying tendency is so alarming and frightening. And I bet he scares you over other things, too. By opening up instead of hiding, no doubt your usual tactic, you may well find that, with help, your marriage becomes stronger than ever.

Virginia Ironside’s new book is ‘No! I Don’t need Reading Glasses!’ (Quercus, £14.99)

Readers say...

You’re a hazard

It seems you are not so much ashamed of what are in effect dangerous driving habits, but more worried about your husband commenting on the situation. But if this was the other way round, wouldn’t you be upset if he hadn’t come clean about what has happened? I wonder if he hasn’t been worried about your safety, since he must be aware of the risks you have taken while driving.

I suggest you take a big breath and tell him. I would also suggest you plan to take some kind of speed awareness course once back on the road, which you can also tell him about, to prove that you take the situation seriously.

Janet Long, York

Come clean now

Supposing you could somehow keep it covered up for another six months, the problem will not go away because your insurers have to know about your points and disqualification. Not telling them will invalidate the insurance. In fact, if the insurance has been renewed in the last six months, then even though you may not have driven, your husband is probably now uninsured.

You must tell him, and your insurers, right away.

Mike Perry, by email

Next week’s dilemma

Dear Virginia,

I’ve been a member of a book club for a year now and as I’m a single mother and don’t drive, it’s been a godsend. But when one person dropped out to go abroad recently, a friend suggested someone she was at university with. She’s turned out to be completely wrong for our group. Even her friend says she had no idea she’d be like this. She lectures us, tells us not to stray from the point if we get on to other topics, and suggests books that none of us likes. This isn’t a trivial problem. One person’s already left because of her. How can we get rid of her?

Yours sincerely,


What would you advise Teresa to do?

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