Weekend Warrior: My Husband Wants a Motorcycle

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Dear Robin:

My 60 year-old husband wants to buy a motorcycle and I am dead set against it. He started making noises about this a couple years ago and I ignored him but recently he said he would be buying one in the spring. We argued – it was bad – and we haven’t spoken for two days. Motorcycles are dangerous and I told him he is an idiot for wanting one and I’m not interested in nursing an invalid when he crashes. Any advice?

Worried Wife

Dear Worried:

I can’t for the life of me imagine why your husband continues pushing for this new toy despite your loving and concerned approach to discussing it with him.

:-/

When I emailed you, you told me he hasn’t ridden a motorcycle since he was a teenager. Your children are both grown and you think your husband is showing signs of what you labeled “the dreaded mid-life crisis” but which I believe is neither something to be dreaded nor a crisis.  See here for a longer look on that subject: Is a Mid-life Crisis Inevitable?

Let’s talk about the reason you think you wrote me (and not the actual reason) first: the donorcycle, also known as a motorcycle.

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Although I abhor your method, I agree with you this is a very dangerous decision. Even for expert riders, tooling around on a Chopper can be a dicey proposition because motorcycle riders are 26 times more likely to be injured in an accident than a car passenger.

For guys like your husband, the risks are exponentially larger.

This is actually a thing.  Men of a certain age who are experiencing some of the common changes and big thoughts that come with getting older sometimes want to explore an activity that seems exciting, different, youthful, and just plain fun.  They picture Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda and think, “Hey, that could be me!  I’ll buy a motorcycle!”

The problem is, these weekend warriors are wrecking at a phenomenal rate.  Please show your husband this study: Motorcycle Crashes.

Inexperience, reduced vision and reaction time, and a propensity for purchasing larger bikes which roll over more easily are just a few of the reasons older riders suffer more serious injuries (including death, which is a very serious injury indeed) than their younger counterparts.

In fact, younger riders are seeing a decline in injury and fatality rates, while riders over 40 and especially over 60 are scattering their ashes all over the road before the family can get them to the crematorium.

Talk to your husband.  Show him the statistics.  Rather than yelling at him or stoning him with the deafening silence of your displeasure, tell him you love him and you don’t want him to get hurt or worse.

Remind him that his children still need a father, even if they are adults now.  Plead with him not to do this and explore other activities he could engage in that are more safe, like knife-juggling or BASE jumping.*

BASE-Jumping-from-Christ-the-Reedemer-Rio-de-Janeiro-Brazil

This is how I convinced Mr. Patience and Understanding to sell the motorcycle he owned when we met.  I like to think not only am I extremely persuasive, but also that he valued his life much more when I came on the scene and didn’t want to risk losing it.  I gave him his special purpose!**

Now let’s talk about the real reason you wrote to me.  Worried Wife, your marriage is in trouble.  Here’s what I gleaned from our talk:

1. You are angry that he is considering leaving his job after over 20 years and starting his own business: something he has dreamed of for years.  You, of course, do not work.

2. Now that the kids are gone, you admit you have little in common and you don’t often do things together.

3. You also admit your main concern is not that he die in a wreck but that he become severely injured and therefore dependent upon you.  God forbid one of you become totally dependent upon the other, hmmm?

Whew.  If I were your husband I’d be less concerned about wiping out and losing my life than I would be going to bed with you each night.  Does he sleep with one eye open and a knife under the pillow?

Perhaps he sees the motorcycle as a way to tempt fate: an easy method by which to commit suicide via actuarial tables instead of pulling the trigger on the gun I picture him fondling each day in his office.

I don’t mean to blame you entirely because a marriage failing as spectacularly as yours has two partners, each of whom should shoulder their fair share of the blame. Unfortunately, I only spoke with you so I cannot judge what role he might be playing in your silent little war.

If I were your husband, I would see myself trapped in a marriage with an bitchy shrew who has lived off my hard work for decades and who refuses to support me in my dream of starting my own business because she fears I’ll make less money.  I’d look around during one of your silent treatments at everything I provided to you and think, “how dare she tell me what to do?”

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If you truly love your husband, and I have serious doubts about that, you need to start a conversation about what is happening in your marriage.  Revisit why you fell in love in the first place, pinpoint where you think things might have started to go wrong, ask him what he might want out of his career and from you (imagine that; he has needs too!) and how you can spend time together getting to know each other again.

See a marriage counselor but don’t expect a miracle without a lot of hard work from you both.  Somewhere along the way you lost each other; whether or not you can find your love again remains to be seen but your current paradigm of nagging, bossiness, anger and silence is not the path that will lead you there.

If all else fails and he insists on buying a motorcycle and neither of you wish to part ways, purchase additional life insurance and pray for a skid that will put both of you out of your misery.

-Robin

* Those two activities are in fact safer than riding a motorcycle.

** Reference from “The Jerk.”  Did you get it?

 

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. lebirch

    “Get busy living or get busy dying.”

    I think most people that do not enjoy high risk activities have no idea what it is like for those of us that do. It is nearly impossible to describe. Personally, I am a type 2 fun kind of guy. I like to climb mountains, ride motorcycles, rock climb and soon I hope to sky dive and base jump. I would feel imprisoned if I could not enjoy life as I see fit. That is not a figure of speech. I really would feel that way. How do I know? I have been there. I also divorced that bitch. Despite getting financially crippled for a decade it was the best decision I have ever made. It would be a tragic way to spend ones life with aspirations, hopes and dream to constantly be shut down by the one that is holding your balls for you. Somehow, I don’t think it would go over so well for him if he started imposing his rules on her.

    Hopefully counseling can fix this thing they refer to as a marriage. But I would not bet on it. And I sure as hell would not let her suck one more year of my life away.

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnYfYlQD7hA&w=560&h=315%5D

  2. mosier1

    I’m a risk taker by nature (pilot, mountain biker, etc.) but one thing I have never wanted to do is kill myself on a motorcycle. There are too many old people driving around trying to kill me in my car let alone on a hard to see, speeding moroncycle! Let him have it, let him know that he’ll need to have a long term health care policy because he has a wife, not a nurse! At the end of the day, like many kids with new toys, he’ll stop playing with in after a few months anyway.

  3. SavageWotan

    You nailed it. There are only two categories of people who ride a motorcycle: those who have had a wreck and those who are going to have a wreck. I got that wisdom from a teenage quadriplegic after his wreck. The problem is not the desire for the motorcycle, but at the age of the subject, the motivations underlying the death wish. (For younger people, it is not so much a death wish as not appreciating the reality of death or catastrophic injury.) As the survivor of miserable marriage, I can say that when you are in the shit, driving into a bridge abutment looks like a pretty good idea until you realize that she gets the last laugh when she cashes-in on the life insurance. However, the Miserable Marriage Death Wish is expressed in many ways–mostly drinking too much, eating to much and not getting enough exercise–so you can accelerate your demise. The smart move is to reverse each of those and look for strange.

  4. A Loyal Fan

    Perfect. Insightful. Brilliant. Need I say more.

  5. YouCanLeadAHorticulture

    Ouch! That was some brutal truth served with a side of wisdom. I am so glad that my partner does not want to ride motorcycles or jump out of planes, to the point that he would feel deprived were he not able to do those things. It would make me nervous to the point of distraction. My best friend’s boyfriend is a motorcycle rider, and it drives her to agony worrying about him. He recently had a close call where he almost lost his life on a winding narrow parkway we often take, particularly when they come and visit me. They are discussing marriage and children, and I think one of the conditions will have to be for him to trade a motorcycle for a car or truck. the It seems to me like there is a huge difference between a 60 year old who had been riding a motorcycle for several decades and had a deep understanding of riding, vs a 60 year old who is taking it up.

    Also, the letter writer had me on her side at first, but really lost me when she expressed not wanting her husband to leave his job and start his own business. So the poor man just can’t do anything he wants to? What an awful attitude to have about life in general.

  6. Chad

    Robin,

    The first section of this article had me concerned… I ride a motorcycle. The second part of your article tipped me back from the edge. THIS ARTICLE WAS JUST LIKE RIDING A MOTORCYCLE! Thrilling, unbalanced, yet-straight-to-the-point of why we as humans engage in activities such as riding or even marriage-to feel alive.

    Great writing!

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