No, she can’t borrow my car

My BF’s family is coming to visit and he wants me to lend my car to his sister. My gut says no. Am I wrong?

Our elder suggests a compromise.

Dear EWC

My boyfriend and I have known each other for about a year and have been officially dating for the past three months. We are both in our early 30s. His family is coming down from out of state, and it will be my second time meeting them (his mother and sister in particular). It dawned on him to ask me if they could borrow my car to do some shopping. I was aghast that he would even think to ask me that, especially since his sister goes on vacation every month. When I asked why his sister couldn’t get a rental car, he said that she doesn’t have the money for it, and that she doesn’t like asking her breadwinner husband for things unless he offers. I’d offered him in the past to borrow my car since he has a son and does not have a car due to a DUI, but his family is another matter. He is financially strapped as he is a single dad and is in debt. Other than this string of bad decisions, he has been a very good person and partner to me, and overall. He understands that I’ve declined his request, and won’t press it further. But my issue is that underneath that, he says he still doesn’t truly understand why it’s a big deal. We have chalked it up to our different backgrounds, but I’m wondering if this is indeed a red flag like my gut tells me. How else can I explain to him why this is crossing boundaries?

Ketchman replies

Thank you for contacting us.

I think that the situation you described is one in which you should listen to your gut. Lending someone your car always carries some risk because you, as the registered owner of the vehicle may be liable for damages if the driver gets into an accident. You shouldn’t be subjecting yourself to that risk just because your BFs sister is hesitant to ask her husband for a few dollars. That should be her problem, not yours. It might be different if this was a situation of needed assistance for someone with financial needs — but that doesn’t seem to be the case here.

You mentioned that your BF doesn’t own a car because of a past DUI. If the sentence for that conviction included a prohibition on driving for some period I hope you’re not putting yourself in legal jeopardy by letting him drive your car.

The best response to his request would be an honest one. That is, you don’t know his family very well and you’re uncomfortable loaning your car to relative strangers. The only reason you let him use your car is because you know and trust him; and that in his case, it’s a case of genuine need given his situation. Hopefully, he’ll appreciate an honest and reasoned response. If you’re feeling generous and have the time for it you might want to offer to take his mother and sister to a shopping area and then pick them up an hour or two later.

I wish all of you a most happy holiday season. Please call on us again, whenever you’d like a bit of advice or another opinion on anything you could use some assistance with. Thank you for giving me a chance to help. I hope I have.

Letter #: 452530
Category: Dating/Relationship

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