I'm embarrassed to admit this, but my husband doesn't brush his teeth every day. To make matters worse, he wears upper dentures, which he soaks and cleans only about once a week. He hasn't been to a dentist in the 13 years we've been married, and I suspect he hadn't been for some time before that.
I have talked to him about how this limits my desire to kiss him. Smelling his breath from three feet away is something I can't ignore.
I have tried reasoning with him that dental health is part of a total health program, but he also hasn't been seen by a doctor in the time we've been married -- despite a family history of heart problems, prostate cancer and diabetes. He appears to be in good health, but I worry about him.
When I tell him how his lax dental hygiene affects my physical desire, he listens intently, says he understands -- and then nothing changes. I love him. We have a good marriage, but he simply won't budge. Please give me some advice. Perhaps if he sees this in the paper he'll recognize himself.
Longing for a Sweet-Smelling Kiss in Georgia
Don't bet on it. There is none so blind as he who will not see.
Your husband also appears to have selective deafness when it comes to hearing something he'd rather not act upon.
Frankly, I don't know how you have stood it this long. Insist on "clearing the air" with a marriage counselor. Your husband's refusal to attend to his oral hygiene is childish and disrespectful. Ask for a referral to a health-care provider who is familiar with medical and dental phobias. The alternative is to spend the rest of your life wearing a clothespin on your nose when your husband feels amorous.Dear Abby:
My husband and I have a great marriage. We're crazy about each other. There's just one thing we can't seem to agree on: He wants to travel to faraway places and I don't. I even suggested that if it means that much to him, he could go with one of his friends or a family member. He insists that he doesn't want to go without me.
This issue isn't hurting our marriage, but it sure isn't helping it, either. Any suggestions?
Homebody in Norfolk
Everyone should have your problems -- a husband with an appetite for world travel, the pocketbook to back it up, and the desire to share the excitement of the adventure with his own true love. If I were you, I'd quit complaining and start packing.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.
(c)2004, Universal Press Syndicate