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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I have been married for 12 years and am very unhappy. My husband refuses counseling because he feels nothing is wrong. I do all the parenting, cooking, most of the cleaning, etc. He does work, but refuses to leave a "cushy" job for one that's better paying.

I have sacrificed my safety to work at a school that is known for violence, but he doesn't seem to care other than to say that he will buy me a bulletproof vest. Being back in the dating world would be more fun than this so-called marriage. We are both 34, and a friend says I am going through the "itch."

I am very confused. Help! -- K.D.P. IN S.C.

DEAR K.D.P.: Don't scratch your "itch" -- it will only cause further irritation on what is already a sore spot. The dating world has its share of problems, too. If your husband refuses to seek counseling, go without him. It may give you some insight into your feelings and why you have tolerated this kind of marriage for 12 years.

DEAR ABBY: After seeing the letters about the importance of carrying identification, I felt compelled to relate a story about a friend's daughter who had identification at the time of an accident.

She was walking home one night and was hit by a drunk driver. She was rushed to the hospital where, at the time, my husband was working in the emergency room. Her body and face were so badly mangled that he didn't recognize her. She was rushed to surgery where the doctors tried unsuccessfully to save her life.

After finding the identification, a hospital representative phoned the family with the news of the accident. Upon arriving at the hospital, the family was told that she had not survived. When they were taken to identify the body, imagine their shock when the girl they were shown was not theirs! Our friend's daughter had been carrying her girlfriend's identification at the time of the accident! -- P.K., WATERFORD, MICH.

DEAR P.K.: What a nightmare! I'm sharing your warning for the benefit of anyone who might be tempted to carry fake ID or someone else's.

DEAR ABBY: I'm 15, and I'll make this brief. I would like to know the top 10 mistakes to avoid on the first date. -- TIFFANY IN VANCOUVER, B.C.

DEAR TIFFANY: How's this:

1. Be late when he comes to pick you up.

2. Fail to introduce him to your parents.

3. Talk and laugh loudly and draw attention to yourself.

4. Look at other boys when he's talking to you.

5. Discuss your past boyfriends.

6. Order the most expensive dish on the menu.

7. Gossip about the latest nasty rumor you heard.

8. Turn the restaurant table into a beauty parlor -- combing your hair and applying makeup.

9. "Put out" because you think it's expected.

10. Ride with someone who's been drinking.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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