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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am 24. My fiance is 28. We have been together for five years and are engaged to be married in August. I love him, but I wonder if I love him enough to marry him. The closer we get to our wedding, the more I want to be free.

I want to go out, have fun and not feel so serious about everything. He makes things so much more complicated than they have to be. I can't even suggest a place to go for dinner without him having to think it over.

I feel guilty because I feel less attracted to him all the time. Should I marry him? -- CLAUSTROPHOBIC IN SAN FRANCISCO

DEAR CLAUSTROPHOBIC: You may be experiencing pre-wedding jitters, but one thing is certain: You shouldn't say "I do" unless you mean it with all your heart. You and your fiance could benefit from premarital counseling. It is something that many churches offer and can be valuable for any couple considering a lifetime commitment. Only if you can accept your fiance the way he is should you go through with the marriage.

DEAR ABBY: 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 3 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

DEAR LONGING: 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.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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