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by Abigail Van Buren

Plain Talk May Help Friend Who Has Trouble Listening

DEAR ABBY: I married "Kelli" less than a year ago. She's a great person, very positive and a hard worker. She is not someone I would have imagined myself with five years ago, but I'm almost 30 now, and I thought we'd grow together over time.

Before our wedding I was hit by the worst anxiety of my life. I began feeling that the marriage might be a huge mistake. Sleep became impossible. My mom asked if I wanted to call off the wedding, but I thought it was just pre-wedding jitters.

As I said, Kelli is a great person -- but my unease about whether I made a mistake is still with me. I'm also not sure if things will stay as pleasant as they are now.

More troubling is that Kelli wants to start having kids. I do not want to have children, be in a miserable marriage and end up divorced. I have been to counseling to work on my anxiety, but the thought of a child terrifies me.

Kelli has her heart set on having kids. If I tell her I don't want any, it will break her heart. If you have any advice, it would be appreciated. -- RIDDLED WITH ANXIETY

DEAR RIDDLED: Clearly you are not fully committed to your marriage. The only thing worse than not leveling with your wife about your feelings would be to let things continue as they are and for her to become pregnant.

Kelli will be very hurt when she hears the news, so be prepared. Your counselor can help you break it to her in the kindest way possible. Do not procrastinate. Your wife deserves a husband who will love her without reservation, and nowhere in your letter did you mention even once that you love her. The bottom line is in the long run you'll be doing her a favor.