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by Abigail Van Buren

Avoidance of Healthy Choices Could Derail Blooming Romance

DEAR ABBY: I've had an 18-year-old girlfriend for six months (I'm 24). She's a sweet girl who's caring, thoughtful and respectful. Every day typically goes well, and we never argue about anything -- except for when it comes to her health.

She is terrified of dentists and doctors. I used to be as well. But I have tried repeatedly to make her understand that, though those situations can be scary, it would be worse if she has to go to these places when it's nearly too late. She refuses to go to a doctor or dentist's office with me to watch what I experience. She says she'll receive vaccinations "when it's time" -- except for the flu shot and other "nonessential" shots. She says she'll go to the dentist when her teeth start to hurt. Her logic is, "I'm doing fine without this stuff now, so I'm OK."

I am trying to be as patient as I can with her. I have tried to explain that her logic sounds like, "I won't wear a seat belt because I haven't gotten into a car accident yet." I'm afraid I will soon grow so impatient with her ignorance that I break up with her. I don't want to be with someone who can't take her own health seriously. What can I do to get her to come around, face her fears and acknowledge that her health is incredibly important? -- TAKING CARE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

DEAR TAKING CARE: Your concerns about this girl are valid. There is help for people who are phobic about doctors and dentists, but only if they are willing to acknowledge there is a problem, which your girlfriend is not. If you were ever to decide to start a family together, you certainly wouldn't want this behavior passed on to your children.

In my opinion, you should end it now because it's a deal-breaker.

Read more in: Love & Dating | Health & Safety