DEAR ABBY: I'm engaged to someone I love very much. I am 36 and he is 44. We get along great, but he's in a rush to get married. It will be my first and his second. We got engaged three months ago, and he wants the wedding to be in February. The date he picked is his father's birthday.
My other problem is, he is always pawing at me. He always needs to be touching me or calling me his "beautiful angel." It's good to hear that once in a while, but not five times a day.
I love being with him, but sometimes I need my own space. If I say no, he gets defensive and worried that I'm going to leave him. We spend practically every waking (and non-waking) moment together. I am almost at a breaking point. Help! -- OVERWHELMED IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR OVERWHELMED: I hope you realize that the behavior you are describing is not an indication of love, but of extreme insecurity. His need to constantly touch you, his defensiveness if you say you need some space, and his fear that you will leave him won't change if you marry him. I am also concerned about the way your wedding date was chosen, because the decision wasn't arrived at mutually.
Ask yourself this: If he makes what should be joint decisions, and you have no space for yourself because of his insecurity, is this the way you want to spend a lifetime? These could be symptoms of an abuser.
DEAR ABBY: I'm 25, have an associate's degree in health management, completed a CRMA (Certified Residential Medication Aide) course, and I'm now on my way to obtaining my bachelor of science in health management. It sounds like I'm heading toward a great future, right?
My problem is I have zero confidence in myself. I'm scared to death of making mistakes as a CRMA, and equally scared of being successful. Everybody says how "proud" they are of me and that I'm headed toward great things, but I'm not sure I can do this. I am struggling to find self-confidence because if I don't believe in myself, I won't achieve anything. What can I do to put myself out there and take the steps I need to accomplish my goals? -- NEEDS A BOOST IN MAINE
DEAR NEEDS A BOOST: Self-doubt can be an asset if it causes you to strive harder to master the skills you will need in your profession. However, because you are afraid of both failure and success, the surest way to conquer your fears would be to talk about them with a counselor at your school or to a psychologist. What you are dealing with is not as unusual as you may think.
DEAR ABBY: My husband insists that wearing a white T-shirt when out and about is the same as wearing a colored one with a design on it. I think he's wearing underwear as outerwear and is being too casual.
We do not live in a rural community. We are in a suburb of San Diego. Life is relaxed here, but not that relaxed. Do you have an opinion? -- DRESSING UP, NOT DOWN
DEAR DRESSING UP: I do have a thought or two on the subject. If your husband is comfortable this way, leave him alone. Because you are the one concerned with appearances, continue dressing up to create the impression you want and let him dress down and suffer the consequences -- if there are any, which I doubt.
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, CA 90069.
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