Incisors and Indecision
Dear Margo: I recently met a man who is very interested in me. Based on what I have learned from a mutual acquaintance, he possesses a lot of the qualities I would like in a significant other. Some of these qualities are hard to come by, and I should know — I’m 43 and have never been married.
While I am interested in getting to know him better, there is one deal breaker. I never thought I would be the type to let physical attractiveness dictate a relationship, as I am no skinny beauty queen myself. However, this man has serious dental problems. His front teeth are missing, and many of the remaining teeth show signs of decay. I noticed that his sister has missing teeth, as well, so the neglect may run in the family.
What I don’t understand is why he would continue to present himself to the world this way. He has a good job, and I am almost certain he has dental insurance. I don’t know whether he has a phobia about going to the dentist. As much as I hate to say it, I would be embarrassed to be seen in public with him. Here’s my question: Is there a constructive way to encourage him to get much-needed dental work? I really could see us together, but can’t get past the condition of his mouth. — Perhaps They Are Afraid of Dentists?
Dear Per: At the beginning of your letter, I was prepared to tell you that wonderful qualities trump looks. But as I read further, I realized that I, myself, could not strike up the band with a man with no teeth in front and the remaining ones clearly decayed.
I would say some version of the following: “I think you and I could be great and close friends, but I must tell you that, for the sake of your health, you must get new teeth where there are none and see to the ones that are on their way out. I suspect you and your sister have a fear of dentists, but there are now both dentists and sedatives to deal with this problem. If you and I are to go forward, you must bite the bullet and see a dentist.” Well, maybe leave out “bite the bullet” given the situation you describe. Good luck. — Margo, reconstructively
Passive Aggressive Wind and Dust
Dear Margo: My wife and I are going through a difficult time right now. We have an ongoing issue that we can’t seem to resolve. I have asked her not to open the windows in the living room because the wind will bring dust into the house. Instead, I ask that she turn on the vents or air conditioning. She insists on the open windows because she wants to bring fresh air into the house. I feel I am being disrespected by her doing so. Am I wrong?
I’ve moved into the guest bedroom because I find our bedroom unlivable. She has things in boxes scattered all over the floor. When I ask her to please make the master bedroom more hospitable, she tells me that it is her room and she can keep it as she pleases. I believe that is why I have the right to insist that the living room windows remain closed. Please help me understand what to do here. — Victor
Dear Vic: Probably go to a couple’s counselor. There is more going on here than wind, dust and boxes on the bedroom floor. The fact that she has set it up so that you have vacated the master bedroom — and not done anything to get you back — suggests she is just as happy with you sleeping elsewhere. A woman who announces that the marital bedroom is “her room” sounds as though she would be just as happy single. There is a lot of indirect acting out here, so you might want to look into this and have your wife clarify her thinking about the marriage. — Margo, logically
Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to email@example.com. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.
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