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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for 15 years and have a boy, age 12, and a girl, 8. We get along very well except when it comes to disciplining our children.

About three months ago, we were at a mall shopping with our children. My husband became infuriated with our son because he wasn't paying attention to him when he was showing the correct way to fold a pair of pants.

I thought my husband overreacted and told him so. This resulted in his not talking to me for seven weeks.

We are now speaking to each other as if nothing ever happened, but we have not made love since that incident. Abby, we have never been without sex this long.

I feel rejected every night and my self-esteem is very low. I want to talk to him about it, but I'm afraid he will stop talking to me again. I feel as if I am getting mixed signals because we have regular conversations during the day, but at night he goes right to sleep.

What do you think is going on? -- CONFUSED IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR CONFUSED: Your husband is still punishing you for the incident that took place in the mall three months ago. He appears to be a very selfish man with an unforgiving nature -- and petty as well -- to punish you in this manner. He is cutting his nose off to spite his face ... well, it's not really his nose, but you get the idea.

When the children are asleep, tell him you would like to discuss this misunderstanding that caused him to clam up, and then to stop making love to you. Assure him that you love him very much and want to resolve the "misunderstanding" before any more time elapses. If necessary, suggest seeing a marriage counselor to resolve this problem. If he refuses, go without him.

DEAR ABBY: This letter is in response to "Brokenhearted Mother," whose obese son died in his sleep. I want this dear woman to know that the very day after her letter was published, I started attending Overeaters Anonymous meetings. I am in my early 20s and extremely obese. I am painfully aware that without help my life is in serious jeopardy.

Food is an addiction like no other. You can't get away from it, hide it or go cold turkey. It follows you day and night. I have an addiction and I know that I always will have. My only hope is to seek help and support. Hopefully, over time, I will become a thinner, healthier person, but there are no guarantees. I like to say that it is not just about lightening up your body, but also about lightening up your soul.

Again, to "Brokenhearted Mother," I am so sorry for your loss. You did a good thing, however, by getting out the message -- "Obesity does kill!"

On a final note: The next time you see a fat person on the street, please show a little compassion. We already know we are fat. -- GRATEFUL IN ONTARIO

DEAR GRATEFUL: I hope "Brokenhearted" sees your letter. For those of you who would like to contact Overeaters Anonymous, there are chapters in almost every city. If you have difficulty finding one near you, send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope to Overeaters Anonymous World Service Office, P.O. Box 44020, Rio Rancho, N.M. 87174-4020.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600