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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I have been married nearly a year. My husband and I were together for five years before that. I am his fourth wife.

What's bothering me is he gets most of his mail delivered to his mother's -- things such as his cell phone bill, his paychecks, etc. Everything he owns is in storage in another country. He makes all his phone calls from work and never receives any at home.

I saw his credit report. He has taken out loans I know nothing about.

I love my husband with all my heart, but am I right to think a marriage isn't supposed to be this way? I feel he has two lives. -- IN THE DARK IN TENNESSEE

DEAR IN THE DARK: I don't know how many lives your husband is living, but the answer to your question is no, a marriage is not supposed to be the way yours is. Your husband's behavior is unusually secretive -- and when people are secretive, it is usually because they have something to hide.

There are many red flags in your letter, and because of that I'm advising you to talk to an attorney and find out how loans taken out without your knowledge could affect you.

DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend gets weirded out and angry when I hold my kids from a previous marriage in my lap and want her to be close to me at the same time. She says it's "gross and inappropriate."

She acts like I am trying to be sexual with her, but I'm not -- I'm just trying to have her near me while I'm sitting on the couch with my children. She says I should only be affectionate with them and her separately.

Am I the one with the problem here, or what? -- DAD IN LAKEWOOD, WASH.

DEAR DAD: Your girlfriend may feel competitive with your children, or she may have something in her personal history that makes it difficult for her to differentiate between paternal affection and sexual closeness between adults. If you want concrete answers from her, you need to discuss this subject more fully with her so she can explain why she feels the way she does, because it's odd.

DEAR ABBY: Since my daughter left home several years ago, I have become extremely anxious on Sundays. In the afternoons it feels like the walls are closing in on me. I feel so depressed I have to leave the house.

If I go someplace that is open and unconfined, with lots of people around, I feel fine. When I return to my house in the early evening and dote on my pets, I get back to feeling normal.

Abby, some people have said I suffer from "empty nest syndrome." Others say it's "cabin fever." Any thoughts on what I can do about this? -- PHIL IN PHOENIX

DEAR PHIL: If your daughter left on a Sunday, that may be the reason you become depressed and anxious on that particular day of the week. Or because you are less busy and distracted on Sundays, you become more aware of the fact you are alone. Whether you're experiencing "empty nest syndrome" or "cabin fever" is irrelevant. Discuss your feelings of depression and claustrophobia with a licensed mental health professional so you can be properly diagnosed and receive help for your problem.

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