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by Abigail Van Buren

Wife Wants 'I Love You' to Be Reserved for Those She Loves

DEAR ABBY: After our father's death last year, my brother, "Rex," and I moved in with our mother to help her out emotionally and financially. Rex and I have always respected each other's privacy and have always supported each other.

Rex has put a lock on his door, which makes Mom and me feel as if he doesn't trust us enough to respect his privacy. We have never invaded his space or given him cause not to trust us. He is a caring, considerate person, financially stable, socially active, and helps Mom out with any repairs needed around the house. I love him dearly, but I am puzzled that he feels he needs to lock his room as if we are not trustworthy.

My feelings are hurt. Our family has never had trust issues before. What do you think of his behavior, and am I being overly sensitive? -- OPEN-DOOR SIS IN MISSISSIPPI

DEAR SIS: Yes, you are, so please stop personalizing it. Your brother is an adult, and adults are entitled to their privacy -- which, by the way, your brother has sacrificed to some extent by moving back with Mom and you. Respect his boundaries. The lock indicates to me that he feels he needs some.