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by Abigail Van Buren

Ties Still Bind Wife to Mom After Five Years of Marriage

DEAR ABBY: Five years ago, I married a 40-year-old woman I'll call "Phyllis." We had dated for eight years. My problem is, after all this time Phyllis still has not moved into my home. She has never moved any of her personal belongings in either. And she runs home to her mother's house six days a week.

When I try to talk to Phyllis about this, she tells me she will bring her "stuff" over, but then she returns to her mother's and nothing changes. Please tell me what to do. -- LONELY SPOUSE IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR LONELY SPOUSE: It appears your wife is having an unusually hard time severing the umbilical cord with her mother, who may not even be aware that her daughter has a husband. Because you and Phyllis are so far apart on the amount of togetherness it takes to nurture a successful marriage, offer her the option of marriage counseling. If she refuses, you should consult a lawyer.