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by Abigail Van Buren

Man Gets the Silent Treatment for Reasons He Can't Fathom

DEAR ABBY: My wife, "Helene," refuses to speak to me for days or even weeks. When I try to find out why or talk to her, she ignores me. She has moved into another bedroom, which has become her own little domain. She refuses to have sex or even watch TV with me.

I have no reason to believe Helene is cheating, and I am certainly not cheating on her. We are raising my son from a previous marriage, and sometimes I wonder if this is what is bugging her.

My ex-wife lives in another state, and we communicate only once in a while. My boy is a pre-teen, and Helene and I have had him since he was a baby. He considers her his "Mama," and she considers him her son.

I am very much in love with my wife, and I can't figure this out. Can people just fall out of love? -- FREEZING IN SOUTH CAROLINA

DEAR FREEZING: Rarely. More often they are either pushed or lured away.

As much as you love your wife, I hope you realize that her behavior is both passive-aggressive and abusive. Could she have emotional problems? Whatever has caused her to withdraw, unless she's willing to talk things out like a mature adult, there is no way to fix the problem.

Your marriage is in serious trouble. It's time to consult a licensed marriage and family counselor. If your wife won't go, you should go alone.