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by Abigail Van Buren

Happy Marriage Is Marred by Clutter

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married for a very long time and have a good marriage. However, he has one annoying habit that drives me crazy. We live in a small house, and he has stacks and piles of things lying around collecting dust and creating clutter.

When I ask him to put them away, he says just to leave them where they are so he will remember to look at them "someday." Abby, these are videos, magazines, books or paperwork. It could be anything, really, like some gadget he wants to check out.

A neat and tidy house is important to me. This is nothing new; it has been going on during our entire marriage. What can I say to him to get him to change his ways? -- ANTI-CLUTTER IN IOWA

DEAR ANTI-CLUTTER: Probably not much at this point. But I can offer this insight. The tendency to do what your husband is doing is a sign of OCD, an anxiety disorder. For your husband, letting go of things he "may" want to look at "sometime" can be emotionally upsetting. A doctor might be able to help your husband, but that would necessitate your husband admitting that what he has been doing is causing a problem.

Read more in: Marriage & Divorce | Mental Health