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by Abigail Van Buren

Wife Grows Anxious as Man Grows Closer to Her Sister

DEAR ABBY: I've been married to my husband for 21 years. We've had our ups and downs, but our relationship is solid.

For the last year, I have watched as my husband has become closer to my sister. It started with phone calls every once in a while to check on how she's doing. (She lives in our second home in a different state.) Then it turned into hours-long conversations a few times a week. When I told him it made me very uncomfortable, he said they are just "very, very good friends."

About six months ago, he started calling me by her name at inappropriate times. I told him he has been murmuring her name in my ear while we're in bed. He said he was sorry, and he would make some changes to the relationship with my sister. The changes he made were to talk to her every night for hours at a time. Then he needed to go to our other house "to get it ready for winter." He was alone with her for two weeks and then extended his stay by another week because she is "having health issues."

I told him I think he's having an emotional affair with my sister, but he disagreed. I'm in constant panic mode and don't know what to do. Any advice? -- SUSPICIOUS IN THE NORTHWEST

DEAR SUSPICIOUS: I don't blame you for being as upset as you are because, to say the least, what your husband has been doing is inappropriate. Have you talked to your sister about this? If you haven't, you should.

I am surprised that you didn't go with him when he went to visit "Sissy" and help her with her "health issues." That he extended his stay with her makes me wonder if there may be more going on than an emotional affair.

You need more support than a newspaper column can provide. Make an appointment with a licensed marriage and family therapist, if only to calm your panic and gain an ally. If you can convince your husband to go, it might allay your fears. But if he isn't interested -- go alone.

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