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

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.

DEAR ABBY: I have a set of beautiful rosary beads I received after my mother’s passing. I brought them to work and put them on to show a co-worker, and I received comments from three different people about how they never saw anyone wear rosary beads as a necklace. They said they weren’t sure it was appropriate.

It made me very uncomfortable, so I took the rosary off. I would not want to be disrespectful. Could you find out if it is appropriate to wear rosary beads as a necklace? – VAL IN MASSACHUSETTS

While putting the rosary beads on may have made you feel closer to your mother, and your intention was to display them for your co-workers, rosaries are not an item of jewelry, and they are not intended to be worn. Rosary beads are an aid to prayer, meant to move gently through your fingers while praying.

DEAR ABBY: This is in response to “Protective Lioness” (Dec. 3) and to you, regarding the man who took his 13-year- old son to lunch at a restaurant that features “scantily clad waitresses.” You said you wondered what “other indiscretions” he would have his son hide.

Sorry, Abby, but you both overreacted to the situation. Her husband may have asked his son to keep it to himself because he knew his wife would react the way she did. If my husband took one of our teenage sons to such a place once and didn’t tell me right away – so what?

And why such a big deal over a little skin (and probably cleavage) showing? I often see less clothing on young women when I’m out shopping for groceries! And honestly, when did it get to the point that a couple must know in down-to-the-minute detail everything a spouse/lover has done while away from the other?

“Protective Lioness” doesn’t sound so much “protective” as she does insecure. It makes me wonder who she’s more upset about seeing the waitress — her son or her spouse? – A MOM IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST

You’re right. I did react strongly to that letter. I viewed the problem through the prism of my own experience. To me the important issue wasn’t the amount of flesh that was showing in the restaurant. It was the husband telling his son not to disclose something to his mother. It didn’t strike me as off-base that the woman would be upset – not at the choice of restaurants, but at the idea that the father would instruct his son to “take sides” and keep her in the dark.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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