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

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.

DEAR ABBY: Our 23-year-old daughter, “Kristy,” lives at home. She works full time and goes to school, but lives here with free room and board, cable TV, etc. She has been seeing a man for a month and now is spending two or three nights a week at “his place.”

I am not unreasonable or naive, but I feel that because Kristy is living under my roof, she should live by my rules, which do not include sleeping over at some man’s house after only one month of dating. To top it off, we have never met him, although we have asked several times to be introduced.

We know that Kristy is an adult, but I believe that as an adult she should have enough respect for us to refrain from spending the night at his place until she knows him better and we have at least met him. Am I being unreasonable?

My wife throws up her hands and says, “What can we do?” I believe parenting does not end at 18. I am not a prude, but this seems wrong to me. Any advice? – DAD IN DISTRESS

DEAR DAD: Your daughter is a self-supporting adult with a full-time job, so stop treating her like a child. It is her right to come and go as she pleases, but if she does, she should have a place of her own. That way she won’t be obligated to introduce you to her men friends, some of whom might not feel ready to meet her father. It will give her some degree of privacy, and you can keep your illusions about your daughter intact.

Bottom line: It is your house. You and your wife have every right to make the rules and be comfortable in it. My advice is to suggest kindly to Kristy that all of you might be happier if she got an apartment.

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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