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DEAR ABBY: I have been married for nearly 10 years. It's becoming increasingly apparent my husband is a mama's boy. He calls her constantly and invites her over frequently without consulting me.

I have tried to express that it's a bit much, but he becomes defensive. It doesn't help that his father died five years ago. I feel his protectiveness over her has accelerated because he fears she will be alone.

II need my space. It has reached the point that I'm starting to resent her, and that's not fair to her. Please help. — CROWDED IN WISCONSIN

DEAR CROWDED: It isn't fair that you are aiming your resentment at your mother-in-law. The person who should be the target of your displeasure is your husband. I assume you have communicated your complaints to him. It may require help from a marriage counselor to get him to understand that you don't dislike his mother, but that certain things between a husband and wife should remain private. Yes, she is his mother, but common courtesy would dictate that the two of you agree about how often you will come home after a hard day's work to find her sitting there.

DEAR ABBY: I've been married for more than 30 years. Our marriage isn't wonderful, but it's better than most. I love my husband, but I'm not sure I am "in love" with him. I have had an off-and-on friendship with my ex-boyfriend for the past 40 years. We're not intimate — just friends. We meet occasionally for coffee or dinner to talk. He is divorced.

Logically, I know he isn't the right one, but my heart still feels strongly for him. This in spite of a 20-year gap when we didn't see or hear from each other. I ran into him three years ago and we started talking, but a year went by before we saw each other again. No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to get him out of my heart. He says he will always love me, but I don't think he means "in love."

He has been with someone for five years whom he cares for and is thinking of marrying because he is getting older and wants the companionship. He claims not to be in love with her. I hurt when I don't hear from him regularly. My heart aches when I think about not having him in my life at all. How do I get over him? — EMOTIONALLY INVESTED

DEAR INVESTED: Wake up and accept that if your ex-boyfriend were in love with you, he would have demonstrated it by now. He appears to be very comfortable with the companion he's involved with — regardless of the fact he says he isn't in love with her, either. A surefire way to get over this lingering crush would be to start counting the many blessings you have with your husband of 30 years, and if there is something "missing," begin a dialogue and work to improve it.

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

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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Jeanne Phillips
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