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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Dear Annie 12/19

By Annie Lane Creators Syndicate

Dear Annie: My husband of decades has a habit that I don’t care for, and I can’t seem to make him understand the problem. I have run out of ideas, have asked counselors and anyone I can that might have an answer or suggestion. I am desperate to see whether you or your readers have any ideas.

The issue is this: If he sees anything around and he doesn’t recognize it, he throws it away. If you are right there, then you can stop him. Otherwise, you’re out of luck. I check the garbage for items regularly.

The last things he tossed out that I didn’t catch were my two photo albums from my childhood. My mom, dad and great-grandma worked on those two albums. Needless to say, the albums contained pictures of many individuals who are gone. I can’t seem to forgive him and get over it. It’s mostly grieving for what I can never see ever again. I thought I’d made him understand that these sentimental items are mine and that he has no right to throw something away without checking with me. Please help … I have tried counseling, both me alone and us together. I have left notes on items from matter-of-fact to rather nasty. I have tried explaining, every day, not to throw my things away. Please tell me how to deal with this problem. I am at my wit’s end! – Missing My Things

Dear Missing: While not considered its own psychological disorder, compulsive decluttering can be a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder. I encourage you to find a 2015 article on The Atlantic website, entitled “The Opposite of Hoarding,” and see whether the behavior described reminds you of your husband. Though you’ve tried therapy yourself and attended couples therapy with him, he may benefit from individual therapy on his own, potentially for the treatment of OCD. If I hear any insights from readers, I’ll be sure to print them here.

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