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          Out-of-Control Hobby?

          October 14, 2002

          “My husband is a book-aholic,” says Paula. His book collection — more than 4,000 books — has spilled over into the bed, and she can’t take it anymore.

          While most women look for lipstick on the collar, Paula is constantly on the lookout for any of Graham’s new book purchases. When does a hobby become so consuming that it’s over the top? She asks Dr. Phil to step in.

          • A “thirst for knowledge,” as Graham calls it, is great … until it intrudes on your marriage. If a woman had that many shoes, it would be thought of as a fetish or an obsession. It’s not any different just because he’s collecting books, so don’t use the moral high ground. There’s a point at which you accumulate so many books that it’s over the top. Graham has reached that point, says Dr. Phil.
          • You teach people how to treat you. Stand your ground and stand up for yourself. Why would you let your spouse take things this far? “You either have the books in the bed, or me in the bed,” Dr. Phil advises Paula to tell her husband. “You don’t get both.”
          • Negotiate a plan you can both be excited about. It might include boxes and storage space, but it can also include having a bed that a married couple can sleep in. 
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