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Dr. Tolin also sits down with Marvin, who says that when he and Sharyn dated, her room at her parents' house was also cluttered. "That keeps on flashing back into my mind. I mean, I knew what she was like," Marvin says. "I guess I blame myself in a sense because she's my wife and I didn't know how to stop her from doing what she was doing."

Marvin says he feels like part of the hoarding is his fault, but he never knew how to put his foot down. "How do you do that? I mean, do I walk out of the house? And then what's she gonna do? She couldn't handle this by herself. There's no way. The most important thing is if you love each other. I mean, you can have the cleanest house in the world and if you don't love each other, you know, what good is it?"

Dr. Tolin says he sympathizes with Marvin's position. "On the one hand, it's easier for us looking at this for the first time and think, 'Oh, my God, this is shocking. Why don't you do something about this?'" he says. "But I also find it's awfully hard to win an argument about hoarding. I've tried and I lose all the time. And my guess is that Marvin's lost these arguments as well."

Dr. Tolin says Marvin is in a tough position. "On the one hand, he wants Sharyn to start working on this problem and clearing out the clutter," Dr. Tolin says. "But on the other hand, the more he pushes, the more it seems to drive a wedge between him and his wife. He's really stuck."
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FROM: Inside the Lives of Hoarders with Peter Walsh, Part 1
Published on November 15, 2007

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