DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law recently moved close to us. She has a nice home and has lots of friends in the area, but she doesn't want any of them to come visit.
Abby, her entire focus is on us! She walks right into our home, although she has been asked several times not to. She goes through my things and takes whatever she wants without asking. I can never relax unless my husband isn't home and I have locked the doors so she can't barge in. When he is here, she comes over, walks in, and if we have company, thinks she should join our guests.
I recently retired, and I get anxious because I want it peaceful, but with her invading our privacy, it's anything but. I have grown children I adore, but I don't want them walking in either, and they never would. It took me years to have a home life with my husband because he was a longtime bachelor, and for years his buddies would drop by unannounced. Now it's his mother!
I feel like the bad guy, but I just want what most people do -- to feel content in my own home. What else can I do? -- WANTS TO RUN AWAY
DEAR WANTS TO RUN AWAY: You should not have to feel like a prisoner in your own home. Keep all the entrances securely locked, especially the front door. While you're at it, if you haven't already done so, tell her to stay out of your belongings because you don't want any more items to "disappear."
Because your MIL won't listen to you, have your husband tell his mother not to drop in without calling first. If she does it anyway, when she shows up, rather than "ask" her not to do it, tell her and don't let her in.
DEAR ABBY: I am one of your male readers. I took in a teenager on his 17th birthday because he wanted to leave an abusive, neglectful situation from his mother and her husband. I have known him since he was 4. During the time he has been here, we have bonded, and his appearance and attitude have improved. With his permission, I recently legally adopted him.
Our problem is that people are making comments that this is a sexual thing, which is absolutely not true. How can I quash these statements? He is very grateful to have a loving dad now, but is afraid of backlashes. -- ADULT ADOPTION
DEAR A.A.: The problem with rumors of this kind is that some people love to speculate, and truth has nothing to do with it. Unless you can pinpoint where the rumors are coming from, nothing you or your son can do will prove they are untrue. If that should change, however, there may be legal steps you could consider -- because accusations that someone is taking advantage of a minor could be considered slander.
DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Jerry Jr.," was named after his father. He had two sons, "Jerry III" and "Bobby." When Jerry III had a son, he decided not to carry on the tradition and named his son "Stephen." Now Bobby is expecting a son and would like to name him Jerry to honor his father. Our question is, would this child be Jerry IV, since he's part of the same immediate family? Or would he just be Jerry, since his father has a different name? -- ALL IN THE FAMILY
DEAR ALL IN THE FAMILY: That should be up to Bobby to decide. From where I sit, the baby would be just plain Jerry, unless your clan is planning on starting a dynasty.