Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Son-in-Law's Familiarity Is Fast Breeding Contempt

DEAR ABBY: My problem is the 40-year-old husband of my 30-year-old daughter. He believes that because he is "family," he is entitled to come into my home and help himself to anything he wants in my fridge or cupboards. He has done this for several years, even after having been told (by me) that this is unacceptable. After complying for a while, he went back to helping himself to food and drink as though he were in his own home.

His manners are atrocious. He doesn't wait to be offered a second helping -- he takes what he wants, sometimes ignoring the serving utensils and using his fingers. He weighs 260 and is a big eater. He complains if I don't have his favorite beer, suggesting that I buy it by the case so I won't run out!

My daughter caters to him, asking him (in my home) if he wants more of anything.

Because of the distance they have to travel to visit us, they always spend the night. My husband and I always give them our bed�room. When we spent the night at their place, we slept on a broken�-down sofa that they brought in from the toolshed.

I know there is very little you can do to help me, Abby, but I need to know if being "family" is a legitimate reason for my son-in-law's behavior. -- APPALLED IN CANADA

DEAR APPALLED: Being "family" in a family of pigs might excuse this inconsiderate oaf, but in a family of reasonably well-bred people, his behavior is not acceptable.