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DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Jake," and I have been married eight years. We get along perfectly, except for his family. They have conned and cheated us out of thousands of dollars and spread vicious rumors about me.

At one point, the tension and hostility were unbearable, and Jake and I separated. After four months, we realized that we were meant to be together, so we reconciled. We both gave up successful careers and moved 400 miles away from his family. We have been happy here for three years. Aside from yearly holiday get-togethers, we don't see his family -- which is great!

About two weeks ago (just when I thought everything was going well), we were walking along the road and found an adorable dog giving birth to puppies. She was dirty, hungry and dehydrated, but she and the puppies survived under our care. After trying to find the owner, we realized that the dog was probably abandoned.

Well, Jake mentioned the pups to his cousin "Cindy" (a woman who has spread rumors about me), and to our horror, Cindy announced she was coming the following weekend to "pick up the cutest pup in the litter." We never offered a puppy to her, and had mutually decided to keep all the dogs so we wouldn't break up the little family.

When Jake returned Cindy's call, I heard him tell her that I wanted to keep all the dogs and was not giving any of them away.

I feel betrayed and hurt. This made me wonder if the reason his family has always disliked me is that Jake plays the "good guy" and blames decisions his family doesn't like on me.

Abby, I am shocked. Why did he sell me out and make me the "evil" wife? -- FEELING HURT IN WASHINGTON STATE

DEAR FEELING HURT: Jake doesn't want to make waves in his already turbulent family. He learned early to be a "people pleaser" -- and now you're paying the price.

You would both benefit from marriage counseling. It would give you the opportunity to express your hurt and frustration, and it could help your husband gain the confidence to finally express what HE wants, even to his family.

DEAR ABBY: My son is engaged to be married. I live several states away from his fiancee and her family. I was informed by the girl's mother that there will be a bridal shower in her state to which I will be invited. She also told me a shower should be given here for the groom's family and friends to honor the bride, and that she and the bride would attend.

No one here has offered to give the bride a shower. Abby, is it proper for the bride's mother to tell me to arrange a shower for the bride, and to invite family and friends who probably won't be able to attend the wedding? Should I be offended or simply confused? -- GROOM'S MOM ON THE FAR COAST

DEAR GROOM'S MOM: The groom's family is not required to host a shower, and there is no obligation for your friends or more distant family to do so. If someone volunteers to host a shower, it would be a nice gesture. However, since no one should be invited to a shower who cannot attend the wedding, it might turn out to be a very small affair.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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