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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Last year, my husband "Rick," and I were asked to host an exchange student from Sweden. When Rick saw "Inga" for the first time at the airport, he told me he felt an "instant bond." He now wants to help her with all her goals and objectives. Those goals include Inga never returning to Sweden. Rick is talking about letting her live with us while she finishes high school and community college.

Rick spends many hours helping Inga perfect her English and do homework. He takes time off work to take her on day trips to see our local "points of interest." He comes home early from work to watch her compete in swim meets and volleyball.

I am jealous that Rick is giving Inga all this attention because he has never done it for our daughter or me. When I comment about how much time he spends with her, he pouts. One minute he says he wishes he had never met her; the next he's talking about Inga living with us permanently and sponsoring her citizenship. I think he's obsessed with her. What do you think? -- FEELING FORGOTTEN IN FLORIDA

DEAR FEELING FORGOTTEN: I think it's time to call the organization that sent Inga to you, tell them it's not working out, and arrange for her transfer to other lodging. The girl is underage and the situation is explosive. Do it to save your marriage -- and the girl's and your husband's reputations. Then insist on marriage counseling.

P.S. If your husband isn't willing to go along with this, tell him you're going to exchange HIM for a more responsible role model.

DEAR ABBY: I'm at my wit's end. Five years ago, my daughter, "Julie," moved in with me. Later, her boyfriend, "Rick," moved in and then Julie's adult daughter, "Lisa." (Julie and Rick are now married.) Between them, they give me about $300 for rent each month.

Things were OK until about 18 months ago. Rick's attitude toward me changed and so did Julie's. They have control of my whole house, Abby. Lisa sleeps in a room they set up for her in my attic. Last month, Julie and Rick decided we should have a "family meeting." Lisa was included. (Lisa has a job and contributes about $100 a month for her share of the rent.)

They announced that they will no longer buy food, cleaning or toilet supplies for the house -- just for themselves. They now put their names on everything. I feel like I'm in jail in my own home. I pay the mortgage, the utility bills and the taxes. They pay two-thirds of the water bill.

They moved out once but couldn't make it on their own, and I foolishly allowed them to move back in. Now Rick is the boss of my house and Julie goes along with everything he says. I don't know what to do. I'm considering moving out. It's hurtful that they'd treat me like this. I'm not a youngster -- I'm over 60.


DEAR EMOTIONALLY ABANDONED: If your daughter and her husband are putting their names on your house, your car or other property, pick up the phone and call a lawyer. If you don't have one, get a referral from a trusted friend or your local bar association. The lawyer can also explain your rights in your home so that your family can't take advantage of you any longer.

Under no circumstances should you leave your home. If anyone goes, it must be your daughter and her family. You are being emotionally abused.

Once you have talked to your attorney, offer your "family" the option of family counseling. No one should feel like a prisoner in her own home, so please do not tolerate it for one more day.

Let me hear from you when you have followed my advice. I'm concerned about your welfare.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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