DEAR ABBY: Our family recently went to visit my in-laws at their cottage. While we were there, the septic system stopped working and my mother-in-law, "Doris," suggested that my niece and I relieve ourselves behind the shed.
After I followed her suggestion, I noticed my father-in-law, "Ralph," standing not too far away watching me. I was shocked and offended, but didn't tell my husband until we left a few minutes later.
We have had a problem in the past with Ralph. Once when I was nursing, he sat close to me and stared at my chest. My husband said, "There's only enough room for one head, Dad." Immediately afterward, I spoke to Doris and the peeping stopped.
The nursing thing was weird, but this goes way beyond that. I like and respect Ralph for the most part, but I don't know what to do. We go to my in-laws' every other weekend. I can't go over there and pretend nothing happened.
My husband wants to talk to his father alone, but I feel Ralph needs to account to someone other than his son -- he should also account to Doris. Is this taking it too far? -- UPSET IN CONNECTICUT
DEAR UPSET: I don't think so. Your father-in-law appears to have a serious problem with "boundaries." He also appears to be a voyeur -- a Peeping Tom. Since "peepers" have been known to escalate their behavior, it should be called to Doris' attention before her husband gets himself arrested and has to register as a sex offender. Please don't wait. It is possible that you are not the only person Ralph has been watching.
DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Kent," and I have been married for seven years, and I'm facing a painful decision. Kent has a drug problem. I didn't know about his addiction until recently, when money started disappearing from our joint account.
Kent admitted to me that he's had a habit since before I met him. However, he doesn't consider it to be a "problem." He made it clear that he has no intention of quitting. And I made it clear that I don't want to be married to someone who's addicted to drugs.
I should probably leave him, but I love him too much -- and we have four precious children who love him, too. My husband rarely shows any signs of drug abuse; that's why I never had a clue until now.
To his credit, Kent is a great husband and father. Please help me decide what to do, Abby. I am against drug use, but I dearly love my husband. -- TORN IN SASKATCHEWAN
DEAR TORN: You already know what you have to do. Until your husband is willing to admit he has a problem, he cannot get the help that's available.
Kent should be encouraged to get into rehab and attend meetings of Narcotics Anonymous where other addicts have found new courage, strength and hope. Call telephone information for the local number.
The N.A. Web site offers meeting (and other) information: www.na.org; the e-mail address is nainfo(at)na.org; or write to N.A., P.O. Box 9999, Van Nuys, CA 91409.
If your husband refuses help, separate your finances from his and get the children away from him before they get the impression that drug use is acceptable.
To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600