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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My husband's cousin, "Suellen," spends at least five hours a day at our house. She's unemployed, unmarried, and has few of the social graces. She shows up without calling, often stays long past our bedtime, and even horns in on vacations with us.

I have a 3-year-old and am pregnant with our second child. I also work from 9 to 4 and am usually exhausted by the time I get home in the afternoon. None of this means anything to Suellen.

She refuses to take a hint. I have often told her I need peace and quiet in the evening and how much I enjoy being at home with my own little family.

Today I'm not going to go home, because she's already called to say she'll be there. How ridiculous is that?

My husband won't say anything to his cousin even though I complain to him all the time. I don't want to be rude, but I don't understand how anyone can be as oblivious as she is.

Abby, what can I do? -- DRIVEN CRAZY IN ALABAMA

DEAR DRIVEN CRAZY: Since your husband can't bring himself to do it, you must draw the line. It's possible that Suellen doesn't take the hint because she regards herself as family. Speaking out will not make you popular, but it may save your sanity. You have my sympathy.

DEAR ABBY: My 20-year-old son, "Warren," has been stealing from me. He has taken money and my ATM card from my wallet and pawned more than $5,000 worth of my jewelry. Warren started a job recently, but he spends his pay within days.

I know I should kick him out or have him arrested, but as a mother, I keep hoping he'll change. Also, I don't want my son to have a record.

I don't think Warren is on drugs because he recently passed a drug test at work. I doubt therapy will work because he seems to have no remorse. I didn't raise my son this way, Abby. He's my child and I hate to lose him. What should I do? -- DISTRAUGHT MOTHER

DEAR DISTRAUGHT: Unless your son is forced to face the consequences of his bad behavior, he is unlikely to change. By ignoring the thefts, you have enabled him to continue. I urge you to put a stop to it. Insist that he get therapy immediately, or he's out of your house. Without help, he will continue to steal from you and from others -- and it's only a matter of time until he winds up in prison, or worse.

DEAR ABBY: Astonishing! The day your follow-up to "B.J. in Georgia" appeared in our local paper was the day I learned I needed to have a colostomy. Many of my friends called me to see if I had seen the column.

I felt exactly the way "B.J. in Georgia" did -- no way was I going through with the procedure.

After reading the testimonials from your readers -- "Phil," "Glass," "Nancy" and "Laura" -- my fears were eased and I have decided to have the operation.

I want to thank you and your readers for helping me to make this most difficult decision. I have cut out your column and will refer to it any time I feel the need. -- EARL IN PORTLAND, ORE.

DEAR EARL: I'm printing your letter so that all of the people who wrote to offer support will know their caring and generosity made a difference. Please know that you are in our thoughts and prayers, and all of us wish you a speedy and complete recovery.

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