DEAR ABBY: I married a man with two adult children. When I met him, "Jerry" was a single father whose ex-wife had died soon after their divorce.
I have two small children who live with us. Jerry has been a wonderful husband and stepfather. When we married years ago, we both owned our own homes. We jointly decided to rent mine and live in his.
Whenever we go away on a vacation, his children use our home without asking. There have been parties, complaints from neighbors, our house left in disarray, and "friends" I don't know sleeping in my children's beds. In the past, Jerry tolerated this behavior.
Now that my children and I live here, I asked my husband to talk to his children about this. He did, and things have toned down, but they haven't stopped.
It bothers me that they use our home when we're not here. I feel it's an invasion of privacy, lack of respect and a risk. Jerry feels it's their home, too, and he's reluctant to be firm with them. I don't think they or their friends should be here when we're gone. Am I out of line? -- HOME INVASION IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR HOME INVASION: No, I agree with you. Circumstances have changed since your husband's children lived there, and your feelings need to be considered.
It is no longer "their" house. Throwing wild parties, inviting strangers to use the beds and leaving the place in disarray is disrespectful to both you and their father, and should not be tolerated. Your husband's reluctance to make this clear may have to do with lingering guilt over his divorce from their mother, but it's time for him to step up, do what's right and draw the line.
DEAR ABBY: I'm in the eighth grade, and I have crushes on two boys. One is in 11th grade and the other is a senior.
The boy in 11th grade treats me like a queen, and I don't exactly like that. On the other hand, the senior treats me like I'm nothing, and I really like him.
My friends think I should be with the one who's in 11th grade. What do you think? -- HARRISBURG, PA., TEEN
DEAR TEEN: I think you have confused the excitement of a "challenge" with a real relationship. Before you begin dating anyone, it's important that you figure out exactly what it is about being treated well that turns you off, and why you're attracted to someone who is even mildly abusive. The sooner you do that the better, because you'll save yourself a world of disappointment and pain.
PS: Right now, I think both of those boys are too old for you.
DEAR ABBY: What should a person do when he or she works with a pathological liar? This woman brags about extravagant trips to New York, Europe, etc., from which she never brings any pictures to show. She brags about what she has or what she buys. She even tells people that she's a lawyer when she's really a secretary, and tells everyone that she's going to school, but she has never enrolled at any colleges.
This woman and I have friends in common, and I know that none of what she brags about is true. Because she works with a lot of professional people, I guess she feels she has to make up lies to fit in. I wish everyone knew what she's doing so they wouldn't fall for her lies. What do you recommend? -- FED UP IN PASCO, WASH.
DEAR FED UP: The person you have described has enough problems without you creating more for her. I recommend you bide your time and keep your distance. People who lie usually trip themselves up and give themselves away eventually.
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