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by Abigail Van Buren

Romance Is Cooled by Torch Woman Carries for 'Friend'

DEAR ABBY: I have a big problem -- my father-in-law, "Hal." He has lived with us more than eight years and has never contributed anything toward his keep. I asked him once to pay some rent, but he refused. This not only caused a rift between my wife and me, but her two siblings -- who are well off -- said Hal was "living on the poverty line," so we should keep him for nothing.

I wouldn't mind so much, but my wife has to clean up after him, do his laundry and take him to his medical appointments. More than that, having Hal underfoot all the time has completely destroyed our privacy.

Hal spends most of his pension buying presents for his other children who never even come to see him. All we get from him are complaints.

What do you suggest? -- RESENTFUL IN IDAHO

DEAR RESENTFUL: Enough is enough. You and your wife are long overdue for a meeting with her siblings to discuss this problem. They should have started chipping in to pay for their father's care eight years ago and also seen to it that you have some respite. Unless and until this is brought out into the open, nothing will change.