DEAR ABBY: My otherwise loving, honest, generous, kind and attentive husband of 10 years feels it's his right to walk into the bathroom whenever he wants, even when I'm in there. He says it's coincidence, but I think he does it intentionally. We don't have locks -- or even doors -- to shut our master bathroom. We do have other bathrooms in the house.
I have asked him repeatedly not to come in or to make some noise so I know he's coming. He says he "forgets." If I'm in the shower or bent over with my head upside down blow-drying my hair and turn around or look up and see another person, I get startled. My adrenaline pumps and I end up yelling at him.
I'd prefer to get clean and pretty in peace. My husband thinks I'm overreacting. Am I? -- BOTHERED IN THE BATHROOM
DEAR BOTHERED: Feeling as strongly as you do, it's surprising that you would move into a house in which the master bedroom and bath are set up this way. And yes, I do think you're overreacting.
However, you have a couple of options: The first would be for you to get clean and pretty in one of the other bathrooms. The second would be to start a remodeling project and have a door (or doors) to your master bath installed so your husband can knock before entering.
DEAR ABBY: I am married to a wonderful and unique man. Despite his privileged upbringing he is very down-to-earth. His parents' affluence afforded him many opportunities and still does. Unfortunately, my in-laws are snobbish, self-absorbed and competitive. They are critical of everyone -- especially their grown son. They put him and each other down constantly. They cause scenes and can't enjoy life.
My husband is trying to be patient because he knows his parents aren't going to change at their age. But they consume so much of our energy with their constant dramatic highs and lows. Any advice for dealing with drama queens (and kings)? They do love us and can be considerate. -- LIVING IN THE REAL WORLD IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR REAL: It may help you and your husband to understand that people who act the way your in-laws do are usually insecure on some basic level. They put others down to inflate their egos and reassure themselves that they're "OK" by magnifying (or inventing) flaws in others. When your in-laws start to criticize, be pleasant and make a point of saying something positive about their target. It will short-circuit the rant.
DEAR ABBY: I'm a 40-year-old working mother raising a daughter who is the joy of my life. Once in a great while I'll accept an invitation to go on a date and hire a baby sitter to watch my daughter.
My question is, who should pay for the sitter? The man who asked me out or should I? I have yet to have a suitor offer to pay. Is that just the way it is, or are these men just cheap? -- MOM ON A BUDGET
DEAR MOM: Paying for your daughter's sitter is your responsibility. When you become involved in a steady relationship and the cost of a sitter becomes a financial burden, discuss it then with your boyfriend, who should be willing to share some of the cost.
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