DEAR ABBY: My daughter and son-in-law are both in the military. Currently her husband is stationed elsewhere. They have a 6-month-old daughter, and I'm staying with her to help her out for now. I have a gut feeling that she is cheating. Do I have the right to ask her? -- WORRIED MOTHER IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR WORRIED: Of course you do -- that's what mothers are for. You also have the right as her mother to point out that if it's true, what the consequences of her fling may be when her husband returns. When you talk to her, try not to come across as judgmental as much as concerned, and be prepared to do a lot of listening, because people don't usually start affairs for no reason.
DEAR ABBY: I'm fairly certain that you have never heard this one before, but I am a slob. It's embarrassing, but it is what it is. I'm working on it, but I'm nearly 70, so major change is unlikely.
I suspect a friend of mine used my hidden key and came into my house to clean for me on my birthday while I was out to dinner with my children. She meant well, but I have asked her repeatedly not to help me. She simply refuses to listen to what she doesn't want to hear. She says she cleans because it's a stress reliever for her, but it just makes me feel more stressed.
Needless to say, I have taken in all of my hidden keys. I am frustrated by her actions and feel violated, not honored. Honestly, I am just embarrassed. I haven't been feeling well for a while, so the house was particularly messy. I suspect she's waiting for me to acknowledge her "thoughtfulness."
Abby, please tell your readers that "helping a friend" is NO HELP if it isn't welcome. I feel what she did was stubborn and selfish since it was what she wanted to do -- not what I wanted. I'm a big girl, and I can ask for help if I want it. -- FRUSTRATED IN THE WEST
DEAR FRUSTRATED: I feel for you, but the person who needs to receive that message is the person who has been doing this "for" you over your objections. Are you absolutely sure that it's this friend who's doing it and not some other well-meaning person -- a relative, perhaps? If you are certain, then deliver the message with both barrels.
What concerns me is your statement that you have taken in your extra keys. That means "someone" may have made an extra copy, which would be not only a huge invasion of privacy but also a security problem. If the problem persists, have your locks changed.
DEAR ABBY: At what age is it acceptable and appropriate for my daughters to move out? -- WONDERING IN WICHITA
DEAR WONDERING: Many young adults live with their parents today because they are burdened with student loan debt and are unable to find jobs. I think the logical time for them to move out would be when they are able to support themselves.
What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)