DEAR ABBY: My mother remarried two years ago. "Bart" is good to her; however, he drives me and my husband absolutely up the wall. He's a compulsive talker, and he belittles my brother whenever he can. He also makes inappropriate comments about sex. They are not directed at me, but he gives me information about my mother and him, which makes me very uncomfortable.
Now he is bad-mouthing my mother to my husband and telling my husband not to tell me, because he knows I will tell my mother.
They have started pressuring us to go on vacation with them for a solid week. I can't bear the thought of it. My husband doesn't want to go either, and he says I should not tell my mother how I feel -- just avoid her husband as much as possible.
Abby, I think I should level with her, but how do I go about it without breaking her heart? -- HURTING IN OTTUMWA, IOWA
DEAR HURTING: Dodging your stepfather is not a solution. You are overdue for a frank talk with your mother. Tell her everything you have told me. Her husband's comments are clearly inappropriate, and the situation won't change unless she's made fully aware of how and why he's driving people away.