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.