DEAR ABBY: My husband retired and we thought we were fulfilling our lifetime dream when we moved to the beach, but our dream has turned into a nightmare. Our family never wanted to visit us this often before.
When they come, no one even brings along so much as a bottle of water. My grocery bill has skyrocketed, and I'm sick of playing the role of cook and maid while they have a wonderful time.
I'm ready to move back to our hometown. At least there I had a life besides cooking and cleaning. My husband wants to live here because it's his dream, but I can't take another year of this. The workload is killing me.
I have been a fool for putting up with everyone having a carefree vacation at my expense. I'm so angry I'm ready to leave my husband with his dream. The last three years have been hell. When friends and family ask why I left, should I tell them, or keep my mouth shut and build a peaceful life by myself? -- RUNNING FOR MY LIFE
DEAR RUNNING: Leaving your husband is not the solution. Telling the individuals who are taking advantage of your hospitality that the rules have changed is. Set rules before guests arrive. If it's not convenient for you to entertain, speak up and say so when the relatives call to say they're coming. Make it clear that they will be doing their own laundry, buying their own groceries, etc.
And while you're at it, understand that the reason this has gotten out of hand is partly your husband's fault. He's retired; he can lend a hand.
The Good Lord gave you the gift of speech. For the sake of your sanity and your marriage, I'm suggesting you use it.