DEAR ABBY: It has happened again, another stressful, unpleasant Thanksgiving for me. My husband has out-of-town relatives who fly in using frequent flier miles. They get picked up from the airport on arrival and returned to the airport for departure. They spend a week here eating, drinking and being entertained. Never once have they offered to buy any food, help with meals or take us out for dinner. If we go out for a meal, it is always our treat.
They brag nonstop about how much money they are saving, and they could well afford to be gracious. This has been happening for 15 years. They invite themselves. I do NOT enjoy their company. My husband is aware of how I feel, but has asked me to tolerate them because they are the only blood relatives he's in contact with outside of our family.
I am left to do the laundry and cleaning after they leave. They have a nice vacation, and I feel used and abused. How can I get rid of them and still keep peace in the family? -- FED UP WITH FREELOADERS
DEAR FED UP: If your husband insists on entertaining these users because of his blood relationship, you should allow him to do it. If you're feeling magnanimous, welcome them warmly and tell them you're sorry you can't spend more time with them, but you are leaving to visit: your grown children, your parents, your dear old school chum(s).
Perhaps when your husband has to shoulder all of the responsibility for those awful people, he will realize the extent to which he is being used and find the courage to tell them what he expects of them the next time they visit. You have suffered enough.