DEAR ABBY: My mother-in-law recently moved close to us. She has a nice home and has lots of friends in the area, but she doesn't want any of them to come visit.
Abby, her entire focus is on us! She walks right into our home, although she has been asked several times not to. She goes through my things and takes whatever she wants without asking. I can never relax unless my husband isn't home and I have locked the doors so she can't barge in. When he is here, she comes over, walks in, and if we have company, thinks she should join our guests.
I recently retired, and I get anxious because I want it peaceful, but with her invading our privacy, it's anything but. I have grown children I adore, but I don't want them walking in either, and they never would. It took me years to have a home life with my husband because he was a longtime bachelor, and for years his buddies would drop by unannounced. Now it's his mother!
I feel like the bad guy, but I just want what most people do -- to feel content in my own home. What else can I do? -- WANTS TO RUN AWAY
DEAR WANTS TO RUN AWAY: You should not have to feel like a prisoner in your own home. Keep all the entrances securely locked, especially the front door. While you're at it, if you haven't already done so, tell her to stay out of your belongings because you don't want any more items to "disappear."
Because your MIL won't listen to you, have your husband tell his mother not to drop in without calling first. If she does it anyway, when she shows up, rather than "ask" her not to do it, TELL her and don't let her in.