DEAR MISS MANNERS: My father-in-law has been overstepping the boundaries of my personal space for as long as I’ve been with my husband. He is a very curious person, but he exercises his curiosity in my home without permission to the point where I’m uncomfortable and bothered by his behavior.
My personal workspace is not in the main flow of the house. He lingers, looks around and picks up papers without asking. Instead of socializing, he will wander the house, picking up and examining everything -- touching all my belongings (including my instruments).
I would never in a million years take such liberties in someone’s home. Then there are his attempts to be helpful in taking on tasks without permission or being asked -- like planting a tree or digging up a concrete sidewalk in our backyard.
I’m losing my mind, and feel there is no solution. After years of this behavior on his part, I dislike him, and dread the times he stays in my home.
GENTLE READER: Where does your husband stand in all of this? Presumably not in the backyard, or he would have noticed the sidewalk being dug up. Miss Manners suggests that you enlist his help in setting parameters for your father-in-law’s behavior -- and in the meantime, invest in some secure locks.