Dear Abby: The houseguests know my sheet rule but they refuse to comply

I’m thinking of telling my husband’s relatives they’re no longer welcome

ADDRESSED TO ABBY: My in-laws frequently invite themselves to stay with us.

My mother-in-law requires guests to strip their beds the morning they depart. This is something I, as the hostess, do not want them to do. They are aware of it, but continue to chastise me about it.

My sister-in-law recently went ahead and stripped the sheets. I didn’t realize it until they were gone. It made me feel unappreciated.

What should I do about them mowing over my property line? (My husband supports them, but he is a mama’s boy.)

What should I say the next time the cheapos (oops, “thrifty travelers”) request to stay? I’ve never stayed in their house, by the way.


DR. TRAMPLED: I can understand your annoyance.

It’s time to talk to your sister-in-law about how offended you were when she ignored your wishes when she visited. Tell her you felt disrespected and that if it happens again, you’d prefer she stay somewhere else. She may not agree, but it’s your territory and your rules.

ADDRESSED TO ABBY: I’m embarrassed to say that I’m jealous of my younger brother’s recent success.

He was accepted into a fantastic medical program, and once he completes it, I’m confident he’ll land a great job with lots of perks. I am proud of him and love him, but I can’t help but be envious.

I’ve spent 13 years in the military. In terms of financial stability and job security, everything has been fine, but my job is tedious. I sit behind a desk and essentially push paper, in addition to a variety of other unpleasant military tasks and traditions. I also obey the orders of mostly jerk bosses.

Unfortunately, I’ve convinced myself that I need to work for 20 years before I can retire. I’m afraid of starting over or taking risks outside of the military without a pension.

I’ve spent a lot of my life envious of other people’s success. They always appear to be very happy or to be doing better than I am. The most recent is my brother.

This jealousy and, dare I say, mild depression has impacted my personal life as well, as I’ve become very introverted and don’t like talking about myself or contributing much to conversations. I understand that this is a broad description, but any advice or direction would be greatly appreciated.


DEAR DISAPPOINTED: It’s time to work on your self-esteem and stop comparing yourself to others, my friend. It’s a waste of time what you’re doing to yourself.

You chose your profession for sound reasons. Many people would like to be able to retire at 40 (or so) with a guaranteed income before deciding on other fields to pursue. You’re well on your way to completing the task you set for yourself.

If you are able to schedule some sessions with a mental health professional away from your base, it may improve your relationships with others as well as with yourself. Please think about it. No matter how well-off a person appears to be financially, there is always someone richer, but not necessarily happier.

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