Dear Ann: My sister and I are both in our early 20s, and we still live at home with our parents. Our folks have made it clear that boyfriends are not permitted to sleep over. We both abide by this rule when my parents are at home, but when they are traveling, my sister often invites her boyfriend to stay overnight.
I object to this, not only because it goes against my parents' rules, but it is also uncomfortable for me to find a man in the house when I wake up. Also, I don't like covering up for my sister's behavior. I told my sister that she and her boyfriend should find their own place, but she says it is too expensive.
My parents are out of town for the week, and last night, Sis brought her boyfriend over. I told her I was going to phone Dad to tell him what was going on, and if it was OK with him, it would be OK with me. Now she is calling me every name in the book. Is she justified? Feel Like the Police in Wichita, Kan.
Dear Wichita: You should not have threatened to rat on your sister, although she was wrong to invite her boyfriend to spend the night when your folks left town. However, you should not have to lie on her behalf. Let her know that if Mom or Dad asks if the boyfriend slept over, you will tell the truth.
I agree that Sis and her beloved should get a place of their own, and if they are serious about the relationship, perhaps they should consider getting married. It beats "sneaking around" and is a lot better for the nerves.
Dear Ann: You recently printed a letter from "Leaving Eventually," who was living with an alcoholic and verbally abusive husband. She said she was staying with him for her daughter's sake. Ann, I was once that daughter, and believe me, it will be better for everybody if she gets out.
My mother also stayed with my father "for the children's sake," but living in that house was just plain hell. Worse yet, we thought all fathers were verbally abusive and got drunk and passed out every night. Once my mother realized how damaging it was for us kids, she kicked him out. We were all relieved and much better off.
"Leaving Eventually" should talk to her daughter and find out how she feels. I'm almost certain the girl will let her mother know she feels unsafe, insecure and afraid of what her father will do next. They both need to get out of that situation. Trust me, life with an abusive, alcoholic man is no life for a wife or her children. An Up Close Victim in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Dear Santa Barbara: No one can tell a story as well as someone who has "been there and done that." You certainly made your case. Thanks for your candor and your courage. I pray that "Leaving Eventually" will see your letter and give her husband two choices Alcoholics Anonymous or the highway.
Dear Ann: My husband, "Charlie," and I often attend parties, weddings and other social functions. The moment we arrive, Charlie scouts the room for an attractive female and goes over to chat with her, leaving me alone.
I have told him this hurts my feelings, but he keeps doing it. He makes no effort to see that I have someone to talk to, and I am left to fend for myself. When he flirts with other women and carries on as if he were unattached, it drives me crazy. Is it time for a divorce? Third Wheel in Houston
Dear Houston: Do you and Charlie have children? If so, insist on joint counseling. His lack of respect for your feelings is dreadful, and he needs to hear it from a professional. If there are no children, tell Charlie to shape up or ship out.