Sister-in-law caught stealing clothes

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DEAR ABBY: My sister-in-law recently came for a visit. I have not really trusted “Claire” since I began noticing that every time she would leave, a garment or two of mine was missing.

During this last visit, a day before her scheduled departure, I noticed a shirt I had just washed was missing from the laundry room where I had left it. I mentioned it to my husband, and he found it – in Claire’s suitcase.

My husband wants an apology and to inform her that she’s not invited back. Is there a proper way to handle this? We haven’t said anything to her yet. – SICK OF THE STEALING IN PHILADELPHIA

DEAR SICK OF THE STEALING:
What a sad situation. Obviously, the time has come to clear the air – but please try to do it kindly. Your sister-in-law may be a certified kleptomaniac, unable to control her impulse to take things. Or, she could be frustrated with her own life and covetous of the loving relationship you enjoy with her brother, and took the items in an attempt to fill the emptiness she feels inside. In either case, she should be confronted with the evidence and told that you both know what has been going on – and if it happens again, she’ll no longer be your houseguest.



DEAR ABBY: This is an open letter from a grieving wife to unfaithful husbands everywhere. You’re welcome to print it if you think it might save families from added grief.

Dear Unfaithful Husband: Have you ever stopped to think what would happen if your life ended suddenly, giving you no time to clean up what you would not want your family to know?

My husband died instantly in an automobile accident during his workday. When I was asked to pick up the contents of his desk, his car and the locker at his club, I was shocked beyond belief. The loving husband and father I thought I knew after almost 30 years of marriage had been leading a double life. He had at least three other women conveniently located within a 25-mile radius of our home and his office.

It has taken me three years and numerous counseling sessions to come to terms with my anger and grief. I know it was insecurity caused by his father leaving them during his early years and his mother’s resulting instability, but I am still having difficulty getting beyond my anger and hurt when I think of how our grown children might have had to go through this if both of us had been killed in the accident.

For those who are cheating and think you have it hidden so well, stop and think: What would your family find after your death that would cause them additional grief? – STILL GRIEVING IN DIXIE

DEAR STILL GRIEVING:
Please accept my deepest sympathy for your double loss – that of your husband of 30 years, and also the illusions you had about your life partner. I suspect the latter is what is still causing you grief. I’m pleased to print your open letter to cheating spouses everywhere. However, rather than urging them to cover their tracks, would it not better to suggest they correct what is missing in their marriages so they can remain faithful?



Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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